Saturday, July 20, 2013

Curriculum Reviews

Here are my thoughts on some of the curriculums that I have used while homeschooling; I'll keep updating when I have time so be sure to check back. I'll try to give you a link for everything I review. Sometimes http://www.christianbook.com/ has the best prices as well as http://www.rainbowresource.com/. Take time to look for discounts and shop around! I hope you find these reviews helpful!

Easy Grammar
Pros: I really like Easy Grammar. I think it does a great job of teaching basic grammar in a format that is easy to understand and use. When I started homeschooling, my oldest son would freak out over anything and everything that required writing or thinking. I was so relieved to find this! He had no issues with completing a page or two of this every day.
Cons: I don't believe that Easy Grammar succeeds in teaching the kids to translate what they've learned into real world usage (or standardized testing). I recommend supplementing with something else that will help them with this step. Here are a couple of websites that I found for this:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/index.htm
http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/marketing/sfesl/practicereading.html

Teaching Textbooks-
Pros: My kids all dramatically improved their test scores after they started using this program. That tells me that it works. I love the automatic grading and the option of deleting/editing their grades on each lesson and each question. If I'm not satisfied that they know the material in the lesson, I can have them do it again. The kids don't mind doing math at all with this program. One other thing, their customer service is top-notch. As a small business owner, I have high expectations and they've met them.
Cons: The disks. It's $15 each to replace any disk that gets scratched. Legally, you can copy them and I highly recommending you do so as soon as you get them (just don't keep the copies if you sell the program)! I had 3 kids using 3 different disks on the same computer every day. We're up to two computers right now so it's not AS bad but it's still an issue. That's my only issue with this program!

Paths of Progress-
Pros: The books are very high quality. Everything is laid out step-by-step so there is little pre-prep involved. Most subjects are covered in some way. I think much time and effort went into making this a user friendly book. Student notebooks are included for certain grade levels. There is a lot of printing but not much ink it used on most of the pages so it's not as bad as it looks at first glance.(How to print double sided pages)

Cons: Expensive. The recommended books are pretty much necessary to use the curriculum. The cost for the extension for high school on top of all of the rest is prohibitive for most of us. Since I wasn't able to find most of the books at the library or online, I decided to sell the curriculum instead of adding the extra expense. So, check the book list and make sure it isn't an issue for you before purchasing the curriculum. This is more a guide than anything. I think there are options available that do the same thing with way less cost.
Here are some other options that I think are comparable:
http://simplycharlottemason.com/
http://www.livingbookscurriculum.com/
http://bfbooks.com/

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