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  #1  
April 17th, 2011, 05:43 PM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Some of you probably remember my big breakdown about quitting homeschooling, hehe. Well, I was very serious about possibly quitting, but I realized that there is no way we can afford the Catholic school for next year anyway. So I am forced into making it work at least for this next year and hopefully that will be the decisive year where I will get it together and feel like I can go on. So I have been looking at other homeschooling options and I think I'm going to use an entirely new curriculum. I'm feeling a lot better about everything. I know that new curriculum won't necessarily solve interruption problems (that is a different issue, but one I feel better able to tackle right now, too - maybe my preggo hormones weren't allowing me to get a grip, I dunno ). Anyhoo, but I do feel the new, more structured curriculum may help with my organization.

I noticed that we accomplish a lot with Math U See and as funny as it sounds, I really think it's because it has that chart in the front of the student text where you check off every single page they complete and write the grade for the test when they complete each lesson. It's very structured, but very easy to keep track of, and when I look at that chart I see right away how far through our "year" we are, how the test grades are doing, and I can remember exactly where we're at. For some reason that helps me a LOT.

What I have been doing so far is piecing together my curriculum instead of using a packaged one. I thought that was the way to go for me since I could choose the best math for us, the best language arts, etc. But now I'm starting to swing the other direction. I feel I need more structure, and more uniformity... at least until we get a GOOD handle on our schooling in the next year or 2. Then gradually maybe I can be more flexible. And that's not to say that I can't add "living books" from the library to supplement our lessons, but I will be focused on accomplishing the lessons and moving along.

Soooo I'm almost sure I'm going to use AOP's LIFEPAC's. Any opinions, or has anyone used them??

My plan is to use 3rd grade materials for my boys (2nd & 3rd grade next yr) in Hist/Geo, Science, Language Arts, and Bible. Then I will use separate LIFEPAC Maths for my 2nd & 3rd grader. That way I'm teaching them both together for 4 of the 5 core subjects.

I'm thinking this summer I would like to go through the 2nd grade Language Arts LIFEPAC with both boys to make sure they are up to par to start 3rd grade LA in the fall. (Not sure if there is time to complete the 2nd grade LA during the summer, though?)

Anyhoo, that's my new plan. Also, by the fall I'm hoping my DH will be able to buy the tv for the living room and if the 2 yo is a big problem, I could always turn on the "babysitter" . It's not preferable, but not the end of the world, either. If I get on a roll and the kids & I organized to jump right in where we left off, etc, then hopefully we can get more accomplished in a shorter period of time.

Sorry so windy... Sometimes I think I can type too fast for my own good.

If anyone has used LIFEPAC's or know much about them, I would appreciate hearing your opinions, even if you didn't like them. I might like them for the same reason you didn't like them...
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  #2  
April 17th, 2011, 07:49 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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For what you're needing right now, they'll probably work for you. They're very boring, though. It's a love it or hate it sort of thing. You'll probably love them for now. You can find structure in a lot of boxed curricula, but you have to consider cost and how crazy the teacher's manual is. This year, especially, you need something you can pick up and run with rather than something that takes 20 minutes just to read through the lesson plans.

TV isn't the end of the world. I use it for a babysitter all the time, and my kids aren't zombies.
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  #3  
April 17th, 2011, 09:09 PM
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I agree. TV isn't some horrible thing that children should never ever watch no matter what. We have our tv on pretty much all day long. However, most of the time it's educational stuff. Princess just turned 3 and started a regular preschool, but before that (and in the mornings before the bus) we have things like Disney Junior or PBS on tv for her to watch so she leaves Little Man alone while he does his school work.

I hope you like the new curriculum and it works out for ya.
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  #4  
April 18th, 2011, 04:38 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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Location: San Antonio TX
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I used LifePACs when I was homeschooled. I loved them. I used some with Ani. She went through them superfast, but we both liked them.

I understand picking and choosing becoming totally overwhelming. That's why we went back to Calvert and we couldn't be happier. We love being in a box! It gives us so much more time and freedom and I have no doubt they are getting everything they need and more (Ani, at 11 and 2/3 through Calvert 7, scored 98th percentile on the CAT-E Survey last week!).

I don't see the TV as bad at all. My younger two, especially the 2 year old, have learned SO MUCH from TV shows. Adrian is teaching himself to read 100% from the TV!
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  #5  
April 18th, 2011, 08:18 AM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks for the input.

So before I take the big plunge and order the LIFEPAC's (they're on sale 20% off if I order by the end of April!!), does anyone have any other "boxed" curriculum that they would suggest I look at in case?

I am a little concerned that on homeschoolreviews.com the reviews for LIFEPAC's are not that hot. Reviews range from "OK" to "too easy, boring, not enough instruction," etc. Dang it. Nothing can be easy.

I'm still definitely thinking about it, but if there are alternative packaged curriculums that you guys know of that will provide me with the structure I need without a ginormous teacher's manual, do tell!!
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  #6  
April 18th, 2011, 08:31 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Abeka is great, but you might find yourself bogged down in the teacher's manual (it's written with a classroom in mind), and it's expensive. I love R&S (cost, style, reusability, etc.), but it's extremely loaded with Christianity, which is a no-no for some people. Horizons is great (also AOP, I think???), but it's advanced, so you might want to look at placement tests before ordering. Some people like Sonlight, but I don't. It's expensive, not difficult, and reader based. Not my style. Bob Jones or CLE (CLE Scope & Sequence) might be good fits for you, though. Take a look at those.

Last edited by BensMom; April 18th, 2011 at 08:33 AM.
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  #7  
April 18th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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I'm using moving beyond the pages but just the lit. units were using netfix, internet and tv to expand on the science/ss part but so far it's good. It takes all of 5 min. to read the instructions for the day and about 15-30 to complete the day. MBTP is more expensive by about $75 (just lit. unit) but it really has made a difference for our day. The lit. units are cheaper and can be bought unit by unit at rainbow resource to try it if you like. Even though Miguel reads at a higher level the 7-9 has really worked out for us as it's very open ended for depth.
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  #8  
April 18th, 2011, 11:21 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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We use Calvert. It's pricey but 100% worth it.
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~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
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  #9  
April 18th, 2011, 05:06 PM
JustAKrazymom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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we've used and hated lifepacs.. we used and love Switched on Schoolhouse..

We switched to Abeka after 5 years of piecing our stuff together. I love it.. the manual is/can be overwhelming but the thing is..I don't HAVE to do it all.. I don't have to play all the games or do everything.. I make it our own..and my kids are thriving!

That said Abeka ( like calvert) is not for everyone. I would never pay what other's do for something like Calvert.. and for some Abeka is too pricey.. research is the best option!
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  #10  
April 18th, 2011, 07:06 PM
in_mommy's Avatar I am just me
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When we first started, we tried the lifepacs and it was just plain horrible for us, she was SO bored with it. We are not too impressed with some of the Abeka stuff either, like their history. We do use their readers for reading, but other than that, we didnt care for that either. I have no experience with Calvert or SOS, other than I had looked at Calvert, but the price was a big deterrent.

Have you checked My Fathers World or Oak Meadow?

Last edited by in_mommy; April 18th, 2011 at 07:17 PM.
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  #11  
April 18th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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I use K12... It's free, challenging enough that he learns, but gives clear enough directions that he's pretty self directed in most classes. (even ones where i'm supposed to direct him...he doesn't need/want it)

This was our first year homeschooling at all and K12 made it super easy to get into.
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  #12  
April 19th, 2011, 08:48 AM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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question about calvert: do u have to enroll, or can u just use their materials?
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  #13  
April 19th, 2011, 06:42 PM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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Do you mean do you have to use ATS? No. We don't. Just ordering from them you "enroll," just without teacher support.
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~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
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  #14  
April 20th, 2011, 05:01 PM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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ohhh OK. thanks
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  #15  
April 21st, 2011, 03:02 PM
Tofu Bacon
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My Father's World is another good choice. I wasn't crazy about the kindergarten curriculum, but the other grades are neat.
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  #16  
April 22nd, 2011, 05:45 PM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks. I would try My Father's World or Weaver except that I live in NYS so I need something with more structure just so I can make sure we are progressing how the school district sees fit.

I think I decided against LIFEPAC's, though. Too many negative and so-so reviews, plus repeated comments that it "lacks rigor."

I can't find a packaged curriculum for the life of me that I feel will work for us AND I can afford. Wow, they are expensive!! I did find a Catholic one (St. Thomas Aquinas Academy) that looked good, but it's too late to enroll and that might be pretty expensive, too, I can't remember.

Anyhoo, right now I'm thinking of piecing together my curriculum again. I think I will keep MUS since that's going fine for us (I've considered Singapore, but I'm afraid of having "the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome). I will also keep Apologia Science, and for Language Arts, Health, and History/Geo, I'm thinking about A Beka.

At least I'd only be using 3 companies instead of 7!! Maybe it will give me the illusion of a little more uniformity. Plus I think for next year I will make up my own "curriculum" or "IG" AHEAD OF TIME and make a big chart or list or something with all my subjects on it and figure out exactly how many pages we have to do of each to get through the whole book in a school year. Then I will check off the boxes every day as we complete it. That's what I really need... some visual accountability. So, dang it, I will make it myself.
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Last edited by TaraJo29; April 22nd, 2011 at 05:55 PM.
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  #17  
April 22nd, 2011, 08:50 PM
Alison79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I completely understand! We did a lot of research and couldn't find any boxed curriculum that worked for every subject. Right now we have the following set up

Moving Beyond the Page for LA/Science/Social Studies
All About Spelling for reading/spelling
Singapore for Math
Handwriting Without Tears

I got MBTP and Singapore used and that saved a TON! For MBTP I copied the worksheets so I don't have to buy a new workbook for each student each year. As the move into older grades I'll probably stop doing that but for the first few years I just copy, three hole punch and put in a three ring binder for record keeping. The key for me was I wanted things that didn't require a lot of prep work because with 4 kids who are going to be homeschooled I needed something that was easy to explain and then have them work independently while I move on to the next child's lesson.

It sounds like you have a great plan for next year
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