Our Favorite Curricula and Why We Like Them

Does this look like the first day of your home school?  I thought it was too funny not to share with you!  I wanted to tell you why we have chosen the curricula we are using.  I am not getting paid to write any reviews for these companies; I'm just a satisfied customer!


Math-U-See is our favorite. This will have to be the biggest regret I have. I know those two sentences sound contradictory, but I only regret not using Math-U-See sooner. We had such struggles in Math, especially with our oldest. There were many days we shed tears and wanted to pull our hair out. After talking with another home school mom who already used Math-U-See, I watched the demo and was so excited. I was afraid that it was just another new curriculum that looked enticing. After the kids and I watched it together and were completely amazed, I asked my husband to give his advise. He had the same response we did and wished he had even had Math-U-See while he was in school. They definitely named the curriculum right because when Steve Demme teaches, you really see it! It's also very easy to use with little instruction needed from the parent (except in younger grades). The kids love the manipulatives and they solidify what Steve Demme taught in the lesson. We use Math-U-See from our Kindergartner to our high schoolers with great success!

Apologia Science

We use Apologia Science for our three oldest. P is still in elementary and is currently using this book from Apologia. He plans to be a missionary pilot someday and this book has introduced and fully covered every area of flight in animals. It is a hands-on approach and he is able to do many of the experiments on his own. He is loving it and I love to hear him rattle off the different kinds of nests and even be able to identify them in our back yard! K and T are doing Science together this year and I can't wait to purchase the audio cds of the textbooks to make things even easier! The textbooks are already written in conversation form instead of just spitting out facts. It is lively and comes with a companion cd that has pronunciations, video clips, etc. on it.


For our English and Spelling this year we are going to try going back to an old tried and true method of which I said I would never use: ACE PACEs. We have tried so many different curricula and I just didn't like any of them really. They were ok, but I found out that with each different Language Arts curriculum, the writers use slightly different terminologies frequently. I spent so much time trying to learn what they were talking about so I could then try to teach it to the kids. They got bogged down and I got discouraged. So after much consideration and prayer, we are going to give ACE a try in our home. I went through the entire ACE program and English and Spelling were two of my strengths. My thinking is that after some review it will come back to me and I will be able to help the kids more effectively and efficiently.

Essentials In Writing
and Piano By Ear

We will be adding a writing curriculum for two of our children this year. This was similar to a trial offer. A very good friend of ours has written a writing curriculum called Essentials in Writing. I am super excited about trying this out! Not only because my children have not developed a love for writing like their mother...ahem, but also because we already have Matthew Stephens' Piano By Ear DVD course and love it! Our three older kids started this in May and I saw great improvement in just a few weeks.


We still have not found a favorite History curriculum. After sitting in on Diana Waring's conference seminar in May, we decided to give hers a try. It is History Revealed and is endorsed by Answers in Genesis which is another favorite family resource of ours. Each volume is broken down into nine units, with each unit broken into four one-week segments, called phases. Each phase covers a variety of learning methods.
  • In Phase 1, the student reads the unit article and then listens to fascinating stories of history told by Diana in the What in the World is Going on Here?, True Tales, and Digging Deeper audio CDs.
  • Phase 2 focuses on exploration and discovery. The student researches a topic of his or her own choosing and also learns vocabulary and constructs a timeline.
  • Phase 3 focuses on the geography, arts, and sciences of the period covered. It includes making maps as well as activities in science, art, architecture, cooking, and music.
  • In Phase 4 students are encouraged to express themselves in their own unique way, choosing a project that may include writing, art, music, drama, movement, conceptual design, or other areas of expression.
We will have to see how this works this year. The sources are trustworthy and the setup looks like it will appeal to all types of learners. We shall see...

For H, she is finishing up Kindergarten with ACE and will be doing 1st grade by January if not before. Last year I did not have a full Kindergarten program so used what I had to teach her to read. After acquiring the ACE program for a good price, I decided to start her off at square one and go through it quickly to fill any gaps she might have. By January she will be doing all PACEs until she is able to join the older ones in unit studies. If you would like further information on their Kindergarten program you can go here.

We have used Typing Instructor for Kids in the past and hope to pick that back up. When used on a daily basis there is great improvement. If you would like more information on this fun-filled program you can go here, but you can get it a little bit cheaper here. Kids visit distinct lands for lessons, challenges, tests, and games. They search for treasures, earn points, and make their way to the Castle and become the Ruler of Typer Island. This program offers rewards every step of the way through a captivating adventure to the Castle, and beyond to the Lost City. This is just part of what your child will experience should you decide to use this program.

Thought you might like a more detailed description of why we have chosen these curricula.  What do you use?


Pam... said...

It's always good to find the thing that fits one's family. I am glad you are finding those 'fits'. God bless your school year, and may He build relationships in your home for eternity.

Joanna said...

I'm glad to see that you're doing typing for the kids. Somebody (ahem!) in particular needs badly to learn to type without looking and with ALL her fingers!! And she gets aggravated with me when I tell her she needs to improve. :)