Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: Picking and Choosing curriculum

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Picking and Choosing curriculum
Date Posted: 8/8/2007 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
Back To Top

Do you use a boxed curriculum? Or do you put stuff together yourself?

I have found that with all the stuff on the internet, library, all the books I own and all the resources in the community, it seems I don't need to spend tons of money on a full boxed curriculum.

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
Back To Top

I hear you, Mary! We were sort of thrust into homeschooling thanks to a good-for-nothing school district. DH is Army enlisted, and I haven't worked for as long as we've had babies, so money is always an issue. When we first started out, I went with Miss Maggie's Old Fashioned Education curriculum. Yeah, that lasted all of a month. It was terribly boring, too old fashioned and out of date in many things, and too much of a hassle to print and self-bind everything. Next, I set out to create my own curriculum. This worked out well! We were doing lots of projects, science experiments, and using older text books I found at yard sales and online. I enjoyed setting the rules, and I could customize it to suit my kids.

Well, we all know that homeschooling is a journey, right? Fastforward to now.

I am now using Ambleside Online, along with a textbook spelling and language arts program, and Singapore Math.

Ambleside Online is still fully customizable, and yet it is all written out for me, ready to go. I am in complete agreement with a well-rounded, classical education. Ambleside fits the bill. The kids and I love reading, too, so it was a natural fit.

Mary, thanks for starting up these topics. I was just thinking to myself that I'd love to see this forum come to life. :)

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2007
Posts: 43
Back To Top

My curriculum of choice, WinterPromise, is seen as a "boxed curriculum" and for some people it is one.

I have used Paperbackswap and used book sales to buy most of the needed resources.  This is my last time for that though, as soon as I have the American Story 1 resources I'm switching over to recreational PBS time.

I really really like the convenience of a pre-made schedule and prescribed books, even if I deviate from the plan (which I often do), because it helps me stay accountable to myself and frees me up to spend time with my kiddos instead of planning.  It also keeps the number of books in my house at a reasonable level.

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2005
Posts: 42
Back To Top

I've never tried a boxed one, but last year I didn't do so well at making up my own either (got too off track), so this year I'm trying Biblioplan, since the kids decided they wantecd to go back to Ancient History.  It's sort of scheduled, and I still get to do my own thing for science.  I had some of the resources already, and I just had to order a few more.

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2006
Posts: 102
Back To Top

Wow Jennifer!  This will be our 14th yr of hsing and I've never heard of WinterPromise...it looks really interesting!    I wish I'd heard of it before.


Date Posted: 8/9/2007 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
Back To Top

We used Abeka for the 1st 3 years.  It wasn't really a good fit for my son's learning style or my teaching style.  This year I've put together everything on my own.  Next year I plan on using My Father's World ( mfwbooks.com) , their exploring countries and cultures program.  We may also use winter promise in the future, but that is about as far into the box we're going again.  I'm a habitual planner, so I enjoy picking and chosing.



Date Posted: 8/9/2007 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

We're starting our fifth year with K12 www.k12.com

We love it (obviously using it 5 years!).  We purchase it ourselves as "independent" homeschoolers, not as part of a public virtual school.

We did stop using their math in Pre-Algebra A.  It wasn't a good fit for DS like 1st-5th was.  So now he's using Teaching Textbooks' Algebra 1.  www.teachingtextbooks.com

Last Edited on: 8/9/07 4:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/9/2007 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2006
Posts: 1,677
Back To Top

Does a person have to use a reguar curriculum?  We have a teaching store very near by and I am planning on just picking and choosing what I want to use through them but they aren't anything like Abeka or Rosetta Stone or anything like that.  Just regular books.  This is still acceptable isn't it?

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
Back To Top

Shannon, that is the most fun!!! I love picking out what we're going to learn about!

We're following Ambleside Online...mostly just regular books, no workbooks or anything. :D

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
Posts: 73
Back To Top

I enjoy chosing our curriculum every year. I have a few things that we stick with like Spell to Read and Write and RightStart Math, but everything else is subject to change. I make a general plan to follow and then see what fits it.

If you are interested in seeing more about what I chose to use this year please consider visiting my blog. I wrote a post called "Burn the Textbooks" that might interest you. Here is the link: http://reflective.homeschooljournal.net/?s=burn+the+textbooks

Have a wonderful school year!


Date Posted: 8/9/2007 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
Back To Top


It is fine. I put everything together myself. I have a friend who does this too. She is the queen of finding the best worksheets and unit studies online! We are going to do some stuff together this year.

I LOVE the teaching store. I want to buy everything!

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2006
Posts: 1,677
Back To Top

So do I!  I spent close to $200 there a couple of months ago and really didn't get any books. LOL!  Now I just need to go get the books that we need.  I have a good Spanish  program that I ordered from them and a Bible program that I got through them and a book that shows what all we need to cover for the state test at the end of the year.  But other than that, it was just mostly fun stuff for add-ons. 

Date Posted: 8/14/2007 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2005
Posts: 87
Back To Top

This is my first full year of homeschooling.  We will be doing Math 7 from teaching textbooks for my 5th grader and also all other subjects we will use the DK eyewitness books and each one I have designed a lapbook around with lots of hands on projects and researching.  My son loves that.  We have also decided to use the lapbook style for Reading as well.  We are going to read all the Gregor books this year, plus many books that my 9th grade daughter is doing for her English honors class in public school.  So that should be interesting.  Especially since most of the books she is reading I remember reading at a much younger age.  It seems weird to me that school does not put an emphasis on reading so much. 

Date Posted: 8/14/2007 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2006
Posts: 184
Back To Top

We use Rosetta Stone, and Singapore Math, and Prentice Hall Science (Discover Science series).

Everything else, we just pick and choose what we want to read or watch or do.  We have used some BJU and some Abeka and K12 before too.  I suppose of all of those we liked the BJU the best.  Even though we are secular???  There wasn't a lot of busy work and it was very manageable and yet  was challenging.  The big problem was my son ate up BJU science books at a rate of 3-4 per year, so now we are done with all of them.  We are doing the Prentice Hall now.  They are thicker.  lol

Date Posted: 8/17/2007 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2006
Posts: 1,677
Back To Top

So with the picking and choosing, I have a question.  I have several history e-books that are great that I've decided to print off and use as our history curriculum.  Is this ok?

Date Posted: 8/18/2007 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
Posts: 137
Back To Top

I'm mostly using Sonlight. I really like having everything all planned out for me too, because I tend to get off track really easily. (I'm one of those people who love to start new projects and then never finish them...) So far we've only been using it a week, but it's worked out well. I'm addding my own bits and pieces, like more reading, and I'm using Math-U-See for our math program. That one's not specifically scheduled for me, but they have a suggested guideline for how to move through the material.

Date Posted: 8/19/2007 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 158
Back To Top

Shannon, unless your state has specific requirements I don't know why the e-books wouldn't be just fine.  Are they the wowio project kits?  I've downloaded lots of non-fiction from that site to use when the kids are older. 


Old Fashioned Education, btw, has a complete curriculum designed to be free (as does Ambleside Online). You can also get a free history curriculum from here:  http://www.ourlosbanos.com/homeschool/