I had so many very helpful comments on a recent post that I couldn't possibly express my replies in a comment back. So here is a post instead. :-)
First, thanks so much for the encouragement, well wishes, and prayers from all of you great ladies! It's so great to hear positive comments from ladies who've been there or been through that.
Deborah, don't you EVER worry about making a long comment on my blog. I can't say how much I love comments, especially the long ones. Your daughter's birth story was such a blessing. I get truly excited when I hear about someone who takes their health into their own hands.
Katerina (The Bobbin Aubins), I too have been in the exact same place. We were sort of impatient for a new baby. I had shared that fact with a very few people, and some of them had the reaction, "Another one?! ...Already?!?!" I guess I've never said it, but my thought is "And you don't?!?" I think that I am equally surprised, and perhaps appalled, that some people don't want kids.
Twylia (Twinkle Toes), I know what you mean about having 2 toddlers running around. Of course, I don't have 6 others that are in school, lol.
Now onto the school stuff. I think I'll start with why I'm turned off to A Beka. I find it to be laid out well with easy to understand lesson plans. I think that it moves pretty quickly, but that a good foundation is laid before a new concept is introduced. A Beka places huge emphasis on writing: something I sorely missed in school. I didn't even start to write organized papers until 11th grade! What I HATE about it is that A Beka is truly a classroom curriculum. Our families' evaluator has often told me that what works in the classroom doesn't often work in the living room. She is right! The kids can usually do the worksheets independently, but the instruction time can sometimes be too time consuming with A Beka.
Another thing with A Beka that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is this: I find some of the graphics to be inappropriate. There are frequently times where children are swimming. That, of course, I have no problem with. The problem is that the children are in modern swimwear. My kids don't wear swimsuits. Period. Lydia and I swim in dresses. The boys swim in below-the-knee shorts and dark colored shirts. This is what we wear when we go to the creek and what we wear in the backyard water sprinkler. When the kids encounter a graphic like this in a story or on a worksheet, they spazz! "Mooooom, there is naked on my school work!!!" Unexcusable. Also, very often there are girls pictured in shorts, sometimes to the mid-thigh. There have also been stories that are magical without using the word "magic." For example, Cinderella was a short story in a reader.
I remember in K4 that we had a problem with some of the stories from an academic stand point. In the reader the sentences to be read, for example, would be "See the red hen? The hen has an egg." What would be pictured would be a red hen standing above an egg. There were times that I knew that the kids would skim the words and decipher the rest from the picture.
The only two curricula that I have at all had any sort of peace with are Landmark and Rod & Staff. Landmark is an Independent Fundamental Baptist curriculum. I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist, and I feel that our families' choice of curriculum should reflect that. Maybe that's crazy talk to some, but that's just how I feel. My pastor also told me that when he was assistant pastor and Christian school principal, their school used Landmark. He said that it was much like A Beka, just not as "flashy."
Rod and Staff, a Mennonite curriculum. There will be no problems with dress. The readers will always be character building. There will be doctrinal issues. The curriculum only goes up to 10th grade though, but I'm sure that we can cross that bridge in high school. The highest math they offer is accounting. I see no sort of algebra, geometry, trig, pre-calculus. From looking at the overview of their science, even their highest science looks like it belongs in 6th grade. I see nothing even close to anatomy, chemistry, physics, biology or anything. I really don't mean to offend anyone using it. If you love it, great! I just have my doubts.
Another place that concerns me is cost. I realize that Landmark is cheap, but I get most of our homeschool stuff CHEAP!!! We live sort of near Pensacola. A Beka is a publication from Pensacola Christian College. Many, many people here use A Beka in the homeschools. Last year I spend about $15 dollars per new student worksheet book, coming to $90 per grade. I bought them from Pensacola Christian Academy and didn't pay shipping costs. All other things I got at a fabulous homeschool consignment shop in town at a fraction of the cost.
Here's a rough break down on last year's cost for John:
readers: 10 books at $5 each= $50
teacher book, math and language/phonics $15 each = $30
teacher spelling book= $10
science, health, history student readers $8 each= $24
test books, 2 at $5 each=$10
That's about $125 in stuff that can be used again and $90 in consumables. If Landmark is completely consumable then it would be considerably more expensive.
Anyway, that's all my musings. All the comments have been extremely helpful.
I sure am ready for this morning sickness to lighten up. :-)