Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: Homeschool Curriculum Reviews ......What for next year ?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Homeschool Curriculum Reviews ......What for next year ?
Date Posted: 5/5/2008 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top

Here are my 2 favorite sites to read reviews of homeschool curriculum

http://cathyduffyreviews.com/       Cathy Duffy Reviews

http://homeschoolreviews.com/      Homeschool Reviews


Where is everyone today ? Are you all busy ?

Have you decided on what materials  to use next school year ?

Last Edited on: 5/5/08 5:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/5/2008 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

Where is everyone?  Well, we have sunny 75-degree temperatures here in Cincinnati today, so maybe some of us are outside pretending to work on our yards.  (Or maybe we're getting schoolwork done....NAH!)  :)  Or MAYBE we're all madly celebrating Cinco de Mayo!

Ooh!  An invitation to talk about what curriculum I picked for next year!  You asked for it!

My daughter will be in the 9th grade next year.  Here's what we've picked out:

English: Lightning Lit from www.hewitthomeschooling.com.  We'll use the American Lit books for 9th grade.  (We used one of the Junior High Lightning Lit guides this year, and we liked it.)  We'll also add Vocabulary From Classical Roots, Book C and the writing handbook Write For College.  Bonus:  I found all of the novels I need here on Paperbackswap.com!

ScienceBiology from Apologia.  I've been impressed with everything I've seen in this series so far.  (Bonus:  There is a teacher at my homeschool co-op who will be using this book next year.  Yay!  I don't have to do the dissections at home!)

Math:  Geometry.  (Okay--I still have to make a decision here.  Any opinions?  I have two folks who are willing to loan me their book next year.  One is Jacob's Geometry; I'm not sure what the other one is.  I know I definitely want the program to have traditional proofs in it.)

Social Studies:  AP World History  (I'm sort of building this class.  I want an AP class, but I don't want to put my kid in public school for it or pay big bucks for a private AP program.  Here's what I have planned so far.  A set of Great Courses World History DVD's, a free AP textbook outline from www.course-notes.org, and a Barron's AP World History book--that I got from a swap on this site!  Because I also want to include a Christian worldview, I've also collected some Diana Waring materials, some cassette and DVD lectures from Answers In Genesis, and I'll be borrowing some Vision Forum DVD's from a friend.

Foreign Language:  French  (Next year will be our second year using the Rosetta Stone homeschool kit program.  I really love the Student Management System program that came with the kit.  It breaks down the units in the program into daily lessons--and keeps track of all results.  It also won't allow my daughter to move on unless she meets a particular score on the lesson.)

That's the main list.  There are a few electives that she'll be earning credits toward throughout high school--but not stuff I'm using a packaged curriculum for.  My daughter is on a swim team, so "Phys. Ed." should be covered.  My husband teaches her music lessons, and she participates in/attends lots of drama stuff, so "Fine Arts" hours are not hard to find.  A technology elective in "Video Production" is likely to pop up, because my daughter has been volunteering at our local community access TV station for the past four years.  I have collected an HTML book to start with my daughter eventually, but then I'll send her off to my brother-in-law for more programming.  (I found a neat book called Writing for Video on this website that I look forward to using, too.)

There you are!  Way more information than you wanted about what materials I'm using next year.  (Anyone else schooling a high-schooler?) 

Last Edited on: 5/5/08 7:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top

Dana G, It looks like you have some good choices. That's great that you'll get to use a co-op class for the biology.

What is AP for history ?

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

I'm still looking at doing unit studies but since I've never done them, I have no clue what I'm doing. lol  I'm getting some good links from others on this board though.

I'll probably stick with Bob Jones for reading and MathUSee for mathematics.


Date Posted: 5/6/2008 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
Back To Top


What ages are your children. and what eras of history have you already or recently studied??

I have looked into most of the literature-based chronological history unit studies, and might be able to suggest a few.


Subject: AP
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

AP stands for "Advanced Placement."  When describing a high school class, it's copyrighted by the College Board.  Some high schools offer AP classes for college-bound students that end with a standardized test created by the College Board.  Some colleges will give a student credit for AP classes that are not within a student's major.  Even if the college won't give a student credit, the class still looks good on a transcript.

I went to a tiny little public high school that didn't offer AP classes.  My husband went to a private high school that offered them.  I saw the advantage our freshman year of college when he didn't have to take some of the freshman pre-requisite classes. 

There's a great article about homeschoolers and AP classes at Homeschool World.com:


Date Posted: 5/6/2008 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 168
Back To Top

I just sat down and reviewed what we did this year and what we are continuing this summer. I have my plan laid out for next fall and itching to make a Rainbow Resource order! :)

Here's what we have for next yr for the basics:

"4th grade" son:

Back to MCP math from Horizons this yr-Horizons was really busy to me and he didn't like all the distracting pictures.

Sequential Spelling

HWT-continuing cursive

Growing W/ Grammar (finishing up 3 then move to 4)

Writiing with Ease (new program due out in June)

"1st grade" DD:

ETC 2/3

MCP math

HWT printing and may start cursive

Growing w/ grammar 1/2

Combined for both:


Beautiful Feet Geography with the Hollings bks

lots of reading


Date Posted: 5/6/2008 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Chandra, pm'd you.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

My son is 10 and "all over the map" grade level wise.  This is our plan for summer/fall:

  • K12's American History Before 1865 (uses The Story of US books)
  • K12's American Art A (correlates to History)
  • K12's Music Appreciation
  • K12's English A (Literature, Composition, Vocabulary, GUM - grammar/usage/mechanics)
  • Apologia's Exploring Creation with Biology
  • Science Roots (to correlate to ECWB)
  • Teaching Textbooks Geometry
  • Power Glide's middle school Spanish I
  • Spelling Power (since K12 drops spelling in 6th grade)
  • CGP Geography
  • CGP Physical Education
  • Several Answers in Genesis Materials for Creation Science
  • Co-op courses for Bio lab, Math Counts, Cooking
  • Cosmeo.com
  • ExploreLearning.com

...and whatever comes up on my l-o-n-g PBS wish list!!!!  :-)

*** Edited to add...

I almost forgot one.  I rec'd a brand new, $125 value, college Astronomy text here on PBS.  The publisher, Prentice Hall, has a free companion course site.  The same course is on FreeEd.net.  So my son is also working through that.


Last Edited on: 5/6/08 9:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

Dana G - I've heard great things about Jacob's Geometry.

My son is finishing up Teaching Textbooks' Algebra I.  We'll continue with it for Geometry.  My DS loves it.  DH goes over it with him, so I'm not "in the trenches" using it, but DH (engineer) seems to think it's great.  It's especially good for a global learner like my son since it has audio-visual lessons.


Date Posted: 5/6/2008 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2008
Posts: 10
Back To Top

Over the last two years with my now 12 yo we used (first) complete K12 grade 5, and, then this year Winter Promise - Quest for the Ancient World and 6th grade language arts.  This year we added Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, Rosetta  Stone Spanish and Japanese,  and Apologia General Science. 

We're keeping:

Teaching Textbooks

Rosetta Stone


We'll add:

Sequential Spelling

Grammar Ace

Many books individually (no teacher's guides) from Winter Promise and Sonlight.   Like Story of the World, Mystery of History, Or  Any other suggestions?

A good comprehensive Home Economics course. Any suggestions?

Violin/Banjo/Mandolin/Piano/Singing "self teaching" courses.  Any suggestions?  Maybe like Strictly Strings.

Lap books with lots of drawing and essays. 

Obviously, we are constantly adjusting.  I want to start teaching several AP subjects in a spiral.   My dd is a gifted learner, but doesn't seem to really retain all that she is capable.  I'm going to be attending a few seminars to help her and maybe use harder books/concepts.  We are held back a bit by just how slowly she and I both work, yet we read very quickly.   I think we need to fit a lot more content into less time, and in a way that she will absorb the information.  I hope some creative lap booking will help (she is always very pleased and drawn to her "projects"), but if anyone has any suggestions for galloping through tough subjects I would love to hear them!! 





Date Posted: 5/6/2008 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

Diana Waring has a new History series in conjunction with Answers in Genesis.  We just finished a four-year cycle of World History and have started a two-year cycle of American History, so when we revisit World History in middle school, I'm going to use the new series.

It looks much better than her other stuff (IMO) and similar to Mystery of History, but it's a more modern audio-visual format.


I've recently seen Winter Promise and it looks great.  We have such a mix/match of grade levels and things we've done so far than I can't figure out how to fit it in.  I think, like the Sonlight reading lists, I'll use it as a supplemental, fill in.

For Home Economics, check with your county extension office and 4H (usually together).  You can purchase 4H curriculum w/o participating.  Sets run around $7.  They have a ton of stuff.  AOP Lifepacs & SOS have Home Economics.  I'm not sure how in-depth it is, though.  Many online high schools have nutrition classes.  I have several of their texts on my PBS WL to use w/o the courses.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
Back To Top

I had everything planned, but it just didn't feel right.  So after much contemplation we are going in more of a classical direction for our studies next year (5th grade).  I'm still working out what exactly to use but I know we are going to use classical as our framework.

Date Posted: 5/7/2008 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2008
Posts: 10
Back To Top

Thank you, JC!

It was great to browse Answers in Genesis!  We even have some of the "high school" books already. My mom sent them for my daughter.  I didn't even realize it.  I hope I'll see those new Diane Waring books at a curriculum sale.  I'd like to take a look at those! 

I was leaning towards Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home for home economics, but it is a 90min. a day, 36 weeks per year, for 7 years program.  Even I (curriculum junkie that I am) realize that may be too much.  I will definately look in to 4H and county extension, much more practical. 

Thanks agian! -- Leslie


Date Posted: 5/7/2008 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

Ooh!  This is a fun topic!

Language Arts:  great literature & narrations, SpellWell or MegaWords or Explode the Code (depending on grade) Analytical Grammar (6th grader only), Institute for Excellence in Writing (5th & 6th grade only), A Reason for Handwriting (1st grader only)...I do need something to teach my 3rd grader cursive...I need a boy friendly program and I don't care for HWT and I need to have my 5th & 6th graders practice their cursvie more consistently. 

Math: Developmental Math for everybody! along with timed math drills online.

Foreign Language: Lively Latin and I *think* Elementary Greek (6th grader only) or maybe Book 2 of Hey Andrew...not sure.

History: Veritas Press along with living books

Bible: Veritas Press & Children's Story Bible by Vos

Science: I have absolutely no earthly idea.  I haven't found an "approach" that I like yet.

Music: Piano lessons & band

Art: Drawing with Children

PE: soccer, fencing, colorguard, marching band.

Lifeskills: chores and the oldest 2 work on badges through our church's Calvinist Cadet Corp program.

I also supplement with logic workbooks from MindWare or Critical Thinking Press. 

We also spend gobs of time memorizing poems (using IEW's poetry program) Scriptures, and catechism.

I really, really, really, really, want to incorporate art/music appreciation and nature study.  I just can't find a plan or make a plan that helps me be consistent.  Any ideas?  I've tried Ambleside Online.  I have Anna Comstock's Nature book.  I just can't get on track.

There's not much new from last year...no new babies, no new kindergartners...so hopefully we'll have smooth sailing :-)



Date Posted: 5/7/2008 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Hey JC is ExploreLearning.com expensive? I went to the site but in order to get pricing, they want all my contact information. I'm jsut not ready for a representative to call & sell me their product

 Dana- I'm not currently schooling a high schooler but graduated one last year! She's in community college now (getting the general ed classes so she can transfer) and she's working. 

We used Apologia for science and Bob Jones for the rest of the core subjects. She took an evangelism class from a guy that works at Way of The Master and a thespian class with a local HS co-op. We were definately busy! Enjoy those high school years!


Last Edited on: 5/7/08 5:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/7/2008 5:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

Char - It's $150/year.  I purchased it through a Homeschool Buyer's Co-op group buy that has since expired for $100.  My son has wanted EL for over 5 years, so he's soooo happy.

With the home version, you can have access for three students for that price, plus the teacher account.  I only have one child using it, so my friends are sharing the account with me; we split the cost - same as I do with Cosmeo (four student accounts).

They have math gizmos now, which are great.  They go from 3rd grade - college - the same as the science gizmos.

Date Posted: 5/7/2008 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top

Hi Leslie,

You said" I was leaning towards Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home for home economics, but it is a 90min. a day, 36 weeks per year, for 7 years program.  Even I (curriculum junkie that I am) realize that may be too much."  

You may be able to tweak "Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home" to  meet your needs. You don't have to do everything in it. You could pick and choose what fits your needs and interests and skip the rest. I am saying this without having used it. But that is my basic philosiphy of curriculum resources in general.


Date Posted: 5/8/2008 1:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2008
Posts: 10
Back To Top

Hi Sherry!

I may still buy "Training our Daughters ..." ; I'm just learning to pick and choose with wisdom!  We've only been homeschooling for two years, and I really clung to checking off every box in my instructor's guides.  I'm asking for more bookshelves for Mother's Day to put everything I want and the great stuff I'm getting here.  A whole world has opened up now that I don't feel that I have to buy a complete curriculum and stick to it alone.  It was probably the only way I would have started this great journey with my kids, but I am really enjoying browsing and reading everyone's input.

Thank you! -- Leslie

Date Posted: 5/8/2008 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top

Hi Leslie,

This looks really good - "Training Our Daughters to Be Keepers at Home".     Many years ago I used Ann Wards "Learning at Home" curriculum for K to 2nd grade. She wrote "Training Our Daughters to Be Keepers at Home".

Here's a link to alot of great looking curriculum supplies, including "Training Our Daugthers to Be Keepers at Home".       http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/324  This is the "Farm Country General Store"

Last Edited on: 5/8/08 12:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/8/2008 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Sherry, I have Ann Ward's book Learning at Home and will be using it next year with our K. I just got it this year or I would have used it with the other kids.

JC I'm glad you mentioned splitting the accounts with friends. I thought all the students had to be from the same household/same computer. If I split with a friend that does make it more within my reach financially.

Leslie I was alot like you, thinking I had to do every worksheet and every experiment, etc. It wasn't until I talked with a friend who taught in a private high school that I realized I didn't have to do that. Her school was using the exact same curriculum and she told me they aim to get through 3/4 of the material. I figured if it was good enough for them then it was good enough for me. She showed me how to weed out "busy work" (combine writing assignments, only do odd numbered questions, if they've mastered the topic move on, etc). It was a liberating thing for me and something I would have never allowed myself to do without someone else giving me "permission" to do so, kwim?


Date Posted: 5/8/2008 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 1,056
Back To Top

Hi Char, When I used Ann Wards "Learning at Home" the phonics program didn't go well for us. I don't know if it still uses the same phonics program or not as then, but it was a Writing Road to Reading based program, which I really don't care for. We switched to using Alpha Phonics and later I started using Play N' Talk, which is my favorite phonics program. Of all of the phonics programs I have seen over the years, anything based on Spaldings Writing Road to Reading is my least favorite. However, there were other aspects to Ann Wards program I liked. If using it now, I would replace the phonics with something else. 



Subject: Hi,
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 70
Back To Top

I have a son and daughter we have decided to use the Far Above Rubies and Blessed is the Man.  I have never used these before and hope it works out?  I understand I will have to use other Math and Science.  Has anyone used these before?  Thanks for any suggestions.

Date Posted: 5/10/2008 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2008
Posts: 10
Back To Top


Thank you for that link to Farm Country General Store!  I was worried that I was  putting some of the additional books for the "Training our Daughters..." on my PBS bookshelf.  The list at the bottom of the page was reassuring. 


I am just learning what to spend more time and energy on.  It is always good to hear that others went through it, too. 



Date Posted: 5/10/2008 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

"It is always good to hear that others went through it, too. "

I know, I love being able to come here and get ideas & opinions from other HS moms. Can't tell you how much money I've saved by getting opinions here before buying stuff.

Keep on sharing folks!


Last Edited on: 5/10/08 5:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1