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What curriculum works for your family that virtually no one else uses?


Aurelia
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(Inspired as a spin-off of the "What curriculum does it seem "everyone" loves...but didn't work for you?" thread.)

 

Over time, I've noticed I use a lot of stuff that "no one" seems to like or be aware of, and it got me wondering about other curricula that might be worth looking into. What are your "unpopular" hits?

 

We use a lot of British curricula because it works here. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I think it has something to do with the colo(u)r and humo(u)r, which a lot of American curricula seem to lack. 

 

Our top (relatively obscure) curricula:

 

Dancing Bears

Galore Park (we've used Junior English and Junior Science, and will try SYRWTL English 1, Maths 1 and Latin Prep 1 soon)

The Best Writing Lessons Ever - once I figured out how to implement it, DD's writing improved dramatically, and it was inexpensive, too!

One Small Square books - not a curriculum, but taught DD quite a bit about different habitats

Atelier Art - art I don't have to teach! It's on video!

NYC Guitar School lessons (books and video) - much less expensive than lessons in person and I'm actually learning to play guitar

GEMS guides for science - it's a fair amount of work to put together, but DD liked them and learned a lot

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I know some people in this site have used KONOS but not many, it is one that we love.  Also Waldorf Essentials is one we loved in the past and that dd7 has been asking to do again for grade 3 next year (used it for K for her) and I do not generally see that one in the favorites lists

All the ones you listed I have seen mentioned on this site often, so while they may not make it into the listings of a specific thread they are used by many here it appears

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We have started using Saxon Phonics and DS and I are really enjoying it so far. The rules are clearly explained, there are games and movement, and blending is explained very gently and very well.

 

I never thought I would use Saxon anything! But so far the phonics is a good fit for this little guy.

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LOL, we are using Hooked on Phonics, believe it or not.  I appreciate its first two levels.  Then, I switch them to Progressive Phonics, which is another one that we use that I don't see mentioned too much.

 

Progressive Phonics is available online, for free.  When DH broke his leg in 2012, we had to get creative and thus...we came across PP and used it with the oldest two.  I bought AAR for the youngest two, but have since switched back to HOP and PP.  

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Most of our stuff is either well known or put together completely by me. But I love The Private Eye, which is a science/art/language mash-up. It's not enough to be the stand alone for any of those subjects, but is an awesome complement to everything else.

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I have a son with special needs, and I use stuff with him that I've never heard anyone else use:

 

Stevenson Language

Semple Math

(HWOT - this one is popular and known)

Writing Skills Activities for Special Children

Life Skills Activities for Special Children

I have this checked out from the library right now to look over after I saw you mention it in a different thread. :)

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A couple of things we like that I don't see mentioned much;

 

Write From History - the lazy girl's way to do SWB/CM style writing across the curriculum! I love it, and it gets done.  And dd loves it!

The Fun Spanish - from the same publisher.  One verb a week, memorize the conjugation, learn a bit of vocabulary, and put together sentences.  It's been great.

Writing With a Thesis: A Rhetoric and Reader - for middle school essay writing.  Awesome!

And then we love the Arbor School math books - Jousting Armadillos, Crocodiles & Coconuts.  These are pretty new, so maybe it's too soon to say how popular they will be, but my dd loves them.

 

I also liked How To Teach Spelling - it taught me how to teach spelling without a curriculum! So I guess it belongs on the curriculum list?

 

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I have used Houghton Mifflin books to teach all 3 of my kids to read.  I tried OPGTR and PP with my youngers thinking that maybe it was going to be better in some way, but I quickly dropped those and went back to what I had used with my first. 

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LOL!

 

The oooooold Hooked on Phonics.   :D

KONOS for occasional unit studies.

Life of Fred and Miquon

Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons (I'm the only person in the world who's been able to make it thru both)

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I'll add a vote for The Fun Spanish. We chased it with Spanish for Children, which is going well.

 

I just picked up Drawing Around the World: USA from the same publisher as The Fun Spanish. It's for fall, but it looks well done and easy to use.

 

We loved R&S math for the years we used it. My little ones only left because they were getting too advanced. (My then 8yo was nearly ready for the 6 book. We jumped to a workbook math.) I can't wait to use the old duckie edition of grade 1 again when my youngest starts kindy this fall.

 

Veritas Press history, the do-it-yourself kind. It seems to come and go in popularity. We used it solidly for years straight, across multiple grades. Good stuff.

 

Bible Road Trip rarely gets mentioned here. We're about a month in. So far my kids insist the notebooking pages make Bible much more fun, they're enjoying being on the same content (they acting out the stories together during playtime).

 

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MCP math - we used it from K-6 and found it to be the perfect fit.  It was inexpensive, no-frills, and sequential.  I admit to having my doubts as most of our friends were using busy, colorful programs and I did my research, but why switch it up when something is working?  

 

 

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The Young Peacemaker - definitely Christian content. This gave us a vocabulary for conflict that was part of transforming the relationship between my two very different younger daughters. As a matter of fact, they are wrestling and laughing on the bed behind me right now, lol, four-five years later!

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I used K12 Phonicsworks to teach all of my kids to read. It's not a common recommendation here, though I'm sure plenty of people have used it.

 

Other than that, I'd say our Italian materials are unusual - Raccontami (for younger) and Espresso (original edition, for older).

 

 

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Put That in Writing Level 1. Most of the reviews I have seen for it have been negative. The program is not perfect, but my 7th graders' writing has really matured as we have gone through the book. It is whole to parts which has helped them gain ownership over the writing process. They can actually sit down and complete their writing assignments now without me having to walk them through all the steps.

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We use Climbing to Good English. It's heard of, but it doesn't seem like many people here use it. We also use the upper levels of MEP math. MEP seems fairly popular for elementary but most people switch after Year 6.

 

And then there's all my Canadian curricula. :D

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(Inspired as a spin-off of the "What curriculum does it seem "everyone" loves...but didn't work for you?" thread.)

 

Over time, I've noticed I use a lot of stuff that "no one" seems to like or be aware of, and it got me wondering about other curricula that might be worth looking into. What are your "unpopular" hits?

 

We use a lot of British curricula because it works here. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I think it has something to do with the colo(u)r and humo(u)r, which a lot of American curricula seem to lack. 

 

Our top (relatively obscure) curricula:

 

Dancing Bears

Galore Park (we've used Junior English and Junior Science, and will try SYRWTL English 1, Maths 1 and Latin Prep 1 soon)

The Best Writing Lessons Ever - once I figured out how to implement it, DD's writing improved dramatically, and it was inexpensive, too!

One Small Square books - not a curriculum, but taught DD quite a bit about different habitats

Atelier Art - art I don't have to teach! It's on video!

NYC Guitar School lessons (books and video) - much less expensive than lessons in person and I'm actually learning to play guitar

GEMS guides for science - it's a fair amount of work to put together, but DD liked them and learned a lot

Can you give me the link to The Best Writing Lessons Ever?

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Erin, I was just going to say MEP secondary but you beat me to it.☺ My younger son loooooves it. It is a powerful and flexible program with great investigations that really stretch his thinking. My son loves the two week mastery approach with unit tests every two months. It keeps him motivated but also keeps him reviewing. Plus it is FREE!

 

Ruth in NZ

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Phonics Road

I don't enjoy watching the videos but my oldest has made huge improvements in her spelling skills. My son is starting it this year and is doing well. It just works for us and it's how I learned phonics. I went to a private school that taught Orton-Gillingham style phonics.

 

Nancy Larson Science

It gets done and my kids remember so much. Easy! Love that I don't plan!

 

My other choices are more mainstream I think...

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I after school math with my 5th grader using CLE Math. After schooling where I live is extremely common, but I don't know anybody else who uses the same program. Kumon, Mathnasium, Math Circles, Singapore Math and textbooks from India are what most people use here for that purpose.

 

ETA:

I also use Grammarland at my daughter's request. Again, this may be popular choice on these boards but I don't think any of my daughter's friends have ever used it.

For Spanish I use a variety of resources aimed at native speakers on top of continuing with the one parent one language system.

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We use Climbing to Good English. It's heard of, but it doesn't seem like many people here use it.

 

I used two years of CTGE with my youngest with LDs.  She made really great progress in both her reading and spelling skills while using books 1 and 2.  I did love it, and considered continuing with it, but I confess that the poor aesthetics and print quality got to me. :tongue_smilie:

 

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Reading Made Easy!  I absolutely LOVE this curriculum and have no idea why so few people use it.  (Although even I used it with only one of my three children.  I had to find something different for dd #2, or who knows HOW long she would've refused to read. :glare:   DD #3 had LDs and required... a LOT.)

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Reading Made Easy!  I absolutely LOVE this curriculum and have no idea why so few people use it.  (Although even I used it with only one of my three children.  I had to find something different for dd #2, or who knows HOW long she would've refused to read. :glare:   DD #3 had LDs and required... a LOT.)

 

This was my favorite phonics/reading curriculum, such good memories!

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Reading Reflex.  :wub:

 

And my mom taught a class to my kids and some others using the Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever, which she recommended because she'd had such great success with it in her 2nd grade classroom.  Really great - straightforward, easy to follow, and a whopping $15 to buy!  (is that the same one you're calling The Best WLE?)

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