Curriculum

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This time around let’s talk about curriculum. As I said in my last post, there are many choices. We will look at four different curricula today:

The first one is well known among Adventist homeschoolers. It’s Sonlight Education Ministry. This curriculum is free to download and print, making it very affordable for anyone who is on a budget. It includes math, history, geography, health, music, nature lessons, voice lessons, and Desire of All Nations. For parents it comes with a letter to read about the curriculum, checklist documents to keep track of books you need, a catalog, outlines for lessons, posters, and other helpful things to make the curriculum easier to use.

This curriculum is totally centered on Christ and the Bible. Every subject is Christ-centered and uses the Bible as a stepping stone to ensure learning. I have used this curriculum myself and have found it to be complete, hands on, and very in-depth. It’s laid out in an easy-to-use, concise manner. If having a budget friendly, Christ-centered, easy-to-use curriculum is important, this is the one or you. It only gets better because it’s Adventist, so there is no need to worry if the curriculum creators beliefs are in line with your own.

The second curriculum that we will cover is also popular among Christians: Abeka. While this curriculum is expensive, it is the choice of many homeschoolers. It can be used independently or guided by teachers. The price depends on which option you choose. Each kit for third grade will run you about $300, for example. When I looked up teacher-led, it ran about $1,000 for a year. Abeka, like the Sonlight Education Ministry, is Christ-centered. It uses the Bible as a way to help children learn their lessons. Subjects included are math, language arts, art, science, music, foreign language, health, spelling, phonics, reading, and electives.

We have used a few things from Abeka, and they were cute and fun to use. The lessons are thought-provoking and engaging. I would use Abeka again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice due to price. If you want an engaging, Christ-centered, easy curriculum, this is a great one. If, however, you are on a budget, this may not be the best choice for you.

Our third curriculum is Christian Light Education. Like the other two, this one is also Christian-based. Unlike the other two, it looks like you must buy every subject separately. They offer reading, Bible, language arts, math, science, and social studies. Despite that, the curriculum is often talked about as being a great choice among homeschoolers. Their first grade social studies is relatively cheap at about $18. I have used one of their social studies books, and they teach such truth. My son learned that during Columbus’ time people already knew the earth was round, whereas in public school I was taught people thought it was flat.

This is a great curriculum if you want Christian teaching and in-depth learning. I think the only downside may be that I haven’t seen anywhere you can buy it as a whole curriculum. Other than that, this is a wonderful choice for many homeschooling families.

Our last curriculum this post is Tapestry of Grace. I have heard this one talked about several times in homeschooling circles. They go by years starting at primary and ending at year four. Year one is about the ancient world. Like the others it is centered around Christian beliefs. An example would be that all governments are established by God. This curriculum offers history, literature, geography, government, arts and activities, writing, and worldview. Pricing depends on which package you buy: the unit sampler package costs $85, while the family package runs close to $500. So, this curriculum can be highly affordable if you have a budget. Many homeschoolers say this is their curriculum of choice due its Christian roots and pricing.

While I have never personally used this curriculum, it does seem very Christian based, and the books look beautiful.The price is great, and it seems you get a lot of customer service support. One day I will sample it to give all of you a better idea of what it is like. I went ahead and added it, though, because so many people recommend it, and it is on many list as a top Christian curriculum. From what I can see, it really is a beautiful, in-depth, Christian curriculum.

Well, that is it for this posting! If you have read until this point, thank you! Please join me in my next post where I will discuss how you can use Christian teaching and ideas in health and even physical education curriculum.

How to Know What Curriculum Works Best for Your Child

stacked-books

Curriculum: It’s a word most homeschoolers love to hear, at least from what I have seen. Some homeschoolers, however, cringe at the thought, and that totally includes this homeschooling mom. There are so many options that it is easy to be overwhelmed. Tears can flow and discouragement can set in. Many have been there and many more are sure to follow. So, how in the world are you suppose to know what curriculum is right for your child?

The first thing is to step back take a deep breath and realize you’ve got this. Even the most seasoned homeschoolers went through the same thing, and some still do. Next, think about your child and how he/she learns. Is it through hands-on activities? By seeing something done? By reading? This will help you go a long way when choosing a curriculum. Once that is done, narrowing down the search becomes a bit easier. Think about your teaching style. How do you like to get information across to your child? Are you similar or different in the way you approach things? Now, turn your thinking to whether you want a full boxed curriculum, something online, or to piece it together.

Still seems like a lot to do, right? It really isn’t, because you have now narrowed the search down by more than you think. For example, let’s say your child learns better by reading books. You don’t want to use textbooks; you want rich literature, and you want to be sure the Bible is included. You would narrow your search even further by looking up “living books”curriculum. A living books curriculum is where the student does mostly reading. They will read authors such as Shakespeare and Plutarch.The student will learn history by immersing in books such as The Story of the World by Susan Bauer. These authors and books are believed to develop a better learning experience and understanding than textbooks. From there, decide if you want to be completely online or if you want actual books. Think about your price point and go from there.

Follow these easy steps for any learning and teaching style, and you should find exactly what you want based on your and your child’s preferences. This method of deciding on a curriculum is the best I have seen, and it is the most recommended way suggested when a homeschooling parent asks other parents how they chose.

Are you wondering if you will be able to choose from the curricula you found in your narrowed-down search parameters? Don’t worry too much. My next blog post will cover the best Christian curricula based on most-recommend by homeschoolers and price point.

 

Homeschooling Resources: Adventist Apps

SDA Apps

We live an a technological age; most everyone has cell phones/smart phones or electronic tablets. This month I’ll share a little about Seventh-day Adventist apps that we can use on our devices.

There are free apps available with the Sabbath School lessons for all levels, Cradle Roll through Adult. Kindle iTunes Android

These apps not only have the Sabbath School lessons from the quarterlies, but they also have the mission stories, as in Mission Spotlight, and Missions 360 (the app for Android and iTunes). The Everything SDA app, for Kindle, has audio and video, from Central Study Hour, Amazing Facts Presents, SSU, Adventist News Network, and more.

Did you know that if you go to the Ellen G. White Estate website, there are teacher resources? And, there is a Pathfinder honor, the Ellen White Pathfinder honor. There is an app for that, for Android and iTunes, called Pitcairn. If you score 200 or more points within seven minutes, you will earn the Ellen White honor. Doesn’t that sound fun?! I think all of my kids managed to do this in a fairly short time.

Another useful app, from Adventist Family Ministries, is the Family Worship app. It offers ideas for your family worship time, divided by subject, and even age range.

I hope these will be helpful for you, and even provide some fun throughout the summer months.

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.

Homeschooling Resources: Go Science DVD series

Library Ed Services

When we were a part of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, we had the opportunity to review a couple DVDs from the Go Science series. I was especially excited to discover that these episodes could be seen on 3ABN!

Each of the six volumes covers several topics:

  • Volume 1: Motion
  • Volume 2: Simple Machines, Sound and Weather
  • Volume 3: Magnetism, Electricity, Engineering and Design
  • Volume 4: Chemistry, States of Matter, and Life Sciences
  • Volume 5: Air and Flight
  • Volume 6: Water, Space and Solar System

From the website:
Even kids who claim an aversion to science will be engaged by the high-energy science demonstrations of Ben Roy! Ben teaches science methods at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is the former director of a science program on television. With this expertise, Ben captivates, motivates, and inspires students to be excited about science, while providing effective instruction based on science phenomena. Each of the 67 spectacular demonstrations of physical or chemical science has a spiritual application and points to our Creator! Recommended for ages 6 to 14.

There are 67 science demonstrations on these six DVDs.

At the end of each episode, Mr. Roy looks at the camera and says, “Every time we learn something about science, we learn something about our Creator, God!”

Check out Ben Roy’s website, Go Science LLC. Science kits are offered there, as well as the DVDs.

The DVDs can also be purchased through Library and Educational Services, located in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The CDs, DVDs, and books they choose to distribute are carefully selected to ensure they are in harmony with Christian values and morals. They offer a wide variety of evolution-free science resources. And, they will ship all over the world.

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.

Homeschooling Resources: Moore McGuffey Readers

Moore McGuffey Readers

Reading can be a challenging subject to teach, and challenging for some children to learn.

Reading was a fairly easy subject for my oldest three children to learn. Frankly, I don’t think my oldest enjoys reading all that much, or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t take time to read (I think he’d rather watch videos/documentaries or play video games than read). My two middle children enjoy reading.

I used Reading Made Easy, by Valerie Bendt, for my oldest three. I worked on it some with my youngest, as well. I even purchased the activity books on CD for him. It just wasn’t “clicking” for him. So, we tried other resources, which did help him finally begin to grasp phonics, etc.

For extra reading practice, he is using the Moore McGuffey Readers. He is still in book 1, mainly because we forget to read from it every day!

Cathy Duffy states in her review of the Moore McGuffey Readers:

“This reading series covers a wide skill level span so it must be used at a slower pace than other readers. Readers have excellent discussion questions. You will want to use more reading material than what is included here to complete your program. This is an updated version of the Original McGuffey Readers that are published by Mott Media.

“The First Reader is suitable for first and second graders, and for some third graders. The Second Reader should be appropriate for third and fourth graders, although some third grade level students might not be ready yet for book 2 because of the level of the comprehension questions. It also increases significantly in difficulty from beginning to end. Most fifth graders will be able to handle the Third Reader. It should be used for two or more years, being suitable for fifth through eighth or ninth grade levels. The Fourth Reader is appropriate for students in grades 10 through 12.”

You can also watch a video review on YouTube, by Oikos Family Ministries, if you wish.

Each lesson contains the story to be read, followed by a list of vocabulary words, which may or may not be suitable for spelling words, as well. Beginning in the second book, there are also comprehension questions for each chapter.

This set of McGuffey Readers, edited and updated by the Moores, offers culturally acceptable accounts, better word lists, and questions that require more thought, while retaining the original paintings in color for the first two books and providing a strong cloth binding. (By the way, the book covers are all the same color; the above graphic does not portray the color accurately.)

The books can be purchased, as a set or individually (book 1, book 2, book 3, book 4), through the Moore Foundation, or can be found used on Amazon.

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.