Last year, because my pregnancy was so taxing, we used Time4Learning, an online curriculum, as a supplemental and then primary curriculum for Language Arts (LA), Social Studies, and Science. It was such a God send. It was easy to do. Jazmine learned how to log-in herself. It taught her computer skills while she was learning other things. It was super engaging. School was as it should be after we started using it; FUN instead of this necessary evil we had to complete.
Because of our great success with it during the Spring semester of our school year, I chose it as a go to for this school year. I didn’t even look at the lessons for the next grade. I assumed it would be much of the same delivery just filled with the next grades material.
I was wrong!
The amount of LA that needed to be completed in order to finish the school year was WAY too much for us. The pace of the concepts was too much for one day. For example, she can put things in alphabetical order but one lesson for A-B-C order included exercises in proper names (remember to use the last name first), entry words in a dictionary, and numerical order. Plus, they were referencing the Dewey Decimal System! It just wasn’t for us this year. After speaking to a fellow friend and homeschooling mom, it was clear the curriculum was too advanced for us. After reading a blog with another mom’s opinion, we switched to BJU Press for LA and have been enjoying it ever since!
The Time4Learning history and science was just as disappointing. It was not engaging and required materials to do each lesson. That was very different than last year. I wasn’t prepared for that. I did not see a Thinking Ahead section to know that I needed supplemental books (from the library) or materials to do a science lesson. The science materials needed for the one lesson we did complete was doable. We looked at the three states of matter so I needed some ice and an ice-cube tray. Not hard but when I sit down to do a lesson, I need to be prepared up front, not floundering around. It didn’t work for us. We returned to our K-2 Geography book for Social Studies and Nancy Larson for Science. Everything needed for science is in the box which is right up my alley!
I purchased Horizons health curriculum. I thought all I would need was the student book and student workbook. They offer a teacher’s guide but I was thinking that the two student books should be sufficient. The student book had coordinating lessons in the workbook so I assumed it would be easy to follow; read from the student book and do the lesson in the workbook. Nope! The student book had no reference to activities to do in the workbook. The workbook had coordinating lesson numbers on the pages but the information they were reinforcing weren’t wholly explained in the workbook. I decided to purchase the teacher’s guide thinking that would tie everything together. NOT. In order to complete a health lesson with real learning occurring and no parent frustration, I review it the day before and star the information that needs to be taught and any activies that need to be done in the teachers guide and piece together what needs to be read from the student book and/or activies in the workbook. Its more work then I bargained for and I will NOT be purchasing this curriculum again.
All other subjects not mentioned were seemless from the start. When there is no subject area that stresses you, school is so much more enjoyable! A concept may be hard and take longer for Jazmine to understand but that is the richness of learning and the beauty of homeschooling. A difficult curriculum is a different matter entirely!