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Mormon Moms... have you seen this new LDS curriculum?


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When I first started homeschooling, I looked (in vain) for a good LDS-based homeschooling curriculum. There just isn't too much out there.

 

I was curious about the new "Family School" curriculum at http://latterdaylearning.org/, so I requested a sample. I wasn't expecting much, but I have to admit, a lot of the program looks really great to me. There are definitely some typos/errors, but I'm surprised at how thorough the lesson plans are.

 

I like that the LA/Math isn't included, but that many other subjects are. It looks like they are rolling out one year at at time, and the first year includes Ancient History... it looks like they use SOTW. (Too bad, because I'd love to see what the U.S. History is like!)

 

I won't be able to use any of it this year, because I'm all set with other things, but maybe in the future it will work out for us.

 

It looks like you have to fill out an email request form to receive the link to the sample.

 

Has anyone else seen the sample? What do you think?

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That is very interesting. I am very leery of boxed curricula. I just don't believe that anyone can do every subject well. So I figure if I buy this, I am getting everything with a good doctrinal basis. But how sound is the science going to be? I like the idea of LDS principles being taught through good literature, but it doesn't even say what literature is going to be used. And I am afraid that I am much too cynical to give a brand new company my e-mail address to send me samples. Why can't they just post them?

 

That said, I would love to have an LDS Classical history program, but I have already invested too much into TOG.

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I, too, looked for and wished for something like this for years. Anyone know about the brick and mortar school this is based off of?

 

All I know about it is that at least one person from that school placed in every single age group in the local Fourth of July essay contest.

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That is very interesting. I am very leery of boxed curricula. I just don't believe that anyone can do every subject well. So I figure if I buy this, I am getting everything with a good doctrinal basis. But how sound is the science going to be? I like the idea of LDS principles being taught through good literature, but it doesn't even say what literature is going to be used. And I am afraid that I am much too cynical to give a brand new company my e-mail address to send me samples. Why can't they just post them?

 

That said, I would love to have an LDS Classical history program, but I have already invested too much into TOG.

:iagree:

 

Except that I am not leery of asking for a sample. I will let you know how it goes.

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When we first started homeschooling I was somewhat interested in an LDS program. We are about to start our 8th year and I haven't yet been impressed by any LDS-based homeschool offerings. I don't agree with focusing on spirituality at the expense of academics, which is what religiously-homeschooling LDS families sometimes tend to do.... Those sorts also tend to be Young Earthers, which would be unacceptable to me in a science program.

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I haven't yet been impressed by any LDS-based homeschool offerings. I don't agree with focusing on spirituality at the expense of academics, which is what religiously-homeschooling LDS families sometimes tend to do....

 

:iagree: Yes, I very much agree with this. If someone can come up with an LDS program without sacrificing academics . . . :hurray:

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:iagree: Yes, I very much agree with this. If someone can come up with an LDS program without sacrificing academics . . . :hurray:

 

We should put our heads together and write one--during all our spare time between trying to take care of babies and keep toddlers out of trouble and actually teach the older children:tongue_smilie: I would love an LDS version of TOG.

 

I think that bringing a religious perspective to the study of both literature and history is very helpful. Both of these are subjects that seek to make sense of the human experience, and to me that cannot be complete without an understanding of the gospel being brought to bear. Many Christian curricula seek to do this, but with an incomplete understanding of the plan of salvation--particularly the parts about the gospel being the same in every dispensation, the importance of free agency, etc.

Science...I think there is a place for mixing religion and science. I had the opportunity to take several classes from Dr. Kim O'Neill at BYU, and his classes were an amazing mixture of science and testimony. Because of that experience I disagree with those who think knowledge should be compartmentalized and that faith has nothing to do with science. But I don't think science itself needs to be made to fit into a pre-conceived model of the world (such as YEC). Science is a process of discovery, not a vehicle for proving some religious doctrine or other. Maybe I would feel differently about that if I thought LDS theology required a YE model of creation, but I don't think it does.

I've never looked closely at any comprehensive LDS curricula, but my impression is that the offerings are pretty sparse. I'd love to hear any feedback on what is available out there.

 

--Sarah

Edited by thegardener
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No I haven't seen that one but I think this one is similar and new too http://lifeschoolk12.org/ This site has 60 days worth of free lessons to trial. http://www.lifeschoolk12.org/download.htm

 

 

Wow! It is interesting to have two comprehensive LDS programs being released at the same time.

 

It is nice that the lifeschool one has such a large sample... I wasn't as impressed with it, though. The integrated language arts would be troublesome, I think. Also, this one does seem to have a much heavier-handed approach to religion. (Utilizes lots of church videos "available at your meetinghouse." Definitely not convenient!) The pricing also seems really high if you are using this for multiple levels... $155 parent guide plus $149 for each different level of student notebook for the first year, and that's just the downloads!

 

I still really like the way that the latterdaylearning.org program looks. I like that it interweaves religion with academics and uses real academic texts and literature, not just LDS-produced stuff. It is $350 for the complete Year 1 program, printed.

 

I really want someone else to look at the samples! :001_smile: (Although the sample is only one lesson for each subject... I would also like to see more than that.)

 

Although I'm happy with everything that I've chose for curriculum for this next year, I have been feeling badly about my failure to incorporate more religious study into our days. Everything that I try to do, such as a "devotional," always ends up feeling just like our nightly scripture study or FHE (which are usually less-than-stellar because of all the little ones) and so I just give up and don't do anything during the day.

 

I like the idea of interweaving the religion into an academic subject or two, and making some of those connections that I'm just not very good at making. You can purchase the subjects seperately... I've been wondering about just using the art (except that it ties in to the history!), music, and literature.

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I wish there was more up on the website (samples, descriptions, pictures, etc). Oh, and there were several redundant words and phrases in the main description - kind of reflects poorly on an educational product.

 

Not LSD, but....sometimes when you are excited about a project and feel led to do it, you don't "see" the errors. That is how my brain works.

 

It doesn't lessen the academic value of what I am doing, but just means I need friends that are grammar buffs. :)

 

I do understand how it could LOOK unprofessional, but not everyone who is great at history, science, or math....is great at language arts. :lol:

 

Honestly....that has held me back from sharing lesson plans and such as I am afraid people will dismiss my ideas based on my poor LA background.....which is sad.

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Anyone reciebved a reply to their free sample request?

 

I noticed the errors on the site, as well. Ah well, everything usually goes through a beta period. I'm not going to fault them for it.

 

No reply yet. And at least they are labeling it a beta for this year.

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No I haven't seen that one but I think this one is similar and new too http://lifeschoolk12.org/ This site has 60 days worth of free lessons to trial. http://www.lifeschoolk12.org/download.htm

 

Argh. That one is YE. :confused: it's... interesting. I'd almost like to use some of it in circle time, a bit of guided religious discussion with our scripture work. But there's no way I could use that as everything. It's like... a sampler of a curriculum. A lot of religion and a poem. Then religion and write a sentence. Then religion and fill in three action verbs. Then religion. This lesson done. :001_huh: Plus the history was 100% scriptural--nothing about any other parts of the entire earth, as far as I could see. Sigh. And you can tell she has a public/private school background in all the worksheets and such. Sticking with secular stuff again!

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Argh. That one is YE. :confused: it's... interesting. I'd almost like to use some of it in circle time, a bit of guided religious discussion with our scripture work. But there's no way I could use that as everything. It's like... a sampler of a curriculum. A lot of religion and a poem. Then religion and write a sentence. Then religion and fill in three action verbs. Then religion. This lesson done. :001_huh: Plus the history was 100% scriptural--nothing about any other parts of the entire earth, as far as I could see. Sigh. And you can tell she has a public/private school background in all the worksheets and such.

 

Yeah, you explained it more clearly than I did. Too much religion, not enough academic "meat."

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This is the History TOC from the latterdaylearning.org program:

 

Table of Contents

Laying the Foundation

Lesson 1 The Purpose of Studying History

Lesson 2 An Overview of History

The Dispensations of Adam, Enoch & Noah

Lesson 3 The Purpose of the Creation

Lesson 4 God’s Creativity and Orderliness

Lesson 5 Adam and Eve’s Record

Lesson 6 Enoch’s Vision of the History of the World

Lesson 7 Enoch’s Righteous Life

Lesson 8 Enoch’s Weaknesses Overcome

Lesson 9 Noah’s Righteousness

Lesson 10 Noah: Father of all Nations

The Dispensation of Abraham & Egypt

Lesson 11 Nimrod and the Tower of Babel

Lesson 12 Abraham’s Life, Setting, and Travels

Lesson 13 Abraham’s Covenant

Lesson 14 Abraham’s Faithfulness

Lesson 15 Joseph’s Unique Mission

Lesson 16 Egypt’s Geography

Lesson 17 Egypt’s Righteous Foundations (2200 B.C.)

Lesson 18 Egypt’ Heritage of Knowledge

Lesson 19 Egypt’s Government of Law

Lesson 20 Egypt’s Turning to Idolatry and the Worship of Many Gods

Lesson 21 Egypt’s Mythology

Lesson 22 Egyptians Belief in an Afterlife

Lesson 23 Pyramids to Honor the Dead

The Dispensation of Moses

Lesson 24 Moses: A Prepared Prophet (1600 B.C.)

Lesson 25 The Ten Plagues and the Release of Israel

Lesson 26 The Israelites Murmur

Lesson 27 The Ten Commandments

Ancient Civilizations

Lesson 28 Sargon the Great and the Akkadian Empire

Lesson 29 Shamsi-Adad: “King of the Whole World†(1800 B.C.)

Lesson 30 Hammurabi and Old Babylon

Lesson 31 Ten Tribes Taken Captive

Lesson 32 Sennacherib: Defeated by God (700 B.C.)

Lesson 33 Nebuchadnessar: King of Babylon (605 B.C.)

Lesson 34 Daniel in Babylon (608 B.C.)

Lesson 35 Cyrus the Great, King of Persia (550 B.C.)

Lesson 36 Daniel in Persia

 

That looks much better to me, but I still can't tell if that's enough history or too much religion. I guess that it also depends on what makes up the other five years of the program.

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Argh. That one is YE. :confused: it's... interesting. I'd almost like to use some of it in circle time, a bit of guided religious discussion with our scripture work. But there's no way I could use that as everything. It's like... a sampler of a curriculum. A lot of religion and a poem. Then religion and write a sentence. Then religion and fill in three action verbs. Then religion. This lesson done. :001_huh: Plus the history was 100% scriptural--nothing about any other parts of the entire earth, as far as I could see. Sigh. And you can tell she has a public/private school background in all the worksheets and such. Sticking with secular stuff again!

 

:D Which is exactly why when I read through it I decided "No Way" :lol:

 

Too much religion - not enough other stuff. I'm sticking with secular as well.

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This is exactly why I've been leery in general of LDS curriculum. I hate to see stuff passed off as 'doctrine' when it absolutely isn't.

 

:iagree: I think that you have hit it on the head. Everyone seems to have their own version of the gospel. And truly, what God has impressed upon one family may be very different from what He has impressed upon another. So even if a curriculum is full of truth, it may not have the focus that my family needs. (And there are many people that preach doctrine that is not true.) I much prefer to use an academically sound program first and foremost. I don't mind if it has a Christian perspective, but the academics are my first priority. I add in Church-approved materials as they fit into our studies.

Edited by tracymirko
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Okay, I read the intro to the curriculum as well as the history and lit sample. This quote from the intro is exciting to me.

 

The

Family School is not only a curriculum. It was designed with one additional and

equally important objective--to provide opportunities for collaboration and networking

among LDS homeschoolers. The Family School network provides a dynamic

dimension to The Family School curriculum. This network is dedicated to helping

mothers, students, teachers, and the school to easily connect and share with each

other. It will provide all with a sense of community while sharing ideas, struggles, successes,

feedback, and friendship freely and openly. Likewise, it allows us to continue

to send updates, resources, and ideas to continually enrich and supplement the

program along the way.

 

But a lot of things turned me off, such as these statements:

 

Many of the methodologies we use

were adopted from the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) and

adapted to fit a restored gospel perspective. These methods are fundamental to

the program. Some will be more familiar than other, but as you follow the Spirit and

ask for the guidance of the Lord, your understanding of these true principles of

education may become one of the greatest blessings to your family from this program.

The idea that an education philosophy is "the truth" is scary to me. I personally have an eduational philosophy that works for my family, but I don't think of it as the truth for all.

 

Here is a ? from the sample history lesson:

 

Can you think of some knowledge that could lead to destruction? (Knowing

how to steal; knowing how to abort a baby; knowing logical thinking that can

lead away from the truth, etc.)

Uggghhhhh---logical thinking can lead one away from the truth, not to mention what placing it in a list along with stealing and abortion connates . I really feel logical thinking can lead to the truth. Of course, logic can't form a testimony, but it does have a place in education.

 

The lit sample lesson made a huge leap to me. It compared the pea in The Princess and the Pea to the Holy Ghost. The three principles taught in the lesson are: Principle 1: Fairy tales have certain characteristics that make them unique from

other kinds of literature.

Principle 2: We are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father; we are royal children.

Principle 3: Because we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can always know

what is right.

 

This turned me off----Education can be taught without sticking in church principles. Of course we are encouraged as parents to take opportunities to teach gospel principals in our everyday lifes, but this forced kind of teaching is one thing that turns me off of many Christian curricula. It reminds me of the math curriculum that includes scripture verse at the bottom of each page.

 

I don't need a fairy tale as an intro to teach about The Holy Ghost.

 

After looking at the small sample and the scope and sequence, I'm not sure about the whole program. I like the scope and sequence of history. I would most likely need to pick and choose what we used. I can't tell from the sample whether the lit would work for us. The lesson shared wouldn't work for us, but the intro that mentions character traits focused on in the lit and the actual books used are interesting.

 

I don't think it is enough for older kids--even the assignments meant for older students doesn't involve much thinking, reasoning, or even much writing.

Edited by missmoe
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Okay, I read the intro to the curriculum as well as the history and lit sample. This quote from the intro is exciting to me.

 

The

Family School is not only a curriculum. It was designed with one additional and

equally important objective--to provide opportunities for collaboration and networking

among LDS homeschoolers. The Family School network provides a dynamic

dimension to The Family School curriculum. This network is dedicated to helping

mothers, students, teachers, and the school to easily connect and share with each

other. It will provide all with a sense of community while sharing ideas, struggles, successes,

feedback, and friendship freely and openly. Likewise, it allows us to continue

to send updates, resources, and ideas to continually enrich and supplement the

program along the way.

 

But a lot of things turned me off, such as these statements:

 

Many of the methodologies we use

were adopted from the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) and

adapted to fit a restored gospel perspective. These methods are fundamental to

the program. Some will be more familiar than other, but as you follow the Spirit and

ask for the guidance of the Lord, your understanding of these true principles of

education may become one of the greatest blessings to your family from this program.

The idea that an education philosophy is "the truth" is scary to me. I personally have an eduational philosophy that works for my family, but I don't think of it as the truth for all.

 

Here is a ? from the sample history lesson:

 

Can you think of some knowledge that could lead to destruction? (Knowing

how to steal; knowing how to abort a baby; knowing logical thinking that can

lead away from the truth, etc.)

Uggghhhhh---logical thinking can lead one away from the truth, not to mention what placing it in a list along with stealing and abortion connates . I really feel logical thinking can lead to the truth. Of course, logic can't form a testimony, but it does have a place in education.

 

The lit sample lesson made a huge leap to me. It compared the pea in The Princess and the Pea to the Holy Ghost. The three principles taught in the lesson are: Principle 1: Fairy tales have certain characteristics that make them unique from

other kinds of literature.

Principle 2: We are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father; we are royal children.

Principle 3: Because we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can always know

what is right.

 

This turned me off----Education can be taught without sticking in church principles. Of course we are encouraged as parents to take opportunities to teach gospel principals in our everyday lifes, but this forced kind of teaching is one thing that turns me off of many Christian curricula. It reminds me of the math curriculum that includes scripture verse at the bottom of each page.

 

I don't need a fairy tale as an intro to teach about The Holy Ghost.

 

After looking at the small sample and the scope and sequence, I'm not sure about the whole program. I like the scope and sequence of history. I would most likely need to pick and choose what we used. I can't tell from the sample whether the lit would work for us. The lesson shared wouldn't work for us, but the intro that mentions character traits focused on in the lit and the actual books used are interesting.

 

I don't think it is enough for older kids--even the assignments meant for older students doesn't involve much thinking, reasoning, or even much writing.

 

:001_huh: To me this is just as bad as poorly delivered secular/humanistic educations!!! :thumbdown: No wonder we're a "peculiar people" :tongue_smilie:

 

What would be nice is a "curriculum" that's more like a framework that utilizes already good curricula in a coordinated way, is pre-screened to eliminate (or point out for discussion) those things which contradict the gospel, accentuates truth (not contrives it), and interweaves useful gospel study. I guess I am thinking something kind of like Sonlight. As I imagine this curriculum I think the only thing that might be originally written would be gospel study or possibly history.

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It feels like one huge FHE lesson or Primary lesson all day long.

 

:scared: An all day FHE sounds like a nightmare!

 

That is exactly what I don't want. I was hoping this curriculum would give us more to think about and learn... I am very tired of all of the Church-correlated Primary manuals, etc. I'd like to dig deeper, but I just don't know how to teach that.

 

Well, I'm glad to have some opinions. Thanks! I'm still new enough to this that I can be swayed by pretty marketing sometimes. Sigh... maybe someday something awesome will come along.

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I did like the history scope and sequence. I think just that would be useful in adding scripture events and church history into history studies. I try to do that on my own, but it is a ton of work to correlate dates of everything. I guess I want someone to come up with a timeline of scripture and church history. That would make it so much easier to add into what ever history we are using.

 

I know Spencer W. Kimball made a timeline of world history during one of his "vacations"! If only, I could get my hands on that!

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I read through the samples so kindly emailed to me by the OP. Nope...not happening here for many reasons already stated and a few of my own. It feels like one huge FHE lesson or Primary lesson all day long. It just doesn't feel right to me.

 

:iagree: Our religion is so much a part of our lifestyle as it is, I can't imagine trying to cram even more down their throats with nearly every subject. No thanks!

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Guest pknecht

It looks like they are rolling out one year at at time, and the first year includes Ancient History... it looks like they use SOTW. (Too bad, because I'd love to see what the U.S. History is like!)

 

SweetandSimple,

 

I was so excited to see this thread on The Family School! I'll try and do the best I can to go through the comments and respond. I've been working at American Heritage School for only a year and a half, but my primary work has involved researching, observing, and working hand-in-hand with LDS homeschool families to see if and how the school might provide 42 years worth of LDS-oriented resources to homeschool families.

 

Your comment about SOTW I think relates to Story of the World. I'm not real familiar with it, but I know we didn't use it in developing the History course. Just tonight, I've posted all the samples and the six-year scope & sequence for each course online. At first we weren't ready to post them so we just sent links via email. Sorry for the hassle! Anyway, they're all online now and you can find them by going to each course description.

 

History

Literature

Science

Geography

Art

Music

 

I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can answer any questions you have. Again, thank you for starting the thread!

 

- Peter Knecht

pknecht@latterdaylearning.org

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I like the idea of LDS principles being taught through good literature, but it doesn't even say what literature is going to be used. And I am afraid that I am much too cynical to give a brand new company my e-mail address to send me samples. Why can't they just post them?

 

That said, I would love to have an LDS Classical history program, but I have already invested too much into TOG.

 

Tracy,

 

I'm so sorry for the way we posted the samples initially! We were running a million miles an hour and that was something that didn't get done. Coincidentally, I've been working tonight to get the samples and their respective scope & sequence online. They're all there so you can freely review them.

 

Also, American Heritage School actually began in 1968 after the closing of the Brighham Young Academy. It has truly amazing story and history rich with experience in applying restored gospel principles in education. For years, the school has wanted to make the resources available to homeschooling families, but as you know, a campus education is quite different from a home education. We've been working over a year with hundreds of local LDS homeschoolers who designed, directed, and developed this curriculum.

 

It will not have everything everyone needs certainly, but I believe it takes into consideration some very critical elements. (family learning together, LDS integration, strong academics, lots of games, activities, questions, and the use of literature in all learning).

 

On the topic of literature, you can find the list of books we'll be reading in each subject in the Literature, Geography, History, and Science samples, which include the Table of Contents and a "recommended reading" list just following.

 

I hope this helps and let me know if I can help in any way!

 

Oh yeah, one last thing! Send me your email and I'll send you the first 4 lessons of History in pdf format. I think you will be amazed icon7.gif

 

Take care!

Peter

Edited by pknecht
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Anyone know about the brick and mortar school this is based off of?

 

I will be interested in seeing the samples. It sounds like an LDS version of TOG.

 

Paradox,

 

Here are two videos about the school, its history, and connection with the Brigham Young Academy. These will give you a good background and understanding of the school and what The Family School is founded upon.

 

 

 

 

Also, all the samples are online on each respective course page.

 

Enjoy!

Peter

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I do understand how it could LOOK unprofessional, but not everyone who is great at history, science, or math....is great at language arts. :lol:

 

I'm sorry, but the truth is that obvious grammar errors are unprofessional. They just are. They are when the website represents a grocery store or an investment firm or a car dealership, but they are even more unprofessional when the product being offered is intended for educational purposes.

 

Honestly....that has held me back from sharing lesson plans and such as I am afraid people will dismiss my ideas based on my poor LA background.....which is sad.

 

It's one thing if it's a set of lesson plans being shared between friends. That is not a professional relationship. It's entirely different if the person from whom I'm buying educational materials can't or won't proofread.

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Guest pknecht
When we first started homeschooling I was somewhat interested in an LDS program. We are about to start our 8th year and I haven't yet been impressed by any LDS-based homeschool offerings. I don't agree with focusing on spirituality at the expense of academics, which is what religiously-homeschooling LDS families sometimes tend to do.... Those sorts also tend to be Young Earthers, which would be unacceptable to me in a science program.

 

I also agree, Veritaserum. My opinion/observation as I've researched religious oriented homeschool curriculum is that academics do suffer in some cases...that curriculum falls short. I don't think the religious component is the problem, rather the focus of the provider. If profit is the motivator, then the application of true principles becomes forced or somewhat disingenuous.

 

Considering providing religious or moral instruction is the second highest reason for homeschooling (a close second to environment) according to a NECS study done in 2003, there will be plenty of providers focused on profit over impact. I believe the school's focus is well-aligned and well-prepared to provide religious instruction with excellent academics. The greatest indicator for me is the

of those who've participated in this project. Of course I'm biased icon7.gif. I'd love your feedback!

 

Thanks Veritaserum!

Peter

Edited by pknecht
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I love this forum! It's sure a great way to gather candid feedback :)

 

A couple thoughts as I read through.

 

1. Yes it's the first year and we rushed to get something out, but all the samples are not a finished product and are going through a final edit. We had several asking for a sample so we sent an email last Saturday night and didn't realize how broadly and quickly they would be circulated. We should have made it more known that these were rough samples. More will be available soon.

 

2. Too much religion. We lay Christ at the foundation of all that is taught. Lesson plans follow a "principle-approach" that help children learn to research, reason, relate, and record these principles in all curricular studies. I can agree with this to the degree academic results suffer. After 42 years, there's a reason the mission and methods remain unchanged.

 

3. I agree with the header of this board--"...no single program can possibly meet the needs of every home schooler..." That's certainly the case a, and that's the beauty of homeschooling...we get to be inspired how, when, what we teach our children.

 

This kept me up too late tonight, but it was worth it!

 

Good luck in the coming school year!

 

Peter

pknecht@latterdaylearning.org

Edited by pknecht
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I don't get emails. How does one get emails? Must be a setting thing.

 

Go to "Quick Links" and click on "Edit Options."

 

Change your Default Thread Subscription Mode to "Instant e-mail notification."

 

Then go to Edit e-mail and password and make sure you have entered the e-mail address where you want to receive notifications.

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Ooooh, what a teaser! Example please. :D

 

I don't have time/energy for a complete review, but my sense is that they take one historical concept (Egypt had libraries) and use that as a springboard for a devotional lesson (we should learn so we can become more like God). That might be a nice dinner table conversation after school, but during history time, I think it is helpful for young children to stay focused on historical facts and not feel that every event in history happened to illustrate a moral for their own lives.

 

The sample is very limited, but it also looks to me as if it is from the extremely literalist, conservative end of the LDS spectrum. For example, I would not teach my children history using the concept of dispensations as an organizing principle, because there are several different ways that "dispensations" might be interpreted. I would not teach them that what the Egyptians knew about astronomy they knew because they learned it from Abraham, because that relies on a certain interpretation of a passage in the PoGP--an interpretation that isn't universal or indisputable.

 

I don't see why one of the main principles of a history lesson on Egypt should be "The Lord values education and knowledge." (There are three principles for this lesson; one is about Egypt and two were smuggled in from church.) Susan Wise Bauer wrote an important essay explaining how some Christian homeschoolers have inappropriately pawned off their (and their church's) job of shaping their children's spiritual beliefs to textbook publishers. I think this kind of curriculum does the same thing.

 

I'd be fascinated to see how they cover history that has no direct link to anything in the scriptures. (China? 14th Century England?)

 

The sample also has the parent telling the child, "Every good piece of literature teaches gospel principles and shows people with Christian character." :001_huh: The parent reads to the child and the only assignment is to underline gospel principles and Christian character. :tongue_smilie:

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I do like the discussion format. That is about the only thing I like about it. The religion in everything feels so contrived. It feels like they are teaching religion all day and trying to relate what they can to academic subjects.

 

I definitely don't care for the 6-year history rotation. I can't imagine going a whole year and not getting past Ancient Greece, spending a whole year on the Reformation/Renaissance and Age of Exploration, or not getting to the American Revolution until Year 4.

 

As for the science, spending a whole year on zoology and a year on cytology/botany would be a year of unbearable boredom for my kids.

 

I much prefer to use church-approved materials to teach religion.

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I much prefer to use church-approved materials to teach religion.

 

:iagree: although a well put together scripture study course (think seminary, jr.) would be nice. I hate using primary and seminary materials sometimes because I don't want to upstage a future lesson by their primary or seminar teachers, KWIM?

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I haven't looked at any samples but have been listening in on this discussion. It has me thinking about the integration of religion and education and the different ways that can play out. I'm not a believer in compartmentalization of knowledge--anymore than I believe in compartmentalizing my life. In other words, I couldn't separate out certain subjects/teaching periods as "religious" and others as "secular". To me my religious understanding and worldview impact the way I see the world in every subject--and this was true even when I was in high school in a very secular, atheist/agnostic environment (I remember specifically being the only student in a philosophy class who believed in God).

 

I think the problem that curriculum publishers run into--and this is true not only of LDS publishers but of both Christian and "secular" publishers--is the confounding of primary information and interpretation. An example from a religious publisher would be "the Bible says the earth was created in 7 days, so any evidence to the contrary must be wrong." From a non-religious publisher, you might see the equally problematic: "natural selection acts in nature and we find evidence of organisms changing and evolving over time so these are the only processes that have led to life on earth as we now know it." Both claims go beyond the actual presentation of information to provide a specific interpretation of that information as fact.

 

When it comes to presentation of religion, it is particularly difficult to separate out primary doctrine from secondary interpretation and expansion on that doctrine. An interpretation or extrapolation that makes sense to us easily becomes conflated with the doctrine itself--we've all seen this in Sunday School classes where teachers or participants are eager to expound on extra-doctrinal interpretations. This does make me wonder if it is really possible to create an LDS curriculum that does not shoot beyond the mark in making doctrinal interpretations and and extrapolations, especially at the elementary level where most curricula focus on presenting information as fact. At the upper levels, I think the ideal is to present primary information as much as possible and encourage thoughtful individual and group analysis and discussion--this is where students are ready to examine differing points of view and evaluate them based on their own knowledge base and worldview. I can imagine a very engaging discussion of origins that includes both the revealed knowledge of scripture and the observed data of scientific inquiry, for example.

 

From a practical point of view, it may actually be beneficial to use a variety of non-LDS materials for teaching with the explicit understanding that these materials are presented from a worldview different from ours, thus requiring careful consideration of what information is primary and what is interpretive and necessitates the application of our own thoughtful and skeptical interpretative analysis.

 

I do find myself using phrases like "some people think...we don't really know...I wonder if...one possibility is..." a lot in discussions with my own children. I try to share with them the perspective that human reasoning is fallible, that there is a lot we don't know and the processes both of discovery and of revelation are ongoing. When it comes to doctrine, I am confident that what is needful for salvation has been revealed and while we can search and ponder and even speculate, the basic principles are in fact very basic and straightforward and not dependent on our having a complete understanding of the history of the world, the intricacies of scientific processes, or a thorough understanding of eternity. We can trust the Spirit, we can and should seek inspiration, and we should simply act on what we know to be true--and enjoy the great potential for discovery exploration that the world provides.

 

--Sarah

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:iagree: although a well put together scripture study course (think seminary, jr.) would be nice. I hate using primary and seminary materials sometimes because I don't want to upstage a future lesson by their primary or seminar teachers, KWIM?

 

 

Yes, I do get that, and since my oldest is only 7yo, I haven't had a lot of experience with it yet. But this year, we are studying the 1800s in history, so I am trying to supplement with church materials for that time period. We are reading the D&C children's reader. I have also found a book called Boys Who Became Prophets. Not church-approved, but it is just stories--not doctrine. A few years ago, the Friend magazine had b&w figures to color and cut out that went with D&C stories. I may see if I can track those down.

 

The next time around, dd will 11yo, and I think I will use the book Our Heritage, which is designed to go with the adult Sunday School D&C course. After all, by the time she is old enough to attend that class, she will be too busy to read the book, right? :tongue_smilie:

 

Anyway, my point is, there is a ton of church-approved materials out there that can be used with a much less likelihood of upstaging a future lesson. There are the Sunday School manuals about from the lives of the prophets, Gospel Principles, institute manuals. For youngers, the Friend magazine now has an index, and you can look up games and activities for each book of scripture. (For example, I found a game called Journey from Egypt and made a file folder game out of it.) And I would not hesitate to use seminary materials, because I know that the seminary manual gives the teachers numerous options so that they can choose the one or two that would best suit their class situations. That would reduce the chance of duplicating material. I would also try to make sure that I was not using the materials too close to when they would attend seminary (like doing D&C materials in 8th grade when I knew they would be studying that material in 9th).

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From a practical point of view, it may actually be beneficial to use a variety of non-LDS materials for teaching with the explicit understanding that these materials are presented from a worldview different from ours, thus requiring careful consideration of what information is primary and what is interpretive and necessitates the application of our own thoughtful and skeptical interpretative analysis.

 

Sarah, I really agree with you. Where other Christian religions believe that you can know everything if you just search the Bible enough, we believe in ongoing revelation, which does two things to our worldview. It simultaneously gives us more information while making us recognize how little we actually know. I think this is why I struggle with the idea of using LDS curricula. It seems like the writers presume to know things about academic subjects that may or may not be true.

 

This is one reason I use a non-LDS Christian program for history. I like that TOG espouses a providential view of history but puts academics first. I also like that their worldview component is separate from the history component. So I can scan it for things I can use but the worldview does not clutter my history stuff. Certainly, it is still there, because you cannot entirely separate worldview from history. But I like the attempt to separate it and to keep it in the teacher materials so that I as the parent can decide what gets filtered to my children.

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