Saturday, August 17, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum: The Good, The Bad, and The OK, Part 2

Earlier in the week I reviewed the early grades and some basic subjects.  Today, I will pick up where I left off and include high school.  

Genesis for Kids: Science Experiments That Show God's Power in Creation! is a book of fun science experiments for elementary grades. This is a hands-on fun way to learn some science concepts.

In the early years, we liked unit studies for history and science. We also read a lot of biographies. A lot of our science was just getting out and exploring our world. I did have some Abeka science and history books that I had the children read. But, I would say our favorite approach was hands on Unit studies that allowed every student to study the same subject at their grade level.

Unit Studies I have used:

Konos by Jessica Hulcy and Carole Thaxton

I liked the Konos Curriculum because it is built around character qualities. It has plenty of activities to choose from - don't feel obligated to do them all. It incorporates a timeline, but we were never very good at keeping up with timelines. Boys especially do well with unit studies that don't tie them down to a desk all day.

The Prairie Primer: Literature Based Unit Studies Utilizing the "Little House" Series by Margie Gray
This is a one year unit study based on the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We went through this curriculum twice with 4 years between. It covers most everything except math and grammar. The second time we went through it, my oldest girls were in middle school, but it was a nice change. We enjoy the Little House books and there is a lot of history and science to study in the books as well as learning about relationships. Yes, even boys enjoy this study. Who doesn't love the Little House books?

Product Details

Tapestry of Grace by Marcia Somerville
Tapestry of Grace is a curriculum that covers The Ancient World through Present Day over 4 years. It is a very thorough curriculum that covers every age level with lesson plans at their level, but all students are on the same subject. I bought year 1 and year 2 when it first came out (it was in 3-ring binders) and then borrowed year 3 and year 4 from a friend. When I got through the second rotation of year 1 and year 2, I decided to buy year 3 and year 4 since I would still need to use it two more times. Until....I looked it up and discovered that the price had increased significantly. With the price increase came a format change from paper in a 3-ring binder to CD-ROM (you print what you want to print). Also, the author did not want you to sell, loan, or give the curriculum to anyone. I understand that “the laborer is worthy of his hire”, but I think Marcia took it a bit too far to tell me what I could do with my curriculum when I was done with it. As much as I liked Tapestry of Grace, I did not buy the remaining volumes and moved on to...

My Father’s World Books

When I first began homeschooling and while I was teaching multiple students, I tried to get my curriculum as inexpensively as possible and use the library as much as possible. Now that I am only teaching two high school students, the convenience of a 'package deal' like My Father's World Books is very appealing. The high school curriculum (as well as the other grades) has daily lesson plans. It is sold as a history curriculum, but also has other high school subjects. I do need to supplement Science, Math, and Foreign Language. At this time in my homeschooling life, this curriculum works great for me.

Secrets of Great Communicators: Simple, Powerful Strategies for Reaching The Heart Of Your Audience by Jeff Meyers

Product Details

This is a public speaking curriculum that uses video lessons. It includes a teacher manual and student workbook. You will need one workbook per student. I used this last year with my students and in a co-op class. I was very impressed. Mr. Meyers is an interesting, motivating teacher. My helper in the class said it was the best public speaking curriculum she has seen. That is high praise since she has been homeschooling longer than I have and was on the debate team in college. She knows a lot about public speaking and speech writing. Public Speaking works better if students are able to present their speech to a group other than their family.

Apologia Science

 Product Details
I have used Apologia Science for many years. I like that the text is written to the student so they can understand it. Experiments use household items and even remind the student to clean up when they are finished! We have used Apologia Earth Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Physics, and Advanced Biology.

Other curriculum I have used:

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) by Susan Wise Bauer

Product Details
I used this loosely one year. I like her information on writing a research paper. She also provides a great list of books for students to read in certain grades. Be careful if you use this - do not try to do everything listed. Susan even admits in the book that the only reason she put a 'schedule' in the book was because her publisher pushed her to do so. I use this mostly as a reference book.

Streams of Civilization

 Product DetailsProduct Details
One of my sons used this for his history curriculum one year. He wanted to just be able to read it and absorb the information. Tapestry of Grace also uses this history, which is why it was on my shelf.

What curriculum have you used that you love? Or didn't love? I couldn't cover everything about every curriculum, so please ask questions, if you have any.

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