Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One Where I Regret a Curriculum Choice

This week was an unusual week.  Something happened that never happens.  Mackenzie had a sick day.  She hasn't been sick since she was three.  She's ten now.  That's seven years.  She has my immune system. Just not last Tuesday.  Poor girl.  She was fine the next day.  Yay!

Poor, sick baby girl
We started WW2 in history.  This week we've been reading through The World Wars (internet links) and it's had some really good links that really helped Mackenzie picture what was happening during that time.  In her spare time she read Yellow Star.  We have a lot of extra reading material on this area so she's been reading more than normal, and normally she reads a ton.

Spy Science

She's now an intel gal like her dad.

Too bad the message we were given was bad to start with.

As an add-in, we did some code cracking with the Spy Science Kit that we bought through Winter Promise.  The kit was great, the notebooking pages that Winter Promise puts out to go along with it, not so much.  Part of the message was fine and the rest made no sense.   

This wasn't the first problem we've had with their notebooking pages.  Some of the quality wasn't good and I found a few historical errors. I had wrote the company about the errors, with references, and hadn't heard back from them.  I figured that it was something they'd fix in upcoming editions.  I don't use the curriculum, I had just bought some of the hands-on stuff and notebooking pages, so I wasn't sure if was an issue with the actual lessons.  And not everyone has fabulous customer service like Sonlight.  In the event that we did something wrong with our "code cracking skills", I checked the forums.  What I found was some complaints about the same errors and quality control issues that I had written them about.  Only these complaints were three years old.  And in those three years they hadn't fixed the issues.  To say that I'm disgusted is the understatement of the year.

The ironic thing is that I was planning on holding off on Sonlight's Core 5, because of the massive increase in workload, until 6th grade.  So I ordered Winter Promise's Children Around the World program for next year.  Now, I'm not so sure.  Now to be fair to Winter Promise, I haven't actually seen the program because, although I ordered it almost a month ago, I haven't received the bulk of it.  To date, I've received some maps, 1 book, and some stickers for the maps.  All came separately, with no notice that they'd be coming nor did I receive any packing slip with the packages.   

So I can add "great service" to their list of accomplishments.  (Please note my sarcasm.)   I may or may not keep it.  I'll give a thorough look if it ever arrives.  I'm sure the books are fine because they weren't published by them.  If the like the books, I can always dump their notebooking stuff and come up with my own.   I've also considered using COAH Expedition Earth program to replace Winter Promise's pages.  It covers a lot of the same topics, although it might be a tad too young for Mackenzie.  So that's up in the air.  

Maybe I'm just too picky?  That and Sonlight has spoiled me.  But what a let down.   It's just disappointing when something doesn't live up to your expectations.  I'm still holding out hope that it will work out.

If not, I can send it back and do Core 5 over two years to ease up the work load.  We shall see.  But I really don't want to have to go to haul all this stuff to the post office. 

Be sure to check out the other wrap-ups over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


Alicia said...

We had the exact same experience with Winter Promise last year, which is why we did not go back. I should have known something was wrong when the bulk of my curriculum contained the wrong materials or was missing materials all together. They did eventually straighten things out but, it took quite awhile.

Hope your daughter is feeling better!


Our Side of the Mountain said...

Glad to see that Kenz wasn't sick for long! Spy Science looks fun!

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori said...

Trying that again! Some crazy typos changed the meaning of my comment. :)

When my girls (now adults) were middle school and high school, we frequently used things that were for "one year" over the course of 2years. That is the beauty of homeschooling! Hopefully, you will get a clear idea when you actually receive all of the materials.

See Jamie blog said...

We used Children Around the World, and we were very happy with it -- particularly my then 3rd-grade daughter. I never had any customer service problems, but I never called or contacted them about anything. We liked it well enough to use Winter Promise again this year, but for various reasons, we've decided not to use it next year.

KGB That's Me said...

Stef, I just can't say enough good things about Core 5. I think spreading it out over 2 years would be fine. The workload is amazingly heavy at times, particularly in the first 4 weeks or so. Wo much material is covered, all of it fabulous! If you slowed the pace of it, you could spend more time on each country and culture, and you could add in some of the many wonderful related Netflix movies, international recipes, etc. that are posted in nice neat lists to go with each country on the Sonlight Core 5 Forum. It's probably our favorite core so far. It was a challenging year because we did NOT take any extra time to complete it, but we both enjoyed it SOOO much. Hayden loved spending his spare time perusing the World Book DVD-rom. You could do extra research in that to spread things out, too. It's loaded with cool resources. One thing about don't have to be disappointed. But you already know that! BTW, if you want to look at the Core 5 stuff, you're welcome to stop by one day...I have it in a storage tub.


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