Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Curriculum Journey ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Ahhhh, curriculum...Every homeschooler's favorite topic. We love to discuss, look at it, buy it. It's a bit of an obsession, wouldn't you say?

And who could blame us? It's not our fault. There's always something new out there that we have to try, right? It might be better then what we're currently using so we're obligated to check it out. It might be the one that puts our child's education over the top.

It's an easy trap to fall into, isn't it? I know I've been tempted with the latest and greatest a time or two. And finding the right curriculum can be a journey in and of itself. After eight years, I think I've figured out what works best for my oldest down. Finally. I hope. :o)

The easiest curriculum choice for me was the one I chose for our spine. Sonlight. Just typing the name of that curriculum gives me a warm fuzzy. Books, books, books and more books. Sigh...

Interestingly, Sonlight also is one of the ways that God led me to homeschooling. I met and online friend who was homeschooling her children with it and I would just devour her posts about it. It will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Mackenzie, being a book-aholic like her mama, has thrived with it. Kayleigh goes crazy for the books too. It's definitely a keeper for us. It's pricey but it's been worth every penny. Mackenzie, about to enter sixth grade, still rereads books from the first core that we purchased. In fact, we bought the first four cores believing that we were only going to be using them for one child, so yeah, we really like it. Our bonus baby, Kayleigh, is helping us really get our money's worth. lol

We even enjoyed the science. Their language arts however...not our cup of tea. We've used Sonlight's LA twice. Once for K and again when they redid it. It was not for us either time. So we moved on to Learning Language Arts Through Literature. We used the red book and we liked it a lot. Covered all the necessary skills, threw in some cute little crafty stuff. It was a good year. Unfortunately I didn't care for the next level. So guess what? We moved on. To First Language Lessons.

This was the grammar curriculum of our dreams. We love, love, love, love, loved it! For four glorious years. Then we were ready to move onto Susan Wise Bauer's Advanced Language Lessons. She let us use the first 15 weeks for free!! It was wonderful. Then SWB pulled the rug out from underneath our LA love fest. She decided not to publish ALL after all. Oh how cruel!!! I still have a hard time talking about it. Sniff,

So we've moved on, again... to Growing With Grammar. And it's good and solid. We both like it. We don't love it like we did FLL but it has it's pluses. Like it's much less teacher intensive then FLL/ALL. She can do it all on her own. And that leaves me time to spend with the little one. God knows best. Always. Amen!

Math? We've been through a few math programs in our time too. lol We started with Saxon K. I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't like using it when I was a traditional school teacher and I didn't like it as a homeschooler. Teeny, tiny Mackenzie squeaked out one day, "Mommy, whhhhhyyyy do we have to do patterns agaiiinnnn???? Whhhyyyy??? I'm smart, I only need to do it once." Who could argue with that logic? Do we really need 120 lessons on patterns for the small fry? I think not.

On to Singapore. Loved it. Would still be using it if it weren't for the previously mentioned "latest & greatest curriculum trap." You see someone mentioned Math-U-See to me. I was intrigued. I ordered the demo dvd. I watched it once and was a thousand times better at math.  Instantly. We switched. It's been awesome. God knows best. Always. Amen!

I was almost tempted again by Teaching Textbooks. God told me NO! He's always right you know. But it does look great and I've heard nothing but positive things about it. That being said, I hope Kayleigh does well with MUS too. I already have all of the DVDs and IGs. lol

Science was always Sonlight at first. We loved it. It came with all the required supplies for the experiments. That's really all that this mama needs to be happy. Everything in one box so I don't have to go on a hunt for experiment supplies. I'm easy like that.

Then trap was sprung again, in the form of Apologia science. A unit approach to science. Interesting. And you could buy a supply box. So we used the astronomy course and it was a pretty good year.  I wasn't totally sold yet so I decided to alternate between Sonlight and Apologia science. Now days we do strictly Apologia. For Kayleigh, I think I'll do Sonlight science for the first couple of years and then switch to Apologia in 2nd or 3rd grade.

Our Bible studies are a true testament to our eclecticness. LOL We've used quite a few. There is the Bible of course. Woot! We've used Sonlight's Bible options, Apologia's What We Believe series, Classical Academic Press, Grapevine Studies Stick Figuring Through the Bible, Bible Study Guide for All Ages... We've enjoyed them all.

Writing... I don't want to talk about writing. LOL We're still looking for our perfect fit. Next up on our list of things to try is Institute for Excellence in Writing. Fingers crossed!

So there you have a, rather long-winded, short version of our curriculum journey. Shew! If you're interested in all everything that we're using for this year click the tabs at the top of my page. There's one for our Sixth Grade curriculum and one for our Preschool curriculum.

So tell me, what is your favorite curriculum?

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P.S. I'm giving away a copy of Learning About God from A to Z this week. Check it out. Ends 8/5. And a copy of Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product. Ends 8/6.

Click the button at the top of the page to see what my Crew Mate's thoughts on curriculum are. And be sure to come back tomorrow for a peek on how I do my homeschool planning.

5 comments:

Luke said...

Thank you for sharing your journey! I realize that not every aspect of Sonlight works for everyone, so I'm glad you've found other LA options to be more in line with your family's needs.

~Luke

Julie said...

I hope my littles become book lovers like their momma as yours have. So far so good!

Shanna said...

We are having language arts woes over at our house right now. :/. Trying to figure it out what I'm going to switch to. I'm thinking of just using spelling and vocab lists from spelling city for my 4th and 5th. And throwing in some writing and grammar from schoolhouse teachers because I just can't find anything I love.

With my 6th grader I'm thinking of switching to Analytical Grammar. The selling point is we only have to do it for 10 weeks each school year and we will be done with it in 8th grade.

Lora @ my blessed life said...

We've definitely made changes through the years and sometimes that *perfect* curriculum just isn't there, is it? But then we can pull and pick from different sources until all those bases are covered :)

Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life said...

We switched back to GWG after a year of FLL. My son begged to go back to GWG. He was so bored with FLL and I also love that GWG doesn't require as much from me.

If you need a little more convincing about Apologia, you should check out the Apologia Blog Roll that I host on my blog.

http://myjoy-filledlife.blogspot.com/2012/07/apologia-blog-role-2012-2013.html

Blessings!

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