STEP 3 & 4 - THE ANSWER TO ART STUDIES FOR AGES 9-ADULT!
WHAT IS “STEP 3-4”?
STEP 3 is studies for ages 9-10, who read well. STEP 4 is studies for ages 11-adult. Courses that are listed as “3-4” can be used by either group.
DOES MY STUDENT NEED TO DO STEP 1, 2 OR 3 TO GET A STEPS EDUCATION?
No. Each Step covers the entirety of each subject offered, but as the student goes up through the Steps, the materials become more detailed, and challenging. Students start at the Step right for their age and literacy. They do not need to go back to an earlier level unless they find themselves truly struggling, and for a significant amount of time.
IS STEP 4 FOR HOMESCHOOLING? OR THE CLASSROOM?
Step 4 is independent study for homeschoolers, but it has been used with success in the classroom.
ARE STEPS 3-4 COURSES BOOKS? HOW DO I GET THEM?
STEPS courses come as PDFs, online downloads. When you purchase courses on our site, they are immediately sent to the email address you give us.
HOW DO STEP 3-4 ARTS COURSES WORK?
Like all STEPS studies, Step 4 courses are broken into daily lesson plans. Each lesson plan is made up of small things to be done, in sequence. The student does each step in the lesson plan, in order. Sometimes, the course shows students art work, video, or photography – all found in sequence, in the lesson plan. And in every lesson plan, the student uses what has been taught and does things, there are always activities.
Over a period of years, students develop improved reading and literacy skills. Each student moves at their own pace in developing literacy, as in all their studies. By the end of Step 4, a student should have developed excellent critical thinking skills, a huge vocabulary, a profound ability to communicate, and an exceptional grasp for this age of history, science and related subjects. Additionally, the student will be facile at self-motivated, unassisted study – a skill that will serve the student well as they step into life.
STEPS was created and written by an Emmy and Dramalogue-award-winning writer-director, who has run art’s departments in several large private schools, and taught in the Professional Writer’s Program at U.S.C. His experience in the arts includes directing over 250 theatrical productions, acting in over 200 productions, serving as the Musical Director (piano) for over 50 musicals, choreographing over 50 musicals, serving as a Senior Copywriter for two ad firms for two years, and much more. He is an artist, and takes education in the arts very seriously, considering an art’s experience “a must” in education. So STEPS art’s program is far more extensive and detailed than likely anything available for homeschoolers – or in most schools.
Creative Writing is a central offering in STEPS. But we offer many Creative writing electives as well. Additionally, we provide a complete Music Theory program, taking a student from music illiteracy or complete inexperience into reading, playing and even writing music, with an understanding of theory. We have an extensive Music History program, 9 courses thoroughly covering all the important composers from around the globe and through history. We have separate Acting programs, developed to work equally well in a homeschool setting, as in a classroom, for Step 3 and Step 4. And for students who draw well and who love to draw, our Animation program provides guidance and creativity, as well as structure intended to help the student become a professional.
STEP 3-4 CREATIVE WRITING is a full 3-5 year program in writing. The student may start it while doing Step 3, or start in Step 4. Either way, the five courses thoroughly cover all the concepts a writer needs to understand in order to do professional work. The student is asked to write increasingly longer, complex works, based on new techniques and information, and on his own ideas, until he is creating lengthy works of well-written self-expression. The goal is the building of professional writers who know how to write, and who have something worthwhile to say. This was the first program authored in STEPS, and it was tested in a classroom with 50 Middle School-High School students, for two years, with great success. This program, like all of STEPS, was authored by an often-produced, Emmy and Dramalogue Award-winning writer, (who had over 20,000 hours teaching time, had taught in the U.S.C. Professional Writing Program for two years, and has spent over 30,000 hours authoring this curriculum.)
CREATIVE WRITING/HISTORY HOLIDAY ELECTIVES:
We selected many of your favorite holidays and built a course around each one! New Year’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, St. Patricks’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, even Your Birthday! Each of these courses starts with a full explanation of the history of that holiday or observance. The history section is fun, and often surprising. Then, the student is guided step-by-step through the authoring of two short stories for the holiday, acquiring more Creative Writing skills and understandings! For our Valentine’s Day course, we even added some guided assistance to write some poetry!
Four lengthy, hands-on courses that take a student from no experience reading or creating music, through all the steps needed to understand music theory, to be able to read music, to be able to play a keyboard or piano, and finally, to compose their own music.
Nine huge courses, comprehensive and thrilling in scope, every major composer’s life and work is covered, with hundreds of links to watch/listen to their masterpieces. Courses include Baroque composers (Bach, Vivaldi, more); Romanticism (Beethoven, Mozart, more); Impressionism In Music (Dubussy, Ravel, etc.); Nationalism In Music (Chopin; etc.); Russian Composers (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, etc.); American Composers (Sousa, Gershwin, Copland, etc.); More German Composers (Brahms, etc.); Opera Composers (Verdi, Puccini, etc.); and Musical Theater Composers. 60 plus composer, with links to their greatest works, performed by internationally renowned orchestras and musicians. A full, true, Musical History experience.
-Step 3 Acting consists of two courses, a full year of fun and hands-on experience into the world of acting, focused on theater. The student learns all the basics, and performs. At least two students are required to do these courses.
- Step 4 Acting uses two HUGE books, The Great Actor’s Handbook; and The Great Scene Study & Monologue Book, over 1,000 pages combined, and comprising a massive course in acting intended for two full years of study. The program is built for home or classroom study, and needs only two students (but can accommodate any number) to create a true acting experience where all the essentials are learned. A very full two-year study that prepares the student for advanced challenges as an actor.
Five courses for students who LOVE to draw! These courses do not teach a student how to draw. Instead, they provide ammunition for their creativity, and an eye toward professionalism. The first three courses provide original cartoon scripts, growing longer and more complex by the course. The student is guided step-by-step through designing every element of a cartoon, using the script as the focus. Characterization, locations, effects – the student is challenged to design an entire animated experience. The fourth course provides a practice regimen for animators that is an invaluable step toward a career and longevity as an animator. The final fifth course provides a much longer script, and stretches the student’s skills. The entire time the student works through these courses, they are developing several important things – 1) A portfolio they will be able to use to get into an art’s college or a job in the field; 2) A skill set they will need to work professionally; 3) The ability to design storyboards, probably the most in-demand skill in the business as it is used to create almost every movie, TV show, animated piece, you name it; and 4) Confidence in their ability to work quickly and creatively as an artist.
HOW WELL DOES STEP 4 “TEACH” THE SUBJECTS”?
Very. That’s what Step 4 is all about, a detailed education in every offered subject. Each subject starts with the most basic ideas in that subject – usually a definition of the subject itself. Info builds on info, and becomes increasingly detailed. But the unique approach taken in STEPS allows students to understand the most complex information the first time they’re exposed to it. Step 4 is the longest, most important of STEPS levels. It is the Step that prepares the student to triumph in life.
CAN I PURCHASE INDIVIDUAL COURSES TO FILL NEEDS IN MY CHILD’S EDUCATION?
Yes. Each STEPS course is a free-standing, independent study.
CAN I PURCHASE A FULL SEMESTER OF STUDIES IN STEPS ALL AT ONCE, OR A YEAR'S WORTH OF A CERTAIN SUBJECT?
Yes, as “bundles” on our site. Bundles are the least expensive way to purchase STEPS courses.
HOW QUICKLY COULD I START USING STEPS 3-4?
Start now. You can start STEPS at any time of the year, 24/7/365. Everything you need is pretty much included in the courses you will download, for STEP 3. (Some courses require films or outside books, which are carefully explained, with links provided detailing where to find them.)
HOW MUCH DO I, THE TEACHER OR PARENT, NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EACH SUBJECT IN ORDER TO USE STEPS? HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO DO?
You (teacher/tutor/parent) do not need any expertise in subjects your student is studying, using STEPS. Not as a teacher, or in the subjects being taught. You do not need a degree, or experience as a teacher. Each course does the “teaching”. Just follow the lesson plans, and keep your eyes open for fun opportunities related to whatever the student is studying. The course does the teaching.
HOW QUICKLY CAN I MOVE MY STUDENT UP STEPS?
A student can move up at any time he has the literacy skills and maturity for the next level. The student does not need to “complete” a lower level of curriculum to move up. The student just needs to be able to successfully do the next higher level of curriculum as far as difficulty and literacy. With STEPS, a student is never “behind” or “ahead” – each student moves at the pace they’re comfortable with, every step in every lesson plan, every course, every level.
SUCCESS STORIES ABOUT STEP 4 STUDIES!
(Animation) The "Gummy Cat' project animation course was awesome. The kids learned a lot about animation, thoroughly enjoyed the script, and gained an understanding of what it takes to be an animator. Excellent! Kimberly B
(Animation) I've been homeschooling my son, B., (3rd Grade) since kindergarten. We live in South Florida and the public schools...and most of the private schools, for that matter...are just terrible. It doesn't help that he HATES school — always has. And I've tried everything. I have an entire room full of abandoned curricula at this point! He draws and writes from the moment he wakes up until he passes out in bed at night, but if I give him an assignment to draw or write something he is instantaneously disinterested!
I was so grateful that you had some free courses to try because there was not very much info on your curriculum yet when hunting around for reviews, etc. I was gun-shy to spend a lot of money — again — without knowing if it would be a good fit. He's been using xxxxx and enjoying it, but I've noticed he wasn't actually learning anything, but instead becoming a fantastic multiple-choice guesser (I'm pretty good at that myself thanks to the public school system!). So when he successfully completed the "How to Do CTT" course without too much complaint I was willing to open my checkbook. And I'm so glad I did! We have been doing all the recommended courses for his age and everyday he seems to enjoy it a bit more. But even more important, he is becoming more independent in his studies and learning how to think for himself! It is truly the perfect curriculum for an artistic/creative type! The animation course, although recommended for older kids, is right up his alley. I hope you don't mind me mentioning it, but Brenden is a finalist this year in the Google4Doodle contest. We are really excited because he won a trip to New York next week for the ceremony and to see his doodle on display at the Whitney Museum, and even more importantly will have the opportunity to meet Jim Davis (Garfield creator) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) which is a dream come true for a future cartoonist/animator!
So, CTT....THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for such a great curriculum! It accomplishes everything I hoped for in a curriculum. I homeschool because I want my children to be "think outside the box" people and your curriculum is a perfect match! V, Homeschool Mom
(Animation) My 12 year old has started on the Gummy Cat project and loves it! She has total control over this project and works independently. It is lovely to see her taking full responsibility and enjoying it. She saves animation time for Fridays, as a treat! Thanks for a great program. We've already purchased the next level... E.R., Homeschool Parent & Professional Educator
(Music Theory) These courses are wonderful! Students can work independently, at their own pace. Knowing that they are using these carefully researched courses means the parent can focus on putting their own limited time into researching other subjects. Not that there are many subjects Steven have not provided for yet! Thanks for the brilliant courses! E.R.
(Creative Writing) My daughter has always had an interest in writing but never had the confidence that her stories could be as good as the ones she reads. In Creative Writing I, she regained her confidence. She realized how simple it actually is to express her ideas and how many ideas she has. She sailed into Creative Writing II with her regained confidence and enthusiasm. When an exercise calls for at least 10 sentences, she writes 3 pages. Each day she creates a brand new story that is extremely interesting, unique and well-written. She is clearly realizing her ability as a writer and is greatly enjoying the process.
I would recommend these courses for all children and also adults who would like to become better writers. Thank you for this invaluable gift!" A.B., Homeschool Mom
(Acting) My 9 (soon ten) year old daughter has been doing this course to her absolute elation. She loves to act and this course has been so fun for her. My seven year old son tries to get in on the action too because he sees how much fun she is having with it! Like all of the Connect the Thoughts courses, this is straight forward and to the point. And I really feel that she is learning along with all of the fun she is having! G V., homeschool Mom
(Acting) I put five students on the Step 3 Acting I course today and they are THRILLED! They are already having so much fun that I have a couple others I may be putting on tomorrow. I have not seen those students look that happy since we started and it was a delight to see. They are already planning to put on a skit/play for the younger kids at the school. If I had to put together a high school curriculum in the time I had to prepare without you I would have quit in the first month. More importantly, I think the students are really learning on your courses and I know they love the art courses (animation, acting, and now music). They were "starved" for this! I'm certainly glad I found out about your courses--this year could have been pretty awful otherwise. Thanks again! N.G., Homeschool Administrator