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April 05, 2009


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How about Abeka, but take liberties on just how much of the workbook pages you require, especially if he obviously understands the concept?

Rebecca Price

Currently, I teach 3rd grade in the public schools in Texas and just hate how God is left out of everything. I do not have children yet, but when I do I will seriously consider home schooling them for this reason. An excellent curriculum that several of my home schooling friends use with their children is Tapestry of Grace. It includes history and language arts, but not math and science. What I find so intriguing is that it cycles through world history from a Biblical world view AND it is set up to go through the history of the world every four years, with lessons increasing in complexity as the student gets older. So, the whole family can be studying the same time period, but older siblings would have more complex assignments. I think it is just awesome!


cindi m.

I liked the Abeka program. They also offer a DVD program which would have been beneficial if finances would have allowed.
But we utilized the books only and I thoroughly enjoyed the homeschooling experience. (grades 8-12) My son may not admit it, but he did, too. (He's now 21.)

Anyway, Abeka is worth looking into.

Robbie & Stacey Johnson

Apologia science is a great curriculum. It teaches from a creation worldview and gives hands-on projects as a part of the lessons. My kids really enjoy it (8th, 4th, K grades).


may gourlay

i currently homeschool and participate in a local program that is similar to Tapestry of Grace (pacesinfo.org). i recently met a mom who homeschools her 13 children (ages 25-9) and she loves Sonlight, just need to pick and choose what you want. All these "curriculum" use literature as the basis versus a textbook and are considered "classical" education or unit studies. i would also look into KONOS.

for math, we use math-u-see and i have heard good things about singapore math. i heard that saxon math tends to "drill" but is good if your student likes worksheet (same for abeka).

for handwriting, check out "handwriting without tears" for ideas. i have my son practice his handwriting without a formal program but have him do some everyday. donnayoung.org has resources/handwriting paper for various ages and planning tools.

if there's a homeschool conference near you, i would recommend you attend. some of these conferences have vendors that allow you to see the various "curriculum" first hand.

cathy duffy has a 100 top picks for homeschool. the website has tons of information. http://www.cathyduffyreviews.com/

there's quite a bit out there! take your time to do your research and see if you know someone who has what you are interested in so you can take a look at it.


I homeschool Conner 11 and Elizabeth 9. I have tried just about everything and currently use:

Math U See- love it and I learn so much with the kids. I have used this all along. Highly recommended

Handwriting Without Tears for both kids. We have tried them all but this is a great curriculum that I wish, I had used sooner. Great and highly recommended.

Mystery of History, Volume One. I am using this for the first year. I love it because it has a biblical worldview. It takes ancient history and lines it up with the bible. So one day you may learn about Egypt and the next day about Joseph and Egypt. It also has many ideas with age appropriate activities. Sometimes we do them and sometimes we don't. What I do like is there is a timeline you can make. We haven't started ours yet but we are going to. It also has a geography built into it.

Institute for Excellence in Writing, Phonetic zoo. I have tried every spelling out there. My son struggles with spelling but has learned so much with this program. It has a audio CD that they listen to and hear the lessons. They take the test until they pass 100% twice.

Science this year is Answers in Genesis human body. I am not loving it so well. Last year we did another company( creationism) view of planets. It was okay. I really have heard great things about Apolegia and I am planning on using that next year.

I have heard great things about YWAM geography. I was going to use it but the history had geography built in.

We also do a CA history

I use a book called "Writing skills for special children" for our language. I am planning on using Institute for Excellence in writing next year.

I tend to read History and Science to the kids. Both curriculums I use right now have tests in them. I give the kids the tests plus have them do the map work independently. Handwriting and Math are taught on new skills but then it becomes independent work until the unit is completed.

If you email me, I will link to my blog that I wrote about homeschooling. Homeschooling in the younger years is the hardest. Once they get older things tend to smooth out.

carla azhderian

He is still at such a young age that I would use something very mild. I would like to suggest Five in a Row (FIAR) or Winter Promise as a nice mild unit study curriculum that emcompasses history, geography, science, art, writing, etc. It's so fun for both the teacher (parent) and children, that they don't even realize their doing school. I used FIAR w/my girls and we all loved it. I hope to start it this coming school year with my boys.

Selena Riddle

A friend (Wendy)asked me to come here and comment. I homeschool two (8 and 5 years) and have two younger. I've adopted the first three (had to throw that in there when I saw the ad for the devos: very cool! and the orphan summit: I so want to go to Texas' in May). JulieinCA and I have a lot in common. I like Math-U-See. Trained as an occupational therapist who worked with kids, I have to say there's nothing better than Handwriting without Tears for painless, developmentally appropriate multi-sensory learning of handwriting. Highly recommended. Workbook is cheap but supplemented with the multi-sensory stuff like songs and letter part blocks. I also like Mystery of History and used it last year. But here's what I'd like to hold up: My Father's World. It's VERY teacher-friendly, takes the best of what's out there (living books, Charlotte Mason, text, classical, etc. and puts them together wherever they are the best). It's written by a woman who was involved with Bible translation and some proceeds go to further that. Bible-based, God-centered. Its Exploring Countries and Cultures (for 2nd grade up...it's combinable for multiple ages in the family) covers geography, science, art, music...to develop a heart for God's people all over the world so that a desire for missions is born. We start it next year (used My Father's World K and first-born 2nd grader recommendation of Adventures this year). But for what you're wanting, you may want to jump right in to Countries and Cultures. Then starts the history from Creation to Modern. I have girded up the phonics though...it is pretty laid back in the pace it hits phonics. Which is good for my son, no so much for DD. We use 100 Easy Lessons first and follow up with Total Reading (very expensive and not very good customer service, but excellent teaching of phonics and spelling rules). Then we use Spelling Power. Still looking for great English...we'll go with the My Father's World recommendation next year. Hope you find what fits you and yours!

Selena Riddle

I always forget something. First, the Shaohannah's Hope brochure features our daughter, Josie. (: Second, MFW (My Father's World) is not worksheet-oriented, but does have time for independent work...like book basket). It is gentle and hands-on, but I promise it's not overwhelming in doing or planning like KONOS or self-made unit studies. Okay, I'll leave room for others' advice now. Feel free to e-mail if you want to chat.


We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling, and have a very close friend in her 3rd year, our children ranging from PreK to 4th grade.

I would first like to agree with those who have said Handwriting Without Tears and Math U See. We have MANY friends who use them, and love them. We love them also.

We used Sonlight PreK and very much enjoyed it, and will use it next year for 1st grade. My friend who homeschools her 5 is on her 3rd yr (I think) and loves it. They use one Core for all levels, and just adjust the readers. It is user friendly and has the lesson plans laid out for you.

They use (and we plan to) Phonetic Zoo from Excellence in Writing, and will start their writing program next year. That also came highly recommended from families I trust well.

We have experimented and played with a lot of stuff, and keep landing on that list. I hope that helps you!


I agree with Selena, I have heard many great things about My Father's World. My good friend Robin is using it with her daughter right now. It is heavy on teacher prep as are Winterpromise, Weaver and Tapestry of Grace. I love all those programs but needed stuff that I could leave with others once we get the call for transplant.

I am a Charlotte Mason fan and like to use all different stuff. So many people use the same thing but I use the eclectic approach. I agree we need to use solid curriculum that is bible based and creation rooted. All that has been reccomended is solid and time tested by many families.

I would like to recommend Rainbow Resource to you, they have a huge website and sell most of this. I like to buy used whenever possible except in the case of consumables.

Keri Hurley

There are so many good,Godly curriculums out
there. I feel like the Curriculum Queen having tried so many of them. A friend of
mine who is the teacher who does my kids
evaluations recommended that I try the
A.C.E.paces. I believe they are put out by
a company called School of Tomorrow. We
had been using Bob Jones Homesat and that
is no longer available unless you buy the
whole dvd package. I took her advice and
bought just the first three paces (books)
for each subject and what a blessing it has
been.Each booklet(there are twelve per subject)has a test in it that you give your
student at the end, and to make it even better, all of their writing and answering
questions stays in the pace. I love that
because I don't have alot of extra workbooks
or tests to order. I also don't have alot
of extra paper work to organize or put away
or misplace. All of their work stays in their pace and that makes it very easy to organize. I have finally found a way to organize that works. We have also found
this curriculum to have a very Biblical worldview. Having used Bob Jones and Abeka
before, I have found that these paces are very good and consistent for my kids, 16,
13, and 10 to work in. They have done well
on the tests at the end of each pace and are
able to work independently when needed. I do
schedule times to work with each of them as
I like to keep up with what they are reading
and writing. I check it as we go.
I have always used and loved "traditional
Christian Textbooks" and had to "get over"
not using the big textbooks anymore. We do
pull them out if we want to read a little
more on a subject we are studying in the paces that grabs our interests. I have found
that I am better able to organize, be more
consistent and just get more school done this way.I don't have paperwork all over
the place to keep in its place. We have
seen the "learning fruit" in the lives of
our children. I have three young adult kids
and I wish that I had used these for them.
We kind of jumped around with curriculums
and I feel I was not as consistent.They have
seen the paces and think they are great.
We use them for science,history, english,creative writing and literature,and
Bible. For my high schooler--we even do some
of the electives. My two younger children
use Saxon Math(we really like it) and my
high-schooler does Bob Jones pre-algebra.We
also use it for spelling. My friend who recommended it, used to teach at a Christian
school that used them.She highly recommended
them after she saw all the paperwork I was
trying to keep up and how overwhelming it could be. I am so thankful!Remember--Homeschooling is not just about what curriculum you use..there are many good ones
but also the little moments of teaching,training and loving our children.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at eighthurleys@aol.com.You do have to order the seperate reading
books that go with the Literature and Creative Writing but we have found them to be very Godly reading books. My ten year
old is beginning to write well and I believe
it is just the consistency of the curriculum
and the way it is layed out.
No matter what you choose, just remember
that educating our children is important
but unless you train them for the Lord it
is all in vain. I hope this helps and like
I said, if you have any questions feel free
to e-mail.


Hello -- I'm a home school mother from Northwest Arkansas. We have home schooled all four of our children. Our oldest is a sophomore in college (chemistry major), our second is graduating this year (planning on a major in English), and our younger two are in 5th and 9th grade.

I'd like to give an endorsement for Sonlight curriculum. (www.sonlight.com) We have used Sonlight for many years. It is difficult to overstate the value their resources have been to the education of our children.

Sonlight employs a literature-based approach to history and geography. We have seen our children race through their other "schoolwork" so they can get to Sonlight. We have traveled to places in time, history, and in other countries and cultures that we never would have been had it not been for the books that Sonlight incorporates into their curriculum.

Not only has Sonlight met our goals to provide a Christian education with an inherently Christian worldview, it has well prepared our children academically. Both of our oldest kids have even won scholarships from Sonlight (I'm unaware of any other home school curriculum publisher that awards scholarships).

You can read about my kids and their Sonlight scholarships here:




We have been using the Alpha and Omega Lifepac curriculum for years now and we love it. Before we started homeschooling, I taught at a private Christian school where my children also attended. They used Abeka and I didn't like it nearly as much as the one we use now. (No offense intended to those of you who love Abeka. Different kids have different learning styles/preferences so I don't believe that our choice is superior. I only mention the comparison in order to make the point that we've spent significant time with two different curriculums) We weren't homeschooling yet when our children were in the 2nd grade. We started when they were in 5th and 8th so I can't say for sure whether I would have preferred ours during those years but if they are anything like the 5th-12th grade curriculums, then they are beautifully designed in such a way that your child can do a lot of self-guided work. My husband and I are both certified teachers (I say that in case anyone thinks that we looked for a curriculum that did most of our work for us! lol) so we don't mind having to do whatever instruction is required but the truth is that the kids don't need a great deal of it with Alpha and Omega Lifepac. We are there to guide and we are there to lend instruction if they run into problems but more often than not, they are able to work independently. And the kids seem to enjoy it more if they aren't forced to be engaged in actual instruction all day when it isn't necessary. This curriculum has really developed our children's ability to learn and to me, that is actually the ultimate goal. I can't recommend it highly enough.

A friend of mine, whose children are young like yours, is using SonLight and she absolutely loves that so although I cannot give firsthand testimony regarding that one, I can tell you that my friend thinks it's the very best for younger children. I recommend you take a close look at both but of course I'm partial to A&O. : )


Math (coming from a 10 year home school vet (for what that is worth) and a certified math teacher) - there are kids who need math u see due to learning style and it is very well done. Be cautious if you plan to do standardized testing because the order of math u see is different than "normal" -- not bad just different and thus makes testing hard sometimes -- My favorite math though after seeing lots of options during portfolio reviews (I do them) - is Bob Jones Math.

I've used BJUP Math for over 6 years and have done kindergarten through Algebra one so far. I am pleased with the pacing, review, appearance, etc. I like it.

I agree with the Apologia vote for Science. My whole family loves the Exploring series for K-6 and have started General Science on CD. Great! We love it.

We used Mystery of History and really like the approach and the content. It's easy to use.

I also put in my vote for Handwriting without tears. Love it!

Reading . . . pathway readers and Christian Liberty Press readers. Christian Liberty's history book for grade K or 1 (Little Pilgrims) is very good. I also like the Bible books from Christian Liberty.


Just to mention a few things that haven't been mentioned yet....

"Easy Grammar" - My son has been doing the Grade 2 book and I really like it. He can do it on his own because he is able to read the directions (not sure where Cole is at with reading) - keeps adding new concepts and reviewing old ones.

"A Reason for Handwriting" - just a handwriting workbork but practices Bibile verses.

And he loves "Draw Write Now" handwriting and drawing combined. THis is more of a supplement though.

And you didn't ask about this, but it is something that has been sooooo great....we've been doing "Bible Study Guide for All Ages" as part of school too. It is an actual bible study where you read right out of the bible. We have the main guide and the student worksheets (there are lots of different things you can get to custom make it as simple or as fancy as you like). I love it because my kids (almost 6 and 3 - not the one year old though) can really get and retain tons of details (me too) directly from the Bible. It uses visual stick picture figures that you can draw or just point to while you read the passage so they pay attention and comprehend more. They answer questions about what you read and review in each lesson so they remember everything they've already learned. THe worksheets use more pictures to reinforce the lesson - you get age appropriate ones for each kid. Maps, and timelines and Bible facts are woven into it too.


as a preschool teacher we use the handwriting without tears curriculum and love it. it is an easy way to start kids young and teach them how all upper case letters are formed using 4 basic shapes. So easy for hte kids to catch on, and learn. They start it out using songs to teach children where letters start, and how to hold a crayon. they provide materials to work the childrens fine motor skills, which are essential for proper handwriting techniques. Definitely check it out!

Kerry Hasenbalg

What a blessing, what a blessing, what a blessing this advice is for me! I have had a couple gaps in my day today to research some of these aforementioned resources online already! What a wealth of knowledge you all are! What a blessing, what a blessing, what a blessing! I am really grateful to you all! If you think of anything else, please do not hesitate to add comments to this blog about homeschool ideas. This has been really encouraging for me. What AWESOME Ladies you are! I will pray that the Lord will repay you for taking this time to share your experiences and wisdom with me. it is encouraging actually to know how many different ways and different curriculums that are out there that are working. It seems that it is difficult to go wrong when there is a godly mom willing to teach her children at home well...no matter what curriculum is chosen! It seems that God has really honored you all thus far! So encouraging. I pray that I will land on what will be best for my family - I am excited for the rest of this journey! Kerry Hasenbalg

cindi m.

One of the cool parts of homeschooling is that the parent learns right along with the student!! I also loved the bonding, the flexibility, and the fact that we didn't have to make up snow days because we didn't miss school! :)

Sounds like there are lots more choices than I was even aware of! Well, you asked for input: You got it!!!

Love to ya'll from NC.


Wow, you have received a lot of comments and a lot to have to process. We were part of a church where all the families were homeschoolers so each mom definitely had their favorites, but the majority of the moms used Sonlight as their main core. It is by far the best out there for history and geography. Apologia Science is what I would recommend for your son's age. Math-U-See is what most moms I know use. Also, Spelling Powere to me is the only way to go. It uses one book for all the school years. You just use a spiral notebook. There is a lot of good stuff out there. I know a friend who uses My Father's World and likes it ok, but it was just too much info and stuff for a little kid. I also know a mom of 8 who uses Abeka for her kindergartner because it's on DVD and it gives her more freedom to work with her older kids. Anyhow, so much to choose from but good luck deciding


If you haven't heard of Timberdoodle... They have a neat selection of God-centered homeschool resources. www.timberdoodle.com has an online catalog or they'll send you a catalog in the mail for free.


I am homeschooled through the Abeka Academy program.
Its a great God-centered school.



That is a tough one because it is so individual. But I would recommend the Principle Approach, although it isn't a curriculum per se. I actually write most of my own curriculum using their materials as sort of guides. But it gives us a great deal of freedom and teaching from sound biblical principles.


But better advice would perhaps be to really figure out what your educational philosophy is and then find people with a similar philosophy to ask. Otherwise the mass of recommendations can get overwhelming. There is a lot of great stuff out there, but none of it is really great for everyone.

Keri Hurley

Okay--since you asked..thought I would mention one more thing. Our homeschooling
day goes so much better when we stick to
a schedule!! Since I have a high-schooler,
and our high schools here start at 7:15, yep!that's 7:15 a.m.(whoever thought of that)? We have set our morning to start
school at 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Now we
do take a lunch break and fit in a quick
clean up time in between so those are the
times that work best for us.
Since you have a young one, you may not need
to start that early but a set schedule,time
wise is a good thing.
I don't like doing school work while trying
to cook dinner. One of the other things I did when I had little ones was to have a
"quiet hour". I got this idea from Elisabeth
Elliot's daughter. It worked great..don't need to do this anymore but I would let the
child have a quiet hour in a room where they
could look at special books, listen to a recorded tape that I sometimes made for them
or something else that you know they like to
do quietly. It took a little training (you
don't want them destroying the room) but
it was worth it and they looked forward to it.They loved their quiet hour and still talk about that. One other thing I did for
little ones also was to have a special basket
or box of special toys that they could only play
with during school time.This could be when
you need to work with Cole with no interruptions. Then while he was working
on something independently, you could schedule in a time with your daughter.I also
had short periods of time when I would have
an older student help a younger one with something..It helped their relationship and
helped me to get something else done. I didn't schedule these periods of time for long as I wanted the older ones to get their
work done.You may have a schedule that has
worked great for you and then I would say
don't change it. We really wanted our kids
to get school done without being like a typical school but have found that a "school
schedule" with lots of love, and interruptions sometimes (what do you do when
the dog's eating a lizard)..works best for us.I hope and pray this helps a little. I have also loved reading the other posts.Just
as an extra encouragement to all you moms
of little ones out there--We were sitting
down for dinner one night and my oldest son,
who still lives at home and works with my husband made a comment I'd like to share.
I told him that we had all been discussing
what the Lord had been doing in our lives and I asked him how he felt the Lord had been working in his life.He thought for a moment and then said.."I've been thinking
about how thankful I am that you guys homeschooled me. You wouldn't believe how
terrible it is out there and how strange
some people are. I'm glad I didn't have to
hear all that when I was younger.(He is
a very strong christian young man--22 and
has been a bold witness for the Lord at work).Has actually passed out Bibles to guys after my husband has fired them...And
they took it..
We have made mistakes as parents and have
had to ask forgiveness..children are so forgiving..thank the Lord..but it is really
like the analogy of the bank teller who is
taught to know what that real "bill" feels
like so when the "fake one" comes along,they know right away that it is fake.
We have watched as our three adult kids have been able to discern what is "True"
and what is "fake"..They have come home with stories that have "cracked us up laughing" and then some that have sent us
on our knees.. But Jesus is always there and FAITHFUL!!! So hang on moms and keep
pressing on.. I Promise---IT WILL BE WORTH IT!! Many Blessings today to you ALL.

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