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What was your biggest curriculum mistake?


Queserasera

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I wondered! I had searched HR and remembered you have given it a positive review! Glad you still like it!

Quiver, 

I just want to point out that the Susie who said she wasted $$$ on History Revealed was NOT me! I am a Susie who feels it is $$$ well spent. Just wanted to be clear. :)

 

 

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Can I just say Apologia Chemistry and Physics again? We began Lesson 12 this morning...I will be so glad when we have finished this book for co-op! 

 

What didn't you like about this?  Did you use and enjoy the other books in this series?  This is the only one we haven't done it yet (it was completed when we needed it), so I was planning to use this next school year...

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Miquon Math & those rods.  Bought it.  Tried it.  Made everyone say "Huh?" Sold it.  Bought it.  Looked at it.  Remembered why it made me say "Huh?" Tried it anyway.  Everyone said, "huh?" Sold it.  Confronted with a tiny math genius in my youngest.  Bought it.  Remembered why it made me say, "Huh?" Tried it anyway.  Sold it.

 

Every elementary science program known to man.

 

Every history program after SOTW

 

There are tons more, but it makes me sound like I am crazy.

 

Amber in SJ

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Growing With Grammar. Only thing I ever just plain quit.

 

But I am sure there will be 50 people saying they loathed something I love, so I don't know that my opinion about GWG should matter much to anyone else.

 

Actually, we had just the opposite results.  I used it with  my oldest son (now 16) and now with my youngest (11).  My oldest has had excellent retention, and in 10th grade, needs no review whatsoever.  And my youngest enjoys it as well, and has good retention.  They both were/are able to do it (mostly) on their own, with some assistance from me, as needed.

 

We like the simple, no-nonsense, black-and-white format because it's not distracting.  We also like the small section at the end of each lesson that reviews previous concepts.  These reviews aren't time consuming but do a good job at their purpose.  I know if my son gets some of this wrong, we need to go back to that lesson and review, this doesn't happen often.  Grammar is grammar, and we feel GWG is thorough and well laid out.

 

This has been our experience.

 

But we like Saxon, too, so go figure...  :001_smile:

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Actually, we had just the opposite results.  I used it with  my oldest son (now 16) and now with my youngest (11).  My oldest has had excellent retention, and in 10th grade, needs no review whatsoever.  And my youngest enjoys it as well, and has good retention.  They both were/are able to do it (mostly) on their own, with some assistance from me, as needed.

 

We like the simple, no-nonsense, black-and-white format because it's not distracting.  We also like the small section at the end of each lesson that reviews previous concepts.  These reviews aren't time consuming but do a good job at their purpose.  I know if my son gets some of this wrong, we need to go back to that lesson and review, this doesn't happen often.  Grammar is grammar, and we feel GWG is thorough and well laid out.

 

This has been our experience.

 

But we like Saxon, too, so go figure...  :001_smile:

:hurray:

 

We are so happy with GWG!  We do narration (after learning something new and for review) rather than memorization in all subjects including grammar.  Narration really makes my children think and own the information. 

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Pretty much every Waldorf-inspired program I've ever purchased. In my dreams, I pull off these beautiful programs and my house is a wonderful, gentle, flowing-with-the-rhythm-of-nature haven. In reality, I just keep staring at the materials, trying to figure out how to translate that stuff into my life. And then my kids ask for workbooks and science videos and Minecraft and we mostly end up unschooling. 

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Classical Writing Aesop - they couldn't possibly make a more difficult method of teaching writing

Yeah, they could. It is called Classical Composition and Imitation in Writing. :) {Can ya tell I REALLY really hated these? I'll stop now, promise.}

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Saxon math.  For this, I really need a "gouging my eyes out" emoticon.  So not the program for us.

 

History's Masterminds (Trisms).  Oy vey.  I read all the critical reviews.  And bought it anyway cuz it just sounded so great.  Guess what?  Everyone else was right.  And I was...less right.

 

 

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How about this expensive mistake?  Finding the perfect math curriculum for your oldest the first year you start homeschooling,when she is in the  4th grade and buying all the books through high school and all the books K to 4th grade because you have three other children to homeschool and they will all love the same math and learn the same way, right?  Plus it is a fabulous deal right now so we might as well stock up and never have to buy math again, right?   

 

I could kick myself.

 

Amber in SJ

 

 

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Sadly, it was Sonlight for us.  I loved the idea of it.  I kept going back to it.  We used it from P 3/4 through Core D.  I dropped the LA a couple years in, and I am still paying for the damage 5 years later.  LA continues to be the biggest struggle with my 6th and 4th graders.  I loved the books, and I do miss the read alouds.  We switched to VP self paced history and I cannot get over how much better the retention is- plus they love it.  I really think the years of reading 2 pages out of this book, 8 pages out of the next took a toll and the retention of both of my girls was awful.  I still love the idea of it, but have to admit it is so freeing not to be tied down to that schedule.  I still have all the books from all of those cores, and have 2 more boys that are not school age yet.  I am not thinking I will reuse it- at least not in its entirety.  

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Sadly, it was Sonlight for us.  I loved the idea of it.  I kept going back to it.  We used it from P 3/4 through Core D.  I dropped the LA a couple years in, and I am still paying for the damage 5 years later.  LA continues to be the biggest struggle with my 6th and 4th graders.  I loved the books, and I do miss the read alouds.  We switched to VP self paced history and I cannot get over how much better the retention is- plus they love it.  I really think the years of reading 2 pages out of this book, 8 pages out of the next took a toll and the retention of both of my girls was awful.  I still love the idea of it, but have to admit it is so freeing not to be tied down to that schedule.  I still have all the books from all of those cores, and have 2 more boys that are not school age yet.  I am not thinking I will reuse it- at least not in its entirety.  

 

Thanks for sharing this. I have a friend who is using it for her K and pre-K kids and she has been struggling with these exact issues.  It was a great affirmation for her that her mommy gut was right.

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Sadly, it was Sonlight for us. I loved the idea of it. I kept going back to it. We used it from P 3/4 through Core D. I dropped the LA a couple years in, and I am still paying for the damage 5 years later. LA continues to be the biggest struggle with my 6th and 4th graders. I loved the books, and I do miss the read alouds. We switched to VP self paced history and I cannot get over how much better the retention is- plus they love it. I really think the years of reading 2 pages out of this book, 8 pages out of the next took a toll and the retention of both of my girls was awful. I still love the idea of it, but have to admit it is so freeing not to be tied down to that schedule. I still have all the books from all of those cores, and have 2 more boys that are not school age yet. I am not thinking I will reuse it- at least not in its entirety.

I used it from P3/4 to Core A with Science K, and used LA-K to LA-2. I had the same problems and more. I'm now using it with my second, but in an entirely different way. Basically, I'm using the books, but not the schedule.

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I used it from P3/4 to Core A with Science K, and used LA-K to LA-2. I had the same problems and more. I'm now using it with my second, but in an entirely different way. Basically, I'm using the books, but not the schedule

I am sorry you had this experience, but am relieved to hear we aren't the only ones. What other problems did you have? We are STILL trying to recover from our Sonlight experience. The biggest area of concern for us is LA also. It has been so hard to catch up my daughter in reading and writing (not composing, she is great at that, but the actual process of writing things out) I started another thread recently about how much writing is needed per grade level as I am creating my own plans for this year and am still scarred after Sonlight!

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I am sorry you had this experience, but am relieved to hear we aren't the only ones. What other problems did you have? We are STILL trying to recover from our Sonlight experience. The biggest area of concern for us is LA also. It has been so hard to catch up my daughter in reading and writing (not composing, she is great at that, but the actual process of writing things out) I started another thread recently about how much writing is needed per grade level as I am creating my own plans for this year and am still scarred after Sonlight!

In addition to the LA, which was horrendously bad and the first major crack in the Sonlight love, the other things mentioned were big problems, namely reading a few pages from a number of books every day. Science drove me crazy because you'd have a topic you followed M-W, then a completely unrelated experiment on Thursday, then reading about another completely unrelated topic on Friday. I also realized that although there is some great literature in Sonlight, it's nothing I couldn't pick up on our own to read and the more I thought about it, the more I was really uncomfortable,a s a historian, with the heavy reliance on historical fiction for teaching history. So, with all that, I was basically left with it being a good book list, but not even in a schedule or order that I wanted it in, and I just couldn't justify it. And all these realizations came to a head at the same time that some things happened with the company that made me very unhappy (I used to be active on the SL boards). And I jumped ship. With some conversations I've been involved and witnessed over here since then, particularly the one involving one of the founders himself, I'm very glad I left.

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I didnt hate all of these, but they either didnt' work or weren't what I wanted:

 

BJU:  liked how easy it was, son was bored to death with the videos, and it costs a fortune

Sonlight:   EPIC fail for us....hated it....didnt like many of the books and the choppiness of the daily plans switching between books

Shurley Grammar:   dry, boring, and really way too much info for the early levels

Math Mammoth:   tried it for 3rd...some of it was good....some of it my engineer husband coudlnt even figure out how the text was trying to explain a simple concept

Singapore Math:   it looked like Greek to me

Teach your Child in 100 Lessons & Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading:   caused tears daily in my daughter

ACE:   it works, it covers things, its dry and boring and  too watered down

Sequential Seplling:   I just couldnt see the method

 

And we've only been homeschooling for 2 years and that's all my fails so far!   Hoping I hit the mark better for next year :/

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So far, no giant disasters and nothing we hated. Largely thanks to friends who have let me see their curricula and to these boards! Research nerd here.  ;)

 

RSO wasn't a good fit for us.

 

Too much busywork and it wasn't getting done. We changed to WTM style science with lots of reading and a few learning activities and videos and this is better. And cheaper. 

 

 

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Mistakes, I've made a few. But I did it my way......

 

Real Science 4 kids

Analytical Grammar

Life o Fred Fractions

Saxon Math K

MCT Poetry

Anallytical Grammar

Lightening Literature- Grade 1 & 2- I'm sorry comic sans should not be used in teacher's manuals

Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings

Nany Larson Science

Time4Learning

Latin for Children

History Odyssey

 

 

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Sadly, it was Sonlight for us.  I loved the idea of it.  I kept going back to it.  We used it from P 3/4 through Core D.  I dropped the LA a couple years in, and I am still paying for the damage 5 years later.  LA continues to be the biggest struggle with my 6th and 4th graders.  I loved the books, and I do miss the read alouds.  We switched to VP self paced history and I cannot get over how much better the retention is- plus they love it.  I really think the years of reading 2 pages out of this book, 8 pages out of the next took a toll and the retention of both of my girls was awful.  I still love the idea of it, but have to admit it is so freeing not to be tied down to that schedule.  I still have all the books from all of those cores, and have 2 more boys that are not school age yet.  I am not thinking I will reuse it- at least not in its entirety.  

 

You seriously just succinctly put into words exactly the problems we had with Sonlight.  It took a LONG time to undo the damage Sonlight caused in my older two kids.

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What didn't you like about this?  Did you use and enjoy the other books in this series?  This is the only one we haven't done it yet (it was completed when we needed it), so I was planning to use this next school year...

 

I'm sorry I haven't been back to this thread. Here is part of a post I made about it in another thread. 

 

I had no prior experience with the Apologia elementary series before this, so my review might be quite different than others. 

 

1) I really don't like the book. I have realized that I don't want a conversational style book such as this for science. I don't mind the conversational style of the company's high school books, though. It seems to me the author repeats herself trying to make points that are obvious from the first thing she stated.    

 

2) This printing must have really been rushed because the text is often almost in the middle binding. I have to pull the book open and turn it sometimes to see the last word on a line.

 

3) I like that there are lots and lots of experiments and most are really easy to do at home. I don't like that the text often reads as if you have done every single experiment and wants you to think about what happened. Who has time for every experiment when there are as many as 10-12 to a chapter? Trying to do it in co-op is challenging, too, because I don't want to read something that is going to give away the end result of the experiments we save to do there. 

 

4) I'm actually using 2 different programs this year because ds really likes science. I had already purchased 4th grade of ABeka's science (in 5th but liked the topics) when our co-op decided to do this. We meet every other week, so I'm doing the ABeka on the other weeks.  My son likes the experiments in Apologia, but he likes the ABeka book so much better. He really doesn't like the Apologia text at all. I think it's just too wordy, and he would prefer the facts.

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You seriously just succinctly put into words exactly the problems we had with Sonlight.  It took a LONG time to undo the damage Sonlight caused in my older two kids.

 

You're kidding?! You, too? Until this thread I really thought we were deficient in some way after trying to make Sonlight work and not being able to. If you don't mind sharing, what happened with your two oldest and how did you undo it? I am STILL working on my oldest two children.

 

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Happy Phonics--Cute, but not worth the trouble, and you need a "real" program like OPGTR anyway (if you want to be thorough)

FLL/WWE--Boring as heck, and I just don't think it's necessary to know the FLL stuff at age 6. I'm totally comfortable with waiting a couple years for grammar instruction.

Math Mammoth--I don't personally have a problem with it, but it was completely wrong for dd. She needs spiral.

SOTW--Not quite as textbooky as a textbook, but still just kinda boring for us. We prefer a simple reading list.

Drawing with Children--Like others, I couldn't implement it. Luckily, I figured that out before the return window closed.

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You're kidding?! You, too? Until this thread I really thought we were deficient in some way after trying to make Sonlight work and not being able to. If you don't mind sharing, what happened with your two oldest and how did you undo it? I am STILL working on my oldest two children.

 

 

Sonlight taught them to learn to do things very superficially.  I think the here a little, there a little reading was also just plain confusing since subjects were so mixed.  It taught them school should be super easy and not take any effort at all.  They were *very* behind in language arts (writing and grammar).  They remembered almost nothing they were taught.  That was interesting since they could still recall things they learned when we did the Africa unit (KONOS) when they were 4 and 6 (three years before), but they couldn't tell me what they were learned in school the previous month.  Undoing just took a lot of pushing to focus and catch up.  It took a good two years to undo the damage and even then sometimes I'd find things they should have learned but hadn't.  We switched to Calvert about 6 months after giving up on Sonlight.  For my second child, even though he should have been in 3rd (or 4th depending on the cut off date), I put him in 2nd grade.  That's really the level he was at.  He was able to complete 2nd and 3rd in about 1 1/2 years (schooling year round) and was caught up to his age-mates.  For my daughter it was a VERY rough first year and a half getting her to do her work and think deeper and focus.  It was a lot of plugging away and keeping trying.  Honestly, she's in 9th grade (public school) now and she still sometimes reverts to the light superficial thinking and I have to remind her to go deeper.  She can (and does very well in school), but old habits.  My son, I think since he was younger, was "fixed" a lot easier.  I thought we were deficient in some way, too, because it seems to work for so many people, but then something like this shows up and you find out that it just doesn't work for everyone.

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I love this thread.  It's truly entertainment for me. 

 

I don't have anything that I truly HATE.  Most are things that just weren't a good fit for us.

 

Horizons K Program c1994- In my defense, this was borrowed and my first year of homeschooling.  It was truly awful to teach but yet by bright 5 y/o at the time learned to read with it!!

 

Apologia Science (Astronomy)- I just couldn't keep interested in this.  Too much reading and not enough doing for us.

 

Spelling Power- I watched the DVD and that's about as far as I got.  Way too complicated to teach SPELLING!!

 

FIAR Volumes 1-3- I really do like the concept and I could go FIAR obsessive at times but it's too much to plan and do.  I got burned out really quick on this one.  We had fun and it served it's purpose but it's time to shelf FIAR.....for now.

 

Phonics Pathways- dd hated this and begged to go back to A Beka!!  I thought it was fine but she thought it was "babyish".  Oh well, I'll try again when my youngest is ready to learn to read.

 

Bible Study Guide for All Ages- Honestly, why does teaching Bible have to be this complicated?

 

A Beka- K, 1st and 2nd grade- Must have been a moment of weakness when the representative was talking to me and telling me that I NEED this to homeschool.  STUPID! STUPID! :cursing:

 

I'm sure there might be more but right now, this is it.

 

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The absolute prize winner, with no redeeming value for any family, in my opinion: Texas History PACE unit. I could not believe the incompetence displayed by the author of this little book. When I gave my daughter permission to throw it away unfinished, she shredded it. I hope they've replaced it with something better.

 

Writing Strands

Sonlight language arts (Actually this one eventually made me quit Sonlight entirely—because of total inaccuracies in grammar analysis. I hope they've improved this over the years.)

 

Miquon Math. I wanted to love this! But it was too abstract for my not-so-mathy kid, and unnecessary for my mathy kids.

 

Spelling Power. Actually I didn't hate this one but no matter what we did, my daughter couldn't retain what she learned here.

Sequential Spelling. I REALLY hated this one. I suspect that someone who thinks they needs this book might benefit more from an Orton-Gillingham approach, which is what we moved to after SS.

 

What I have gone from absolutely adoring to never wanted to use (or recommend) again:

Sonlight

Tapestry of Grace

 

What my kid hates but I insist on nevertheless:

Writing with Skill

 

What I still love:

Singapore math, elementary levels

Art of Problem Solving (my son would argue with me about this one, depending on the day and the book!)

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Rocket Phonics -- impulse buy at a convention. It was confusing to me, so I didn't even try to teach with it.

 

SOTW -- not for my kids who are visual learners.

 

WWE -- again, not for my kids who are visual learners.

 

Right Start A -- I loved the idea of using the abacus. My dc needed lots of worksheets to master the concepts. We switched to MUS, and have been very happy.

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I so wanted All About Spelling to work for us, but my son hated the letter tiles. We made it half-way through two and I couldn't take the struggle. Biggest didn't want to do it and the younger kids wanted to steal/eat the tiles. Retention wasn't great, he was ready to mutiny, and I felt like there was not a great return on my time investment.

 

Then we tried Spalding. I read three versions of the text, I made a complete spelling notebook, my son memorized all the phonograms. I loved the program and it made spelling click for me. The kid started crying about having so many words each week and the writing.

 

And now, my oldest is loving R & S spelling level 2. He loves doing the worksheet pages independently. He loves having so few words each week. He likes doing the pretest on a whiteboard and checking it himself. At this point, I'm glad spelling isn't causing tears.

 

I'm hopeful that one of my other kids likes one of my fancy spelling programs.

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I feel the need to reiterate my disdain for Mystery of History. Hobar actually uses the term "interbreeding" when describing the reason for the distinct features of Chinese people! Interbreeding is a term that can be very offensive when applied to human beings as opposed to animals. This and other inaccuracies have made my blood boil reading this book. What was I thinking?

Interbreeding? Wow.

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I've only been homeschooling since October and my "fails" I think would probably work well for any of my other children, just not the one I bought them for. 

 

Saxon Math was not a good fit for him. While he learned Spalding in PS and did well, SWR at home was a total bust. I want to poke my eyes out when we do FLL. And for some reason I could not get into Apologia Zoology 1.

 

It's bugging me to see people mention REAL Science Odyssey since I just ordered that for next year! :(

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My biggest mistake was not staying the course with Saxon and CC and underestimating them. Second to that was trying to do way too much curriculum and making lessons too long. I now believe consistent short lessons in a solid, systematic program when they are young a working up to longer, independent learning in the basics is best. More real books and discussion and less curriculum and planning is the road I want to take from now on.

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All About Spelling, my daughter just wanted to play with the tiles.

 

MUS, same as with AAS, she just wanted to play with the blocks.

 

Costliest mistake was Trail Guide To Learning. I liked this one but the approach brought my daughter to tears. This is the one that made me realize that what I want and what I like, isn't necessarily what will work for my daughter. 

 

100 EZ Lessons. Where is the hanging myself emoticon? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

All About Spelling, my daughter just wanted to play with the tiles.

 

MUS, same as with AAS, she just wanted to play with the blocks.

 

Costliest mistake was Trail Guide To Learning. I liked this one but the approach brought my daughter to tears. This is the one that made me realize that what I want and what I like, isn't necessarily what will work for my daughter. 

 

100 EZ Lessons. Where is the hanging myself emoticon? 

 

Ditto the 100 EZ Lessons.  I hated that book!  It was sooooo painful!

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I'll add another one...not tailoring to the kids strengths...

 

This year I took the well rounded approach with two very good boxed programs and it didn't really help us.  They took in so much content, but lost a lot in the way of skill subject areas (my dd's grammar especially)....Looking back it just seems like we wasted a lot of time, spun a lot of wheels and did a lot of work on things that will be forgotten, while we could have been cementing skillset areas for long term recall that would have been a lifelong help to them, individually.  Grammar and Lating/Greek really stand out. Also just the time spent and the stress seemed pretty useless.  Which is why I'm getting into the Circe thing a bit now...trying to figure out what to get rid of.  

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Oh there are so many expensive mistakes over the many years we have homeschooled, but the ones I remember right now are:

 

Saxon Math - It totally turned ds into a math hater.

Sonlight 3/4 -tried this twice with two different kids and still couldn't get through it.  Too much reading for us.  

Rainbow Science

HOD CTC - Same here,  too many books for us. 

Apologia Science - not sure we ever finished even one book

Calvert  - oh this was the most expensive mistake of all time!

Writing Stands 

 

 

I know there are others, but can't think of them right now.  I finally  figured out, putting together my own thing is so much better than a package curriculum.

Blessings,

Pat

 

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WWE. This fomented loathing of writing in my VSL kids.

 

Creeks Edge Task Cards - mostly the problem was with me and expecting my kids to be able to do all the summarizing and narrating- type activities. I love the idea, but I couldn't make it work and it caused lots of tension and stress

 

RS C - A was good and loved B, but C was drudgery

 

ReadyWriter - this was cruel for my oldest with fine motor delays. And tedious.

 

#1 biggest mistake was ignoring myself after previewing RS4K on several occasion and finding all sorts of issues with it. I still bought it in 5th for chem - horribly insufficient and oddly skewed content, and lame experiments. Should have listened to myself.

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The Phonics Road was my most expensive mistake. I wish I could return it, but I waited to long to try it. I am hoping to sell it at the local conference this year and get some money back.

 

Way back when we started I tried some Spectrum books, those were a flop, but not to spendy.

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MUS

ETC

Reading Eggs

AAS

AAR

FIAR

LoF is just meh, we don't hate it

RS Level A- jumps all over the place to much for me. though I'm very tempted to try the new level B. lol.

 

We don't hate this, but why did i buy Penny Gardner's handwriting book when we were perfectly happy with the Getty-Dubay books? What a waste.

 

 

Yes! to this. Most of my mistakes were things I got because they worked really well for someone else.

This is one of the major problems to living at the bottom of the world. Nearly everything is sight unseen.

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