Jump to content

Menu

Underestimating a Curriculum and Later Seeing the Light


Hunter
 Share

Recommended Posts

What are the curricula, that you at first SERIOUSLY underestimated and then later embraced?

 

I've been reading and messing around with most of the major Spalding type curricula for almost a year now. I finally get SWR. I don't know how I missed what I now understand. I feel kind of stupid, having thought and said some of what I have about it.

 

Sometimes the good stuff is buried and just doesn't pop out, but it's there. It's like a rainstorm coming and washing off a car, revealing a sports car underneath.

 

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. I just usually notice quicker or never at all. I need to learn that some authors don't format the pages to show the structure and method. It can take multiple reads and an attempt to outline or map a curriculum to see the big picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SWR is a very muddy curric. I embraced it from the start, but realized MY ds needed help in the ONE area that SWR really doesn't touch. (Training the eye...spontaneous reading will not happen if the eye cannot perceive the letters on the page.) I feel like we've got our feet beneath us, visually speaking...and am coming back around to "Spalding-izing" our spelling b/c it is so stinkin' efficient and effective - for what it does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math Mammoth. I got it and hated it for the first couple months but now that we've gotten into it I can get over it's appearance and realize it's a really good program. At first I didn't see that lessons were broken down for me or that there were hands-on activities mixed in with the worksheets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MCT. I first previewed a friend's copy of the 3 grammar books (grammar island/town/voyage) and was seriously underwhelmed. It wasn't until I got the complete "town" level and discovered that the bulk of the grammar instruction was actually in the "writing" book that I recognized I was mistaken in my first impression. All the people who kept telling me that it was a "meaty" program when all the components are used together were right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math Mammoth-I was very reluctant to switch my son from SM, seeing SM as the "gold standard". I switched because I didn't want to invest all the money into 5th and 6th grade materials when my son knew much of it; MM was the sounder investment, and easier to skip around in. Now that we've been using MM for about a month now, I can safely say that in many ways, it is superior to Singapore: its discussion of the distributive property is excellent, and my son understands its application to unknown variables better than he would have, I think, had we stuck with Singapore.

 

WWE: I didn't "underestimate" this exactly, but I definitely had to "trust" that the outcome was going to be what SWB promised ;) I had moments where I saw what similarly-aged PS kids were writing, moments when I was sure he "wasn't writing enough" to improve. But now that he has completed WWE through level 3 (and moved on to WWS1) I can say with confidence that the incremental, steady approach of WWE worked very well. His writing is good, his grammar and punctuation are generally excellent, and he thinks carefully before writing each sentence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Calvert.

 

I used it for Pre-K and K and loved it...never used it for first. Tried and dumped it for 2nd. But now I am so happy my son is back in Calvert and my dd will be back in Calvert too next year. I think we will probably stay with Calvert through 8th grade for both of them. AND I think my ds will

 

I have to say, that I still am not thrilled with their 1st and 2nd grade programs because they take.so.long. to teach reading, and use way more sight words than phonics, and the 2nd grade is also rather dry. And really, it's SO EASY to teach 1st grade, and even 2nd grade. But to me, once you get to 4th grade, homeschooling increases a lot in difficulty level. Everyone I know IRL stresses over Writing instruction, and goes crazy trying to find a good "writing program" or just lets it go all together until 8th or 9th grade (or longer!).

 

I love it that with Calvert, everything is there, everything is put together, and there is a lot of fun and enrichment to choose from, plenty of real literature, lots of interesting things to discuss, great teaching tips, and on top of all of that, the technology.

 

I think it's not for everyone. I only have two kids. I would not be able to teach Calvert to four children. I just can't see how it could be done. But I have always wanted to actually TEACH my children and by God's grace have had the situation to be able to do that. The art is fun and interesting, when I piecemeal I always skip art. I start out every year with grand intentions, do one art lesson, and never see it again. With Calvert the art is built in AND integrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ambleside Online.

 

While I still may not follow everything to the letter, the more I incorporate, the better we seem to do with our homeschooling. At first I thought it seemed almost disjointed, too many books, too little reading from each book, too light on science, etc., but I am really coming to appreciate it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funnix.

 

We got it for free when it was first offered, and I thought I'd check it out and *maybe* use it as a supplement. But no way was I going to plop my kindergartener in front of a computer to learn to read. But, it fits my son's personality perfectly and he is doing really well with it. And I plan to do AAS with him once he finishes, so I know he will still get a good phonics foundation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Singapore. I looked at it for my DD when she was starting, and thought there was too little content, and we didn't really need the colorful textbook, so we passed it over in favor of Saxon. Now I'm re-evaluating for my kindy son, and realizing that Singapore 1A IS a little light, but that it will ramp up. Some of it, too, was that I was not comfortable supplementing then and wanted ONE program to cover all the topics I wanted to cover. I still like Saxon & use it, but it plays a smaller role in our math program now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ambleside Online.

 

While I still may not follow everything to the letter, the more I incorporate, the better we seem to do with our homeschooling.

:iagree:

Ambleside is very much a "just trust the process" type of program. But once you start seeing results... it's amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CC. The first time through my oldest was 5 and I couldn't see the benefit of memorizing things we weren't learning about that year and things she wouldn't need until she was much older. I thought I could do it better at home and it wasn't worth the exhaustion and the money, etc. After saying for years I would do it myself and not actually ever doing it I went back and now I can totally see how it all fits together and the long term benefits and I really, really wish I had stayed in b/c my daughter would be going through cycle 3 for the second time instead of the first time and this would be much easier for her. We're planning to stick with CC all the way through for many reasons....

 

stm4him

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spelling Power

 

When my old boss presented this for me to use with her older daughter (I was the nanny). I was really hesitant. Once I read the teacher-instructonal portion of the book, I became very excited about it's potential.

 

I was disappointed when my boss discontinued the system at the end of the year. In truth, I'm pretty sure that I enforced it more than she did, so I saw better results than she did.

 

I already have a copy on my shelf for when my 5yo is old enough for Spelling Power.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

KONOS. I did not "get it" the first time I looked at it...or even the second and third. I finally gave it and tried it over one summer because my kids were not retaining anything with the traditional curriculum we were using.

 

We all loved it and never looked back. It is the single best curriculum I have used in my 17 years of homeschooling. Hands-down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math Mammoth: At first, I thought it was kind of dull and simple. A couple of months in, I saw how it was structuring things for kids in ways that I think is superior to any other curriculum I've looked at.

 

Spelling Plus: It's just a list of words. And at first I didn't get the whole dictation thing. But that's what's working much better for one of my boys. And the other is flying through the lists and doing so well with it. It's deceptively simple and easy to implement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I first saw PLL, I was skeptical. However, this is our second year using it, and I'm seeing it build skills incrementally, baby steps. I see improvement in ds' speaking, writing, spelling, narration, dictation and copywork ability, and the grammar is there. Moreover, I see an interest and the variety of lessons makes sure it never gets stale. I love the composition and letter writing exercises too. I will continue with ILL the following year, by the same author, same style.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greek Alphabet Code Cracker - I underestimated this, but I usually underestimate anything that seems too much fun at the expense of rigor, but this book got DD to learn the Greek alphabet quickly and enjoyably and we moved into Elementary Greek smoothly, although part of the ease should also be attributed to Henle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sigh! Today after giving some misinformation to someone, I took a fresh look at "Cursive First". As I am working though it again, I am seeing why I put it down, but now that I have used WRTR handwriting, I see what a valuable gem I have on my hands.

 

Someone had told me the CF font was the same as D'Nealian and I believed that at the time, and quickly transitioned to StartWrite DN copy work, and completely stalled out. CF isn't quite as clockwork as WRTR so I didn't quite get the importance of the clocks, and didn't focus on them.

 

I was in a full stall until I read WRTR, and just used that for the past few months, made some EXCELLENT progress and then felt like I stalled again. I was receiving nothing but shocked compliments on my handwriting, but I still feel like there is room for improvement.

 

Used AFTER the WRTR instructions, I'm really appreciating the CF worksheets, now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reading and messing around with most of the major Spalding type curricula for almost a year now. I finally get SWR. I don't know how I missed what I now understand. I feel kind of stupid, having thought and said some of what I have about it.

 

Don't feel stupid. It took me several times looking at SWR before it all clicked. Funny thing is that it was actually while using All About Spelling that SWR clicked. And they are different in a lot of ways. But it was the light bulb that worked for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Singapore. I looked at the textbook and workbook at a convention last year and thought "meh". I did use the IP and CWP and loved those, but wasn't going to the whole program. Then I finally realized that my son needed less incremental instruction and he wasn't liking the layout of MM anymore. So I switched him over to Singapore, and wow! I love love love the HIGs. There is so much in there that isn't apparent when looking at just the TB and WB.

 

KISS Grammar. I looked at it in the past and frankly couldn't really understand it. I also thought the first exercise or two looked really boring and easy. Ha! After a post on the logic board explaining how to use the curriculum (start at level 1, regardless of your grade level!), I got the third grade workbook and started working through it myself. Boy is it HARD! And it gets meaty pretty quickly. Once you add complements, it's pretty dicey with those real sentences from literature. I have a lot more appreciation for it now!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SWR is a very muddy curric. I embraced it from the start, but realized MY ds needed help in the ONE area that SWR really doesn't touch. (Training the eye...spontaneous reading will not happen if the eye cannot perceive the letters on the page.) I feel like we've got our feet beneath us, visually speaking...and am coming back around to "Spalding-izing" our spelling b/c it is so stinkin' efficient and effective - for what it does.

 

Is there a reading curriculum that helps to train the eye?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SWR is a very muddy curric. I embraced it from the start, but realized MY ds needed help in the ONE area that SWR really doesn't touch. (Training the eye...spontaneous reading will not happen if the eye cannot perceive the letters on the page.) I feel like we've got our feet beneath us, visually speaking...and am coming back around to "Spalding-izing" our spelling b/c it is so stinkin' efficient and effective - for what it does.

 

What does it mean to train the eye? And what program did you find that does it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those exclamation points may have to require me to take another look. DD loves the program, but it's not so easy to just open-and-go.

 

MEP was one for me too. And MEP is actually very open-and-go but I didn't realize it until I actually printed out the Lesson Plans and Student sheets. It has every step laid out. I didn't get it just looking on screen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh how many times I have come back to Phonics Road? I keep thinking I can do it better using other things, but I'm never happy for long. So we are back--for good!!

 

Singapore Math--we are just finishing up our first full semester of Singapore and I feel like my children have done so much math. Everyone likes it and is happy, and I definitely have different types of learners. It's also light years easier for me than Rightstart was and I feel like we are going over more topics. Rightstart is a good curriculum, and definitely laid a great foundation in place value for my children who used it. I will be using Singapore though, from now on with my children, adding in some Miquon too!

 

 

If only history could find its groove in our house....:tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MEP was one for me too. And MEP is actually very open-and-go but I didn't realize it until I actually printed out the Lesson Plans and Student sheets. It has every step laid out. I didn't get it just looking on screen.

 

The printing out of Lesson Plans is what holds me back because looking at the screen is not the same for me. I should just put it on a tablet since I'm actually able to look at PDFs on a tablet, but not on a laptop. Weird, right? It's rare for DD to ask for math, and she asks specifically for MEP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The printing out of Lesson Plans is what holds me back because looking at the screen is not the same for me. I should just put it on a tablet since I'm actually able to look at PDFs on a tablet, but not on a laptop. Weird, right? It's rare for DD to ask for math, and she asks specifically for MEP.

 

I just printed a week or two at first. Then I saw how easy it was. But if the tablet works then that is fantastic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HWT...I thought the multisensory method of teaching was overkill until:

* I had to teach my daughter (who had a TBI midway through K and was going blind) to learn to write again with her non-dominant hand...

* I realized that my 3rd born has fine motor delay, some major vision issues, and a very bright little mind that is easily bored.

 

For those who never need all of the bells and whistles of HWT, they may never appreciate what a gem HWT is. Every OT we have ever worked with, though, only uses HWT....and I completely see why.

 

 

:grouphug: and :iagree:

 

As the Mom of a kid with fine motor issues, this program is a God-send and the ONLY thing that could get ds to even pick up a pencil or crayon, let alone actually write.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MEP was one for me too. And MEP is actually very open-and-go but I didn't realize it until I actually printed out the Lesson Plans and Student sheets. It has every step laid out. I didn't get it just looking on screen.

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

The printing out of Lesson Plans is what holds me back because looking at the screen is not the same for me. I should just put it on a tablet since I'm actually able to look at PDFs on a tablet, but not on a laptop. Weird, right? It's rare for DD to ask for math, and she asks specifically for MEP.

 

We did Reception on the computer, and moved to paper for Year 1. I could just bring it up on my iPad if I really wanted to, but I like having the paper with me. I have one binder of lesson plans for me, and one binder of worksheets for dd. I ditched it after a while with The Sponge because we had several math programs going at once & I wasn't on top of things & so a lot of things were cut, including MEP. I really liked it while we did it but I had to choose & went with Singapore. Same thing with The Drama. THe mental math in Reception freaked me out. Then we hit serious walls in Singapore with BOTH dds at different levels. I pulled out the MEP Reception again with The Drama and she LOVES it. I understand the mental math now, and she can DO the mental math and is grasping how to manipulate the numbers even though she still mixes up 6 & 8, lol. So I am getting Year 1 ready since she just finished Reception today. I was reminded in another thread how wonderful & advanced MEP gets, and The Sponge was sitting next to me while I looked at Year 1. She grabbed it and asked to do the first empty sheet, right where she left off. She did the whole thing, and it was still quite challenging even though she is in multiplication and such in Miquon. MEP really has a very different scope & sequence than traditional math programs, and really challenges the students to understand the relationships between the numbers & how to manipulate them completely, mentally and in various puzzles and on paper in a variety of ways I haven't seen in other programs. So now, The Drama will be doing just MEP Year 1 plus some Math Bingo for the moment, while The Sponge is doing Miquon and MEP plus Math Bingo. We're all very happy. I also need to sell my Singapore, lol. I keep trying to go back to it but it just doesn't work as well for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miquon.

 

Not curriculum, but Ruth Beechick's books for Mom.

 

I had been thinking about Beechick! I'm not familiar wih many of her books but I had no interest in The Three Rs for a long time after looking into it thoroughly and finally bought it for one small thing in one subject - I can't even remember what now. Since I've owned it I've gone back to it again and again and have appreciated more and more of it. Her words on teaching Arithmetic have been quite a solace this week - its like she could read my mind and knew all the fears and troubles that harrassed me.

 

Also, someone mentioned CM. I was nearly a CM dropout (after a long period even before that of no interest at all) but the more I get it, the more I appreciate it (although I still prefer to read her methods through other sources because reading her directly still tends to overwhelm me but it is on my to do list).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Math Mammoth. I got it and hated it for the first couple months but now that we've gotten into it I can get over it's appearance and realize it's a really good program. At first I didn't see that lessons were broken down for me or that there were hands-on activities mixed in with the worksheets.

 

Yes, this. Math Mammoth comes to mind, and so does BFSU (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding). The formatting on this is terrible (IMO), so much text without any structure (at first glance). But once we get into a lesson, there is some meat on the bone, and the concepts are just what primary students are interested in. Dr. Nebel seems to understand children, teaching, and science -- just not formatting a page. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FLL 1&2 for sure!

 

I got the book at the library a couple years ago and thought it was too easy, we didn't need it. I have since realized that you can skip some of the lessons if you need to and I wasn't doing much in LA without it! Now I have the book again and am loving it (even though my 3rd grader is far behind in LA I have to start somewhere and we are zipping though becuase I can't wait to get him on track to do FLL 3!)

 

Also, Saxon 2, again thought it was too easy went too slow, too repetitive but now I realize that is good for the child. It is to gain mastery and I didn't get that concept. We finally started one lesson at a time and I did end up finding things my 2nd grader at the time didn't have mastered.

 

Also AO and the CM method of reading a chapter or less of a book at a time. I would sit down and finish the book with the kids and then I finally understood that the child will remember the book much more if the reading is prolonged over a few months, it really works. They don't remember a book we read all in one day but they really remember and get into a book that we took an entire semester to finish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...