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morningcoffee

Stupid reasons for liking/disliking a curriculum

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I'm attracted to  Abeka because of its glossy pages and lovely photos. 

 

I find Sonya Schaffer reassuring and I like the moms on the Simply Charlotte Mason forum so I lurk there even though we've tried SCM twice and we're not really CM homeschoolers ... 

 

I get a lot of satisfaction throwing away CLE light units when they are done. (edited to add: I like the light units but it's nice to be finished something and to be able to throw it out as frequently as you can with CLE).

 

I end up disliking anything I've bought as an ebook even though I try and convince myself at the point of purchase that I should get the digital version because it's cheaper and we can start to use it straight away. 

 

Edited by morningcoffee
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I dislike right start because when I asked which manipulatives were used for level a the rep wouldn't give me a straight answer. Good stuff there, but that single interaction with customer service ruined it for me. I dislike tog and winter promise because their security on digital products makes it so freaking unusable that it's more of a complete throw away of money than a cost-savings. I mean are they really that scared that I'm going to steal it? Because there are still ways I could circumvent the security and all they accomplished was making it ridiculously cumbersome. Hmm, I sound cranky...it's because I had to go to the dmv today.

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I dislike right start because when I asked which manipulatives were used for level a the rep wouldn't give me a straight answer. Good stuff there, but that single interaction with customer service ruined it for me. I dislike tog and winter promise because their security on digital products makes it so freaking unusable that it's more of a complete throw away of money than a cost-savings. I mean are they really that scared that I'm going to steal it? Because there are still ways I could circumvent the security and all they accomplished was making it ridiculously cumbersome. Hmm, I sound cranky...it's because I had to go to the dmv today.

 

Yep ... I tried to see a sample of TOG a few years ago and I think I had to download something first to open it ...  you know a curriculum isn't for you when you can't even work out how to view the sample  :001_huh:

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I love Bravewriter because it speaks to how I know, understand, and teach writing. But the problem is I already do this kind of stuff and don't really need the curriculum. But I have it anyway. Because I love it. Maybe this year it will actually get used instead of me saying I'm going to use it but continuing to do my own thing. 

 

Not a stupid reason I guess, but a weird one. 

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On principal, I dislike any program that is illustrated by pictures of children staring lovingly and attentively at their mothers while they are doing school. I think Abeka had some photos like that. Winter Promise had a Victorian illustration of a mother surrounded by clinging children.

 

And when WP first came out, saying that the 'free' guides were a $70 value?

Edited by Alessandra
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Though there are plenty of reasons to not like BJU, I'm giving English a try this year because I love the idea of alternating units of grammar and writing to manage the English / Language Arts glut.  

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I dislike SOTW because the activity guide isn't spiral bound.  I can get the reading books any binding: hard, soft, spiral, but not the activity guide.  It means there's a shadow whenever I try to copy a page from it.  If I don't want the shadow I have to pay more to get a pdf copy. 

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I really dislike the font used in RSO Level 1 books. I know it sounds silly, but it really really annoys me.

 

YES! Me too.

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I have pretty much thrown off all CM resources because I'm so turned off by AO: the dusty old books, the website design, the attitude from the forum/higher ups. Can hardly even read CM blogs either. Lol. Totally ridiculous, but it's a viceral reaction at this point.

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This might just be my grammar decision obsession flaring again, but I'm thinking about ditching Daily Grams because if the font. When dd10 looked at it for the first time, she commented on the font, too.

Edited by Tiramisu
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Fonts, aesthetics. And I hate curriculums with too many pieces and parts. More than two books/resources/manuals for a subject is a no-go for me. The exception is for things like CLE, where  there are lots of books but only one in use at a time. I, too, like being able to get to the end of one and feel that sense of satisfaction. :)

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I dislike PDF's.  I like the convenience and I like free shipping, but I hate reading things on the computer/iPad, so I print them off and then I hate that they don't have a nice, shiny cover.  I have a thing for professionally bound books.  :)

 

I agree with another poster about the SOTW activity guide.  This is our first year using it, we haven't even started classes yet, and I already dislike that book.  It really, really needs to be spiral bound.

 

Another pet peeve is expensive curriculum that requires assembly.  I *get* that it's cheaper to ship AAS cards on flat, perforated sheets, but it's a pricey program and I want that work done for me.  I also disliked that the Winston grammar cards weren't laminated.  They seriously need to rethink that.  Those cards are meant to get a lot of use and they are very flimsy.  It was a royal pain to have to organize them on laminating sheets. 

 

ETA:  Anything with a heavy learning curve.  If I have to learn 50 new "symbols" and watch a 6 hour teachers video, I bail.  Fast. 

 

Edited by Jess4879
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I dislike SOTW because the activity guide isn't spiral bound.  I can get the reading books any binding: hard, soft, spiral, but not the activity guide.  It means there's a shadow whenever I try to copy a page from it.  If I don't want the shadow I have to pay more to get a pdf copy. 

 

Yes! I'm with you! I wish they would spiral bind the front section and the student pages separately. I hate the giant paperback.  :thumbdown:

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I like PDFs, especially when I'm sure I won't use all the pages, but people, please please separate each lesson and mark them--especially if the teacher book and student book are separate documents. It is not at all hard to get Word to do a header like Student Book 4.1 and to insert a page break. An otherwise lovely English curriculum is annoying me every month when I print it.

 

(Hint to those who like nice binding: ProClick.)

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I have pretty much thrown off all CM resources because I'm so turned off by AO: the dusty old books, the website design, the attitude from the forum/higher ups. Can hardly even read CM blogs either. Lol. Totally ridiculous, but it's a viceral reaction at this point.

 

I really want to love CM. I do. But I'm turned off by AO's impossible user-unfriendliness, and by the unprofessional "CM" materials out there. It just sucks the joy out of learning. I stick with reading Charlotte Mason's own writing and then we do our own thing. 

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Yes! I'm with you! I wish they would spiral bind the front section and the student pages separately. I hate the giant paperback. :thumbdown:

You can take it to a copy place and have the binding cut off and have it spiral bound. I spiral bind the teacher portion and three hole punch the student sheets so I can copy them.

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You can take it to a copy place and have the binding cut off and have it spiral bound. I spiral bind the teacher portion and three hole punch the student sheets so I can copy them.

 

Yes, I just don't want to have the extra errand and the extra expense. I'm really that cheap and lazy. 

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We LOVE WWE. The CONTENT is fantastic, and content is what matters, so we happily use the program. But I think the illustrations are so uninspiring. I don't know why, but it really bothers me! If they paired the fantastic content with striking graphic design, I would be in heaven. (If you haven't guessed, I'm a very visual person.)  

 

This is also one of the reasons I just couldn't get on board with SOTW. The illustrations in the activity book are so generic-looking. It's as bad as internet clip-art. (In other words, I don't see the point in doing a coloring page if the coloring page isn't beautiful.) The maps are okay, though. There are other reasons SOTW didn't work for us as a curriculum, and we do enjoy the SOTW audiobooks, but yeah...I need beautiful artwork, too!

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Another pet peeve is expensive curriculum that requires assembly.  I *get* that it's cheaper to ship AAS cards on flat, perforated sheets, but it's a pricey program and I want that work done for me.

 

This. And anything spiral bound (unless it's sheet music), or poorly bound where the pages end up falling out after way too little use (can't think of a curriculum like that though).

 

For likes, I like LOF because Fred is 3 ft tall. My oldest is short (though at 9yo, he's now 4'1", not 3') and likes math. I have other reasons I like LOF too, but that one's probably a pretty stupid reason.

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I don't like 8.5x11 spiral bound books. Most of our school is done on the couch, and the binding is not strong enough to keep those book from being flimsy while being held. And I hate not having a labeled spine when it's on the shelf. 

 

And a double yes to PDF curriculum that doesn't have section markers for each lesson!

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I entirely rejected BJU math based on the cover of the first grade book. It's a picture of a cheesy clown with an oversized bowtie.

Nope.

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Yes! I'm with you! I wish they would spiral bind the front section and the student pages separately. I hate the giant paperback.  :thumbdown:

Yep, I had the same problem with the study guide for History of the Medieval World.  I ended up actually getting both a physical copy and a pdf, because I bought the physical copy and realized that just wasn't going to work for me.  It is essentially a student and teacher book together in one massive book and really should be 2 separate books.  

 

I won't buy a physical book and pay to have someone take it apart for me for 2 reasons:  1. They might mess is up and then what? 2. I live in the boonies and the closest place that can do that for me is a 35-40 minute drive away---that makes it a very big inconvenience for me time and money-wise.

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I absolutely ran from ever looking at Reading Rockets because my first exposure to it was at a homeschool convention, where the earnest man with the information at the booth had such bad breath I turned and walked quickly away. To this day, I have had an aversion to even looking at Reading Rockets online -- and it could have been the very thing to help my delayed reader, but I'll never know…  :eek:  :blushing:

 

 

Aargghhh, yes! Totally agree with so many of the above peeves! My biggies:

 

poor layout/graphic design

Esp. "ransom note"-busy layout (many font styles! and design elements! and clip-art! and randomly placed! all on one page!). And too-narrow page margins with too-wide of a column of text -- the eye only wants to go so far before dropping to the next line, and having to go past that point means when you try to drop to the next line, the eye gets lost easily in reading. Apologia middle school/high school science textbooks are extra-wide sized textbooks, so the column of text runs extra wide. :( We dropped Apologia for other science textbooks that were a much better fit for us, but I was NOT sorry to see those painfully long lines of text go away.

 

perfect-bound books you're supposed to write in

These need to be spiral-bound! Jump In's student book drove me nuts -- it's instruction to the student and a workbook all in one, so you're supposed to write in the book (and NOT tear out pages like with a phonics workbook) -- yet you can't get the book to stay open and lay flat while trying to write. My struggling writer also had issues with the physical act of writing, as well as the process of getting writing from his head onto paper, so Jump In's perfect-binding did NOT at all work for him. We switched to having him do the writing in a spiral-bound notebook.

 

 

silly reason I like some curriculum:

Slim and concise. A whole year covered in half or a quarter of the pages of other programs. I loved how slim and useful Wordsmith Apprentice was for DSs -- at a time they were really pencil-phobic (lol), having a slim book for a year of writing was SO good for them -- it made writing mentally do-able. That same idea has carried over for me into the high school years -- Leisha Myers' Elegant Essay and Windows to the World -- a lot of meat packed into a slim spiral-bound volume… aahhh… that just makes me relax and know we will be okay doing high school. :)

Edited by Lori D.
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I really, really dislike Saxon math - serious visceral reaction.

 

I actually have some good reasons why I don't use it, or recommend it, but my initial reaction is because I had to use it as a kid. 

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I really, really dislike Saxon math - serious visceral reaction.

 

I actually have some good reasons why I don't use it, or recommend it, but my initial reaction is because I had to use it as a kid. 

 

I dislike Saxon, too.  It made my kid cry and think he was bad at math. (he wasn't)  I won't even look at Hake grammar because it looks like Saxon. 

 

And in a twist of events, the kid who had me drop the company all those years ago asked me last month for the Saxon calculus book that he saw on a local resale site.  He's taking AP calc this year and wanted the book to have as a reference/extra help at home since it's self-teaching.

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I have pretty much thrown off all CM resources because I'm so turned off by AO: the dusty old books, the website design, the attitude from the forum/higher ups. Can hardly even read CM blogs either. Lol. Totally ridiculous, but it's a viceral reaction at this point.

 

:iagree:  plus I developed an aversion to unexpectedly coming across the word "twaddle" more than once a day (which obviously rules any visits to the AO forum)  

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I love the feel of a brand new, shiny-cover, shiny-pages textbook. We haven't used very many in our homeschool, but we had one last year and I loved it. It smelled inky and papery, too. Love the smell of paper and ink.

 

I don't like pages that are too busy with lots of sidebars. What do we read first? The sidebar? The text? Bounce back and forth between them? So anything Usborne is completely OUT. I hate those books.

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:iagree: plus I developed an aversion to unexpectedly coming across the word "twaddle" more than once a day (which obviously rules any visits to the AO forum)

I can't read the word "twaddle" without hearing Sonya Schafer saying it in my head in her very clipped fashion.

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:iagree: plus I developed an aversion to unexpectedly coming across the word "twaddle" more than once a day (which obviously rules any visits to the AO forum)

It's like they all take such joy in throwing that term around. Shudder. I just can't. CM was interesting, she had some good ideas, we can use them or not, whatever. The quoting her and discussing what or is not "twaddle"? Again, viceral. It all just creeps me out.

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Pages of just solid math problems. AOPS or Life of Fred or even Singapore where there are a mix of word problems and visuals and numbers don't bother me, but anything that just has pages of 1. 16x25= sends shudders down my spine. Especially if the problem numbers hit three digits in a single problem set.

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Now here's finicky. I loved Writing Tales the first time around. Then I bought a workbook a few years later and the pages were much thinner. It made it seem like a lower quality product. Even knowing it was good, I was still turned off. Youngest DD had no interest in it, so I happily gave it away.

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I like the new editions of FLL 1 and 2, because they are visually better for me than the single, small combo book. 

 

I don't like books that are spiral bound. I like the rip out, whole punched kind. 

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Programs that have tear out pages for students, but aren't hole punched first.

Ahh, but I dislike the pre-punched pages. DS always sticks his pencil through them and rips them, rendering them useless. Punching after he completes the page is so much more useful to me.

 

Count me with the folks who dislike RSO because of the font. Refused to even consider it.

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I'm starting to hate the conversational tone of Mystery of History. It's getting to the point where the "storytelling" approach is making me feel like it's the author's opinion on how history happened or a historical fiction book rather than one supported by actual sources. I really wanted to love it since my other options (ToG and Biblioplan) are so much more expensive and seem to require much more gathering of separate spines and supplements.

 

 

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I dislike Saxon, too.  It made my kid cry and think he was bad at math. (he wasn't)  I won't even look at Hake grammar because it looks like Saxon. 

 

And in a twist of events, the kid who had me drop the company all those years ago asked me last month for the Saxon calculus book that he saw on a local resale site.  He's taking AP calc this year and wanted the book to have as a reference/extra help at home since it's self-teaching.

 

We had the same experience with Saxon; it drove my math-loving kid to tears.  (It DID help solve the attitude problem we were having about doing a reasonable amount of schoolwork when asked, without the lollygagging or whining...)  My first reaction was "Yuck!  If I had to do math like that as a kid, I would have disliked it even more than I did."

 

I really, really wanted to like LOF.  But it takes such a nice, orderly subject and makes it completely random and disorderly.  I couldn't even hang on to it long enough for my next kiddo to try it, even though she probably would have liked it.  I just couldn't do it.

 

I actually sort of LIKE tearing apart all the cards for AAS - once I'm done, I feel like I have a good sense of what's to come, and it looks so neat and organized when I'm done.  I get the same sense of satisfaction and preparedness after assembling the SL instructor's guide.

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I love the idea of "The Prairie Primer," and I recommend it to people all the time. But I'm not sure *I* could use it because it tells you what to do on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday...supposed I want to do *all* of the the Monday suggestions such that it takes two days?? What will I do with the Tuesday stuff? Wait a whole week and then start *next* Tuesday??? :svengo:

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I've never even looked at Heart of Dakota because in my mind HOD stands for Heart of Darkness. It could be the best or the worst curriculum in the world but I'll never know because I can't even bring myself to look at the website.

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Math-U-See. I won't even look into it because I just can't respect a curriculum that can't bother to spell the word "you".

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I have pretty much thrown off all CM resources because I'm so turned off by AO: the dusty old books, the website design, the attitude from the forum/higher ups. Can hardly even read CM blogs either. Lol. Totally ridiculous, but it's a viceral reaction at this point.

 

Yes. I had the most ugly experience with a couple of CMers a year or two ago, & now just hearing the term "CM" or "Living Book" or "Twaddle" makes me want to hurl things at people. I don't stand by the idea that just because the book is old it's better. I should stop, because I could seriously get carried away..

 

 

We LOVE WWE. The CONTENT is fantastic, and content is what matters, so we happily use the program. But I think the illustrations are so uninspiring. I don't know why, but it really bothers me! If they paired the fantastic content with striking graphic design, I would be in heaven. (If you haven't guessed, I'm a very visual person.)  

 

This is also one of the reasons I just couldn't get on board with SOTW. The illustrations in the activity book are so generic-looking. It's as bad as internet clip-art. (In other words, I don't see the point in doing a coloring page if the coloring page isn't beautiful.) The maps are okay, though. There are other reasons SOTW didn't work for us as a curriculum, and we do enjoy the SOTW audiobooks, but yeah...I need beautiful artwork, too!

This made me chuckle because Anne {Green Gables} in WW3 looks just like Laura {Ingals}! I just couldn't help but chuckle when the picture came up this week. Admittedly I've LOVED WWE too & we HAVE been using it for several years, but you know I HATE the tear out pages. We use HWOT so the typical "primary lines" are just annoying. ;)

 

 

I dislike right start because when I asked which manipulatives were used for level a the rep wouldn't give me a straight answer. Good stuff there, but that single interaction with customer service ruined it for me. I dislike tog and winter promise because their security on digital products makes it so freaking unusable that it's more of a complete throw away of money than a cost-savings. I mean are they really that scared that I'm going to steal it? Because there are still ways I could circumvent the security and all they accomplished was making it ridiculously cumbersome. Hmm, I sound cranky...it's because I had to go to the dmv today.

 

Oh man, You know I made the mistake of attempting to check out a TOG sample x3. I don't know what I was thinking. I did however purchase WP & stripped the pwd off. No way was I entering that in each time I wanted to access the curriculum I'd LEGALLY purchased. Never mind if you purchase the EXACT same curriculum from their sister site you don't need a pwd to open it.. ever. 

 

 

 

--

 

Bibloplan. I can't even access samples without putting them in my cart. I just want to look at a quick sample! When i can finally look at the inside of it my eyes freak out. I don't get the huge blocks of colour which seem so random & do nothing for my VPD. I wanted to love it because I heard great things about it, but just no. 

 

In one my TOG sample downloads I did actually print it out, but the pages.. the endless pages! Again, I've heard great things, but I just couldn't get over the in numerous amounts of paper for a sample!

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The Usborne reference books drive me crazy. There are so many non-cohesive paragraphs, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to read first and I always miss something on the page.

Edited by Rach
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When there isn't quite enough room to work problems or write answers in a workbook. We love math mammoth and how it works here, but the early grades don't have enough room for beginning writers to write their answers.

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Anything with a million pieces. I tried AAS three or four times, but couldn't handle the multiple pieces. Oddly enough Right Start worked here, but mostly because I didn't have to have everything out every day, I think. 

 

Things with hand-drawn pictures - A Living History of Our World (which I also loathed for other reasons) and Moving Beyond the Page (though I like the content) come to mind.

Edited by Aurelia
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