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Okay, I am really struggling to figure out what curriculum to use with a 3rd and 8th grader. I don't know WHY I can't make a decision. I really just want someone else to do it for me. I am driving my husband bananas talking about all the different options. One day I want MOH then the next SOTW. One day I want Math U See the next Math Mammoth or CLE. One day I want WWE the next Writing Stands and on and on and on!!! How do you decide??????????? The other thing really tripping me up is language arts. There are so many components and I can't find one truly all inclusive LA curriculum. Which wouldn't be a problem EXCEPT that means I have another 4-5 choices to make!!! I have spent so much time on this! Okay, one practical question - would you go with MOH and combine 3rd and 8th or go with SOTW for 3rd and something else for the 8th grader? Also, any suggestions for LA?

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Are you planning to do lessons over the summer? If not, you have time so there's no need to hurry into a decision. I'm new at this too and what I did was to just work through one topic at a time and research it and think about it until I felt comfortable with the decision. If you try to research all the topics at once, you'll go crazy. I have just about everything decided now except for science...still working on that one!

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I decide by talking to other families, reading reviews and prayer. Then I will usually try to purchase our choices 2nd hand. That way if it doesn't work, I haven't invested a huge amount of money. Also, I can always pass it along to someone else if our needs and expectations aren't met. It's just a decision. I can always make a new decision.

I have no suggestion for you on specifics as my children are a bit younger than yours. But I do hope you find a good fit for both kiddos. :)

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I know what you mean. The choices are truly overwhelming.


I happen to like MOH, so I must suggest it. It's all in one book and it's written really well. I haven't read SOTW though, so I can't compare the two.


As for all-inclusive LA programs, I haven't had very good experiences with them. I always have to supplement something. The program may be reading intensive, but lacking in spelling so I end up doing a separate spelling program. Or the writing is too advanced, so I supplement there too. I have found it much easier to select each LA component individually.



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Some families find something they love and stick with it forever, but I find that every year I tweak (sp?) my curriculum and try new things. I agree with the PP who said to buy things second hand so there's not so much regret. It is better to stick with one curriculum if you can, but don't sweat it too much.


Are there any homeschool groups or conventions near you? There are usually curriculum fairs this time of year so you can go look at things and compare side by side.


A note on SOTW - I think you can do it with a 3rd and 8th grader together, just like MOH. You can probably check out SOTW at your library to preview it before you buy.

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I started out my first year (8 years ago) using everything my aunt suggested from her homeschooling experience. From there, I was able to determine what worked for us and what didn't. The only thing from my first year that I still use today is Spelling Power, Saxon Math (after 3rd grade), and Horizons math (through 3rd grade). We ditched everything else.


I would make a pros and cons list if you are truly struggling with decisions. I did this a few weeks ago when trying to decide between TOG and MFW. I would talk about specifics with my husband with that list. From there, he was willing to sit down and have a conversation about it. He lead me to TOG after I was able to lay out the pros and cons.

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It really helps to determine (if you haven't already) your philosophy. Do you know if you desire a Classical approach? Or do you lean Traditional or Charlotte Mason etc...? Determining that as well as your teaching style and your dc's learning style(s) can help narrow down some of those choices.


Do you desire a Christian worldview? You mentioned both SOTW and Mystery of History. MOH would provide that for you where SOTW, while not anti-Christian in any way, won't give you that worldview.


Have you been able to view Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum? Many people find that a valuable resource. Some public libraries carry it too.


Also, have you read The Well-Trained Mind? The authors (and providers of these great forums ;)) recommend excellent resources from a Classical perspective.


Some other factors you may want to weigh are:



  • how much teacher time you have
  • how far the curriculum your considering goes (i.e. through middle or high school)
  • whether you'd like a workbook or not


Don't feel alone. After twelve years, I still have those moments! :tongue_smilie:Every dc needs and desires are different, family dynamics change, and sometimes we just need a change.


Lastly, if you do so, pray! Let us know what you decide. :)

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Do you have any home school expo type things coming up in your area? We just had an expo that was pretty much only booths, not like a convention with all the other stuff going on. I took my daughter and she helped me pick. I had been set on A Beka math, but we got there and she fell in love with MUS and that's what we got. I think it's important to remember that we are home schooling to benefit our kids, so whenever possible, let them give some input on what they like. Obviously that's not always possible, but sometime it is.


For me, my plan for history is MOH. We are starting this year. When my son officially starts school we will be on year 3 or 4 (depends on how long he stays at our church preschool). He will just jump in on year four and we'll keep going. If (and that's a very big if!) we ever have any more kids, they would just jump in on whatever year we happen to be on in history and science. Less stress for me! So I picked MOH because it can work for any level.

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You have some good advice given to you, but I just wanted to identify with you. I love looking at curriculum & can continue to look and look and look . . . but our money pocket is just not that deep to buy all that I want!!!! Then I remember that good curriculum is only good as far as what is used by us. If it sits on the shelf -- what good is that?


Here is something of my approach. I hope something helps.

I go back to thinking about the basics when I feel overwhelmed with choices -->

*my approach to education

*the kids' learning style/needs

*my teaching style/needs and what we want to do as a family (Science? History?)

*Goals for each child.

*Adaptability of the program ~ My willingness to adapt it & How easy for me to adapt it? Is it worth the hassle? For instance, I'd think that you could easily adapt MOH or SOTW to fit your needs by giving appropriate follow-up assignments for each child - but how much hassle is it for you & what are you williing to do/not do?


For LA with my 3rd grader -- I think about LA in this way:

P - Presentation (Recitation, Oral Narration, Comprehension . . .) & Penmanship (Manuscript, Cursive)

E - English Grammar (Writing Mechanics)

W - Writing Composition (Words to paper -- the Process)

S - Spelling (Word origins, phonics . . .)


Sometimes I combine these areas, sometimes it's more individualized. I fit LA programs around "PEWS". Reading is a natural part of our lives & so gets done if we're "schooling" or not.


Okay, I am really struggling to figure out what curriculum to use with a 3rd and 8th grader. I don't know WHY I can't make a decision. I really just want someone else to do it for me. Which wouldn't be a problem EXCEPT that means I have another 4-5 choices to make!!! I have spent so much time on this! Okay, one practical question - would you go with MOH and combine 3rd and 8th or go with SOTW for 3rd and something else for the 8th grader? Also, any suggestions for LA?
Edited by m4given
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First, I try to tackle one subject at a time. When I was a new homeschooler, I decided to choose math first because I thought that would be a straight-forward choice--boy was I in for a surprise, LOL!


Think about what you know about your teaching style. What do you need in terms of support for the subject? Is it a subject you know and love? A subject you dread and need extra support?


Then think about your kids learning styles. 3rd and 8th grades are old enough to have some input in this decision. If you've narrowed down to a couple of math programs, for example, and think you could be happy with either, show some samples to your kids. What do they think of them? Do they like one better than another? Why do they like it better? What about the approach appeals to them? How is it different (and potentially better) than what they used last year?


Sometimes what helps me is reading what people DON'T like about a program--what made it not work for them? That might be what I'm looking for! OTOH, sometimes reading negative reviews makes me depressed, LOL, so do that at your own risk!


Is your husband at all interested in looking at curriculum? My dh doesn't get involved much in the choosing process, but I remember the year that I was looking for a new math program, and I showed one to him. He said, "Wow, I would have loved to learn math THIS way when I was in school." The child I was choosing for thinks very much like Dad does, so that feedback was immensely helpful.


Most of all, pray. Ask God for wisdom and insight into what you and your children need from a book or curriculum.


I like to save the LA decision for last because of the components. I'd say, if this is your first year homeschooling, keep it simple--spelling, grammar, writing. You can do vocabulary informally through discussing words in books you read-aloud or in your child's reading, or through subjects (like in your 8th grader's science or history book). We use Steck Vaughn Core Skills LA which has both grammar and writing. It's not a lot of writing, but if you combine it with some writing that comes up in other subjects throughout the year, it's probably plenty for at least your first year. If you want something more detailed in teaching writing, you could look at Jump In, that's good for this age.


History, I confess I'm partial to MOH!


My last encouragement to you is...it's not the end of the world if you choose something that doesn't work for you or your kids. Most curriculum you can salvage something from, even if it's not great. But everyone chooses some things that just don't pan out. That's ok. Give yourself the freedom to fail, because within that freedom is also the freedom to succeed. And your kids will learn as much--and sometimes more--from how you handle any "failures" that come along, whether little ones like picking the wrong curriculum, or bigger ones. It's all a part of this journey.


Merry :-)

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