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Curriculum Questions

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM
  • 13 Replies

 And I have quite a few!! But to start... Next year will be the second full year we've been homeschooling and she'll technically be starting 3rd grade. My problem: we pulled her out at semester in 1st and had to bascially start over from K work and up. We mostly succeeded BUT we still struggled with reading. Suddenly out of the blue she has picked it up (thankfully). Now for 2nd grade stuff, we started at the "beginning of the school year" and actually finished everything by Christmas. We weren't using any set curriculum though. We used workbooks that I picked up from the book store, and did supplemental stuff that we found online for everything except social studies and science. For those we used the books from the county and I was far from impressed... It is definitely not set up to be able to use as homeschool material.  For this year my dad was in a really bad accident and we packed up and headed home for 3 months to help out. Needless to say, despite that we got everything done early, we also have had a really hectic time staying ontop of school since we have gotten back. It has been book reports, a few math worksheets here and there, and journal writing on whatever she feels like. I have been busier than all crazy heck and just so flustered I can't sit down and plan for a few weeks at a time like I need to so I can get everything together for her. I know she knows her stuff so I'm not too worried (she may not be able to directly answer a question but she has shown she can apply everything she's learned), but the original plan was to have already start 3rd grade....needless to say, we didn't.
That brings me to the curriculum questions....  I have decided for next year (in case it ges just as hectic and crazy) to use an already set up curriculum so I'm not trying to do everything myself. I would like opinions if anyone has used any of these:

Science:
REAL Science Odyssey and Real Science for Kids (I think thats what it was called)  Odysssey has Earth and Space which are her loves in science so I'm leaning towards it, but the other has physics and that is what she has really been lacking in all science endevours we've made. *I think I figured out what I'm going to do here after speaking with my mother in law. I'll use the REAL Science Odyssey for next year since she loves Earth and Space science, and then next year switch over to Real Science for Kids (if I can find it again lol) so she can dabble a little with the concepts of physics. If I can't find it, we'll move onto Odyssey's Chemistroy program :)   IF ANYONE HAS USED REAL SCIENCE ODYSSEY, OPINIONS ON THE CURRICULUM WOULD BE APPRECIATED :)

Social Studies/History:
I'm really leaning towards History Odyssey. I'm just looking for opinions with this one, and if its not so great, more suggestions. I'm looking for a secular look on everything too. I may scream if its filled with overbearing religious views. If I can "cross it out" of the lesson, that's fine, I just don't want the whole view to be biased that way. (History is my major so I'm really picky lol).
For those who have used this and liked it: Would it be okay to start at ....is it Eearly American??... for this year, so next yr we do Modern and then start with Level 2 after that, or would it still make more sense to start from Ancient?

Math:
Here's where I'm really stuck. We've done a variety of things but it seems like with every program she has a few gaps we'll have to bridge to get her up to par with the program. Choices:
Math U See: I'm just worried with this one because it seems like there are more gaps to bridge, but I'm not entirely sure. We were looking at the Gamma set as Beta seemed to be too much review  *I think I'm leaning more towards this. My neighbor uses this program with her girls as well and hopefully we can make a support system for one another with it then too. I'm going to pick up a few little work books to work with for the rest of this year to try and bridge any of the gaps so she is "out" of the Beta book and we can start in Gamma with hopefully hurdles to jump instead of bridges to cross.  ANY OPINIONS ON THIS PROGRAM WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!
Saxon and Horizon. I've seen mixed reviews on these.

Where she is in math: We've introduced multiplication, but not division. We've worked a little on fractions (basically, divide this shape into fourths, then color it so the fraction is 3/4). We haven't done decimals other than with money, but we have added and subtracted money. We haven't ever done area, perimiter, volume, etc. As far as adding and subtracting, she has been doing worksheets where its been up to the ten thousand place values and up to four ...additives... (102589+25103+94520+23410) and subtraction is ten thousands minus ten thousands. I think we have adding and subtracting pretty much down lol.

*I talked with my mother in law, looks like the pros outweighedt he cons with Atelier so that's what we're going for on the art curriculum 

Finally, I was thinking about getting a spelling and reading curriculum since she's still not as strong as I think she could be in reading and I think it is because she is  mixing up some of the general rules with reading and spelling. I was looking at All About Learning Press. The spelling and reading curriculums are separate but correlate with one another.  I've tried just about everything with reading too so this is kinda my last attempt other than just sitting with her and having her read out loud to me for a few hours, which she does not enjoy doing at all. She reads on her own, but since she messes up a lot of words in pronunciations she tends to miss the point of the story and there isn't much in the way of comprehension.  Hooked on Phonics was a waste for us, Star Fall only did so much. The program on Lesson Pathways she got too bored with which made it worse than just sitting and reading. I should also note she is now starting to skype with grandparents where she reads to them, and they have the same book so they can follow along. Our biggest problem is she just gets tired of working with me all day I think, so hopefully this will help :)

Any help would be fantastic. I'm just hoping all the money putting into it will be worth it in the long run. I just have a feeling if we don't get a set curriculum next year will be just as crazy if not worse. We want to start buying everything a little at a time too so it won't cost so much all at once. The sooner I "finalize" what I want the better :)  Thank you.

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by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM
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jgattis
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:43 AM
1 mom liked this

We use Robinson Curriculum and we love it!  I used to use Abeka but found that, for my children, they seemed to get bogged down in "busy work" worksheets and got bored.  Robinson is working really well for us.

For math, I *highly* recommend Life of Fred.  Great, comprehensive math program.  Takes the child from basic number counting all the way through Calculus.  My children LOVE these books!  They are very easy to start at the beginning of the curriculum and move through quickly to be "on grade level" before you know it.

Boobah
by Nikki :) on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM
I am going to be doing r.e.a.l. Science odyssey this year (they have it in ebook format for just over $30)
We loved all about spelling and will do level 2 this year
We used Saxon this year, didn't love it, but adapted. We are debating on math also.
History - we used story of the world and again, didn't love it. History odyssey looks nice, I did check it out but we have to drag our way through sotw first. Blah.
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Boobah
by Nikki :) on Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Have you used the elementary lof? We tried lof apples which is book 1 and we were very, very disappointed. I have heard the upper levels are great, but the elementary isn't. Apples had 18 lessons in it, and cost $16. Doing 1-2 books a month was just outrageous for us. Plus I didn't feel like it actually covered much in the way of math.

Quoting jgattis:

We use Robinson Curriculum and we love it!  I used to use Abeka but found that, for my children, they seemed to get bogged down in "busy work" worksheets and got bored.  Robinson is working really well for us.

For math, I *highly* recommend Life of Fred.  Great, comprehensive math program.  Takes the child from basic number counting all the way through Calculus.  My children LOVE these books!  They are very easy to start at the beginning of the curriculum and move through quickly to be "on grade level" before you know it.

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jgattis
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Yes.  We have moved through the entire elementary series Apples to JellyBeans and also through Fractions, Decimals and Percents.  

I have a degree in Math Education (I was supposed to be a high school math teacher...kids happened :) ) and I have, personally, been thoroughly impressed with the way math concepts are addressed in LOF.  Yes, the books are quite short but, they are designed so the child reads and re-reads each book.  My 5th grader has gone through the series 3 times so far and learns something new each time.

However, that is the beauty of homeschooling...we can each evaluate the curriculum choices and choose what is best for our family. simple smile

If you have an opportunity to preview the rest of the elementary series, I highly recommend it.  Apples is very basic and is really designed as an introduction to math (for 3 to 5 yr olds).  Cats introduces basic concepts needed to calculate area, prime numbers and commutitative property of addition.  Dogs talks about patterns, introduction to algebra (solving x + x = 16), adding two digit numbers and carrying in addition.

LOF does not have extensive practice (a 30 problem set on one concept) as you may find in Saxon or even Abeka.  So, if your child is one who needs to practice a concept repeatedly to "get it", then LOF may not be the best fit for your family.  

oredeb
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM

 sounds like you need a summer break!!!hahaha

so you have

science- REAL Science Odyssey

Math- choose which math program you like best, dont worry about the gaps, you can fill any in later as she goes through school, none of the curriculums are perfect, there is always some sort of gap.

lang arts-

spelling/reading-All About Learning Press, to get better at reading outloud(is a good thing) your gona have to have her practise more even if she doenst like it, it doesnt have to be for hours!! start with 5 minutes then up it as she progresses(but dont tell her your upping her time reading outloud) if shes mixed up about the rules just keep going, it will all straighten out as she practises the reading/ writing etc.

history- history oydssey

art-Artistic Puruits or Atelier

it is ok if shes in different grade levels with different subjects, you can start her in third grade with her strongest subject and use the apropariert grade books for the other subjects, she will catch up

how old is she (i forgot)

 

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Apr. 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM

 She'll be 8 this June.  We're taking an "extended" spring break right now lol. I'm taking April off to try and refocus because it is just not there for me...too much going on and still trying to get things worked out from after my dad's accident. 

Language Arts I have a modge podge of things we're going to use again. She liked how we did all language arts this past year, I just didn't know what to call it lol. For reading, she is going to still read out loud, but she is skyping with her grandparents. They all bought her books and themselves the same books so she reads to them, they follow along. For what ever reason she can't stand reading outloud to me. So we might have a solution to some of our reading woes. I just want a solid curriculum to add to it. If I see she doesn't need it as we go along, then we'll think about dropping it or not picking it up again the following year...

Third grade is mostly her "minimum" grade level. I figured we'd start with all third grade material and if she wasn't being "challenged" then I'd throw in some forth grade material to supplement, or just bump her up in that subject all together. On all the "tests" from the different brands to find out what level to put her in, she cacme across as a 60-75% for the third grade levels. Just some of the material was too easy, and some we hadn't covered. I think we'll be skipping around a bit through most of them regardless what I end up picking out. I really just wanted some opinions, especially easy of being able to skip through parts of each.

Thank you :)

Quoting oredeb:

 sounds like you need a summer break!!!hahaha

so you have

science- REAL Science Odyssey

Math- choose which math program you like best, dont worry about the gaps, you can fill any in later as she goes through school, none of the curriculums are perfect, there is always some sort of gap.

lang arts-

spelling/reading-All About Learning Press, to get better at reading outloud(is a good thing) your gona have to have her practise more even if she doenst like it, it doesnt have to be for hours!! start with 5 minutes then up it as she progresses(but dont tell her your upping her time reading outloud) if shes mixed up about the rules just keep going, it will all straighten out as she practises the reading/ writing etc.

history- history oydssey

art-Artistic Puruits or Atelier

it is ok if shes in different grade levels with different subjects, you can start her in third grade with her strongest subject and use the apropariert grade books for the other subjects, she will catch up

how old is she (i forgot)

 

 

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No_Difference
by Silver Member on Apr. 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM

 I did lok through Life of Fred. I am just worried since her reading comprehension isn't quite there that it wouldn't work so well. Plus she loves worksheets, which is why I was looking more into the other programs.  It is something I plan on keeping in mind for my little guy once he gets a little older. He just turned three and we're workin on reading already!

Quoting jgattis:

Yes.  We have moved through the entire elementary series Apples to JellyBeans and also through Fractions, Decimals and Percents.  

I have a degree in Math Education (I was supposed to be a high school math teacher...kids happened :) ) and I have, personally, been thoroughly impressed with the way math concepts are addressed in LOF.  Yes, the books are quite short but, they are designed so the child reads and re-reads each book.  My 5th grader has gone through the series 3 times so far and learns something new each time.

However, that is the beauty of homeschooling...we can each evaluate the curriculum choices and choose what is best for our family. simple smile

If you have an opportunity to preview the rest of the elementary series, I highly recommend it.  Apples is very basic and is really designed as an introduction to math (for 3 to 5 yr olds).  Cats introduces basic concepts needed to calculate area, prime numbers and commutitative property of addition.  Dogs talks about patterns, introduction to algebra (solving x + x = 16), adding two digit numbers and carrying in addition.

LOF does not have extensive practice (a 30 problem set on one concept) as you may find in Saxon or even Abeka.  So, if your child is one who needs to practice a concept repeatedly to "get it", then LOF may not be the best fit for your family.  

 

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No_Difference
by Silver Member on Apr. 25, 2012 at 7:41 PM

 bump!
Any suggestions please??

kirbymom
by Sonja on Apr. 25, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Hi.  :)

 From what I have read here, it seems you have done an excellent job in getting your whole family through this year.  Congratulations on that first!  Now...

You seem to already have a head start on what your set up is going to be. The only thing I would caution on is..don't get too worried if what you have chosen isn't quite what you thought it was or just completely doesn't work.  I also wouldn't worry too much if things did get crazy again in your family. your daughter is resilient and will bounce back from most anything that you would happen to go through.  Everything you have chosen can be put down as well as picked up. if needed, have your daughter go to some websites onlne , that are free, of course, and do some supplemental if you feel that you are having a more difficult time getting her school work set down for the day, wek, month and so on. you can also utilize the library as often as is needed as well.  Just keep moving on like you are and if you need some shoulders to lean on or some questions answered, you may just come here and lean or ask away to your hearts leisure.  Good luck to  you and Holy cow! You are one busy mamma!  lol  :)   

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM

 *updated in blue*

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