Is any curriculum provider the total solution to all your homeschooling needs? Page through a few curriculum catalogs and you'll find that many of them imply they are!
I'm the kind of person who believes the laundry is cleaner when the detergent, bleach, and fabric softener are all the same brand. I love those skin care kits, with matching containers of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. If I buy a Betty Crocker cake mix, my hand just naturally reaches for the Betty Crocker frosting.
It isn't surprising that my first curriculum purchase was a "complete curriculum package" from A Beka. I loved the student texts with matching teacher's manuals, the flashcards and math manipulatives, all laid out to make it "easy" for the teaching parent. The problem was, I didn't find it very easy! I realized a schedule that included separate texts for language, phonics, spelling, penmanship, and reading . . . every day . . . was not for me. Alas, A Beka wasn't working out for us, and I started looking at other options. The problem was, I really LIKED A Beka's lower level social studies.
And so began my quest for the perfect homeschool curriculum! I would get excited about one company's science lessons but turn up my nose at the way they presented phonics. I liked almost everything another program had to offer, but couldn't stomach the penmanship style. Frustrated, I decided to make what I considered a bold move. I would mix and match curriculum!
Fourteen years later, I realize I have lots of company. There's even a name for people like us: eclectic homeschoolers. We choose curriculum based on our student's needs, our own preferences, and, sometimes, just to try something different!
There's a dizzying array of choices out there, and sometimes I'm convinced I've tried them all. Here are our family's favorites. How do they compare with yours?
Five in a Row is a regular part of our curriculum, useful for teaching multiple children of various ages.
Considering God's Creation is a unique science program that each of my kids has used for one year.
My all-time favorite penmanship curriculum is Handwriting Without Tears. We like Draw, Write, Now for extra penmanship practice with a fun drawing lesson thrown in.
I believe nothing beats Time4Learning for phonics. An online program includes audio, which just makes sense when you're studying sounds!
In fact, Time4Learning is our curriculum of choice for all language arts. I can always find just what I need in either their core language lessons or the language arts extensions.
I love Math-U-See for focused study on a math concept that my student is struggling with. The pace is too slow to use it as an everyday curriculum for my own kids, but it has been great for remedial work.
I used to love Spelling Power, but it takes quite a bit of time when you have multiple children. These days, my kids practically study spelling on their own at SpellingCity.
La Clase Divertida is our choice for Spanish. Songs, chants, crafts, and cooking projects reinforce the language.
I make sure each of my children goes through the seventh grade social studies lessons at Time4Learning. It's an animated and efficient overview of American history.
I like Rod and Staff's plain little workbooks for second grade social studies, science, and health. They also have some easy-to-use and inexpensive Artpacs that my children enjoy.
And I still love A Beka's lower grade social studies!
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