Opins Needed for 2011-12 Home School Curriculum

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by PineappleMama, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    The kiddos are just not loving the time4learning curriculum.
    They do it, but it just isn't their cup of tea. So, snooping at idears for next year.
    Also, only runs through 8th (with S/SS supplements 6-8) so need something else in one year anyways.

    Calvert is very expensive, prohibitively so in our case, but I'm curious of anyone has ever tried it.
    Another that only runs through 8th.

    Virtualedu.org sounds interesting.
    Only for DS, still have to find something for younger DD.

    Or skip the online stuff and go with more hands on?

    Anyone used Unifiedcurriculum.com for HS curriculum before?
    Experienced or Not Any Opinions On These Packages?
    3rd Grade Packages
    8th Grade Packages
    Any experience with the textbooks listed? Algebra? There's a choice, Holt or Saxon, in the 8th grade Super??
    General opinion? Worth the extra to get the Standard or Super?
    Like that if get Standard $355.00 can keep DS's textbooks and just order refills for DD.

    ANY opinions appreciated, any recommendations for other sites appreciated.

    Really, I just need all the help I can get.

    The Math of the Situation

    Currently using Time4Learning.com
    $19.95 for first child + 14.95 each after = $34.90/mo
    For Both = 418.80/yr Have managed this fine.

    Calvert Online Curriculum
    3rd Grade = $854.00-$1,229.00
    8th Grade = $1,009.00-$2,784.00
    For Both = $1863.00-$4013.00/yr WAY out of our price range.

    Virtualedu.org Online Curriculum
    No 3rd Grade
    8th Grade = 49.95/mo = $599.40
    For Both = $599 + whatever we find for DD = Unknown Total

    Unified -In Hand- Curriculum
    3rd Grade = $215.00-$510.00
    8th Grade = $215.00-$520.00
    For Both = $430.00-$1030.00/yr Could swing the difference.
  2. NancyP

    NancyP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Check out http://www.sonlight.com/
    have used them for our kids from grade school through graduation and our kids and I loved it.
    They have some articles on their site that might help you figure out what you want to do. Best of luck to you.
  3. abbey2140

    abbey2140 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2008
    North Branch, MI
    We used Progress Academy for my daughters high school we loved it! http://www.progressacademy.org/ It goes through senior year. The kids can work as fast or slow as they want. All the text books are online. There is also a message board for the parents, the kids, and for the kids to get extra help. We went through many different types of curriculum and this was the one we liked best. It even keeps track of the grades for you. Our local high school also accepted the credits when she decided to return to regular school for senior year. Joanie, the main consultant, is very quick with all responses which meant a lot to us and she is willing to help with any question you might have. You can even log extra activities for the kids. Great school system!
  4. CrazyChickieMama

    CrazyChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2008
    Bolton, NC
    Have you looked at Veritas Press as well? We did LifePacs when I was homeschooled and I hated it! I'm still trying to decide whether to homeschool or not. My son goes to an awesome Charter school. DD will start kindergarten there this fall. But if we move even more rural (which we want to do), then homeschooling it will be.
  5. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2010
    I used some of the English Workshop series mentioned in the eighth grade curriculum. Though I can't vouch for that specific grade ( the first worktext I used was in ninth), I would say that those series are a nice blend of grammar and composition. (My curriculum recommended doing the grammar part first, THEN tackling the composition section. What good does it do to learn all the rules of writing, mechanics, punctuation, etc., AFTER you did the majority of the compositions?!?!!? )

    The Saxon series of math textbooks is excellent. Its advantage is an incremental approach. Instead of offering a whole lesson on the new topic, only a few questions on the new topic are presented, and the rest of the lesson consists of review from earlier lessons. This, to me, means the math lesson is less intimidating. After all, who really wants to do 30 exercises on a brand new topic? [​IMG] But I must warn you, if your kids want "exciting" math books, the Saxon program might not be for you. [​IMG] The lessons are practically laid-out with no bells or whistles. I personally like the organized look of the lessons. Math is supposed to look logical anyway, right? [​IMG]

    I will give you the link for the curriculum I used. It's a classical curriculum which utilizes some study of Latin and Greek roots and etymology starting in junior high. The books are from various publishers to offer more variety and greater quality. [​IMG] You can order full curriculums or individual subject modules. It is pricier by far than the Unified curriculum, though if you want a superior education for your child, this is the way to go!

    As a bonus, each day is scheduled out for you in each subject, so busy mom doesn't have to worry about what each child has to do. [​IMG]

    Eighth grade: http://www.covenanthome.com/products/26T $607

    As a warning ( or should I say, recommendation [​IMG] ), this curriculum is unabashedly Christian. That being said, it utilizes both Christian and secular publishers. It's at least worth a look.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  6. eaganchickens

    eaganchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2008
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Check out Texas Tech's online k-12 program. BIL and SIL had their two daughters on that program for many years after both public and private schools failed to meet their needs. They absolutely loved the program. To a very large extent it is homeschooling, but is actually considered a public school, and therefore the curriculum is free.
  8. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks guys for all the replies.

    I would prefer secular. Me personally I think religion is a choice that each person has to make for themselves, and being a very serious choice that can effect all aspects of your life I think it's a choice that should be made by folks when they're old enough to understand what's what. But just as I teach my kids "my way" of looking at the world I totally respect other folks wanting to teach their kids 'their way'... [​IMG]

    That said though, I also think that theology, all theologies, are part of our history and should be included in a curriculum, in culture/social studies/history. But again, at the right age. Telling a little one that this group or that did animal sacrifices might prejudice them against the whole society and they'd remember that while forgetting the strides that society made in sciences, etc. So theology will be studied eventually, for history's sake and so that once older they can make an informed decision about which path they choose to follow as adults.

    If there's a religious curriculum where the religious parts are limited to one area, ala a Bible class, then it can be opted out of. Perhaps save that book for later should they want it just as we have copies of various religious texts on our shelves should they care to pick one up, but can use the math, science, etc with no problem. I could do that. But if every course is taught from a biased slant then definitely not something I'd go for. Veritas makes no bones about their 3rd grade history course, flat out says New Testament in the description and goes on to say how God is working today... no way to opt out without cutting the entire history section of the curriculum. Convenant's science is taught from creationist perspective, so that's not gonna work except as perhaps part of a later theology lesson... lots of fascinating creation myths out there actually... again, couldn't opt out of the religious part without totally cutting the entire science part. *sigh* Trying not to ramble, as y'all may have noticed I've a tendency to do, so that'll do for that.

    Choc I totally agree on the grammar thing. Why make a kid struggle and bumble their way through Comp, bunch of red marks everywhere, and make them feel bad for all the mistakes, not to mention botching their grade when you haven't taught them otherwise?! DH's math class up at Univ was set up weirdly IMO. All the lessons were planned for the semester by the dept. and the teacher had no control over any of it. All homework done online, checked online, grades figured, everything. Tests were done in class, but otherwise it was all online... NOT for an Online Class mind you, but a class where you paid tuition, bought a book and attended class 2-3x per week. So when there was a snow day it was a mess. The system showed a due date of midnight this day for this assignment, yet because of the snow, the students hadn't actually been taught the stuff the assignment was over. She had to petition the dept to move the assignment, and then they ended up having two due on one day because they couldn't/wouldn't reconfigure the entire series. She had to try and cram two different lectures into one class period so they could do those assignments. It was not pretty at all. And the Dept loves the system and figures it's perfect... according to them the students could have done all the assignments on day one, and if they didn't then it was their own fault if they didn't like the schedule later on. They figure if they bought the book, read the book, then they could do the whole class with no teaching at all... so uh what was the point in paying tuition?? Sounds like it's perfect for lazy teachers, but this lady DH had was not one of them... also seems kinda suicidal to me. Why would you set up a system that makes you unneeded? Frightening to think these are the smart people of our society huh?

    Saxon... sounds good to ME, agree with your opin on looks. Given that DS's main complaint about T4L is that it's too cartoony, seems like he'd agree. Thanks for the head's up there. [​IMG]

    On the K12 program, yes it's free, and secular, which was why I looked at it originally. But as you said it is free because it is public school, meaning it is paid for with public funds. Which means that you're stuck teaching to the standardized test, which is one major thing wrong with the system IMO. There is no such thing as a standard child. Back in my day those tests were a diagnostic tool, they helped kids, they helped teachers. Teachers could see a student's weak point and bolster it, they could see their strengths and encourage them. All VERY low stress. They handed us the test and said "Do your best" and that was that. Still have two years of my tests from Elem, and you can see the improvement in my weak areas was huge, along with a little improvement in my already good areas. It was a great tool. But that's just not what it is today. Today it's used to determine funding, which puts massive pressure on admin, teachers and students. Here it's literally pass or fail, if you fail the test you fail for the school year. Attending every single day, working every single day, homework every day, good behavior every day, quizzes and test grades and report cards... all fall by the wayside in deference to this one test. That chaps me no end. The fact that no teacher knows what will be on the test, can only guess and hope, hardly helps the situation. How do you teach to a test, one that determines a child's passing or not, one that determines your employment or not, if you aren't allowed to know what you're poda be teaching!??! Bloody mess. In Texas only schools that take public funds are required to take those tests. Homeschool and Private Schools are one in the same in Texas, neither is subject to that test. One more reason we decided to HS, and the main reason that k12 is out.

    Abbey Progress looks very interesting, but at 895 per student is kind of high, still I sent in for some info. Haven't read through the whole site, but it sounds very similar to T4L. Everything is online, track grades, etc. T4L doesn't have set lesson plans, it's all rather amorphous, and they don't mail any records you must print them out... and obviously curriculum will be different... but system setup is why it seems similar to T4L. I do like the lack of paper involved, but at the same time if our computer crashes then we're in deep doodie. Guess I need to chew on that Pro and Con list some more.

    And I think I've rambled enough for one post so I'll toddle off... thankee again for all the suggestions. There are just SO many options, it's hard to whittle it down to a manageable list of possibles so thanks for each of your suggestions!
  9. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Got the info in from Calvert, who's linked to Texas Tech. Right there on the back of the (8.5x11 color glossy) "pamphlet" it says:

    TTUISD is accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and all courses are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

    Now why in the world would you brag about THAT?!?! The TEKS part I mean. One distinct advantage to HS in Texas is that you do NOT have to teach to that stupid test, don't have to take it at all, no stress, no days/weeks/months of proper bubbling classes. Pray tell how do you teach art, music, foreign language, P.E., Health, etc to the TEKS when the TEKS does not test for those things? Does that mean you don't bother with such 'useless' things... I've seen that in schools. Blanton for instance never taught my cousins cursive. Because even the WRITING test doesn't give a fig about your handwriting. Cousin J was in 9th grade and still had to PRINT his name if he wanted to sign something (such as the student handbook receipt)... that's just WRONG. School IMO is supposed to be teaching ALL students the BASIC skills required to survive once they leave school. Whether that's straight to college or just straight into 'the real world' the basic skills should be covered. I think being able to sign the bottom of the job application would fall into that category. Or your wedding license. Or military recruitment papers. Or a lease/buying a home. Thanks to just that one school there are hundreds of kids (from years S S J & Z were there and I know they didn't teach it) that as adults will still be printing like a second grader. Hopefully cleaner print, practice and all, but still one school has produced hundreds of kids that'll be entering the world in the next 2-6 years and can't sign a thing! How embarrassing will it be to see at the bottom... Print your name *prints name* and Sign your name *prints name* Not something you can hide, though given how much we do electronically it's not as bad as it could be. Of course on that note a printed signature is easier to forge IMO than a swirly, curly, angular whippity do one.

    Oh and of course that completely ignores the fact that Texas is converting to the STAAR testing system. Have to reformulate all classes to reflect/lead up to the exit level tests in high school. Instead of one test in one to two subjects per year students instead will be given three tests in every subject every year, that's up to 24 state exams for high schoolers. And that's in addition to their work, quizzes, projects, tests and finals for the actual class... and (as is already the case with TEKS) the test score overrules all in class grades. Sick, Stressed, Bad Teacher, whatever reason you fail that one test and you fail for the year (there is at least 1 retake, has to be in uber controlled environment so it's not something you can retake over and over, it's limited and just as stressed if not more than the first time around) and either take summer school or repeat the entire class/grade (high/elem)... does NOT matter if you made A honor roll in all classes all year, all that matters is that single test score, that single day. Lame, very lame. Can you imagine holding a third grader back, making them repeat all their classes but without all their friends, classes they ACED all year, but who got so stressed over this they botched it? Totally possible with the system we've got and makes me so made I could spit. And another biproduct is that schools jump on any chance to label a kid. Because if the kid is labeled then their bad scores don't reflect badly on the school. If they do well, bonus, but if they fail then the school still gets the funding. Since the testing starts in 3rd they really push for labeling in K-2... ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, anything they can use to get them labeled and no longer a threat to their funding. They no longer even wait for the kid to fail the test before tagging them, that I could sorta understand. Now they pull any kid they feel isn't up to snuff (IE ones projected to ONLY be in the 80% on the test) and tag them or if possible ship them elsewhere. *rants*

    Hmm ramble much? Sorry that test and that school are pet peeves of mine. So, Texas Tech is out, for that but also due to the incredibly high tuition rates. You'd think being a public one who gets public funding it'd be less, but no it's right up there with typical Calvert stuff. *shrug*

    So... back to the ones already known... I think of the In Hand ones I like the Unified, esp with that glowing review of the math by Choc.
    But in the Online ones... eh... lot of choices but not a lot of unbiased info on them. I'll keep hunting for reviews.

    Thanks again guys for the suggestions and listening to the crazy person...
  10. eaganchickens

    eaganchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2008

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