Curriculum Questions

Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by KingdomMom, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. KingdomMom

    KingdomMom New Member

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    Hello again ladies! I was reading on someone else's thread about how you all hate boxed curriculums because of how they lock you in to teaching things your child may already know.

    Since I haven't started homeschooling yet, I want your advice before I even start!! I feel so new.

    First of all.. How do I go about testing my daughter to see what level she is at? Which areas do I need to test her in? Can you recommend your favorite curriculums for each of these areas?

    We are also believers following after the heart of God, and so this consumes every aspect of our lives. I wasn't sure if there was any Biblical curriculum that you have used that you absolutely love?

    Thanks so much!
     
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  3. pecangrove

    pecangrove New Member

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    What grade do you think she'll be in?
    As for Christian curriculums.... there are tons of good ones. I would focus on figuring out her learning style first and then choose curriculum based on that.
    Hope this helps!! :)
     
  4. KingdomMom

    KingdomMom New Member

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    Haha... thanks pecangrove. It helps, except for I don't know what to do to figure that out. Like I said, I'm very new. Like brand new. I don't know how to figure out her learning style. How do I do that? She is "supposed" to be going into kindergarten in the fall, but she already knows how to read, write, draws well, adds, subtracts, makes number sentences, counts by 10s, 20s, 2s, 5s, measures with a ruler. She can quickly add 10 to any number, or 100 to any number. Umm.. she can use a calendar and knows all the months, days, understands a year, and the time allotted for that.

    As far as Christian curriculum.... I don't want to use a curriculum just because it's "Christian" if it's not the best one out there, you know what I mean? Christianity is a part of everything I do here in my house, so it's not like she would be "missing out" on that part of it. BUT, if there is a Christian curriculum that's just as good as anything else, then I'd gladly use that!

    So... how do I figure out her learning style? She is all self-taught so far, does that tell you anything? I literally have not worked with her AT ALL, besides answering the few and far between questions she has asked me (example: Mom, what sound does "Ch" make? Or... Mom, what does this sign (-) mean?)
     
  5. 2littleboys

    2littleboys Moderator

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    I would go to letsgolearn.com and test her for reading and math. It's a very fun test (like a game) that adapts to the tester. It'll start off by asking extremely easy questions. The more you get right, the harder the test gets. When you miss a couple in a row, it assumes you don't know that material yet and stops the test. Plan on it taking appx 30 minutes for each test. Getting a reading and math score will guide you in your decision on all other subjects. I'm going to take a guess here and say the test will put her at a 1st or 2nd grade level. It will break down the score for you also. Meaning... the overall score might be 2nd grade, but one section might be 4th and one section might be kindergarten. That will help you work with her on a unit basis over the summer before starting a curriculum in the fall. Don't worry about gaps right now. You'll be able to fill those in as you get into a groove.

    Learning style ...

    http://www.visualspatial.org/assets/pdf_files/VSL Quizzes.pdf
    http://www.myhomeschoolingweb.com/planning/learning-styles/style-determining.htm
    http://www.familyeducation.com/topic/front/0,1156,21-12410,00.html
    http://www.scholastic.com/familymatters/parentguides/backtoschool/quiz_learnstyles/
    http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp
     
  6. MegCanada

    MegCanada New Member

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    We loved Sonlight! The books were terrific additions to our home.

    And actually, the Kindy curriculum works very well, even for an academically advanced child. If the topic that was introduced sparked her interest, then we used that as a jumping off point for further investigation at the library. (We love our reference librarians!) I also didn't just read the books - I discussed them with her at length. And sometimes we added in projects and museum trips, too.

    I simply skipped any activities (such as learning to read) that weren't interesting to us. In fact, at this age I didn't worry about reading at all, since she was reading extensively for enjoyment. And I bought math at her tested level - it was Singapore Math back then, but I don't know if Sonlight is still using that one. Most math curriculums have placement tests on their websites.

    Also, I discovered that just because my 4yo liked reading the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter didn't mean that had to be *all* she read. She also very much liked "Go, Dog, Go" and "Where is My Mother?". Not everything has to be a challenge - some things are just fun for a giggle.

    Later, when she was a third grader and I was teaching both her and her little brother, I also supplemented with The Story of the World and its activities. Because who doesn't love building sugar cube pyramids, no matter how advanced you are?
     
  7. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    Not all of us hate boxed curriculum. I do, but there are those who feel, especially at first, that it helps you in covering all you bases, in a sense. One very popular curriculum for that age is "Five in a Row". I borrowed it from the library, and it sure wasn't going to work for me, but most people really like it. Keep in mind, that with a Kindergartener, you really don't need much in the way of curriculum. Read a lot to her, let her explore themes that she's interested in (bugs, plants, senses, etc.). You can cover most curriculum areas doing fun things with each topic. Pick a different theme every two or three weeks, go to the library and get books on it, pick up movies at the library, and ASK THE LIBRARIAN. She can probably direct you to some great activity books dealing with the topic.
     
  8. Lindina

    Lindina Active Member

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    Personally, I think a "boxed curriculum" can be a great place to start, because you can start homeschooling while you're still researching what you might want to use on a more long-term basis. My personal favorite is Christian Light Education - they don't do kindy, but it sounds like she'd be ready to hop into their first grade for reading, LA, and math. But for kindy, even if she's already reading, writing, and doing math, you really don't need that much "curriculum" at all. There's tons of stuff on the internet for free for the primary grades, even through say sixth grade. Just read tons of good books and follow her interests for now.
     
  9. leissa

    leissa New Member

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    even though most of us don't like a boxed curriculum, some of us did use one at least the first year just to get the hang of things, kinda like training wheels! after that you have a better feel for what works, how they learn, and what's easy for you to pull together. then when you've done months(!) of research you start pulliing together bits and pieces of different things to customize to just your child. it's actually alot of fun when it quits being overwhelming!
    for a God -honoring curriculum, I like Heart of Dakota. haven't used it, but love the way it looks.
     
  10. 2boysmomma

    2boysmomma New Member

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    a friend of mine uses Calvert School they have placement tests online that you can have your daughter do to gauge her level. They are not a Christian school or curriculum, but my idea is that I want to make Bible study a seperate entity from school work. I don't want my kids thinking the Word of God is another subject to be studied like school. I've heard many wonderful things about Sonlight and My Father's World but those won't seem to work well for my kids. Also check out moving beyond the page which also is not "religious" curriculum but you can find ways to incorporate God into your daily discussions.

    To figure out her learning style, just watch how she self-teaches or how you play with her. I have boys and my older one I have figured out is very kinesthetic, hands on, visual, and active. I watched how well he did puzzles and how quickly he got math concepts my using manipulatives. He has very good spatial relationship understanding, meaning I think he can figure out the puzzles based on the various shapes and see where they should go and how they can fit. He loves to inspect things and try to figure out how it works or how it's put together (future engineer, I think!)

    I am just getting started, too but have many friends that homeschool so I have learned a lot from them. I am still searching out curriculum, too, but I am leaning towards Calvert, but who knows, I might change my mind. But my son, too is above k level, so I plan to start 1st grade with him at the end of summer, but will adjust the handwriting as he is lacking in that area.

    Search out any homeschool organizations in your area, check out the HSLDA site and you can find info on your state's laws which might help you figure out any requirements. See if you can find a homeschool conference in your area, they always have thousands of vendors where you can see curriculum set up and talk to reps. We have one in our state through a Christian homeschool association in June every year. We missed last years, but I plan to go this year.

    Anyway, good luck and stick around, I have already received lots of valuable help from these other hs moms (and dads!)
     
  11. cricutmaster

    cricutmaster New Member

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    I use Calvert. It is a good sound curr. My son scored in the 95 percentile on his CAT using Calvert. I don't know about being locked into a grade with a boxed curr, because we do what we want. I have never felt that way,nor have I ever felt it to be dry. The stuff that was too easy was replaced with something else. for example spelling. We use worldly Wise and not the spelling that came with Calvert. The book will be sold eventually. We use the library a lot and add lots of hands on stuff.We also only use Calvert every other week. So I guess we are eclectic.

    On the other side I have heard some not so great things about the Calvert K curr. If you DD is doing all that you say she is, then she will be bored with a K curr. They do have a placement test but Calvert isn't cheap. For your DD's grade and age I'm not sure a boxed curr. is even necessary. You can probably get what you need for free!

    I have heard great things about A Beka and Sonlight as well.
     
  12. dalynnrmc

    dalynnrmc New Member

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    Great sites for finding learning style! I'd just google and read everything on the first 5 pages, but that's me. LOL There are some quizzes to help out there too! Really though, 5 is kind of young for some people to be able to tell style. At that age, they ALL like to get their hands dirty. ;)

    We love Math-U-See for math. I really think it's great for any learning style. Some people say it's not great for visual kiddos because the pages are simple and printed in black & white, but there aren't many on a page and the point is to use the manipulatives. My visual kiddos enjoy watching the teaching DVD. Showing them with the manipulatives myself does a lot for them, and my one kinesthetic (hands-on) kid likes doing the problems with the blocks himself. We also do a lot of problems orally; my oldest child really needs emphasis from ALL areas to solidify the info in his brain most of the time. And watching the video helps with that, too. I just really like this curriculum, and it's a great one to pick up if you're starting at the very beginning!! Great info on their website if you're interested.

    Sonlight is highly recommended, and might be a good fit for your kiddo. Generally considered advanced by grade level, Sonlight is full of literature so it's great for a reader or those who like to sit and be read-to. If you like Sonlight, also check out Winter Promise! And My Father's World is another great one, literature rich, less constrictive as far as scheduling goes and is fantastic for the younger grades.


    Some other, specifically Christian curricula to consider -
    Mystery of History (SUPER!! and adaptable to any grade level, it's a keeper to repeat at a higher level later)
    Apologia (science)
    Considering God's Creation (science)
    Biblioplan (history and Bible together)
    Christian Liberty Press (we like their Bible curric, very workbooky)
    Bob Jones Press (pricey for some, great history and Bible programs)
    Rod & Staff (excellent. We use and love their grammar, and I highly recommend them if you want to do a box curric in the early grades, partly for price!)
    Anything from Alpha Omega Press (they have lots of different curricula, depending on learning style - Horizons, LifePacs, Switched On Schoolhouse, just to name a few.)
    Christian Light Education (similar to the AOP LifePacs above, but a lower priced option)


    Also, some great reading is always good when you get started. I recommend starting with The Well Trained Mind to see if you agree with that philosophy. (It's a huge book - you really need to only read the intro chapters and the ones that apply to elementary school. Don't be intimidated!) If you do agree, she recommends lots of curricula that will be of a huge help to you. She really outlines how to get started.

    Read up on Charlotte Mason as well; we like to use a lot of her thoughts and philosophies in conjunction with the WTM suggestions at an early age.



    Things for a beginner to decide:
    1. Child's learning style!! First and foremost!!
    2. secular or religious (check, that one's done. hehehe)
    3. which homeschooling styles might work for teacher and child (reading time! google is your friend, as is the library)
    4. which subjects are mandatory, and whether to go with a boxed curric or individual pieces. Really, a LOT of people do a boxed curric their first year or two, and really for the early elem set it's pretty easy to do it that way. Go that way if it makes you comfie! Most of us didn't piece stuff together until we'd been at it for a while. ;)


    We love helping newbies get started here! Don't feel shy - ask all the questions you can think of! We'll help!! :D
     
  13. peanutsweet

    peanutsweet New Member

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    We use Life Pac by Alpha and Omega Publishing. It is a workbook style.
    I ordered Horizons math, but Life Pac also has math.
    It is a box set, but you can order each subject separately, or even each book separately. There is also an optional teacher's manual.
    I go to our library and check out videos or books to go along with whatever we are studying at the time.
    I also signed our kids up for AWANA at a local church and have been really surprised at the amount of reading, and scripture study the kids do. So you might think of something like that to add some social time and Bible together.
     
  14. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    I have considered AWANAS as my Bible curriculum for over ten years now!
     
  15. tweety81

    tweety81 New Member

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    I wish that I could afford a boxed curriculum sometimes so everything could be laid out for me. But for now I just have to do more mom intensive things with the lesson planning lol.
     
  16. countrymama

    countrymama New Member

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    If you do some searching online there are free lesson plans/worksheet and book list.
     
  17. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    Hello! First of all I want to say I liked my boxed stuff, we used AOP as we had multiple kids the teacher books were reuseable. MY kids were fine with it because it was what we had. As with any curric we went to the Library and looked up extra stuff.
    I have used mix match for my first year of K with theoldest andnow I am diong the youngest similarly for a year or two we have used various different stuff.
    Okay to Test them in the different currics you like check thier web sites for ' placement tests' they basically are short fifteen minutes or so tests for seeing what level your child is at.
    With AOP you can order whatever level of whatever you want for your chld and get the whole set or part even. Alpha Omega Life Paks, SOS, ( switched onschoolhouse) and Horizon math are all some you have heard mentioned on this site no doubt. I think they are considered boxed setc because its in a box haha.
    I also recomend this product line as a beinging teaching home school because it IS all set up,has a suggested schedule and time slots and everything.


    It comes with small booklets and helps your child see what is next, they are designed to take 2-3 weeks per book, then your child can have short rewards for each completed book.
    One reason we chose this was it shows the full scope and sequence in thier catalogue ( order it online for free) and it is Christian with splotches of scripture refs through out the work. Less so in the older grades but in the younger grades there is Memory work and everything, its cool. feel free to ask any questions!
     
  18. KingdomMom

    KingdomMom New Member

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    THAAAAAANK YOU EVERYONE!!! I am in love with this site already. I am going to read and process and GOOGLE myself through all these posts, and then I'm sure I will be back with more specific questions!! :) You are the best!
     
  19. TeacherMom

    TeacherMom New Member

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    KIngdom mom if you get lost in the googling and searces or start zoning out with all the cool stuff make sure you watch your clock because it is easy to get lost in a long time thinking its short!
     
  20. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    SET THE TIMER!!! LOL! Really, you'd be amazed at how quickly the time is passing!!!
     
  21. dalynnrmc

    dalynnrmc New Member

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    hahaha I agree - timers are your friend. ;) Have fun! Take a deep breath - it can be overwhelming, but you can do it! It's a lot simpler than all the information to sift through. :)
     

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