Help & Thanks!
We are following The Well Trained Mind ... and we love it. It is not a prepackaged thing ... you just find what works and plug it into their outline. I like the freedom.
There is someone here who has been using Abeka ... maybe she'll jump in and give you her experience. You'll find though that as you learn how your kids learn that your choices will change. Don't put all your stock in just one thing ... it may not be a good fit. Try something and if it doesn't work ... trust me, you'll change it. I have gone from being a total "unschooler" to classical education nut! You just never know what will work. ... and that is half the fun.
I've heard of Core Curriculum of America but I don't know much about it.
I am very eclectic in my style ... we use a little bit of this and a little bit of that. If I was going for a box curriculum, I would look at Hewitt (I love their resources for older kids!!!), Bob Jones (also an advanced curriculum), Sycamore Tree or Sonlight. If you would like to mix and match, I can also point you to resources. My kids are similar in age, I have 8, 11 and 13 (grades 2,5,8).
Bob Jones University Press
It is advanced, as compared to what *our* local public schools are doing. (My sis is student teaching in 5th grade at our public school.)
It is a Christian curriculum. I do not go by the curriculum guides. I do all my own planning and so forth. (I may change that )
A Beka is either a "love it" or "hate it" sort of thing for most people. Some people love the structure, while others hate it.
I will say that I also use other things to supplement A Beka. I supplement in writing and reading.
Good luck in your decision.
Heather in Fl.
I have heard lots of good things about A Beka, but we have not been impressed. I, too, have heard it is advanced, but we used the same stuff our public schools used last year for math and we had no problems starting right up this year. (Well, no problems with the math part ... starting up, that was another thing! ) Of course, my girls are doing 2nd and 3rd grade math and that could have a lot to do with it.
I wish I could answer your other question, but I have not heard anything about it until now. Good luck! In the end, I am sure it will all work out!
My kids are younger than yours but I am using:
Saxon for Math
Zaner-Bloser for Spelling and handwriting,
CLE for Reading (for now)
Science is anything I find for it; as I have not found one I like yet..
Social Studies we are doing a unit type thing and studying the US state by State and making a notebook/scrapbook for them. My husband travels so he gets postcards from the states he visits and maps and other things.
Music is whatever we listen to a lot of classical
Art we do a lot of arts and craft type things at this time ...
I hope this helps, just wanted to let you know you do not have to like all of any curriculum... Use what best fits YOUR children.
Good Luck and Welcome.
It may take some time before you figure out what works best... I know it did for us!! We us Saxon and Singapore for math ( different math for different kids), Apologia for science for everyone this year, all though we have used Sonlight for science before and liked it a lot as well. Let me see, Easy Grammar, Streams of Civilization for history, and Story of the World ( again, different stuff for different kids) I think that is what I like best about homeschooling is I can use what ever works for each of my kids.
I hope all goes well in your first year and welcome to our group!!
I like the Abeka program but it can be overwhelming. There is a lot of work to do and it is very repetitive. I supplement with Bob Jones reading because it forces them to think and reason out the story.
I have an 11 year old daughter who is in the 7th grade. She needed a reading that would make her question.
Overall curriculum choice is going to be what works for you. There are a lot of good programs out there but it depends on what you are expecting from yourself and your kids.
The first year is always the hardest ... so I've been told. . We are going into our second year.
Ask away though ... this is definitely the place to be ...
Thanks so much for your help!
I think what most of us have done is to finally just pick something and run with it...you will know pretty quickly whether it is a good fit or not. And if it isn't ... you may not have to change the whole curriculum (expensive), but just some aspects of it. There is no law about changing things to suit your particular situation. You will not ruin your kids for ever! If nothing else you will be learning a lot together about so much more than history dates and scientific formulas.
By the end of this year you will be a pro ... .I know you will! You love your kids more than any teacher, etc. and so you will do your best for them. Maybe let them see what a struggle it is to do this for you ... they may appreciate it more and help make some of the decisions ... if they seem ready for that.
Maybe you should figure out what your goals are for the kids this year. Write out the courses and the goals that you would like to accomplish ... that may be a good starting point.
Ask more questions here ... we have nothing to do all day! Oooops! I mean we are schooling and love to help ... Phew! almost gave away my Forum addiction!
You have to remember that it boils down to what you are also comfortable with doing.
I went with Abeka our first year because the kids were all ready used to it and I was familiar with it. They came from a Christian school to homeschooling.
When we went to our first Homeschool convention last year ... My husband was so overwhelmed ... he couldn't believe the options that are out there.
I chose to go with a curriculum that offered the lessons plans spelled out for me. I needed that to start out with and still do. It gives a guide to follow.
Another option is to get a copy of your states scope and sequence (what they require you to cover for those grades) . This will also be of some benefit and help you see which way you are going.
Some of the Christian Curriculums are ahead of the public school so you may want to find one that will do placement testing for you. I know that 90% of the curricula do offer these. A lot of times this is offered free if you choose a particular group or there is a small fee.
Don't drive yourself nuts trying to figure all this out in one short time. I have friends that have tried something and it not work for them ... they had the luxury of ordering a replacement curricula Others have just thrown away the lesson plans and made up their own thing as they went along.
You've gotten a lot of really good advice from the ladies here like Pam and quiltinmommy ... not meaning to leave anyone else out . They're all great ideas ... Once you get started ... it won't seem so bad ... the choosing is the worst I think ...
I have a great curriculum this year and the dc are loving school and doing well. We are very eclectic. I use Christian Liberty Academy Christian Liberty Academy for my oldest in high school because she wants the transcripts, etc. They are also very flexible.
Anyway, the ladies here have given you wonderful advice, but it boils down to what works best for you. And again, it takes time and trial to find this out.
--do you want your children to work primarily independently with little actual teaching from you?
--do you want to teach them together for some subjects?
--do you want to do projects and hands on activities as the primary learning method?
--do your children prefer workbooks or textbooks or unit studies or video ... ?
--do you want to have everything pre-planned or do you prefer to formulate your own lesson plans?
--will you use textbooks for literature and history or "living books"?
You get the idea. There are so many things to consider before choosing a curriculum. I homeschool all of our 8 children and so we strive for independence in a big way. I want my kids to understand that life will not spoon-feed them information and they will have to teach themselves what they want to learn. But I also have some struggling learners that require more specialized curriculum materials suited to low-ability readers. We don't do many hands-on projects or activities simply because it takes us most of the day to do the basic stuff.
Overall, I have found some materials that I like better than others.
--Climbing to Good English (A complete workbook style English for grades 1-8. Used in the Amish schools. Not colorful or fancy but very comprehensive. Lots of writing. You would need a separate spelling program. These workbooks are very inexpensive. If you choose these expect to be gin at a lower grade level than what your kids are in.)
--Apologia Sciences (www.highschoolscience.com)
--Teaching Textbooks Math (www.teachingtextbooks.com. Expensive but VERY worth it!)
--Wordly Wise (vocabulary workbooks)
--Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum (Can be used even if you are not Baptist, but definitely Christian-oriented. Can buy one subject or a complete grade package. These are self-directed workbook style courses with minimal teacher involvement.)
--Steck Vaugn products are great for low-level readers or struggling learners. (www.steck-vaughn.com)
Also, you should check out ww.unitedstreaming.com for online videos in all subjects. This is FREE for Georgia residents!! You can download the videos or watch them online. Plus many have teacher guides and worksheets available with them. This is a fantastic resource!