Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So many choices...

After years of homeschooling, one would think we would stick to just one curriculum. The truth is, that there are so many wonderful products out there, and every year new ones are added. I am going to list my favorites, ones I want to try and ones that just didn't work for us.

  • Heart of Dakota Heart of Dakota is so wonderfully put together that even the most scatterbrained, or should I say, too busy to plan, mom can do this. I used it flawlessly for two years. Last year a friend of mine let me borrow her Sonlight curriculum. (more on that later) What I like most about Heart of Dakota, is you literally can start teaching as soon as you get the box. Very little planning is needed and most of the project materials are found around the house. I also love that it is truly a Christ centered program. All the subjects flows nicely together. I do not feel that I need to pre screen the independent readers and read-alouds. If there is anything questionable, the publisher makes a note of it right in the guide. Let me talk about the guide. It is WONDERFUL. No loose leaf papers to copy and lose. You will have to go to the link to see what I mean. It is a book with a daily two page spread. You can teach multiple ages/grades with the guide also. There are add-on books for older children. I have not used it this way, but others have been blessed by the savings. I am trying to think of something that I do not like, but I truly cannot think of anything. The first year I bought the entire package with all the add-ons. The package price is comparable to Sonlight, maybe a little cheaper. I have since learned that you can find most of the books at the library, Christianbook, friends, and eBay. If you order your guide early you can have everything before the new school year begins. If you do not want to spend the time searching, and you can afford it, it is nice to just get everything shipped in one box. The time I spend looking for the books required, is still much less than all the lesson planning I would have to do  my own. There is a nice chart on the website to find out which course your child should be doing. I know I have probably left out some important info, but you can always go to the site. There is a ton of information and even a forum.

  • Teaching Textbooks: One of my fears when we started homeschooling years ago was how was I going to teach math? Lets just say math has never been a strong subject of mine. I went straight to Saxon Math because that seemed to be the most popular. Our oldest did very well with Saxon, however, she also taught herself calculus using her fathers college text books. For Ty, who is a right brainer Saxon just caused alot of pain. for both of us. We  had heard about Teaching Textbooks from a friend that also had traumatic experiences with Saxon. I am not a Saxon hater, just to be clear, but I am sure those of you that have math phobia know exactly what I am talking about. =) I found a great deal on eBay and am very happy that I did. My favorite part of this program is that there is little input if any needed from me. Ty and Bre both have done very well with this program. I will continue to use this. I have heard that if your child desires to become an engineerr, stick with Saxon. I think it is safe to say that none of my children has those desires. ;) 

  • Apologia Science: Absolutely wonderful. I should note that I do not use the science offered in Heart of Dakota because of my love of Apologia. Not only are the text books and labs wonderful, you can get the text on audio and listen if you have an auditory learner. I ordered the DVD for Ty because the Biology labs are a bit more extensive. Year after year I am pleased with Apologia. It is a very thorough curriculum and I can relax knowing they are getting what they need out of it. 

  • Story of the World: Remember when I said a friend let me borrow her 6th grade Sonlight curriculum? This was included. I love it. I also used the audio cd's to listen to the chapters on the road. After each chapter we would do a unit study. I also used the activity and test books. I like how it is written and you can take each subject matter and stretch it out however long you want. Bre really loved learning about ancient times, and we spent weeks studying Egypt. I love the flexibility of this. We really did not follow the Sonlight schedule because we would not have been able to do that. I also used Mystery of History along side of it. Anyhow, a very good program to use as a spine. I am struggling with wanting to continue with SOTW or go back to my beloved Heart of Dakota. If you and your child love history SOTW and Heart of Dakota fit the need.

  •    Excellence in Writing Love this program. I have only used it with Breanna, and I am very impressed. She loves watching the lessons on DVD and her writing has improved greatly. I know families that do the program together and love doing it that way for the accountability factor.  


Can do mom said...

We've got a lot of curriculum choices in common! :) Our family uses Tapestry of Grace as our spine but for math we use Teaching Textbooks, supplemented by the DVD courses by the Teaching Company. We have Apologia science textbooks with a few other versions as well. My house is overflowing with books. Like you, I have had a hard time settling in to one curriculum but Tapestry seemed to fit the bill the best for us. I'm glad I found it five years ago.

I have three children and my oldest is graduating this year! We will be having her graduation party in less than three weeks and I feel so unprepared... The weather is not cooperating with my plans to get outside and clean up my gardens. (Until today that is, it's gorgeous out there today!)

I hope you will stop by my blog again. It was fun to read your entry today.

Blessings to you!

Kathy said...

This is an inspiring post! I want to do Heart of Dakota so bad, but I have a completely un-used set of My Father's World, Countries and Cultures. Ugh. I think I got ahead of myself last year.

Tapestry of Grace looks so good too. I'm just afraid the planning would put me under.