"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Choosing Curriculum

Each year, this time of year, I spend a lot of time contemplating.  My time doesn't go to thoughts of world peace or current economic politics but to something far greater.  I spend the summer thinking over the teaching and training of my children in the admonition of the Lord.  Specifically, home school curriculum.

There is so much material available for home school families, for which I am grateful.  But the overwhelming choices make it difficult to decide which is the best tool for our family.  There is no such thing as the perfect material, only the best tool to meet your families individual needs.   There are a couple questions I ask.
Does the curriculum...
1. meet my children's educational needs?
2. give a God-centered, not man centered, view of the world we live in?
3. is it appropriate for their specific level, not necessarily grade level but skill level?
4. is it worth my time and money?

I find the answer to these questions in different ways. Sometimes it's plain old research, word of mouth or browsing through the material itself.

So this is some of what we ended up with this year...

We are going on our third year of using Veritas and absolutely love it and recommend it.  A friend of mine was using it with her family and let me browse the material before I purchased our own.  After using the phonics museum kit to successfully teach my son how to read, I was grateful for it. Here are some of the things we liked about using the program...
~it was very easy to follow and teach
~my son enjoyed the activities and lesson plans
~the artwork included with the lessons exposed him to something real rather than a cartoon image
~it was a full bodied curriculum in that alongside of the phonics we worked on spelling and handwriting as well
~the primer books are some of the best children's Christian history books you will ever find
I could go on and on but I have used it with my eldest son and plan to use it with the next two.  This year (second grade) we are using more and more of the veritas material. From their Bible time lines to their reading comprehension programs, I don't think you can go wrong. Veritas pretty much is the standard for excellence.  My nieces were enrolled in a Christian academy the last couple of years and Veritas is what they used at the school, so I know it's trusted by many professionals.
So this year we ended up with a study of the Bible timeline, a spelling program, a cursive program (using practice from books of the Bible and catechism questions) and a beginning Latin program.

We have used Saxon math for the last three years and this year I'm introducing Nathan to it.  It's a firm foundation for math that a lot of homeschoolers and private schools alike trust it.

In addition to our enrollment in a classical conversations community, we'll be working through Story of the World workbooks this year.

Whewwwww...I'm officially tired and the school year hasn't even started!

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