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Curriculum disappointments so far?


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Here it is, only the 6th week of school for us and I'm already so very disappointed in one of the curriculum choices I made for my oldest. Against my better judgement, I bought BJU Fundamentals of Math. I thought it would be a good, rigorous but step-by-step approach to math. All I can say is that it is NOT easy for me to teach. We are looking at prime numbers today (3.3 for those who have the book) and what I think should be simple and straight forward is NOT explained that way. I can't even understand what they are telling her to do to figure things out. And why don't the skill checks offer step-by-step answers???

 

Ugh, so so so disappointed in this but it was not a cheap program.

 

Does anyone else have a curriculum that they are disappointed in this early in the school year?

 

 

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My younger 3 are doing some Beautiful Feet units (geography & music, currently, with science later in the year), and we don't care for them. I can't quite pinpoint it, but something about them isn't a great fit for us. It's not bad enough that we're quitting them, but it will be the only year we use them.

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Galore Park English isn't what I'd hoped. Too geared toward a classroom I think? I feel like I need a teacher's manual, but I'm not enamored enough to buy it.  We'll go through and get as much as we can out of it, but I will keep looking for the English that really clicks with us. 

 

DS hacked Rosetta Stone so to speak. I can't let him do the work unsupervised or it becomes his own recording studio. If I have to be present, then I have to call Rosetta Stone a failure. I need for him to be able to do SOMETHING/ANYTHING school-related without me there keeping him on task. #ADHD

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Kelly, we also tried BJU math this year and felt the same way. (We tried Grade 6) I just was so overwhelmed by the TM and felt that it made everything so much harder than it had to be!!!! Definitely a miss for us.

 

Tapestry of Grace was a major miss for us, as well, which totally bummed me out as I have drooled over it since the day I decided to homeschool years ago. :(

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Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading *hides* I wanted to love it so much.

 

We've made several attempts to utilize this book over the past 2 years including taking "maybe he's just not ready" breaks, writing out on a white/chalkboard, flashcards, etc. Nothing made this work for DS. Switched to a combo of Starfall and R&S reading (which I was prepared to hate because it uses A LOT of sight reading and was very much made for classroom use) and in 3 weeks he's done a complete 180 from hating the thought of reading to begging to do a reading lesson. 

 

Seton "Science 1 for Young Catholics" Should've known better from the online samples.

 

Starts with the outdated Food Pyramid, "eat bread at every meal, drink milk at least 3x a day" the next few chapters have been better but deeply needs supplementation, which I was not expecting. Switched to using DK Human Body Encyclopedia for that unit.

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Plenty of changes, and yes, I am dumping them!  

 

Ds was two weeks into Easy Grammar.  He looked at programs and chose this for himself.  He decided it doesn't have enough teaching in it.  He dumped it ;-)  He is picking up Rod & Staff again....  

 

Ds also dumped Understanding Algebra from Critical Thinking.  The beginning is a lot of statistics stuff which he had never seen ever, and he got extremely frustrated.  He moved to TT Algebra, but both my kids were using way too many second changes and he bombed too many tests.  He did algebra last year, so after he wraps up some Key to Decimals he is moving to Jacobs geometry. 

 

I can't begin to gripe enough about TT.  I thought one of my kids could use it.  But they just need something else.  DD was doing ok, almost perfect.  We went over every problem she had looked at twice.  I even moved her to doing all work on paper then inputting answers.  She too bombed the test and couldn't work through some basic problems.  She is moving to Jacobs algebra.  

 

All my efforts to par down/do easier this year were a bust.  We ended right back where we would have been if we just did the next level thing :-)

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So far this year, we've been pretty happy.

 

RightStart Level C just doesn't match the expectations set by Level B. I had intended to do C and D before moving to Beast Academy but I'm disappointed enough in C to not bother with D.

 

I bought CAP's Spanish for Children used but it would be a horrible fit for us. It's on the shelf in case I change my mind, but I'm guessing I resell it at the end of the year. But DD has really taken to DuoLingo, so at least we have something to turn to for our Spanish needs.

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Verias Self-Paced Ancients...

Oldest actually loves it; youngest loathes it (and cannot use it independently).

I'm fairly "meh" about it. I mean, it's cool that there's video and games and such, but I'm not convinced the kids are learning anything worthwhile. Who cares that there are/were 6 cataracts on the Nile? The info seems too factsy, and --looking ahead-- it looks more heavy on church history than I care to go.

 

Oldest will be finishing the year (cause I paid good $$ for it) but we're picking up another Ancients to go alongside it.

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Abeka French.  I wanted to like it.  Too many books and too confusing to use.  I dumped it (thankfully I had gotten it used) and switched to Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn French.  Ahh.  Much better.

 

We also sadly dumped WWS 1.  My big picture thinker was dying at the "write a description" paragraphs.  Dying.  We switched to Seton Composition and like it so far.

 

 

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I'm mostly happy with everything but I find K12 Lit and Comp for 8th grade is less meaty than I would like it to be.  Much of the program is online.  However, I think it has fantastic reading selections, and I do like what there is of the literature discussion.  I am just adding to what is there in terms of discussion and analysis.  I'm also going to add in Memoria Press Poetry and Short Stories, as well as Elegant Essay for writing. So, not a complete loss.  I'm a constant tweaker for literature and writing, though, so this is typical.

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So far this year, we've been pretty happy.

 

RightStart Level C just doesn't match the expectations set by Level B. I had intended to do C and D before moving to Beast Academy but I'm disappointed enough in C to not bother with D.

 

 

Are you using the 1st or 2nd edition of RS C? I was planning on using the 2nd edition after we finish B. 

 

Can you elaborate about what specifically is different from B that you don't like?

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Are you using the 1st or 2nd edition of RS C? I was planning on using the 2nd edition after we finish B.

 

Can you elaborate about what specifically is different from B that you don't like?

Second edition. The pacing seems less even and there is far too much review. For example, after all the time spent teaching 4-digit addition in level B, it teaches it all over again the same way in level C. Not a review - they teach it from scratch again as though we hadn't just done it. But then when they get to 4-digit subtraction, they cover it in just a few lessons and have very few practice problems in comparison.

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Analytical Grammar. Too slow, too much busy work. It's just not the right fit for us. I thought it was something it isn't so it's my mistake. DD begged to just go back to diagramming sentences without all the review again.

 

I was just going to post the same thing.  Unfortunately, we use it through an academic co-op (combined with WWS) so I can't even dump it.  Ugh.

 

Another one that I'm not loving is Notgrass America the Beautiful.  It just doesn't feel right.  Another day, another topic.  I don't like it.

 

And I'm about ready to start hating Trail Guides to World Geography.  I just want my son to know where the countries are and their capitals - I'm happy with that.  But it seems like South America is done in 2 weeks, Europe done in 3 - it just feels way too fast.  I liked the two states a week US version better than this.

 

I feel like a whiner.  Sigh.

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I am pretty happy with all my choices this year. I chose to do distance learning for my oldest two, and it has really made life so much easier for this busy mom!

 

I am not really liking my son's science though. I just can't get into it. :( Not really sure what I am going to do instead of AIG, but I am loving SOTW, as usual. This is the second time using SOTW 1 with my first born son. The first time was when he was 4. Miss him that age. He is such a tender hearted sweet guy.

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Some great advice I got before starting homeschooling, was to simply budget in curriculum failures. Give yourself permission to waste some money on what you thought would be good choice, but turned out bad. Dump it and buy what you need. Of course, you shouldn't waste too much money this way, but sometimes it's impossible to know what will and won't work.

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We dumped K12 Human Odyssey within two days and picked up OUP World in Ancient times. I loved K12's chronological approach, the kids loved the color pictures, but the writing was so meh. We are much happier now.

 

We dropped Ellen Mchenry's Cells for now. They just didn't want to get that in-depth and they are doing RSO biology with a friend, and honestly, science just isn't as dear to me at history so the main bulk of our learning is just documentaries and library books for free reading. But it's not due to the material, just the timing:-)

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Great Courses Viking lectures. The instructor has way too many filler words (Um, ah, etc), and it became difficult to listen to. We quit when DD started mimicking the instructor. "Uh, the land where the uh, Vikings, ah, lived was very, ah, densely wooded."

 

Bravewriter Arrow. Fortunately I only bought one - the grammar was way too easy and light for DD, but she couldn't do the dictation (she struggles with spelling), so it was basically copywork with a brief writing project at the end. I have one Boomerang unit we'll try in a month or so. I'm not really confident it will be a good fit, either.

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Amazingly, nothing so far! Even the plans I made and the prep I did are working out so well. Just the other day, my girls told me they think this is the "best homeschool year" ever (so far). ;)

 

We're happily marching along with all the core skill components -- Math (CLE), Composition (WWE/WWS), Grammar (FLL), Vocabulary (Wordly Wise), Spelling (PZ/AAS), Poetry Memory Work (our selections), Music/Instrument (lessons with me at home), and French (EP/FSF).

 

Our homemade Assigned Independent Reading (A.I.R. Time) "courses" are moving along nicely. The girls enjoy having this major component of their work under their autonomy. ;) Our group subjects -- Bible (MW/JBQ), History (MOH Ancients), Science (MP What's That Bird?), Literature (our plan), Geography (our plan), Composers (Zeezok), Artists (SCM), Handicrafts (SCM) are all going well. All the little "bits and pieces" subjects that we do are also working out.

 

I just can't think of anything to complain about, LOL! :lol:

 

Hmmm..... Perhaps the only disappointment I can think of is with my oldest's Latin -- Latina Christiana. We're still plodding through it, but I think it lacks something in both the format (should be more student-directed) and the teaching (there should be more teaching to the teacher). Some of the "board work" exercises expect students to know concepts and/or vocabulary that haven't been taught yet. But we don't hate it, we just have a few little gripes about it.

 

We did have one disappointment with children's choir -- more than half the children left! A few of the older kids graduated out, a few moved, a family of six had a schedule conflict with gymnastics, others signed up for an all-day co-op on the same day and feel it would be too long of a day. But still. The choirs are very, very small now! :sad: The girls all wanted to stick with it, though, so now they have accepted that this is what choir will be (for now). I'm proud of them for their decision, and their love of making music!

 

Other than that, no disappointments here this year.

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Great Courses Viking lectures. The instructor has way too many filler words (Um, ah, etc), and it became difficult to listen to. We quit when DD started mimicking the instructor. "Uh, the land where the uh, Vikings, ah, lived was very, ah, densely wooded."

We weren't fans of that Vikings one either. BBC has a 3-part (3 hours total) documentary on the Vikings on Curiosity Stream that we are enjoying a lot instead.

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Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading *hides* I wanted to love it so much.

 

I sold my copy this month, a bust here as well, didn't suit my teaching style or either of my kids learning styles. It was my first thought when I opened this thread but I wasn't brave enough to say it until I read your post lol

 

Also, not so much a curriculum but a supplement, two plus two does not equal five.... I'll give it a bit longer to see if it's just a bump in the road. The flashcards are fine, but every book lesson has ended in tears so far, and that's with me breaking them down into half-pages and only doing the book parts after plenty of flashcard practice. 

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Adventures in America for my 2nd grader. We tried SOTW last year and she just wasn't ready for ancients so we ended up dropping it and doing general social studies stuff to fill the rest of the year. I decided she still wasn't quite ready for ancients but thought we could do early American history. It's just not clicking at all. I don't know if it's the program or if DD just really isn't ready for history yet. She enjoyed the Pocahontas read-aloud, but doesn't seem to be getting anything from the curriculum readings. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do.

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I don't usually hesitate to dump things quickly if they aren't working, so it is hard to remember. 

 

Big disappointments, maybe MM grade level book, I stupidly tried it again for ds' review, I finally went back to Horizons which was where we started and am feeling content again now that I've figured out how I wanted to use it, as a plus dd1 uses and enjoys Horizons so it will be used again.

 

The writing I started out with ds the year, Maxwell's Composition stopped working. I truly did enjoy it and he liked it well enough but on reflection it wasn't quite what he needed at this time. We tried out IEW but didn't like it- I already owned it so no loss. I then tried a sample of WWS this week and decided against it, he actually did well enough on it but I decided it didn't really meet our goals and direction for now. Now on the side we've been moving towards Bravewriter for about a month now and it seems to be fitting us more and more, so I talked with ds, went over some samples and decided to fully go with Bravewriter.

 

Dd2 started with Math in Focus and she completed the Kindergarten books in like a month, we briefly tried moving onto first but then I realized that she wasn't ready for that so we went sideways instead with Miquon/Cuisanaire based math and have been happy ever since.

 

We've switched Nature Study programs but I wasn't really disappointed, I just found something that I liked better, not just liked but loved so I jumped ships with no regrets and I hadn't paid for the previous program so no loss there either.

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Some great advice I got before starting homeschooling, was to simply budget in curriculum failures. Give yourself permission to waste some money on what you thought would be good choice, but turned out bad. Dump it and buy what you need. Of course, you shouldn't waste too much money this way, but sometimes it's impossible to know what will and won't work.

 

 

I'm finding this to be true, as well. Next year I'll need to budget for that because if I had done it for this year, it might not make it so painful to dump the BJU math. . . . :crying:

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Haven't dumped anything yet, but I'm "tweaking". MM for D is driving me/us nuts. He wants to do math on the white board, so I pick and choose problems from MM to do on the white board. Problem solved. It's just grade 2, so it's easy to make stuff up. I'm planning to move him on to BA when he's ready (in a month or two), so this is a good temporary fix. S's science is a free, iTunes book-E.O Wilson's Life on Earth. It's a good book, but figuring out how to teach it is killing me. My time is very limited. I was getting him to write notes, but it was taking HOURS and HOURS and making him cry, so now we are back to oral narration. We'll see how it goes. 

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Plenty of changes, and yes, I am dumping them!  

 

Ds was two weeks into Easy Grammar.  He looked at programs and chose this for himself.  He decided it doesn't have enough teaching in it.  He dumped it ;-)  He is picking up Rod & Staff again....  

 

 

 

All my efforts to par down/do easier this year were a bust.  We ended right back where we would have been if we just did the next level thing :-)

Oh, NO!  I just purchased EG, and I sold all my R&S.

 

And for the reason you stated.  Trying to par down.

 

I hope we can make EG work for us.  :(

 

Pam

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We've already dropped WriteShop 1. While the content was quite good, I was so frustrated with all the flipping around from this section to that section. They seriously need to make it more user friendly. My DD was also struggling right away.

 

We're still using it because DD likes it, but I've found Horizons Math to just be okay. It takes her a long time to get through each day even with crossing problems out and I would say it's even weaker in word problems than CLE.

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The jury is still out for me on Mosdos for Lit (I make my DS6 read the stories to me for practice). We bought the 3rd grade level, but I think it might be too simplistic. My son likes it enough, but it just doesn't seem very challenging. I might need to bump him up another level. I'm not a fan of the accompanying workbook at all. It would make some nice samples for our charter school, so we might do a page once a month for that, but it just feels like busywork to me. 

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Everything this year has been good for us. The only curriculum I stopped without seeing it through to the end was Rightshop Primary. It just wasn't right for my son. Started ok for us but it didn't take long to realize neither of us enjoyed it and he wasn't benefiting from it. This was when my oldest was in 1st grade.

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Great Courses Viking lectures. The instructor has way too many filler words (Um, ah, etc), and it became difficult to listen to. We quit when DD started mimicking the instructor. "Uh, the land where the uh, Vikings, ah, lived was very, ah, densely wooded."

 

Thanks for the heads up on this. I requested it from the library and it is ready for pick up. I am trying to get the uhs and ums habit out of my kids' oral narrations. It sounds like I shouldn't have them listen to these CDs.

 

Now off to research a different Viking resource.....maybe youtube will once again save the day.

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Oh, NO! I just purchased EG, and I sold all my R&S.

 

And for the reason you stated. Trying to par down.

 

I hope we can make EG work for us. :(

 

Pam

If it makes you feel better, we have both Rod&Staff English and Easy Grammar. Both were purchased cheaply at a used sale, so neither was a huge investment. We like Easy Grammar better for this year, grades 3-4. I may switch to R&S next year since I have the next level of R&S, but I don't have the next level of EG. But I wanted to encourage you that EG might work out fine for you.

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I'm disappointed in myself for setting my geeky little 7yo caboose baby up for disappointment.

 

Shurley English and Saxon Primary are both fun programs, but trying to do both at the same time is just too much school for such a little boy.

 

Back to the same old same old I did with the millenials because the fancy pants stuff hadn't hit the dollar discount bin yet.

 

Old curriculum junkies never die, they just become weird old ladies who collect worthless junk as if it were glass unicorn figurines.

 

< cringe >

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Originally A-8 and O-11 were doing Math Essentials - A with Book 1 and O with Book 2. We all loved it to start with. Now A and I agree it's going too fast and not enough instruction for her so she's switched to Mammoth Maths. I find it amusing as I bought MM years ago when my eldest was small and it didn't work well for us then (he wasn't fond and I disliked the printing) so it's been sitting on my computer for ages and now I've 2 using it fully and my eldest using it to help when Math Essential's instruction isn't enough for him. Thankfully I have a far better printer now  :lol:

 

Most everything else I'm happy with though I feel I need more for English, especially for writing, but I haven't found anything yet. They're still doing copywork, O is writing definitions of words in his reading he doesn't know, and we're still constantly working on the penmanship. We need something more there but it's always been a tricky area for mine. 

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We didn't go with anything completely new this fall, and so far everything is still going well. We had taken a spring "break" from Saxon math last year to try out Beast Academy and AoPS. This fall they wanted to return to Saxon, but already they are mixing BA back in as it is so much fun. It was too much all on its own, but seems to work wonderfully as a supplement.  I'm really glad that they will end up using these, as it would have been a curriculum flop otherwise. ;)

 

 

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I was just going to post the same thing.  Unfortunately, we use it through an academic co-op (combined with WWS) so I can't even dump it.  Ugh.

 

Another one that I'm not loving is Notgrass America the Beautiful.  It just doesn't feel right.  Another day, another topic.  I don't like it.

 

And I'm about ready to start hating Trail Guides to World Geography.  I just want my son to know where the countries are and their capitals - I'm happy with that.  But it seems like South America is done in 2 weeks, Europe done in 3 - it just feels way too fast.  I liked the two states a week US version better than this.

 

I feel like a whiner.  Sigh.

 

I'm with you on Notgrass America the Beautiful.  Wanted soooo much to like it because I had done soooo much research to find it in the first place!  I just keep looking at the books and thinking, no, not today.  Maybe it just seems like too much extraneous information?  I'm not sure.  We are switching to A Living History of Our World:  Americas Stories Vol. 1.

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I'm with you on Notgrass America the Beautiful.  Wanted soooo much to like it because I had done soooo much research to find it in the first place!  I just keep looking at the books and thinking, no, not today.  Maybe it just seems like too much extraneous information?  I'm not sure.  We are switching to A Living History of Our World:  Americas Stories Vol. 1.

Are these not sold by Queen anymore?

 

Pam

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I'm with you on Notgrass America the Beautiful.  Wanted soooo much to like it because I had done soooo much research to find it in the first place!  I just keep looking at the books and thinking, no, not today.  Maybe it just seems like too much extraneous information?  I'm not sure.  We are switching to A Living History of Our World:  Americas Stories Vol. 1.

 

 

We aren't really enjoying it here either.  It is okay but neither me or the kids are excited about doing it.   I have 3 sets of all the students books (that the kids have already written in of course) so I've got a fair amount of money into it.  I just don't think I can do it all year.  I'm thinking of just trying to put my own thing together for rest of the year so I don't have to buy anything new.   The textbook just seems dry and the kids eyes glaze over when I get it out.  

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We just finished week 7 of school. This is the first year I'm competely happy with everything. The only misstep is that I was a bit overconfident in my abilibies to teach Algebra, but buying the solutions guide solved that problem. (I thought I could just figure out the problems on my own...and I mostly could, but there were juuust enough problems that would stump me.)

 

Now, last year---last year was different. We didn't like:

 

Mr Q's high school level chemistry

Easy Grammar (for grade 4 and middle school--way too easy and no review. When we tested at the end of the year, my kids knew less than when we'd started. They actually lost ground. So frustrating! Making up for it now with CLE this year, which is a bit of a struggle for them. Thanks for nothin' Easy Grammar!)

Studying God's Word (bible study program--too school-like for us. For this subject, I want discussion and not just filling out worksheets.)

Vocabulary from Classical Roots (don't feel like the kids retained much.)

Health Lifepacs from Alpha Omega (bored us all to tears. Just so booooooring. I haaaaaated it.)

 

Last year was an unhappy year for us curriculum wise. We pushed through everything except the chemistry. This year we don't do anything that remotely resembles the curric above and we're much happier.

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