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Old 04-02-2011, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Homeschool Curriculum

What curriculum do you use? Why do you like it? What don't you like about it?

I'm on the hunt for new curriculum for next year and I would love to hear everyone's thoughts and opinions.
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:11 PM   #2
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My two are in college now, but I homeschooled for 8 years. I never could use just one company (kinda like stamping ) but used what I thought was the best from each publisher. I liked Saxon for math and Apologia for science. Beautiful Feet for history as I love books and the curriculum was so rich.

I don't know how old your children are, but these were some of my favorites. BTW if you haven't already, request a catalog from Rainbow Resource. It is amazing!

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Old 04-03-2011, 06:16 PM   #3
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Thanks, I will check out Rainbow resource. My DD is 7 and right now we are using A Beka but it isn't a perfect fit for us. We also use Dwonload-n-Go for history/science and subject focus.
For next year I am thinking that I will use Abeka for Language, Saxon Math In Focus, DNG for history/science, and let her read her own books for reading.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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We've really enjoyed using "Tapestry of Grace." It's the main component of our homeschooling, and for math we've used a lot. Right now we're using "Math on the Level."
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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I never used Tapestry of Grace but have heard nothing but wonderful things about it. Seems like a very rich curriculum.

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Old 04-08-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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I've homeschooled for over 13 years now, and used Bob Jones almost exclusively. Someone gifted me a bunch of A Beka history and science a few years ago in my youngest daughter's grade, so we changed to see if we liked it. She likes the curriculum better as far as her part, but the planning is definitely a bit more difficult!

I've used De Nealon handwriting for one of them who struggled (I may have spelled that wrong, it's been a long time!) and have heard wonderful things about Saxon Math. One of my friends recommended Math U See for another daughter, who wound up in a different program altogether.

Why I have used BJU Press for so long:
1) It's so easy for my planning. I can sit down with my book and plan out all 36 weeks in advance.

2) It's flexible. I love that if she understands a math concept, she can advance and do a whole chapter and test out without missing a crucial lesson. Math also has workbooks available for those who are a little slower and need more help, or that have progressed far enough that they need a bit more challenging. I credit the second one with my oldest son's ability today. He's amazing, he outpaced me by High School and is excelling in college math today.

3) Did I mention flexible? Not only is it flexible for her (my last remaining homeschooler!) but it's flexible for me. I don't have to have a rigid schedule and for our family, that's perfect. It COULD be rigid, if you need that, but I prefer something I can work around if necessary. We are a busy family and sometimes school is in the van, then finished at home!

I hope you find something you love!
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:20 AM   #7
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Thanks! I've heard of Bob Jones but haven't checked it out.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EHeeger View Post
Thanks, I will check out Rainbow resource. My DD is 7 and right now we are using A Beka but it isn't a perfect fit for us. We also use Dwonload-n-Go for history/science and subject focus.
For next year I am thinking that I will use Abeka for Language, Saxon Math In Focus, DNG for history/science, and let her read her own books for reading.
My daughter is 6 and in "grade 1". This is our first year homeschooling. We have been somewhat all over the map. I am interested in hearing what others have to say as I am searching as well. Based on others I have ordered the Sonlight catalogue and alpha omega - of course these are Christian resources- so they may not be what you are looking for.

This year we are using Singapore for math, the Well trained mind idea of the ancients (Egypt) - we have read, and written a LOT of stuff on ancient Egypt. We also lapbook topically, for instance Charlottes Web, St Patricks Day.

My daughter is currently interested in butterflies, then bees then bats. (This is her list and the order she wants to cover them in).

I am finding that this is taking me sooooo long to plan and implement, researching library books, finding activities and printing questions, vocabulary etc. Even for Math we still do alot outside of the Singapore workbook.

So my post may not actually help you other than to know that there are others of us who feel strongly about homeschooling yet are questioning the curriculum or in my case the lack of it.
Deb

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Old 04-13-2011, 09:39 AM   #9
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Deb, thanks for posting! I'm interested in what everyone has to say and I'm hoping that those that are reading but not posting are learning something too.

I understand what you mean about questioning the curriculum. I live in constant fear that I am not teaching DD enough. I also struggle with teaching her in a way the she gets it, that's why our current curriculum isn't working for us.

Have you looked at Download N Go? Amanda Bennet writes unit studies on individual topics, they are Christian based and include lapbooking. We are enjoying them a lot but think we will only get one more year with them before we have to move on to more advanced learning (mostly because we have used almost all of her studies!).
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:08 AM   #10
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I taught at a preschool that used A Beka, and it was a good curriculum. A little dry, perhaps, and not high on the creativity, but it was a good start.

A lot of folks use Handwriting Without Tears. Your daughter may be too old for this program now. I do know that our school system uses this program as well, and it worked well for my son.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:35 AM   #11
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I wished I had heard of Handwriting Without Tears before we started. When I did learn of it we were past our hard days. In the beginning, I thought we were both gonna tear out hair out over cursive writing!
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:37 AM   #12
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We loved Sonlight for the literature. Many of the books we were able to get on tape and listen to them as we drove around, so often they were doing school even on weekends and didn't even know it. But the literature was very good, I enjoyed most of it. They have an awesome website, similar to SCS as well.

There is a book called something like 100 top homeschool curriculums, I highly recommend it.

I also like Apologia for Science.

For Math we did Math U See, and loved that up until Algebra, then we did Teaching Textbooks and the Life of Fred.

One more thing, here's a great website to buy and sell homeschool curriculum, I both bought and sold on this site and saved some money:

Used homeschool curriculum, and homeschool groups, events, and activities

God bless
God bless you as you work through these decisions
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I understand what you mean about questioning the curriculum. I live in constant fear that I am not teaching DD enough.
I can certainly understand feeling that way...I did so many times throughout our homeschooling. Sometimes it would go great, and other times it seemed like such a failure.

If it's any encouragement to you, I've graduated 2 from homeschooling, will graduate my 3rd next year, and have 2 to go. There were so many times in our journey that I felt that I wasn't doing enough. Even up through high school. But you know what I found out? By giving them some freedom to pursue many of their own interests, in their own way and their own timing, they excelled in many different areas. Sure, there were some areas that they missed, and they had to catch up a bit when it came time for some college courses. But they were able to catch up quite quickly when they needed to, and both boys are doing really great in college.

One little piece of advice a mom who travelled the homeschooling road before me said that really helped....don't evaluate each day, or even each week, and worry "We didn't do enough." Rather, look at the end of the month, or a few months, and you may see that you really did a lot after all.

One other thing I've done...I write down every day what we've done. And not just school-wise, but all those little things. Like one day, we were in the car and I was opening up bills, and we entered into a huge talk about mortgage payments and compounded interest, etc. I wrote that down, so I would remember we covered that topic. Or...when we watch a movie, we often talk about where it's taking place, what is going on, etc. I's write that down, too. At the end of the month, I'd print it all out, and you know, I felt better seeing all that we had experienced.

Anyway, all this to say...please don't worry about doing enough. You are your child's best teacher. Hugs to you, and enjoy your homeschool journey!
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:47 PM   #14
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For Math we did Math U See, and loved that up until Algebra, then we did Teaching Textbooks and the Life of Fred.
We did all of these, and liked them all. Life of Fred is fun!
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:39 AM   #15
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Thanks Blestmom! Every little bit of encouragement does help. I love the moments when you realize how they have learned without even "meaning to", and the odd moments that turn into a teaching lesson.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:44 PM   #16
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I think it is common for homeschool families to wonder if they have done enough.

Someone advised me when I started to teach them how to learn and to love learning, and any gaps you leave they can fill in what they need.

I think that is good advice.

And remember that any way your children are schooled, there will be gaps, some people are more critical of homeschoolers.

We homeschooled our kids for 2 years, loved it some days, hated it others. But for many reasons we decided to put them back in public schools.

We were concerned about the transition, but it went surprisingly well. My twins had a few math concepts to catch up on, but they were ahead on many other areas. They have some learning differences and homeschooling helped them overcome their reading issues. My other son has gotten straight A's and is now in the honors program.

We still do many homeschooly things and I make them do school work, just a little, during the summer when we're not on vacation or VBS.

I'm rambling, but I guess my point is there are lots of good choices, you'll know what fits your kids, you may have a few hits and misses, but they will come out great if they know how to learn and love learning.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:10 PM   #17
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Let me add something I do in my special ed classroom.

We use an online math program called ixl.com IXL

Go try it with your kids. It gives fantastic and fun math practice. You can purchase a membership or do 10 free problems a day. My students LOVE this program and beg to get extra time on it. It starts at Pre K and moves up to 8th grade.
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Old 05-07-2011, 06:44 PM   #18
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We used IXL overseas when DD was in school, GREAT program. Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:30 AM   #19
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I am a homeschooling mum of 2.5 and a support teacher for homeschooling families for almost 6 years. I have worked in the public schools and now distance learning schools for the past 11 years. Even though I am a certified teacher I can say there are days I too feel like I haven't done enough teaching but at the end of the day I recall the public school days and think about all the breaks and interruptions in the day and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach my son at his rate and through his interests. Homeschooling has been a tough journey for sure. Sometimes I think teaching 30 kids from other parents is easier than teaching my child. He is in the autism spectrum and he is gifted. He is one of the most complex children I have ever taught but I learn SO much from him and with him that it makes it all worthwhile.

Some of the curriculum that has been very popular with the families I have worked include
Math:Teaching Textbooks Math, Life of Fred
Science: Apologia
English: Excellence in Writing (this is ESPECIALLY good for boys but also great for girls), Jump In, Phonetic Zoo for spelling
Social Studies: Story of the World, The Mystery of History

If you have any specific questions regarding curriculum I may be able to help. I work with a number of families who have are either in the early years of homeschooling to 20+ years of schooling so I have seen and heard about a LOT of curriculum.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:07 PM   #20
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What curriculum do you use? Why do you like it? What don't you like about it?

I'm on the hunt for new curriculum for next year and I would love to hear everyone's thoughts and opinions.
I had responded earlier and wanted to see how others responded and now I am back to update you on what we are proceeding with for Grade 2.

My DD will be 7 in Sept. She reads FAR above her grade level and so we picked Sonlight as there are lots of read alouds and the option for an advanced reader. The advanced isn't quite advanced enough but I liked the program otherwise.

The sonlight we selected will be Core B - Bible, History, Reading we also purchased Science 2 and Language Arts.

For Math we are sticking with Singapore Math so for us it will be 2A and 2B.

We will add in other things as they become of interest. For example we have been reading about the Titanic and I have found a Magic Tree house book on it in addition to the 2 non fiction books we have. I located online many worksheets and review type questions online. (I am cheap but cheerful)
Today after getting plants for our garden we stopped at a cemetery. We actually live in Nova Scotia Canada where some from the Titanic are buried so later in the summer we will visit that cemetery.

Every day is an adventure!

Best wishes in your decisions!
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:37 PM   #21
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Hey ya'll, how's summer going? We've been having a great time just relaxin'!

So who's ordered curriculum? I'm going to order right after the first when we have our tax free weekend. I'm just bummed that AOP is having a sale TODAY that would save me lots more money. Ah well, I'll know that for next year if we decide to stick with them.

My DD is really excited for the tax free weekend to go get supplies because she's seen some really cute stuff at Target that she wants. I'm getting excited myself, I don't want summer to be over but I'm ready to dive into learning again.
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:14 PM   #22
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I'm so glad to see this thread! I homeschooled for 2 years, then dd went to a private school last year but we both want to return to homeschooling this year. I haven't even thought about what we're going to do, really. The first 2 years we did an online charter school (free computer, etc.), which made it awesome because there was no planning at all...The curriculum was by Bill Bennett (K12, you can also buy it without being in the charter school) and it was very good.
I am in a homeschool group and so I have lots of friends who use many different curricula...and I have to say that Sonlight seems to be the easiest to use as far as not having to do a lot of your own planning. Several of my friends have used it with great success and their kids are doing well in high school/college. I haven't personally tried it but I can speak for its results.
But I'm thinking I want to be a little more laid back and flexible this year, not having to stick to someone else's plan. I'm leaning towards a Charlotte Mason type of approach--more literature based.
Another suggestion I have is TruthQuest for history. TruthQuest History - Frequently Asked Questions - What about non-western history?
Definitely Christian and literature based; there's an active Yahoo group you can join if you want help on it, too. I haven't used it, but it sounds wonderful and the discussions on Yahoo have made me want to do it this year...

I second the idea that we shouldn't worry too much over it--no matter what you do, if you are a caring parent, you are educating your child "in the way that he should go," and it will produce fruit. There's no one, perfect way!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #23
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We have teens and are homeschooling through K12 program. The kids work at the compute and interact with other students and teachers via computer. They love it! Everything is sent to you, a computer, printer, books, science experiment stuff. It's FREE. Best move we ever made for our kids. They were bored in school having to sit in classes that weren't advanced like science and social studies. They are challenged and have many opportunities to do more things at church or other areas because they are not in school as long at home. They have to do a minimum of 5 hours per day.
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