Monday, April 26, 2010

Needing Input

Okay, thus far in our 3 years of homeschooling, we have used A Beka Book. I have a serious love/hate relationship with this curriculum. I have been looking at LIfepacs that Alpha Omega offers. Has anyone had first hand experience with it? Comment, email, whatever. I would love to hear what you have to say.

12 edifying expressions:

char said...

My first year of homeschool (my son was in 4th grade)we used a mix match of things to try to find what we liked. We used lifepaks for math and language. They were ok but we quickly tired of the monotony of nothing but workbooks. I think my son only finished about 5 of 10 workbooks and it was a fight to get that far. He was completely bored! Since then I have read things like this that make me glad we did not try to continue with them. We have used My Fathers World since and LOVE it. Bible is integrated into everything and everyday is not the same ol' thing. Good luck on your search for what works for you and your kiddos.

Kristy... said...

I use Rod and Staff and LOVE it but, I am curious to hear what others have to say about these you have mentioned.

Deborah said...

I have also used A beka. I loved the text books, but didn't use their curriculum guides. I also found that they moved a little to quickly in math for the average child. Our first year of home schooling we used alpha Omega. I didn't have a problem with the content, just the 'colorlessness' and boredom of workbooks. That was many years ago, and they have since added some color. I did order some grade three math from AO, and found it didn't always have enough explanation, and sometimes I wasn't sure what they were wanting the kids to do...but then I hate math!!
This year I have finally conceded defeat...I am not able to 'do school' the way I would like....which is very eclectic, unschooling, interest led and more....I'm just to busy and too tired! So, I have ordered Switched On School House, which is by the same people that do Alpha Omega. I'm guessing it is the same material but it is done on the computer. My boys are very computer oriented, so I'm hoping this will hold their interest. Also, there are video clips included in some lessons, so that should kake it more interesting than workbooks. The best part is that it is 90% self correcting so I don't have to score everything! It won't arrive until next month, so I can't tell you much else, but it's an option for you to check out.

Kimberly said...

We did a little A beka in the beginning... it was too intense for us... I'm not a fan of the numerous numbers of workbooks with AO, Christian Light is the same... Big reason for us going with R&S was the reusability/cost effectiveness of text books. It's OK to experiment with curric when the children are younger - God will provide exactly what you and the children need.

Elizabeth said...

I read that article, Char, and it was an eye opener! Thank you. When we get to third grade, I had pretty much settled on Switched On, or their new Monarch for us since we are Mac users. Now I'm back at square one! LOL

I guess the problem is this too: since I live near Pensacola, everyone is all about A Beka, a "ministry" (using the term tongue-in-cheek) of Pensacola Christian. I mean, every IFBaptist school uses it, every homeschool family I know uses or used it. Not that I mind being different, it's that I don't have anyone to ask opinions. Also, John is not having trouble with A Beka, really. He is a straight A in Math and A/B in reading/phonics. It's me that is the problem. I just don't have time to hover all around him as A Beka requires. It truly is a CLASSROOM curriculum. They just go through the books and change "students" to "your child," "they" to "he," etc. I've looked at A Beka DVD and beside it being something like $900 per student and nothing reusable, it is just plain boring.

But then, I've looked at the most advanced worksheets in AO for 2nd grade and much of the 3rd grade work he has already learned everything in first grade! He can't learn nothing in a school year! So anyway, AO is probably going to be out. *sigh*

I've never heard of Rod and Staff until I've heard it through Kristy and Kimberly's blogs. Same with Char and My Father's World. Those are ones that I need to look at too. I really want something like Switched On, where they can just do school and I don't have to hold their hand through it!

Thanks y'all. This has be most helpful. I'd still like more input if anyone else happens to stop by or if y'all have more to add. :-)

Zsuzsanna said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

You ask an interesting question here. We used a lot of A Beka when we first started homeschooling, but now, with four of our kids being homeschooled, their approach is just much too regimented and time-consuming. I still use some of their materials (phonics, writing) in the beginning grades, but for the most part, we have picked other programs that can be taught across all grade levels at the same time. I blogged about what we use here:

and here:

As for LifePac, I do not recommend them at all, and explained why in a recent blog post here:

char said...

I found My fathers world at a homeschool convention. I loved it when I saw it but did not understand how to do it since it is more of a unit study and I have a public schooled mind but the Lord just kept bringing me back to it over and over throughout the 2 days. I basically threw out everything I thought that school was and decided to go with it. This next year (now that my girls can read pretty well) all my kids will do the same curriculum at their own level(except they have their own math and language)until Kenyon gets to high school. I cant wait! I will be teaching ALL of them the same topic instead of 3 different things and it will save lots of money and time for the next several years. Several people I know now use it as well and love it. I don't ever want to talk someone into picking a curriculum just because I like it-every family is different-but I just dont see anything not to love about it(they do not use KJV but the only thing that really has Bible verses in it is the teacher mannual. We just do the reading and work from our Bible with no problem. It is set up so that does not cause any problems). They have a message board on their website that parents ask questions and give suggestions to each other that is very helpful as well. Again-I will be praying for you as you continue your search.

Lori said...

I have a list of what I'm going to be using in the fall, on my blog.

We used the Abeka DVDs when Jamie was in 2nd grade -BIG MISTAKE! All we did was watch a classroom. By Christmas, I went back to teaching him myself. I'm still loving their Language ~ maybe it's because I'm afraid to leave what I know. For everything else we use a variety.

I have found that Apologia is a wonderful Science curriculum. I wish I would have started it sooner.

Tami said...

i loved loved loved alpha omega lifepacs!!! the only reason i don't use them now is that i have more children and the cost was just too much! but i still pick them up here and there from friends and book sales.
my kids loved them cuz they are workbook style kids. i loved them cuz they told me what to do when and i could follow that or ignore it easily. :) i supplemented history books for reading but didn't need to for anything else (and that's becuz we are huge history fans and WANTED to read more details )
their english program has won many kudos for excellency. they stress writing and such instead of grammar .(tho they certainly cover that!)

Kimberly said...

I've heard taht A beka curriculum is a full grade level above other curric's....

Kristy... said...

I LOVE R&S because I dont have to sit and hold my daughters hand through it .. Also, its one of the cheapest out there... last year I got two full grades for under 300... my girlfriend gets the teachers Manuals and such passed down to her and all she has to buy is the workbooks for Abeka and she spends more then that for ONE grade.
Its all KJV and all the little girls are dressed like little girls and same as boys.
If you are looking for frills, dont go for R&S its plain jane but, I LOVE that about it too. I dont need bells and whistles.
My daughter loves it, learned quickly and as I said can pretty much be told "GO get your phonics, math.. ect" and she can do it herself.
This year she is in 2nd grade and I had ordered geography , health, science .. ect for her but, opted to just do math , english and phonics this year... next year, she will do third grade math, english and phonics but, do second grade health, science ... ect.. This year, with the new baby and the "issues" I had, we stuck to the basics.. which is the beauty if homeschooling is it not ?
No, in second grade your kid wont know how to do division as they would in Abeka.. but, I am ok with that.. one day they will know it and in the end, no one as an adult says "Hey didnt you know Division in second grade?" LOL
Anyways... Sorry I am so wordy..
There is a link , you can also see Sample lessons and such inside.

Tori said...

Hey there, thought I would pop in a leave a comment about this post.

We are graduating a home-schooler this year and we've always home schooled. We started off with ABeka video but soon realized that the budget wouldn't allow that for too long. I did love it in K5 and first because it really gave our son a great start at reading.

Then we switched to Alpha Omega life pacs and weren't totally in love with those. Not that they were bad but they weren't sufficient.

The next year we went with Landmark's Freedom Baptist Curriculum and really liked that for the older student but their beginning phonics weren't great. They were sufficient but the quality of the paper and so compared to ABeka lacked a little.

We then tried Switched on Schoolhouse which is Alpha Omega's computer based curriculum. We really liked the ease of the program and the fact that the program did most of the checking but we ran into some questionable things in science and history I think it was and the math was also a little inapt.

Anyhow, now with two high-schoolers and a middle-schooler we are back with Landmark and we feel great about it. Landmark is right on with everything Bible and we never have to worry about what our children are being taught. It may not be as challenging as ABeka but spiritually it's an A in my book!

Hope this helps a little, sorry for rambling.