View Full Version : Weekly Poll: How comfortable do you feel with the curriculum you're currently using?

11-03-2010, 08:05 AM
November seems to be the classic month for curriculum "buyers remorse." You've given it a good try...it's had a good run...but you become more and more convinced that maybe it isn't necessarily a good fit for you and your kids.

Or sometimes, what worked really well for previous years just suddenly feels "stale" this time around. You or your kids or both are feeling a little restless with the familiarity of the curriculum that you had been quite enamored with in the past.

Possibly, though, you've finally hit upon the perfect curriculum combo, and your relief is palpable!!

Either way, let's talk about it this week. What is your current relationship with your homeschool curriculum????

11-03-2010, 08:22 AM
Right now I'm pretty happy with what we're using. Even better, it was all pretty inexpensive.:)
We are just starting out and have little pressure so I started out trying free or low cost resources and many of them are working very well - MEP, ETC, some Evan Moor books, some Intellego units. Our most expensive purchase was AAS and DS LOVES it. It is going very well and is a very good fit for him. I did buy SOTW and the activity book which we haven't really started using yet but I think they will work fine with a lot of supplementation (thankfully we have a really good library). We are using them through the free Mosaic curriculum which reorders it some and helps tone-down the religious stuff.

Our only regret at this point is the RS Activities for the RS Abacus. I actually bought two of the abacus's (abacusi?) so my kids could each use one but I don't like the set up of the book at all. It seems too crowded and busy. So, we've pretty much ditched the book (the kids play with the abacus) but it wasn't real expensive and I can resell it when I get around to it.

I also bought The Reading Lesson which my son didn't like but it may work for my dd. If not, I'll eventually sell that too. We didn't write in the book so it's in pretty new condition.

I'll be buying a few more things sometime next year but I'm not too worried about them either - REAL Science Odyssey and Artistic Pursuits. RSO I have the Try Before You Buy pages so we've been able to actually give it a shot and we really like it. AP is more of a risk but I've done a lot of research into it and I think it will be a good fit.

11-03-2010, 08:36 AM
I voted Very Comfortable, but we have used Moving Beyond the Page for years, so that is no surprise.

11-03-2010, 08:37 AM
We don't have one particular curriculum that we use, so I wasn't too sure how to answer this one. For the most part I am quite happy with the *routine* that we have and feel that most days we cover what I intend for us to study. We did switch math programs from MEP to Math Mammoth and I think now it will be a better fit. For grammar I've been concentrating on spelling, since DS can't write until he can spell comfortably. We had to un-do some serious ps damage there, since they encouraged kid spell instead of real spelling, but he's making incredible progress and feels a lot more comfortable. For history we make up our own and he's soaking it up, and for science we use RSO as a general spine but supplement heavily. There are a few minor purchases I made last year when we started homeschooling that we don't use much, but I imagine they will come out in time. So, I have no big regrets and I do feel like we are "perfecting" our system while leaving lots of room for it to evolve.

11-03-2010, 09:03 AM
I'm not necessarily having buyers remorse, but I'm not completely happy either. We are using Calvert Kindergarten, and we used Calvert Pre-K last year. The organization was a bit overwhelming at first, and I think they moved to fast through the letters. We've continued to move ahead in the curriculum, but my daughter still needs to work on letters. We are supplementing a lot, which is helping. I am happy that this year the instructions are in the book, and the math is separate. As of right now I'm a little annoyed with the organization and the lack of time spent on letters, I feel like they spent too much time on other concepts too. Though skipping things is easier that trying to stretch out something there just isn't enough of to begin with.
As of right now we love the math though, so we'll probably stick with that for next year. I am starting to look at alternatives for everything else though. I'm especially concerned about history. I love the idea of non-euro/American focus but it's just a matter of me figuring out where to start. I am very nervous about putting together my own lesson plan. Though of course this year I thought I'd be using the ATS service but decided against it (so happy I did, I hate the progress reports and the check points).

11-03-2010, 10:54 AM
Somewhat comfortable. We're using Ambleside Online Year 1 right now (minus the religion texts). I really like Charlotte Mason's teaching methods. The copywork and narration are working their magic and the short lessons and living books are working well for my kids. I also like that there isn't a large monetary commitment--I've been able to get many books through interlibrary loan. But I don't always like Ambleside's book choices. Sometimes they seem to equate "old" with "quality" and I've decided to find substitutes for some things (their recommended retellings of Shakespeare plays are incomprehensible and lifeless, in my opinion). I'm not convinced that people 70 to 100 years ago knew how to write for children and I have very little patience for sentimental, Victorian drivel. Better options, particularly for history and science, must be out there somewhere--which is another reason why I love these forums!

11-03-2010, 11:23 AM
I voted Pretty Comfortable.

There is no buyer's remorse. Like a lot of folks here I pieced together Sonny's curriculum from various sources. For the most part everything is running as planned with the exception of two things, first, algebra. Sonny hates math even though he's been good with numbers since being a toddler. He tries to short cut it as much as he thinks he can get away with it. Upon getting a low test score I have him remediate the chapter and there starts the sulking, he doesn't do the program as it is designed, he insists on doing it his way (which isn't working for him). We have finally put a stop to "his way" and he is now doing the course as designed (TT). Guess what, his grades in algebra are getting better.

The other area isn't necessarily in the curriculum as it is in Sonny's time management. At the beginning of the school year he could get straight through the day's lessons, now it's like pulling teeth and the day drags on, dinner's going to be hot dogs and salad again (because I spent all fool day working with the boy and his school work!!!!)

Realising we were getting into a rut we took off for a bit more than a week to Sicily (the week before Halloween - a good time for a good scare) - nothing like seeing the Mafia at work and the 8000+ dead bodies hanging on the walls in the catacombs in Palermo to get your mind off of school. So far since we've been back, both Sonny's and my attitude are better and his procrastination is gone for the moment. (Maybe it was the threat of leaving him there in the hands of the Mafia to pin him up in the catacombs if he didn't stop procrastinating in doing his school work).

11-03-2010, 11:52 AM
I voted very comfortable. I've been putting my daughter's curriculum together as we go because she's gifted in reading but on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to math. I did start basing our curriculum off of the Well Trained Mind and now I really feel like we are covering each subject in depth. :)

11-03-2010, 02:05 PM
I voted Very Comfortable, though it's not quite a perfect a fit. We've made a few changes to Jay's schoolwork, which really isn't surprising since he's in 1st & it's his 1st year of structured school. We dropped working on the timeline, for Jay. I made doing Notebooking Pages optional. He enjoyed them at first, but it was just too much writing, even with him dictating many of them to his siter or me. He's become very bored with ETC. That is no surprise, considering that it has been review since we started using it. We'll be finishing the series this year, though, so it's not a big deal.

Everything else is great. Even with this impromptu 6 month break from formal schooling that we've decided to take, it's not because of the subjects we cover or materials we use. We're taking the break to destress from the rest of life. The kids have been doing schoolwork because they want to. Dea has decided to stop using Oxford Latin and instead is doing Latin alsongside Jay, so they can talk to each other in Latin. Almost everyday, they do work from what had been planned out for this year. They've requested that I assign a minimum time limit for doing school each day, so I said 2 hours. They choose what they want to do with that time. I'd be fine if they spent the time reading library books and checking on their worm farm (since this is a break). Dea finally seems to have gotten her enjoyment of learning back (she lost it in ps kinder & we've been working to get it back since then). If they are going to continue working like this, I might decide to do a more relaxed schedule next year - providing the materials and a list of the assignments/required work, setting a minimum time limit on shcool, and letting them take it from there. That appears to be what our break has become, and (for now, at least) it seems to be working well.

11-03-2010, 02:57 PM
I voted very comfortable. I've been putting my daughter's curriculum together as we go because she's gifted in reading but on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to math. I did start basing our curriculum off of the Well Trained Mind and now I really feel like we are covering each subject in depth. :)

We've also started using Well Trained Mind (sort of, anyway; I'm more on board with its English and history plan than with its math and science), and it seems to be going pretty well so far. I'm delighted with the online Latin class. The jury is still out regarding the MIT OpenCourseWare class, but it's just one semester, so we'll stick it out, I think. So overall, pretty darned comfortable.

11-03-2010, 02:57 PM
That's awesome that your "break" is working so well, Brandi! You must feel so encouraged! :)

11-03-2010, 03:51 PM
I picked Pretty Comfortable, I'm one of those people who's always looking for something new to try, so I'm never completly "comfortable".
We're using MEP for both kids Math. Although I'd like to try Math Mammoth and Math Whiz. Also Vintage google books (love, love, love, these!) for Language. Spelling is a list I got off of the internet, 1200 most common words. Making flash cards, using words in sentences ect... (spelling is the only subject I test for. ) History (my major in college) we use Usborne Encyclopedia, and lots of library books. We also do cursive (workbook) and typing mat. Science is where I'm having trouble. I want to do it like we do history, but it's just not working out. I may have to go back to the textbooks, *sigh. I try not to spend a lot of money on curricula, because if we don't like it we'll just chuck it and start over.

11-04-2010, 08:57 AM
That's awesome that your "break" is working so well, Brandi! You must feel so encouraged! :)

Definitely! I couldn't be happier about Dea finally truly loving learning again. The fact that they enjoy the materials I got for this year enough to keep doing them without being forced to, is all the proof I need that we've been making the right decisions regarding homeschooling & designing our curriculum.

11-04-2010, 10:54 AM
I chose prettycomfortable too - i'm fairly happy w the singapore for the oldest, even tho math is still a struggle for us to do together, i feel like this is a good format for us to work together on (tho i do wish i'd bought the teacher manual, and still might). The MCT is awesome. My youngest is still happy w T4L, even tho I dont really feel like its 'enough' - i'm letting him pretty much self-direct. We've been using netflix and library books and a few things for our joint history/science, which so far has done the big bang, the universe, and working on evolution.

i feel like i'm not doing enough tho! as always!!

11-04-2010, 01:15 PM
I voted "pretty comfortable." No curriculum is perfect... but I like what we're using. Which, in case anyone is curious...

1st grade:

SOTW2 as a spine for history
Handwriting Without Tears, grade 1 book
Explode the Code (different levels for each kid - one using it a lot, the other just a little)
Progressive Phonics (one kid, using it as a supplement)
MEP Math, Year 1
Miquon Orange

Everything else is curricula I'm making, like for science.

11-04-2010, 01:19 PM
I voted pretty comfortable though I probably should have put very comfortable. We had a rocky start with math and I switched a while back but now everything is working very smoothly. I posted several weeks ago that we were really struggling in that area. We finally found the level and the curriculum for her (Saxon Math 1, moving quickly as a review at first but resuming a regular pace now that she is half way through and needing more time) and she told me this morning that math is now her favorite subject! She is finally challenged without being frustrated. Hallelujah.

We are doing an eclectic classical curriculum. After ditching SOTW and going it on my own history is no longer causing me agony. I have been on the fence regarding Writing With Ease but since she has completed level 1 and has worked half way through level 2, I am seeing the results behind this philosophy, am very happy with it, and I am set to continue with it next year. Ce Ce is also responding very well to First Language Lessons and she's still doing well with Handwriting Without Tears. We're very relaxed about science so I don't know what to say about that. I'm not really using a curriculum all the way through, just sort of piecing it together, having fun, reading about science, doing some experiments. Science is a real favorite with Ce Ce and we are sort of unschooling it, you could say. I'm not a real fan of workbooks but Scholastic Success With Maps (grade 2) has been fun and effective.

So, we've worked the kinks out and are chugging along pretty happily right now.

11-04-2010, 01:48 PM
I'm pretty happy with what we're using - a mish-mosh of resources and supplies, not a boxed set or specific core. I do switch up quite a bit though but we're mostly using the same things we've been using for the last few months.

11-04-2010, 03:04 PM
So far we really like the math, history, science. English is OK. We just started spelling so the jury is still out there. DD is taking a community ed art class and we'll start artistic pursuits in a couple of months.

So the year is going fairly well.

11-04-2010, 08:23 PM
I voted very comfortable. I've been putting my daughter's curriculum together as we go <snip> I did start basing our curriculum off of the Well Trained Mind and now I really feel like we are covering each subject in depth. :)

*Heh* except for the part about having a boy rather than a girl, I could have written this Kari. Jack is all over the board, too, so we get materials at whatever level suits for the topic, but we use WTM and CM as guidelines for what we'll study when -- with a dash of CK just to make it easy to answer silly questions from strangers. ;)

Miguels mommy
11-05-2010, 12:58 PM
How comfortable do you feel with the curriculum you're currently using?
I like everything just Miguel does not. He has an aversion to writing. This makes writing two sentences interesting which is required for noeo science, spelling, and grammar. We dropped everything book except grammar and math. That still didn't really help so recently we dropped everything and decided to go with intensive cognitive therapy. So we set all school things aside until February to concentrate on his therapy. We do plan after this 'break' to continue to use what what we have at least until it is done.

11-09-2010, 09:45 PM
I'm an Other. Because of DS1's vision issues, right now I am only concentrating on the three Rs. I have not chosen one curriculum for any of these - I've set us up with a wide variety to choose from, from various publishers, and I change up the mix every week. We don't stick with any one thing for a long time. I have a few things on the shelf that haven't worked as well as I thought they might, but I wouldn't say I have remorse, because none of it has been super expensive, and I'm glad I had the chance to give it a try.

11-09-2010, 10:18 PM
I voted for "Somewhat comfortable, but I'm starting to search for alternatives" but it's not 100% accurate - I'm somewhat comfortable, but not totally happy. At the same time, it's too early in the year for me to drop what we have and look for alternatives (for this year or next) - I'm at the "wait and see" part of the journey.

Looking forward to reading the other response as I see that "very comfortable" and "pretty comfortable" are doing quite well!

11-10-2010, 05:27 PM
I voted "Pretty Comfortable." I adore our curriculum. We are using the Trail Guide to Learning series starting with Paths of Exploration and will soon move on to Paths of Settlement (produced by Geomatters). It is exactly the kind of curriculum I've been searching years for. The only reason it isn't a perfect fit is because it does follow a Christian world view. It's not a huge part of the curriculum, but enough that sometimes it bothers me.

04-08-2011, 02:08 AM
voted Very Comfortable, but we have used Moving Beyond the Page for years, so that is no surprise.

Thank you! MBtP has made homeschooling more accessible for me. Too much planning in the eclectic style was wearing me down. Now I can branch off if needed or slow down, but I know what to do ahead of time.

04-11-2011, 01:47 PM
I voted somewhat comfortable. I've been trying to keep my twins in the same book in math for my own sanity, but I'm seeing that it's not going to work. We had success with the island level of MCT, but I'm feeling very torn about whether I should continue or find something else. I get the feeling I might be in over my head down the road (very time intensive). Other than those two subject, I'm quite comfortable with the rest: History of US and library books, experiments, documentaries for science.

I'm comfortable with what my 8th grade dd is using this year and hope I can keep that level of comfort into high school.