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What was your biggest curriculum mistake?


Queserasera

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Unfortunately for me, many of my yucks were things other people love.

 

AAS

Singapore- I REALLY wanted this to be great

Saxon Math- even though we used it twice

LoF- kids did not like those stories

Writing Strands

GwG

ETC workbooks- online actually went much better for us...

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1. AoPs - thought it looked wonderful, after 1st chapter, had tears and my mathy kid started dreading math. Saw others concur, looking for a new pre-algebra spine.

 

My dd is enjoying the 1985 version of Dolciani Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course. No-muss, no-fuss, plain pages with no annoying pictures of happy kids smiling over their math.

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Veritas Press history. I lusted after it for years, then when I finally got a sale copy or saved up enough pennies in a mayonnaise jar in the back of my closet (I forget how i got the money at this point) it was so classist that it sent me running to the library for Howard Zinn.

 

I literally went hungry to buy VP materials for dd that she refused to use. I must have my VP catalogues to remember my mistakes, my weaknesses, my vulnerability to clever marketing techniques, and my human foibles.

 

Apologia was a mistake too for theological reasons but we had fun with it and found a good home for it when we were done.

 

It was much easier for me to ignore religious content I disagreed with than it was for my kids. Lesson learned in time for ds2. Support found for finding secular curriculum elsewhere. No need to rehash or debate or bicker here.

 

Laurel Springs was just too. much. money.

 

Spelling Power wasn't awful, but it wasn't a huge hit and I wish I had asked for my money back instead of waiting and waiting and waiting for a copy I prepaid before it was published, but not in sufficient quantity for everyone who wanted a copy.

 

Saxon phonics. I found it fascinating but my student found it incomprehensible and tedious torture.

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MUS Primer and Alpha - My dd did not *see* it apparently. She needed more review. I thought it was boring to do 1 topic at a time.

We are loving our combo of Right Start and Beast.

 

Fred - I thought my book loving kids would like these. Nope. They thought they were so odd and they retained zero math from it. Some of the concepts were so simple, others were do challenging. It just didn't flow and felt so disjointed. Not a fan.

 

PAL - this was a product we got for a review. We did not like it at all! Weird combo of sight words taught through random poems. The lessons were strange and hard to follow. My son did not understand it at all. He was horribly frustrated! Who chose the word list and order of words introduced?? So random! The games took FOREVER to set up. So time consuming!

 

100 EZ Lessons - Weird font, so boring, no progress. No thanks!

 

Hand Writing Without Tears - way too much "stuff" to teach handwriting. Really don't like the font they use. It's so ugly! I thought the teacher manual was tedious and confusing!

 

Elemental Science - Boring! Read tiny excerpt from encyclopedia, write a narration, draw a picture, do a random experiment. No retention and not enough info for my kids.

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I can't say I've actually HATED anything we've used, but a few things got shelved pretty early or were "forgotten" on our weekly schedule:

Sequential Spelling, AAS, Song School Latin, Lively Latin.

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Rosetta Stone - we didn't use the Spanish version I purchased, so I decided to try French. We didn't use it either.

 

Sonlight - I love the idea, but I spent a lot of money for books that were never read and of course I don't want to sell them because we haven't read them yet.

 

RIghtstart - I wanted this one, but my kids didn't like it. They kept asking for 'real math'.

 

 

Classical Comp and Singapore have been named numerous times here as fails, but those are favorites of mine. I write good lab reports - not papers, so I love how CC gives you content and tells you how to rewrite it.

 

ETA: MM was another waste for us. I bought the whole package thinking I might need it to supplement, but we really didn't, and we never use it.

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My dd is enjoying the 1985 version of Dolciani Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course. No-muss, no-fuss, plain pages with no annoying pictures of happy kids smiling over their math.

Thanks! I actually have it on the way... after bombing out with AoPs, I'll wait & see. *fingers crossed*

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I have been homeschooling forever but all the stuff I bought PRIOR to TWTM

Abeka

Sonlight

Oak Meadow

 

See a pattern?

 

And more recently....

 

HOD

Creek Edge Press-no time to set this up , no money to buy the books

The Complete book of Science-we just use Zingy.

 

 

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This is our first year homeschooling, so I'm still learning what works for us.

 

Our misses to date:

 

AAS -- switched to RLtL

OPGTR -- switched to Progressive Phonics

BFSU -- taking a more living books approach to science in the early years.

Miquon -- just not for me. Happy with MM + CWP + Zaccaro + LOF.

 

Great programs, but they just weren't a fit for us. I don't regret the purchases. It's been a good learning process for us.

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Wouldn't say I HATE them but things that didn't work:

 

The Reading Lesson

100EZ

BFSU

RS math

Mr. Q science (thankfully I only tried the free Life science)

Progressive Phonics

OPGTR was okay for ds but he was always ahead of where we were working and it didn't work for dd.

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I haven't had too many things that I hated. They simply didn't work for me - like Spectrum Spelling. Or Interactive 3D Maps American History. My ds simply doesn't retain from busywork, and the crafts took SO long with hardly any retention. Definitely not worth it. 

 

This sounds awful, but the only thing I really hated was My Jesus and I companion book. It was SO BORING. I use the student one as a reader. Thank goodness it was very inexpensive.

 

MCP Math didn't work for us, and I wish I had known sooner. I feel like I wasted time on this one, and as a result ds10 is still a half a year "behind". Whatever that means, right. He is homeschooled so that doesn't really matter, right? It just bothers me a bit I guess. Have to get over it. Wait, am I rambling? Sorry  :o

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Writing Strands-- Boring, annoying, useless.

 

RS4K--I thought this was the answer to my science woes. Expensive for what you get, errors in the science, grammatical mistakes in the text,  patronizing, dumbed down. 

 

Evan Moor ScienceWorks-- (pretty much Evan Moor every thing TBH!) too complicated for the teacher, no lesson plans, a glorified coloring book that a teacher would need to assemble. 

 

And Oak Meadow, or Waldorf inspired anything. My love affair with it has finally died, without even an ember left to start up again. 

 

ETA: Artistic Pursuits. ugh.

 

 

 

Ah yes, I try to put that one out of my mind....

 

 

 

Evan Moor ScienceWorks-- (pretty much Evan Moor every thing TBH!)

 

 

No, no, no!  I just ordered three of them for my 5th grader for next year, it looked like exactly what she wanted - lots of experiments!

 

Argh, back to square one.

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Books I bought which were already on my shelf.

 

When I first started homeschooling, I remember reading posts of people talking about buying things they already owned. I thought how stupid can you get. That would never happen to me, Mrs. OCD Organization. Well, fast forward a few kids and and few years later in homeschooling, and I have done it multiple times. Dang!

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Worst ever was Chemistry Matters, upper level chemistry from Singapore.  Was basically a study guide for the Singapore high school graduation exams.  Exam prep is NOT what I want for high school chemistry!  

 

Funny, LOF algebra was a fail, but we used it later as review and it was fine.  

 

Most of the fails were really cheap - a workbook from critical thinking which was rhyming riddles often with an answer being an old fashioned word youngest didnt know.  Spelling POwer, but i got a really old used copy, so no biggy.  Spectrum writing in 3rd grade.  I have struggled with some of the intellego units because i want to love them but dont.  

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Last year:

 

WWE- Oh, my. The kids didn't hate it as much as me. My dd (grade 1) couldn't read at all-like not a single word, so trying to do copybook from Little House books was actually pretty funny. My oldest has autism, and is quite a good writer (he actually learned to talk from writing) but trying to wring a narration out of him was like trying to teach him to speak again--"tell me three things that happened at playgroup" "tell me three things about the greeks" etc. Such a bad fit for my family (I know it's great for others).

 

OPGTR-my daughter and I were mystified by the whole thing. Why did we need to learn a chant to remember the vowel sounds?

 

 

I bought Writing Strands 3 this year, and didn't use it. Though I likely will use some of the assignments as we go along. 

 

 

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PAL - this was a product we got for a review. We did not like it at all! Weird combo of sight words taught through random poems. The lessons were strange and hard to follow. My son did not understand it at all. He was horribly frustrated! Who chose the word list and order of words introduced?? So random! The games took FOREVER to set up. So time consuming!

 

This cracked me up, because I just did a really long blog post on it on Friday (http://thefamilywho.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/learning-to-read-with-pal/) complete with tons of pictures and videos because we *love* it!  Adrian totally gets it and is learning to read so well and so fast.  I wish I had used it with my first and third kids, too (though I think it would have confused my second).  It does take forever to set up, especially because I like to color all the games first.

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CHC's 1st grade Behold and See science. What a waste of money, no lesson plans, cartoon pictures, mainly just plain poorly written. I had no idea what to even do or how to teach it, and I couldn't even tell when one concept started or stopped.

Behold and See science 3 & 5 didn't work for us this year either. And they got such awesome reviews, I thought there must be something wrong with us, lol. I didn't hate them, but my kids just could not get into them, they find them very boring.
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Hated Science Fusion.  The website was impossible to navigate, and I know it was just kindergarten but the science was ridiculously simple.  I was expecting videos and simple labs, but "At night it is dark" was a lesson and all the "labs" were drag-and-drop things online.  Even my daughter who likes workbooks was bored with it.  Total waste of money.

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Oh, I completely forgot about Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings.

After all the hype and glowing praises of the program that I read on these boards, I was very disappointed to find that it consisted mainly of huge amounts of busy work.

Thank you. I needed to here that from someone I respect. I keep looking at it and thinking that were missing something by not doing it even much of it does look a little pointless to me. So many times I've almost bought it...I think you've killed the temptation.

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Uh oh. I am seeing Writing Strands on more lists than I would like. I am planning to start both oldest next year. What did you hate about it?

 

For us it was both a success and a failure.  DS  (an engineering major) just didn't get how to do the assignments.  He just seem so confused by the entire program (so I dropped it).  DD (starting her masters in English this fall) loved Writing Strands and tells me it was one of the best things about homeschooling. 

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Ok, re-read the title of the thread.  I definitely made some curriculum mistakes this year!

 

One was starting MCT Island with Morgan.  She was really bored with Grammar Island.  I'm not sure if it's because we started to early, or because it's well, boring!  :laugh: Shannon and I enjoyed SI so much, I was excited to do it with Mo, but I decided to wait and try it next year after the memory of being bored by GI fades.  Hope springs eternal!

 

And surprisingly again, Morgan is just "meh" about LOF.  Shannon loved the elementary series as a 4th grader, Morgan finds it kind of pointless and isn't that interested in Fred.  She feels that he lacks basic common sense so has no patience for his troubles.  :lol:  I don't think I'll try to do any more LOF with her.

 

Trying to do formal curricula for Morgan was a mistake, in general - I tried to do Mr. Q Life science, and all she wanted to do was the activities.  So I chucked that and got her some activity/science kits, and now she's perfectly happy - and she'll even read books about science, she just didn't want a formal, texty thing where you have to read first then do the fun stuff.  I also wanted to do this whole geography study with her, including reading, map stuff, and cooking, and the only part she wants to do is cook.  It's been a whole yearlong lesson in adapting my expectations.   :001_rolleyes:

 

Actually, scratch that, her entire 7 3/4 years has been a lesson in adapting my expectations!  :lol:

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Biggest curriculum mistake wasn't a program, it was jumping ship too soon - especially with math - instead of slowing down.  We had testing pressures through the charter we were using, so I made the mistake of pushing her to where I (they) thought she should be instead of meeting her where she was at.  The names of the actual products we used are irrelevant.  The mistake was in the delivery.

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Noah Plan.

 

I've sort of buried the fact that I even wanted to try this in the recesses of my memory. I completely let my personal love of American History overwhelm the fact that in elementary I had to teach other subjects too. Fortunately, I figured it out pretty quickly and changed directions before we even started.

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Oh yeah and 100EZ had my son in years for weeks before I gave it up.

 

:lol:  Freudian slip with your fingers, there?

 

For me (& sometimes for the kids, too):

God's Design for Chemistry (1st edition).  :crying:

Megawords

Classical Writing Homer

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Rosetta Stone

TOG...I love TOG, it just isn't a good fit for my family. I bought it, sold it, bought it, sold it. Bought it again and actually used it for a few years. Sold it. And just this week was looking at it again. Slap me.

 

This made me, LOL, literally.  I too have a long, ongoing, love/hate relationship with TOG.  To give you an idea of how long, I own the first printing on multi-colored paper ;)  I KEEP buying the latest additions as well, even though I never fully use any of them.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Really I think the problem is that it just doesn't work for me with my younger children.  I loved using it with my high schooler, but then my next went to ps when she hit grade 9, and she hadn't used it for middle school (I have a big gap between #1 & #2).  

 

But it's that time of year again, and next year #3 hits grade 9.....

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Disclaimer: I am VERY critical of curriculum.  There are very few curricula that I've tried that I really LOVED.  Most, I have my criticisms, but will still use it because, afterall, the teacher makes the curriculum work in the way she or he needs it to.  

 

TOG would be the most expensive mistake I've ever made.  So glad I only purchased two units.  

 

I really wanted to love it, and I see the value in it...but its planning style was SO not working for me.  Plus, my kids are still very young and TOG, IMO, has more value to it when you're using it with older kids.  I got to a certain point where I was like, "Why am I teaching my 7 and 6 yr olds this?"  

 

Other flunks:

 

WWE and FLL1.  WWE was alright, but FLL1 was awful.  Just awful. I wanted to stab my own eyeballs every Tuesday and Thursday (FLL days).  

 

Horizon Math.  It's not a terrible curriculum, but its spiral is WAY too...I don't know the word...tight?  In one day, you'd learn what a penny was, what 1:00 meant, and a shape (or something...I'm paraphrasing).  You might not learn what a dime was for another few weeks.  

 

Hooked on Phonics.  Eh, it was a good starting point for my kiddos, but it just fell apart after the 2nd level.  Not enough to it.  I use it to supplement All About Reading, which I also do not love, but find adequate enough to use.

 

 

 

Now...curriculum that I do not love, have many criticisms of, but still use:

 

LLATL.  So far, we are in red level and there are just so many things about it that I dislike.  Let me rephrase that.  Its not that I dislike the structure of the program, but I feel as though it seriously lacks in content.  It is below grade-level, imo, by at least one semester, more like two.  I promised I'd stick it out through yellow, as I'm told it gets much better...and I will.  But I do have my eyes peeled for something better, and am considering TLP and Progeny Press.  

 

MUS.  I don't know...I'm using it with my dyscalculic daughter because she's doing *alright* with it.  Her struggles would be her struggles regardless of the math curriculum I use.  Personally, I would NOT use MUS in the lower levels with most students.  I feel like it moves too slowly.  IMO, it's definitely not for an advanced math student.  My 7 yr old son would have been BORED out of his skull if I had used MUS with him.  Not to mention, I'd have needed to purchase numerous levels of MUS in order for him to have covered most of the same content he's covered with Singapore levels 1 and 2.  

 

Apologia and SOTW.  With both, I find them adequate, but have little things that bug me about each.  Nothing major.  

 

 

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I've wasted money but I don't stick with things we hate. I resell and move on! But some things that stand out:

 

ETC

Life of Fred

FLL 1 and 2 (yet I tried again with 4.. nope)

Sassafras Zoology

Any science or history curriculum (I gave up and make my own stuff)

Singapore 1-2 but we are trying again with 5 starting this week

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Apologia Elementary Science (I think it was the astronomy book) - The tone was so patronizing that my daughter was in tears over how the author thought she was "stupid."

 

 

 

 

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that felt this way about the Apologia books, except...I haven't even looked at the Astronomy one yet.  When we were going through the Human Anatomy book last year, there were times where I wanted to slap the author, lol.  Its a science book, for crying out loud, not a personal narrative journal.  

 

I do have to say, I've spent the last few months outlining and preparing Zoo 1, 2, (and soon 3) and the patronizing tone is minimal so far.  

Also, I wish Apologia had a Geology or Earth Science text for Elementary.  And, the NB Journals are not that great because of formatting. They could be great, but they don't provide enough space for an elementary student to write, especially the lapbook pieces.  On some of the pages and pieces, *I* wouldn't have been able to write what they were asking for...not enough space.  

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The mistake I made the most times: Singapore math, just keep buying it and sending it back over and over

 

The mistake I still haven't given up on but never use because it is unusable, completely and utterly unusable and yet I carry shame with its failure: The Handbook of Nature Study!!

 

The mistake that was most devastating but led me to this forum to seek help: Sonlight. I was all pumped to start homeschooling my first child and get cozy on the sofa and learn, turned out it was just one messy reading schedule and nothing else

 

The mistake I feel the most solidarity with other hive members: 100 Easy Lessons

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Lol! We *loved* 100EZ ("we" being myself, DS6, DD4, and even DD3 who begs for it).

 

And (sigh), we just could not make heads nor tails of Phonics Pathways. The pages were too distracting and confusing for my son, and I just couldn't figure out how to "do" it. I don't always love scripts (for the most part we ignored them in 100EZ) but I was lost in PP (and slightly annoyed by the quippy little bug sayings throughout).

 

Won't resell PP yet, though... Who knows? Kids #4 and 5 may be wired differently.

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Oh, I completely forgot about Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings.

After all the hype and glowing praises of the program that I read on these boards, I was very disappointed to find that it consisted mainly of huge amounts of busy work.

 

This is the one for us too.  Seems EVERYONE loves this curriculum so I was really surprised to see how shallow/busy worky it was. It was literally the biggest disappointment of our homeschooling years, so far.

 

Others:

MUS (old, old version) - oldest learned a lot of neat tricks and almost no math.

Easy Grammar - kid told the evaluator that he didn't mind using this but he learned how to do worksheets but no grammar.  Good thing the evaluator was an unschooler, lol.

Learn Math Fast - bought this for some kids I was tutoring. Giant waste of money. Not sure what I was thinking...

 

Georgia

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-Peterson Directed cursive caused meltdowns in an otherwise reasonably compliant child. I tried off-and-on for a YEAR before finally giving up and switching to MP's New American Cursive (which she promptly mastered in 3 weeks flat).

-Latin for Children A was a bust for DD, but I've held on to it in case it works for DS.

-the 1962 old Catholic edition of Voyages in English was so snooze-inducing that neither DD nor I could stand it. We gave up after about 6 weeks and I hardly EVER switch books mid-level.

-Right Start Level A was too all-over-the-place for my tastes. Love Level B and the first part of C, however.

-Whimbey's Thinking Through Grammar middle school level book was a waste of time. I discovered that I much prefer the Killgallon "sentence composing" method to Whimbey's "sentence combining" method. Similar name, but the former is IMHO much more effective than the latter.

-Critical Thinking Press "Science Detective". OK for reading comprehension test prep practice, waste of time when it comes to actually learning any science.

-Bravewriter's The Writing Jungle was an inspirational read for me, but it was so "big picture" that I wasn't able to actually implement it as a writing curriculum.

-IEW's Ancient History theme book.

 

Most of my mistakes have come from buying things sight unseen.

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It's just embarrassing, but I truly do love these threads because it reminds me that I'm in good company.

 

Big mistake would be Sonlight, but luckily I've been able to send it back for a refund. Twice. :)

So, that leaves Singapore. I have so many of the textbooks, workbooks, HIGS, standards, US ed., CWP, etc., etc., etc. And we always end up back with Saxon. So, while we've tried lots of things that didn't work, Singapore is the one where I should have just left well enough alone.

 

Today. I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.

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