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ereks mom

Do we have a Hits & Misses thread for 2012-2013 yet?

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Very much a list of they either liked it or hated it this year:




Lego WeDo Robotics

Rosetta Stone French 1 (EXCEPT "writing" lessons- much too hard at the end... may forgo those or do separate writing exercises next year)

Chronicles of Narnia for my 4th grader

Little House books for my 2nd grader

TT- as good as I could have expected from a math program

BrainPop- they loved the videos

Atelier 3

Calvert Art History Books



MUS- my son liked the manipulatives but hated the workbooks. We switched to TT and he was happier.

Shurley English

A lot of the other books they read- Smoky the Cowhorse, Cat of Bubastes, some others on the Great Books Academy grade lists. I'll be choosing our own Lit. for next year.

Jr. AG- My 4th grader wasn't ready. We'll try again in 5th.

Music Ace- It was a good intro but incredibly repetitive. We stopped about halfway through and just started on the actual piano. Not really worth the price for us.

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I'm strangely encouraged that so many things appear as hits AND misses...there is no such thing as the perfect curriculum. A good reminder as I plan for next year. :-)

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It was our first whole year homeschooling, I feel much more prepared this year.



WRTR -Spelling, phonics, handwriting

Singapore Primary Mathematics

Life of Fred

Writing with Ease

Story of the World

Good book lists (Sonlight, Ambleside Online, Well Trained Mind and other resources)



Apologia Astronomy

IEW --- This was way to formulaic for myself and my reluctant writer was turning more reluctant. Thankfully, they have a great return policy

Horizons Math

Writing Strands



I am excited that I have finished this first year because now I feel like I know what I don't like and what just won't work for our family's style. I feel like I purchased everything under the Sun this first year and now I know more what I am looking for and what will work for my children and our family more. I think I developed a style or rhythm in our homeschooling.

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I had originally listed WWE 1 as a miss for DS although it was originally a huge hit for me because it Got Done. After some time away from it trying out different things that seemed to fit him better I remembered that his inclinations in writing are sporadic and anything and everything fits or doesn't fit from week to week and the reason I originally chose WWE was because it was the most painless to Get Done and anything else he was inclined to do or I had energy for was a bonus.


So, WWE 1 is back to being our core for writing and is being listed by me as a Hit for this year because it Gets Done.

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We had mostly Hits this year, and evident by the fact that we will continue with almost all the same, though next level, for the upcoming school year.


The one BIG miss was Sonlight Science B. I had heard some of the issues prior, but didn't think they would be an issue for ME. They were. Week after week of animal study, one animal a day..and then a completely unrelated science experiment. Thank goodness I was able to use Brainpop/Discovery Streaming to actually bring the animals to life, visually, because just reading a 3-4 sentences each day about an animal...boring. The unrelated science experiments...ugh. The DVD that so many rave about...just don't get it. Watching science experiments is not interesting, without the back story/fill in information. We made it just over half-way through before I ditched.

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This year has been a pivotal year for us. I think that Melissa finally realized that school isn't always easy like it had been for her all this time. Once that realization hit, we had a better year.



The biggest surprise to me was when she told me that she LOVED the critical thinking skills book we were using. (Reading for Young Catholics- thinking skills- Seton press). She begged to do it every day when it was only on the schedule for 3x a week.


She also loved her geography book "Maps, Charts, and Graphs" a d has loved it the entire time we have used Seton.


The biggest hit was our state studies. I had people from all the states send us a postcard and I made up a worksheet to fill out. We watched "Steven Fry's In America", "How the States Got Their Shapes" and a History Channel special on the states.


Miss: I will come back to this. Have to think about it.


I think the only miss this year was math. It was a struggle and a chore all year long. It wasn't the curriculum choice but where she was mentally.

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Art of Problem Solving, Life of Fred, Horizons Math (MS and el)

The Creative Writer (5th gr)

Figuratively Speaking (MS)

Memoria Press Logic I (MS)

Ko's Journey (online math game)

Mr. Q Life Science (el)




Giggly Guide to Grammar (DD 10 hated this!)

The Rainbow (MS Science)

MCT..we loved Island level, got through Town level, but lost it on Voyage

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We're year-round so some things are still in progress. So far..........



Expedition Earth - so far anyway. WE've only been doing it for 5 weeks

LLATL Yellow

A-Z Backyard Birds-----LightHome Copywork




A Beka Math Grades 1 & 3

Artistic Pursuits, K-3 Book 1

FIAR Volumes 1-2



Apologia Astronomy

A Beka Phones K5 and 1st grade

Bible Study for all Ages..... Honestly, I couldn't get it off the ground. Too complicated.

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Well, we had a pretty good year. Our curriculum choices are in my siggy and for the most part it's all working well for us. We added Teaching Textbooks this year for both boys and it was a miss. Neither liked it all that much, so we're dropping it and going back to Singapore for DS1 and MCP for DS2. Which is fine. Saved me some $$.

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Here's our year so far.


Hits (so far):

Beechick -3R's



Math on the Level

Dancing Bears/Bearing Away

Core Knowledge Preschool Activity Books

My Student Log Books

Mary Ann Kohl Books

Trish Kuffner Books

Graham Braddock Art Course Part 1 (4 DVDs)

TV Teacher


Project-Based Learning

The Writer's Jungle

Math Supplements (Mathstart Books, Kitchen Table Math, Family Math, Dreambox)





Oak Meadow (close but no cigar)

Waldorf Math


SOTW (kids love the activities, but they didn't like the book)

Hideaways in History (Same, loved activities, didn't like the spine, we are planning to use pieces of it)

Christian Penmanship


Drawing with Children

Singapore Math

+ a whole lot more (lol)


So a lot of hits & a lot of misses. I'm happy with where we have ended up though. I have a more waldorf pedagogical view, but tend to "teach" my children in a more project, games, art & movement based way. I've finally found what "style" works, so that, in itself, is the biggest *hit* this year. ;)

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RS Math


MCP plaid

Elemental science


Penny Gardner's italics




Living books curriculum (too hard to combine kids)


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This was our first year. The kids spent 3 and 4 years in PS. Our biggest hit was homeschooling in general!




Beautiful Feet character study

BF geography

IEW geography to go with BF

Math on the level - we used it briefly and plan to use it exclusively next year.




Road Trip

KISS Grammar


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We had almost all hits:



MFW 1st grade (old edition) - We loved almost all aspects of this, BIG HIT

Singapore Math

WWE - Started in the last quarter of the year

FLL - Started in the last quarter of the year

Magic School Bus DVD's for science



MFW Science - we loved everything else about the program. We ditched this about 1/3 of the way through. :(

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For third and fifth grade this past year.........





Sonlight Core D ~ We all have loved Sonlight this year. We have read so many wonderful books together, and had many wonderful discussions. They also love all the readers they have read. We will definitely be continuing with Sonlight. It can seem like a lot of reading sometimes, but has been so worth it for us.

Sonlight Science D

Easy Grammar ~ DD used this for third grade and we love it. DS will probably be switching to it next year too.

IEW SWI-A ~ LOVE! We will be continuing with IEW next year...and indefinitely.

Teaching Textbooks (been using this for several years)




Growing with Grammar ~ We have used this for several years with older ds, but just don't love it anymore. Seems like too much busy work, and not enough retention.

R&S Spelling ~ My dd was doing better with AAS, and ds is a natural speller and was doing fine with Soaring with Spelling. I am not crazy about the exercises, and don't feel like there is enough review.




Prima Latina: We all LOVED it, but we quit early on because there just wasn't enough time in the day with two toddlers :/. My dd still remembers many of the words and prayers she learned. We plan to pick Latin back up next year.

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We kept things super simple this year so I don't have too much.



Singapore Math (so thankful for it)

New American Cursive


On the Fence:

AAS (I think it's a fabulous program but I seem to have a kid who never misspells anything and it feels like a huge waste of time but alas, we are powering through)

Life of Fred (LegoMan loves it, DH and I wish it would go away; we dislike the stories and the religious content, but DS adores Fred so we keep going)



Right Start (I desperately wanted to love it and I do use some of the methods, games, manipulatives, etc.; but man alive it was so slow and so spiral and so difficult to accelerate; hoping to use it with ArtsyGirl)

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We had a pretty good year. Even our misses weren't awful, we just found something that worked better.


Hits for both kids:

Handwriting without Tears - both are reluctant writers and this works well


Hits/Misses for dd (K):

-She stalled with OPGTR so we switched to AAR1. So far it's working well and she seems to do better with the multifaceted approach. She's enjoying the activities and I like the readers.

-MM was a bit of a miss. She started out okay but wasn't ready for the full pages and no pictures/color. She has also been doing Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math 1st grade and it suits her much better. It's colorful, only a few problems on a page, and mixes up topics. We'll probably return to MM around 2nd grade.

-Games are a big hit and I need to remember to include them always. Printable games, card games, whatever. She does much much better practicing skills with games.

-Bottom line - I need to remember she's my hands-on, active kid.


Hits/Misses for ds (2nd):

-I love AAS but ds doesn't need all the bells and whistles. If he sees it, he can spell it. We switched to Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write. It goes over the rules briefly, and incorporates some grammar, and some writing.

-Math Mammoth - BIG HIT for this kid. It's exactly what he needs in a math program. I dread the day he finishes it and I have to find something else.

-Scholastic Solve the Riddle Math Practice. He did the addition/subtraction book and is now doing the multiplication/division book. Great way to drill the facts without actually drilling the facts.

-Scholastic Algebra Readiness Made Easy and Scholastic Logic Puzzles. More math practice but it a fun format.

-Bottom line - I need to remember he's my visual, get to the point with no fuss kid.

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This was our first year of homeschooling (and we received a hefty budget for it from my dh's company as we were living I went a little crazy and there weren't any resources where we were living). I have a lot to report on to help others.


DD 10-11 (6th Grade) Mild ADHD. Struggles with math, loves to read and write stories. Particular interest in animals.



  • Math U See to remediate her on fractions (she really enjoyed being able to see the videos and be independent on math. As it got harder I had to start watching them and then showing her. She still does better if I show her but overall I think the program is good. We did not continue as I want to her keep aligned to state standards)
  • Singapore Math 6A & 6B (The learn then do approach works well for her. Short enough lessons but occasionally we would break up a lesson over 2 days. I appreciate very much how the harder stuff is about 3/4 of the way through and then you can sort of coast through the end when you're burning out at that point).
  • School House Rock multiplication videos (I bought the DVD but you can see them all for free on YouTube)
  • Ipad Apps:
    • Educreations. I found this a super help for me. It's an online whiteboard. I could demonstrate things to my kids but also when math got tough for my daughter, I'd have her demonstrate on it and record it (records your voice as well) and then send it to her grandmother as a "lesson". She really had to think to create a lesson out of a math problem!
    • Baseball Math. My kids liked it. I never really looked at it to know what they were getting from it.
    • Mathmateer. My kids like this even better than Baseball math.
    • DragonBox. She enjoyed this very much but now she's at a level she's struggling with and has given up.
    • Math Fact Master. My favorite. It's just a simple test of multiplication. We will work on memorizing (or remembering what we memorized but have since forgotten) then take the challenge on this app to test them. Simple but effective. Instant feedback for them.




  • Evan-Moor Grammar & Punctuation: I personally love how it's easy for the kids to be independent and very small lessons.
  • Story of the World I. I love it more than the kids. We did a lot of in-depth work and got through 3/4 of the book. I need to finish it this summer and will probably forgo the in-depth work so we can finish it.
  • Ichabod Ink: A membership website to learn all about veterinary science.
  • Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses: This is a free science curriculum for 6th Graders done by Purdue University. It's made for use in the classroom but you can do a lot of it for homeschool. I found it very difficult to put it together but she did it and enjoyed it.
  • Evan-Moor Daily 6 Trait Writing: Simple, easy, every day exercises. I should have supplemented with more actual writing, which we will do over the summer.
  • Rosetta Stone Spanish. My daughter enjoys this. She is totally independent and surpassed me on progress.
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting. Had to buy several before I realized she needed the 4th grade edition. Now it's working very smoothly. Her penmanship is not great so I've also introduced her to calligraphy which she enjoys from time to time.
  • Evan-Moor Vocabulary. Great program and mostly independent work.
  • Evan-Moor Editing. DD is terrible at editing. She has certainly improved using this daily program.
  • Type2Learn: We did the older version. The kids liked it for a long while but then I found another one that is an app on macs. I can't find the name of it but they like how there is less "yelling/loud voices" than Type2Learn.


  • iPad apps:
    • iStart Spanish: she does this occasionally. I use it for supplemental fun; not actual curriculum.
    • iMovie: the kids are crazy over this. They do trailer videos on pretend movies they are going to create. They learn about organizing a story, creating suspense, etc.
    • Mad Libs: for coming up with funny adverbs, adjectives, nouns and verbs.
    • Horse 360 Bundle: veterinary science.





  • Saxon Math 6/5. Too slow to keep her interest.
  • Learning Wrap Ups- Multiplication (maybe because I didn't sit down with her to do them)
  • Dean Vaughn Cube (we moved overseas in the middle of trying this and it fell to the wayside. So maybe it would have worked for us).
  • IXL: I just never got around to using this! We had used a couple of years prior, just letting her play with it. She enjoyed it for a couple of weeks and then didn't care. I didn't push it.
  • Donald in Mathmatic Land DVD. Well I hoped it would stir interest in math. No such luck.
  • Math Detective Software. Horrible interface on mac. Just couldn't even figure out how to use it.
  • Shurley Instructional Materials Level 6: It did a good job teaching some solid sentence structure. I was impressed with that. I did not appreciate how the books were structured that involved no independent work. I gave up on it after a while to go toward something that was correlated to state standards.
  • All About Spelling: We got through the first session and then moved back to the US and I did not pick up again. Frankly I just can't get into teaching spelling. I'm hoping they just figure it out as they are great readers.
  • Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide to Middle School. This is a book for educators to which you then form your own curriculum. I had high hopes. I never even read it. Switched over to Evan-Moors books that use this approach and the curriculum is already done.
  • Spelling Workout.
  • Life of Fred Books: She liked them in the beginning but soon lost interest.
  • Jackdaw China, Hadrian's Wall, The Development of Writing, Tutankhamen. Some were more interesting than others. The kids just weren't that into. If I was paying with my own money I would not recommend.
  • MindBenders: Hasn't been near the top of my priority list and no one was hugely into.
  • WordSmith Apprentice.
  • REAL Science: Would have been good for just my son but too basic for my dd and I wanted to teach science together as much as I could.
  • Meet the Masters: This wasn't bad but it's boring. Good for learning about the masters but I was not hugely impressed with the art instruction.
  • Ipad apps:
    • Counting Coins
    • Fraction Math
    • Fractions App by TapToLearn
    • Marble Math
    • Math Board
    • Oh No! Fractions
    • Presidents vs. Aliens
    • Scrabble
    • 24/7 Tutor Spanish





DS 7-8 (2nd Grade) Particularly observant and interested in school with strong draw to science and engineering



  • Lego We-Do Educational Kit. Big success. Went quickly through it and than that was that.
  • Mindstorm Educational Kit. I wish it came with structured lessons like Lego We-Do but he has figured out some things on his own and we've finding instructions on the Internet.
  • Magic School Bus DVD Collection and any DK Eyewitness Videos. Big, big hit.
  • Zaner-Bloser Handwriting. He doesn't love it but it's easy to do and he has learned cursive very well.
  • Singapore Math. Not sure it is challenging him enough but he is still learning. I like how I teach it and then they try on their own.
  • Evan-Moor Daily 6 Trait Writing: Simple, easy, every day exercises.


  • iPad apps:
    • Cursive Touch. Fun way to practice cursive.
    • Flow Free: great for thinking ahead. My son enjoys it.
    • National Geographic Magazine (we couldn't get paper magazines overseas and there is some interactivity for the online version which is a plus)
    • Stack the States: I love it. They love it. They are learning.
    • Stack the Countries.
    • Tiny Countries
    • National Geographic: Ultimate Dinopedia
    • Frog Dissection
    • Geared
    • Touch Physics Lite
    • Unblock Me
    • BrainPOP (but we couldn't connect when we were in India)

    [*]CDs: Space Songs. My son loves these science songs. .

    [*]Teachers Pay Teachers: I use this to find one-off lessons to supplement something that isn't sinking in. Hit and miss to find something good and fun.

    [*]Science: My son picked topics of interest and we researched them and did reports and projects. But we have been doing some of Super Charged Science. We sort of like this program.




  • iPad Apps:
    • GeoBee Challenge: didn't really grab them.
    • Lego Instructions
    • Make Ten
    • Mars Globe
    • Math Bingo
    • Parts of Plants Montessori
    • Play Facto (make 10)
    • Solar Walk 3D
    • Sky View Free (he does like these but would need some encouragement and lessons from me to make this and Solar Walk 3D more interesting for his age)

    [*]Rosetta Stone Spanish: My son liked it in the beginning but was too much for his age or maybe his personality.

    [*]Puertas Abiertos: better for my ds than my dd (too babyish). But overall was uninspiring. Better for pre-K through 1st grade.

    [*]Meet the Masters: This wasn't bad but it's boring. Good for learning about the masters but I was not hugely impressed with the art instruction.

    [*]Mathletics: I found that we didn't need any additional work for math.

    [*]The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book. As parents we didn't really put the effort out. We enrolled them in sports instead.

    [*]Science Detective.

    [*]Evan-Moor Geography Grade 2: Too easy for him.



Whew. That was most of it. I hope it's helpful! I would appreciate any suggestions for next year curriculum!

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These two were hits because they're working for my 1st and K, after slowing down (because my 3rd flew through these when he went through them): Phonics Pathways and Right Start Math. I love that I can expand, tweak, and/or slow down these curric to accomodate different students and still get the same results, although I suppose that has less to do with the curric themselves and more with my determination to use them to teach my kids!


MISS: Veritas Press Bible and History cards. It's my fault, though. I didn't review or use the supplemental reading besides the Bible (daily) and Kingfisher Encyclopedia (rarely). I've tried them for two years and am going to try something different for next year.

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Mystery of History

Math-U-See Primer and Alpha


Progressive Phonics

Dick and Jane Readers (super thankful for and their names change as you progress through the series)

Alfred's (Piano)



Hooked on French



Apologia Astronomy (we will be trying AIG next year)

MEPS -Math (we had to switch mid-year)

ABEKA Language and Phonics

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read program

My First Piano Adventure


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2nd & 3rd grade




Prima Latina

R&S English 3

R&S Spelling 3 & 4

Climbing to Good English 2

Math Mammoth

IEW Poetry

Poetry tea time

Memoria Press's Greek Myths

Child's History of the World

Our Island Story

Robin Hood- Pile (dd9's favorite read)

Viking Tales (dd7's favorite read)

Copywork using my method




SOTW - Middle Ages

Apologia Astronomy


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Art of Problem Solving + Alcumus

Life of Fred

Mapping the World with Art + Ellen McHenry's Youtube channel (HUGE hit)

Artistic Pursuits

Hands-on Equations

MEP Reception

Explode the Code





Writing with Skill 1 (sorry! lowering head in shame)  

Around the World in 180 Days 

R&S English 5 - this is a really good program, but was very time-consuming

Apologia Anatomy & Physiology (my son looked like he would cry every time I brought this book out - and HE suggested this book last year)

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  • Ichabod Ink: A membership website to learn all about veterinary science.
  • Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses: This is a free science curriculum for 6th Graders done by Purdue University. It's made for use in the classroom but you can do a lot of it for homeschool. I found it very difficult to put it together but she did it and enjoyed it.

These both sound wonderful for my wannabe vet, who is a rising 5th grader. The Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses sounds interesting, but not sure I have time to put anything else together this year. Thanks for sharing these neat resources.

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My kiddos were in K and 2nd last school year. 



All About Reading 1-My dd loved all of the hands-on craftiness. I loved that my dd learned to read, and now loves to read. Reading had been such a struggle for her before AAR1.

R&S Spelling 2

PLL-I'm surprised how much I love this one. 

Math Mammoth

Reading lots of good books, especially SL books

Apologia Flying Creatures-I was ready to give up on this one, as I had tried it a couple of times before. I decided to try one more time before selling it, and apparently now my kids are at the perfect age. Now we all love it, and plan to do Swimming Creatures next. 



MFW ECC-I was underwhelmed by this curriculum, and I had really looked forward to it. We are continuing on with MFW, but do not plan to repeat this year as their cycle instructs. 

AAS-It was overkill for my natural speller, but I will try it again with my AAR loving dd. 

WWE wkbk-My ds was not ready for the depth of the literature selections, but we will continue on with the method of WWE. 

FLL-My ds wasn't retaining the info in this one. I loved the ease of use though. 

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