Saturday, February 7, 2009


I have been tackling the exciting tedious and, as the title of this post states, overwhelming task of choosing homeschool curriculum for Emma.  

This is how I feel:

Searching website after website and then reading review after review.  AHHHHH!!!!!

SO... I think (think - because I change my mind often) that I have narrowed it down to 4 that I am seriously interested in. 

1. Sonlight - Its hugely literature-based and I love that, but its gonna be A LOT of reading. 

What I like:  

a) Its Christ-based. 

b) Emma loves to read (she's almost 4 1/2 and is reading independently now) and loves to be read to so their Core K package might be a good fit.  

c) From what I've read the Instructors Guide is awesome and will leave me more time working with Emma and less time preparing lesson plans.  

d) If worse comes to worse I could buy their Sonlight Newcomer K package which is expensive all-inclusive.  Although at first glance it seems like a hefty price, it really is all-inclusive.  I would never have to go to the library and hope a book from the reading list is there; I would never have to buy a book or any supplemental material for arts and crafts. Everything I need for the year is there.  That's nice.  And very 'Alison'.  

What I dislike:  

a) Its pretty pricey.  $338.09  for the Core K package and that doesn't include the material that I'd need for math and science (which I think I'd order from another curriculum provider) or the $42.27 that I will spend on required resources that are necessary but not included in the package. 

b) They seem to not believe in the textbook approach to learning.  Although I agree that it can be monotonous, a little textbook seems beneficial.  

2. Alpha Omega (Horizons)- Very popular, Christ-based.

What I like:

a) Its affordable!!!  To start Emma at a first grade level would cost about $226.85.

b) Although its workbook stuff, from the samples I've seen its pretty entertaining and I feel comfortable with it.

What I dislike:

a) The Horizons Curriculum doesn't offer science (unless I'm missing something).  If that's the case I'd likely supplement with something like KONOS-In-A-Box which would cost an additional $210.00.

b) It seems like it might get a little boring.

c) I'd have to purchase things separately for activities and reading.

d) It doesn't seem like something we'd stick with for the long haul.

3. My Father's World - VERY Christ-based.  Kind of old school.  I would start Emma at a 1st grade level.

What I like: 

a) It is so focused on God and His world and I love that.  There is a large focus on the Bible and memorizing scripture.  

b) It seems to offer a really good balance between workbook stuff and hands-on activities.

c) Its total cost is $245.00 and includes phonics, handwriting, math, science, art, reading, and Bible

What I dislike:

a) It looks a little boring.  The illustrations in some of the books are black and white and just kind of lame-o.

b) It may not be challenging enough for Emma.

4. Rod and Staff - Again, extremely Christ-centered, fairly popular and known for having great readers.

What I like:

a) Affordable!  The Grade 1 Complete Package costs $234.25.  This includes Bible, phonics, reading, spelling, penmanship, math, music and art.

b) Super Godly curriculum with lots of Bible.

c) Seems simple enough.

What I dislike:

a) Again - might be a little boring (both for Em and me).

b) Again - where is the science?


I could choose one or pick and choose, soup it up.  Can you see how exhausting this is?  But I know its going to be so rewarding.  I've been working with Emma daily and I am so thrilled that I have taught her to read and write, add and subtract and I am proud of that.  I love seeing her learn and grasp new concepts.  I'm not sure if I'll homeschool forever, but it feels like the right choice for this upcoming school year.  

Any suggestions??  


Scott said...

I have no clue which curriculum to suggest, but I think that what you are doing is fantastic.

I really think that my wife and I might home-school our kids (when we have some.

I'm glad you're doing this before me so that I can just learn from your mistakes instead of making them myself! :)

Tonya Ingram said...

My head is spinning, lol... and I'm not even the one going through the research. I've never even thought about home-schooling my boys... mostly because I'm the only adult here, and I have to work for us to survive :).

But wow, if I were to home-school, those sound like some wonderful wonderful programs.

Krystyn said...

I think I would be pretty overwhelmed, too!

What a great task you have in front of you. Good luck with your decision.

Luke said...


I vote you at least give Sonlight a try, but I'm rather highly biased [smile]. Even considering my strong bias, I still encourage you to give Sonlight a "go" because:

1. With the Love to Learn Guarantee, if you don't love it, send it all back. It's absolutely worth at least trying with that kind of a deal.

2. It sounds like your family will love it.

My two cents. But whatever you choose, may it be a perfect fit for you and your family [smile].


Christina.Kimberly said...

I would have to recommend using a combo of Alpha Omega Life Packs and Horizons.

Yes there is something that you might be missing.

The Life Packs are the only complete curriculum that they offer. Horizons is for students to have a more hands option in language arts and math.

So let's just say that a child was unable to grasp math just by theory, in grades K-6 they would have the option of taking a Horizons math(instead of the math Life Pack) which would have more hands on activities, repetition and manipulatives to help the child grasp new concepts.

The Life Packs(which include science)is usually the core and Horizons is more like a supplement when needed.

The Weaver are unit studies which are also used to supplement or complement Life Packs or Switched on School House.

I hope this was of some help to you.

We have used BJU and MFW but the Life Packs and Horizon have been the best fit for us.