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  • 1 Post By KMH
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  #1  
February 27th, 2014, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 607
I am just noticing that there has been little activity on this board and I miss it. So just to get things hoping and people sharing so we can all learn:

Who uses curriculum and which ones for what? What have you tried but tweak to make your own? Does anyone "wing" it completely?
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  #2  
March 31st, 2014, 10:02 AM
KMH KMH is offline
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I also wish this board was more active. My oldest is 3.5 so I'm mostly in the research stage as well, but she will be doing PreK this fall. I'm still deciding on what we will do. I love the idea of a prepackaged curriculum for the simplicity, but I'm dubious that there's anything out there that is perfect and won't need any tweaking

You mentioned earlier that you were considering a CM approach for now but maybe changing later...what are you leaning towards for later?
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  #3  
March 31st, 2014, 09:44 PM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
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We don't use a pre-packaged anything, as I find nearly all are far too expensive and always need tweaking. I'm a bit of a stickler for value, so if I were going to go for something pre-packaged I would want minimal(preferably no, lol) tweaking needed. We have an extremely limited budget, so cost is always a problem for us.

That said, we also took on a challenge this year(which we started last school year) to come up with a curriculum of our own with as little cost as possible. I can proudly say that as we're nearing the end of this school year we have spent less than $35 total on school related materials and the majority of that was spent on basic supplies that pretty much everyone would need. It was a lot of fun coming up with a complete program for all of my kids, mostly because they helped me come up with it. I can list the courses they took this school year if it helps any at all. Specific resources would take me a bit longer to list as we really went with multiple sources for most of their courses(some only for reference sake, some not).
It took a long time to come up with a really good list and although we have done fantastic, I am realizing that next year we need to up our game. Our school year was planned through the end of May this year, however we are nearly done with almost all subjects. Well, done with what we had planned, including some supplemental stuff. I predicted that despite planning through the end of May, we would finish by early May. It's only just now April here, so, somewhere along the line we wandered a bit off our beaten path and went ahead faster than we'd anticipated. It is a good thing, for this year, as I will be going out of town for three weeks in April/May anyway, so the time the kids spend with their grandparents can be a pure vacation for them all. We'll just have to make some adjustments for next year's curriculum(which we're already working on)

Anyway, these are the courses my children took this year. I've indicated which ones we have finished. Anything in bold, we have finished already. We'll probably add some more supplemental stuff in there, just to finish out the year, since this state requires X amount of hours, rather than X amount of each course, but for the most part, we've very little left to do. The Science is something we always supplement once we go over the most important parts, as it's their favorite subject. Music is something we do year-round but that is because it's included in our daily lives and not so much a school subject. The same goes for PE. It's not so much a subject as it's something we just do.

I should state, their grade level is based on where their age/the state, would place them, as well as our local districts as they do not permit skipping grades here. The grade levels listed by their courses are the actual grade levels they're currently studying. I just copied our list from something we had to report for the stupid state/district reporting. We have to list their ages, expected grade level and study grade level for every course. Some subjects don't really have a grade level though.

Alexis(ages 14-15)-9th grade-mostly AP level
Math-11/12 AP
Language Arts 12+(English, Latin and Greek, Vocabulary, Composition, Poetry, Grammar, Literature) AP
Science-10/11/12(depending on subject, their Science is all done together this year, so they are all on the same grade level)-AP
Spanish- II
History- 11/12 AP (US,World, Government)
Art
PE
Music
Home Ec/Lifeskills/Health
Technology


Alyssia(ages 12-13)-7th grade
Math-9/10
Language arts-9(same subjects-although a little less coverage in some areas, plus spelling)
Science-10/11/12(same)-AP
Spanish-I

History-9/10 (US, World, Government)
Art
PE
Music
Home Ec/Lifeskills/Health

Leo(ages 9-10)-4th grade
Math-6/7
Language Arts-6/7(same subjects with less focus in some areas, plus spelling)
Science-10/11/12(same)-AP

Spanish- early and I second semester
History-6 (Ohio, US, World and a touch on basic Government)
Art

PE
Music
Home Ec/Lifeskills/Health
Technology

Had to edit to fix the line breaks the forum apparently forgot, lol.
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Last edited by Frackel; March 31st, 2014 at 09:53 PM.
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  #4  
April 1st, 2014, 10:04 AM
KMH KMH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frackel View Post
We don't use a pre-packaged anything, as I find nearly all are far too expensive and always need tweaking. I'm a bit of a stickler for value, so if I were going to go for something pre-packaged I would want minimal(preferably no, lol) tweaking needed.
This is my issue as well. Every time I get a catalog in the mail I drool over the pretty packages with their own lesson plans and start thinking about it again, but by the time I add things to the package to make it what I want it costs a small fortune.

At first the idea of making my own lesson plans intimidated me, but I have found some great resources and ideas to make it easier. Plus, I'm a bit of a control freak and don't like someone else telling me what to do

Michelle, I'm beyond impressed that you spent so little on curriculum this year Do you mind sharing your secrets? Do you shop for used curriculum, use the internet, borrow from the library...?
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  #5  
April 1st, 2014, 02:31 PM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMH View Post
I also wish this board was more active. My oldest is 3.5 so I'm mostly in the research stage as well, but she will be doing PreK this fall. I'm still deciding on what we will do. I love the idea of a prepackaged curriculum for the simplicity, but I'm dubious that there's anything out there that is perfect and won't need any tweaking

You mentioned earlier that you were considering a CM approach for now but maybe changing later...what are you leaning towards for later?
I am all over the place. The more I research I really think it is impossible and a huge disservice to decide stuff like this so far in advance when each child is different and each family cycle is different year to year. So I think it is a journey you navigate as you go and your child grows.

However I am impressed with Seton for package stuff just because I know it is challenging and has a good reputation. I also think it would be good if I ever need to go on "auto pilot" for homeschooling like if I have another bad pregnancy or something because you can "just do another page in the workbook today".

The more I read about CM the more I love it. I have read about 10 books so far. I also think it looks easier for planning because you don't do the big units that take so much prep.

I just started reading "when Children love to learn" by Elaine Copper and it is great.

Free Curriculum Guide - Simply Charlotte Mason
I also found the above website, among many others, that make it so easy. I love that the whole family will study history and science together so there is less prep.

My opinion comes from my experience where I used to teach at two universities and at one of the schools I was an adjunct and I never got to pick my own book and it drove me nuts. The first year I liked following the book because it gave me an anchor. After the first year though I realized it was so boring and dry and I wanted to add in documentaries and field trips and real books (thus why I think CM will be better for me). Each year I used the book less and less until I hated it and wanted to build my own curriculum from scratch but the state wouldn't allow it. So with that experience I think that we think structure makes things easier and at first it might be the case but once you get your flow I think you will find it constraining. It is nice if you need to go on autopilot but every year when I got my reviews I would hear students say that they hated the notes and book lectures. They wanted more labs and fun stuff and that is the stuff they remembered.

At my other university job I taught extension programs and taught prepackaged programs for every age group babies through senior citizens. The first year I taught the classes exactly according to the binder. Then the more I taught them the more I threw out all the paper. People hate worksheets and I hated correcting them.

So off the subject long rant.....I think that I will use a mix in the end.....IDK. I like how CM teaches less is more. Spend 10 minutes really concentrating instead of 6 hours day dreaming and pretending to concentrate.

My one caveat with CM is wondering how kids who are taught CM do in regular college? If anyone has any research to show that they fair well I would love to see it. I would just think that kids who are brought up on CM wouldn't be able to handle the dry, boring, routine in college.



Also the book "101 top picks for homeschool curriculum" was a great buy for me. It really helps you wade through the market.

Last edited by Sassalota; April 1st, 2014 at 02:36 PM.
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  #6  
April 2nd, 2014, 05:46 AM
KMH KMH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassalota View Post
I am all over the place. The more I research I really think it is impossible and a huge disservice to decide stuff like this so far in advance when each child is different and each family cycle is different year to year. So I think it is a journey you navigate as you go and your child grows.

Also the book "101 top picks for homeschool curriculum" was a great buy for me. It really helps you wade through the market.
So true...putting yourself and/or your kids in a box doesn't benefit anyone...I think it is okay to be all over the place Besides, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can be flexible! We can adapt our teaching to each child and each season.

That is the 2nd homeschooling book I read, and it was great! I already knew I leaned more classical than anything else, but it really helped me focus on what would interest me without having to research every single company that offers curriculum.

It is also really helpful to just see what others are doing/using in their homes...blogs are great for that and I also like the Forums over on Well Trained Mind.
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  #7  
April 3rd, 2014, 03:51 PM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: In my house :p
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMH View Post
Michelle, I'm beyond impressed that you spent so little on curriculum this year Do you mind sharing your secrets? Do you shop for used curriculum, use the internet, borrow from the library...?
We used primarily online resources. Our local library isn't within walking distance, so it's not a resource we use. I do have a few textbooks my aunt found randomly when cleaning out a house some time ago too.

It took a LOT of scouring the net though. My first step was to figure out exactly what they needed to learn, typically, in the grades they were supposed to be going into. Once I had a good handle on what was (legally) expected of us, I was able to figure out exactly which subjects, topics and other such things. Having that kind of stuff out of the way made actually researching those subjects and topics a lot easier. Search was my friend, but it took a lot of patience and time on my part. There are a TON of resources out there, you just have to know where to look, and figure out how to incorporate them into a complete curriculum so the subjects flow nicely.

I'm extremely glad we chose this path this year because in January I began my own classes to finish getting my degree. I knew that next year(and the remainder of this year) would prove to be very challenging if we didn't already have a good system in place. Now that we know what to look for, how to find it and how to create a curriculum out of it all, it's relatively easy. The research part takes a lot longer than the teaching part, though. At least for me, because I over analyze absolutely everything, lol. Allowing the kids to play a very large role in choosing their own curriculum and subjects has proven to be quite beneficial for them. Sure they have things they would rather not study too, like any other kid might, but when they are given the chance to pick some of their own things I may not have even considered or looked into, it makes a world of difference.
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  #8  
April 8th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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We don't use a complete box curriculum I pick and choose from publishers that I like. For example we use horizons math and I'm going to be using horizons phonics and reading this year but we use Saxon grammar and writing and MCP comprehension plus, and spelling workout and a number of different publishers to get everything that we need I find one whole box curriculum doesn't work for everybody Id rather pick and choose where we want.
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  #9  
April 12th, 2014, 08:19 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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We have in the past. We used Sonlight (horrid, as it turned out) and Calvert (excellent, but just don't need it homeschooling 2 instead of 4 and with those two being elementary age rather than middle and high school). Now we use a mix of things. It's working for us right now.
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  #10  
April 22nd, 2014, 07:30 PM
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Location: Hampton Roads, VA, USA
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Having explored the idea of CM, Sonlight, prepackaged, and a bunch of other stuff, and constantly coming back to the same curriculum (it has drawn me in since I discovered it three years ago), we are using The Weaver Curriculum for our Bible, social studies, science, etc. I love that I can draw on the library and our home library and successfully teach my kids what they need to know... and we're having fun doing it! For everything else we are using a bit of a mix.

For my 5yo (kindergarten) we are using:
- the OLD Horizons Kindergarten Phonics Readers
- Christian Liberty Press Adventures in Phonics A
- Horizons Kindergarten Math
- ABeka K5 Cursive Writing with Phonics


For my 3yo (almost 4, also kindergarten level):
- Explode the Code A, B, C
- ABeka K5 Numbers Skills
- ABeka K4 Writing With Phonics and Cursive Writing Tablet
Right now it is up in the air as to exactly what he will move into when he has completed his ETC books. We will probably use the ABeka Letters & Sounds, due to the fact that his fine motor skills are not to the level that he would easily handle a more writing-intensive phonics program.


Because we are nearing the end of my 5yo's kindergarten work, I have selected things that I think will be appropriate for her coming first grade materials:
- CLP Adventures in Phonics B
- ABeka Language 1
- Pathways Readers, ABeka Readers, assorted OTHER readers
- Horizons First Grade Math
- Continue with ABeka K5 Writing with Phonics-- will move into first grade when she completes the K5 book.


I also select great literature works to read with them as well as many classic children's picture books and such, but that kind of happens on the side. The main part of our school is Weaver and then the workbooks. Next year looks a little daunting with the list of 1st grade materials, LOL!
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  #11  
May 9th, 2014, 05:34 PM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Location: Chilly New England
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I have tried and used a ton of different curriculum as I was learning what works for me and my kids. While I do use some boxed curriculum, I don't use any one publisher for everything. I like to pick and choose what works for us. A lot of programs are just too expensive, I agree. And a lot just don't suit us. But every year we get closer to a highly efficient and enjoyable mix.
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