Homeschooling curriculum suggestions?

Discussion in 'Homeschooling Forum' started by StefanM, May 17, 2011.

  1. StefanM

    StefanM
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    My wife and I are considering homeschooling our children, and we want to do some research on curriculum.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? We would probably prefer a more traditional approach in the beginning, so full sets of texts would be nice.

    I went to a Christian elementary school, and they used the A Beka curriculum, but I'm hesitant to use it. I'm not a fan of Pensacola Christian College...at.....all....

    The Bob Jones curriculum seems interesting. Although it's probably a bit on the conservative side with the use of the KJV and all, I can live with the BJU position on Bible translations. (Side note: are there any good (evangelical) Bible texts that use modern versions?)

    We are considering Liberty University's Online Academy (I'm a graduate alumnus of LU) at some point in the future, but it doesn't start until 3rd grade. I would be fine waiting until junior high or high school to use this kind of arrangement because I would like my children to earn accredited diplomas, but I have no problem not having an official relationship with a school in the elementary grades.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    I taught from A Beka for two years at one particular Christian school. I cannot recommend it. A Beka does have a wonderful pre-school through 2nd grade reading program, but that's about it.

    There's FAR too much rote memory in the Bible and social studies. There was much presumption in the Bible curriculum, also (at least in the 4th grade).

    I was required to teach the 4th graders that Eve was not afraid to speak to the serpent because he was probably her favorite pet and that the animal that God killed to make Adam and Eve their clothing was definitively a sheep. Needless to say, I refused.

    I found the math lacking in critical thinking. There was too much of crunching out numbers and not enough actual practical application. And I don't understand why if a student can successfully divide a three digit number into a four digit number why he has to divide a five digit number into a 7 digit number. And if he can successfully multiply 9/12 by 11/15 then why does he have to multiply 78/213 by 65/91?

    I found the science very lax and the reading stories for post-second grade to be very basic and one-dimensional.

    I taught from the Bob Jones curriculum for two years also. I enjoyed the science very much and the reading book was very good, but the workbook was lacking. The math was VERY weak. Probably two to three full years behind public school. The English was moderately fair, but no challenge and I did not teach social studies from Bob Jones. I thought their Bible program was very good and the workbook was very enriching. I did not require my students to use the King James version. We had several versions in our class and we did just fine.

    You don't have to use an across the board curriculum. You can even use what the public schools are using. I would at least ask to see what they are using. Go to a local school and tell them that you are weighing all of your options and ask if you can view a copy of a few of their books.

    You can use a cafeteria type plan, also. You could use A Beka in your early reading program, then in third grade you could switch to something else. You could use Addison-Wesley for math and Glencoe for reading.

    That's the beauty of homeschooling. You research and pick the best for each subject and use it. And beware - just because something says "Bible curriculum or Christian curriculum" doesn't mean that it has either educational quality or Bible instruction quality.

    For spelling, look at the Rebecca Sitton Curriculum. I highly recommend it. I always wanted the public school that I taught at to use it, but we never did. And for handwriting, I like Handwriting Without Tears.
     
  3. annsni

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    LOVE Bob Jones. Seriously - it's a really solid educational program. We use Bob Jones for reading, phonics, English/writing, spelling, history and then we use Saxon for math (excellent program) and Apologia for science. I'd highly recommend you find a way to get to your state's homeschool convention. That way you can look at curriculum, get some great seminars and just get immersed and ask questions. I always recommend new homeschoolers do this the first year.
     
  4. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Regarding translations, you may want to take a look at the ESV (English Standard Version).
     
  5. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I like the ESV, but do you know of a curriculum that uses it?
     
  6. sunniemom

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    Consider this

    An opening note- The traditional approach (textbook, workbook, teacher's edition) can be expensive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming. Just because it's what you know, don't be fooled that you will be more comfortable with it. It doesn't take very much effort to 'de-school' yourself, and believe me- it's worth every effort to get oneself out of the traditional mold. Your children will be the ones who benefit the most.

    I am assuming your children are rather young, so the good news is you have some time to figure out what works best for your family. I suggest looking over Cathy Duffy's curriculum reviews for a general idea of what is available- and there are many, MANY resources for homeschoolers now.

    Some personal recommendations for all-in-one curriculum that has a Christian worldview-
    Sonlight
    KONOS
    My Father's World
    Rod & Staff

    A Beka, BJU, Alpha Omega, and ACE seem to be the instinctive choices amongst many beginning homeschoolers, but in my experience, it isn't very long before parents who want their children to become self-motivated and self-taught move on to more flexible and innovative materials.

    When I first started out homeschooling (in 1994) I was using A Beka, but reading books by Ruth Beechick, and investigating The Moore Formula got me going on a completely different path, and I have no regrets.
     
  7. billwald

    billwald
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    Get a copy of the official state board of education list of topics your kids should be learning. Go to a local used book store or used stuff store and find appropriate material that you can teach your kids.
     
  8. abcgrad94

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    One of the best ways to research different curriculums is to find a local homeschool support group and see if they have any used book sales. Get to know the other parents and ask what they use and like.

    For the lower grades, we used A Beka. Now my oldest uses Alpha and Omega and the youngest uses Switched on Schoolhouse. I like these better than A Beka, except I really liked A Beka's reading books. It all depends on your child and their learning style. My oldest is a serious "read and write" gal. The youngest does better on the computer, hearing the work read to her and interacting with the lesson. A Beka has too much writing and worksheets for us. The kids did well in the lower grades, but it got really old really quick.

    I've looked over the BJU stuff and it looks good, but the Alpha and Omega is cheaper since it doesn't have all the pretty colored pages and such. You get what you pay for in that regard.
     
  9. menageriekeeper

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    Ha, you're finding we all have our favs! Seems like we aren't that much help.

    Study the "scope and sequence" of anything that catches your eye. This will help you to set goals for your kids. (what you want them to learn in what amount of time)

    Look at your kids past progress in public school. Where did they excel? Where were they lacking? Why? Which cirric fits our lifestyle best?

    I use a variety of everything with my kids, from Switched on Schoolhouse to public school texts and everything in between (including a bit of "unschooling').

    And I dont' always use grade level texts. If one of mine isnt' getting the concepts in one grade level, we move down a level. I'm never afraid to use a different text if my kid isnt' understanding a concept the way the first teaches it.

    Some favs of my kids: Learning Language Arts Through Liturature This is my youngest's fav language arts cirric.

    Handwriting without Tears! Can't say enough good stuff about this one. My dd went from illegible to beautiful within just a few months.

    Switched on Schoolhouse was great for my son when he couldn't read for himself (because of migraines). Daughter didn't care much for it. (different kids, different preferences)

    Khan Academy This is a new one for us and is VERY secular, but also has great online math instruction. We'll be using it for the upcoming school year.

    Unschooling! Unschooling is child directed learning in areas of their own interests. Through unschooling my son (high school) taught himself to play guitar, to repair the carburators on a couple of dirt bikes we own, to "mod" x-box controllers (for which his friends PAY him to do to their controllers lol) not to mention helping his dad replace brakes and change oil and that sort of thing to our cars. And in the process he learned how to research, he learned the importance of good math skills, how to develop a theories, how to test those theories out, it forced him to read (which he can do but hates with a passion), and gave him the confidence that he really wasn't missing much besides his friends from not being able to go to public school. "Unschooling" can be a very useful tool in your homeschooling life.

    Speaking of homeschooling life, we homeschool as a lifestyle. That means we are always learning no matter what we are doing. Cooking? Math and chemistry. Grocery shopping? Math, economics and social studies (you ever people watch at Walmart? :eek: :laugh: ) Church? All sorts of stuff there that leads right into history. Swimming at the pool? Concepts of bouyancy (physics). Literally everything becomes a learning opportunity. Homeschool as a lifestyle and they will learn!
     

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