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Stupid reasons for liking/disliking a curriculum

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I don't understand why you're relegating cupcakes and reading books under trees to the dustbin of Victorian history. Modern people bake a little (or else why are there three long shelves of cake mixes in every supermarket), and read (even e-books)...?

 

Those kinds of pictures do seem ubiquitous in some texts though, stuff like A Charlotte Mason companion.  It always seems a bit odd to me, in the sense that CM wasn't particularly an antiquarian.

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Those kinds of pictures do seem ubiquitous in some texts though, stuff like A Charlotte Mason companion. It always seems a bit odd to me, in the sense that CM wasn't particularly an antiquarian.

True, she was quite progressive for her time! And I should have said that I do understand the pp's complaint about twee Little Lord Fauntleroy art in everything marketed as CM. We should probably blame Karen Andreola, who liked the style and went first, even though it's not her fault that so many people imitated her.

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My kids do bake for their Daddy, mostly choc chip cookies and peach pie. We do read books outside, sometimes under trees! We do have tea parties too, though not wearing our Sunday best.

 

I think we must be post-modern misfits! :)

 

My kids like Pokemon and Lego too.

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I want to like Tapestry of Grace just because I think it is awesome they have it set up so if you can't afford the book, here's the call number to look for a similar one in the library. I think that's awesome. But their curriculum doesn't work AT ALL for me. It's like it's not quite fully written or something. 

 

Meanwhile, I dislike Sonlight for a bunch of reasons, but am using the spin off company, Bookshark, because it DOES work. Practicality over philosophy at this point. 

 

Oh, and although it is too Evangelical for us really, I ADORE Notgrass for their primary source books that come with each package. Not only is it chock full of awesome bits and pieces (sample of a New England Primer, letters from presidents, poems, hymns, speeches) but it SMELLS awesome. I LOVE the new book smell of their stuff. Again, philosophicaly not the best fit, but practically it worked out well for my oldest who needed get er done stuff, and it smelled so good :)

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Dislikes:

* I really dislike consumable books. I have WAY too many kids for this. I can handle really cheap workbooks like R&S but even those take my time to order. The ideal solution for me would be reusable student text books and free or buy once and print as many as you want printables from the publisher's site.

 

*Cool stuff. My kids loathe cool.

 

*Fact boxes all over the page. My kids up until just recently had a lot of difficulty understanding what was the main text in the book and what was the supplemental text. I think us adults under estimate how much visual distraction interferes with comprehension.

 

*Christian "science" curriculum that is really just young earth propaganda. I firmly believe in a YE but this drives me nuts.

 

*Comic Sans. I contain agree more with others up-thread.

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MFW past K was a turn off for me before looking over a manual to form my own opinion because I heard the sales people are pushy at conferences and I hear the lesson plan is redundant. I did get the K program used, but didn't go past that when hearing those 2 critiques over and over. Plus, I am definitely not a box checker. This is why I have never been tempted to consider Sonlight even though several friends sing praises about it.

 

I resold a used RightStart Level B set after 2 lessons because it was over the top scripted, had too many manipulatives, and I didn't know where to store the balance.

 

I like SCM products because they use good quality paper (especially for the copywork books).

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I think page layout and typesetting is very important, especially for children. But really it is me that hates anything in Comic Sans or fully-justified any font. I gravitate to those with quality illustrations (color doesn't matter as much as the quality of the art). Also, I prefer things that are smaller than 8.5x11 in size - they are just easier for little hands to manage.

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We don't use Abeka for math any more but when we did, I hate that they would abbreviate words like day.  They put something like dy.  I didn't understand it.  They were still using three characters... just spell the word!  Seems like they abbreviated other words strangely but I can't remember which ones...

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Oh, me too!  

 

I dislike curricula that look unprofessional, especially those that utilize Comic Sans. I'm a sucker for good graphic design. 

 

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Not entirely stupid but I hate when printable resources put huge pictures that aren't necessary.  Sure, the nice nearly black picture of the galaxy looks pretty as a header...to EVERY CHAPTER.  And wow,  what a cool graphic...that solid page of  orange gradient does look nice as a cover page...but I think I'll skip printing that so I'll have red and yellow left for the rest of the book too.   And did you have to have to make every heading surrounded by a solid green box?   I've actually opened some resources in a graphics editor and page by page cropped out that junk. 

 

But what is stupid is that I'm more likely to buy something with a really nice full ink filled title page (cause that's always in the preview)...even though I never print those suckers. 

Edited by goldenecho
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Oh, and those Hake grammar pages ...they are awful. So thin you think they are consumable, yet not enough room to write in so you have to use notebook paper. So confusing! ;p

Edited by peaceful isle
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Oh, and those Hake grammar pages ...they are awful. So thin you think they are consumable, yet not enough room to write in so you have to use notebook paper. So confusing! ;p

 

:iagree:

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Oh, and those Hake grammar pages ...they are awful. So thin you think they are consumable, yet not enough room to write in so you have to use notebook paper. So confusing! ;p

I just got a hardback first edition off of eBay and the paper is actually nice, but the pages are crowded so we'll have to see if it works.

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I reall, really WANT to love Jim Weiss. I do. I force my kids to listen to SOTW in the car. But man, he puts me to sleep. 😳 Let the tomato throwing begin.

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I didn't like Jim Weiss with the SOTW audio either.  Some of his other stuff I do like.  No tomato throwing here.

 

I can't remember the chemistry program that so many people seem to love, but whenever I download a sample, the homemade aspect of it with the hand drawn pictures makes me not even want to try it.  I can't get past the pictures to actually even want to look at the rest of it.  

 

Also, anything that tries to make learning a fun game---I don't like playing games to try to teach concepts.  It takes so much more time.  I guess I'm just not a "fun" homeschool mom.

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I reall, really WANT to love Jim Weiss. I do. I force my kids to listen to SOTW in the car. But man, he puts me to sleep. 😳 Let the tomato throwing begin.

That's what my husband says!  We can't listen to SOTW on road trips if DH is driving, because that voice just knocks him out!  It doesn't do that to me, but I thought the facebook gnome was right that Jim Weiss must drink a tea made from unicorn tears. 

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I didn't like Jim Weiss with the SOTW audio either. Some of his other stuff I do like. No tomato throwing here.

 

I can't remember the chemistry program that so many people seem to love, but whenever I download a sample, the homemade aspect of it with the hand drawn pictures makes me not even want to try it. I can't get past the pictures to actually even want to look at the rest of it.

 

Also, anything that tries to make learning a fun game---I don't like playing games to try to teach concepts. It takes so much more time. I guess I'm just not a "fun" homeschool mom.

Was the chemistry program Ellen McHenry? Everyone says how great it is but those thumbprint people make me want to poke my eyes out. I decided to suck it up for the sake of my kid because it would be soooooo much fun. Guess what? He thought it was dumb!

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The one that comes to mind immediately is Sonlight. Despite all the gushing about box days and having everything come in one customizable package, it's just too much stuff. Saxon's manipulative kit and teacher support stuff for primary was also way, way too much stuff, IMO-most of which was used for only a lesson or two.

 

DD's Holt Biology for her high school lab doesn't weigh more than she does, but it certainly weighs more than it should-it's fully as big as the college 2 semester majors level textbooks, yet is a lot less comprehensive and more "fluffy"-and if I actually printed al the worksheets, tests and support materials that come in the "homeschool packet", it would probably take a ream or more of paper and weigh as much as the book! That one textbook and the 1 in binder the instructor requested to be brought to lab takes up most of her backpack.

Yes! The holt bio homeschool packet stuff to print, holy moly, they must be kidding!

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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)

"Twaddle" is just a gross, demeaning word. I despise it and don't feel much more charitably toward people who use it as a snotty condemnation when we live in a world where ANY book that leads a reader to READ SOME MORE has value.

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My DD7 seems to love the new ZB book I got her because of 1) the little green dots and 2) because she's seen it before in ps grade 1, lol!

 

What's ZB?

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The way it feels when you hold it. :) I love strayer upton math just cause it feels SO good to hold in my hand. Love the small fat hardback feel, and the spine is not stiff at all. It's a pleasure to hold. :D Not that I'm actually using it for math. :o

 

Too many pieces turn me off. I tried AAS 2-3 times, but it drives me nuts. I used AAR for awhile because it really seemed to help my daughter, but once she got over the hump and began to really be a reader? I dropped it. Singapore math too. Love the way it teaches, but the book shuffle did me in. Though when I did ditch it, I was in a just-had-a-baby-I-NEED-easy meltdown. :)

 

I have a love/hate relationship with spiral binding. I like being able to fold it back, it makes a big book easier to use when I'm on the couch. But it is lousy on your shelf, having to pull out the book to see what it is.

 

Busy pages. The main reason climbing to good English, study time math, and math mammoth didn't work for us was the busy pages, too small spaces for writing.

 

I hate when they don't start a new lesson on a new page. LLATL didn't work out for a couple reasons, but the way lessons just all ran together with no break between drove me crazy.

 

I hate the coloring pages in the SOTW AG. So boring! Not worth coloring. And the pictures in the book itself, I don't bother to show my kids the pictures when I'm reading, unlike most books.

 

Okbud- yes! someone I dislike raving about a program has definitely turned me off. :D

Edited by vaquitita
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I reall, really WANT to love Jim Weiss. I do. I force my kids to listen to SOTW in the car. But man, he puts me to sleep. 😳 Let the tomato throwing begin.

 

No tomatoes here. I don't know what it is, but no one here likes to listen to him on SOTW. We like his other stories though.

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I can't deal with anything that looks like the materials used at my cousins' hokey little Christian school when we were growing up - Abeka and those Lifepacs or whatever they are called.

 

 

Also if it takes too long to figure out what material/level my kid needs, I won't use it. (IEW)

 

 

I haven't bought from Critical Thinking Company because I feel like their catalog preys on parents' insecurities. The offer huge packages of material that look like a full year's curriculum but marketed as supplements.

 

 

And I was turned off of CM/AO for years after joining a yahoo group where all the moms seemed kind of miserable and constantly wringing their hands over whether or not something they were doing was "truly CM" style. I found the WTM boards and didn't look back. Now Bravewriter etc... is slowly getting me interested in it again.

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No tomatoes here. I don't know what it is, but no one here likes to listen to him on SOTW. We like his other stories though.

I loved Barbara Ann Johnson and was so sad to turn on SOTW 3 to that different voice. He definitely takes getting used to. 

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"Twaddle" is just a gross, demeaning word. I despise it and don't feel much more charitably toward people who use it as a snotty condemnation when we live in a world where ANY book that leads a reader to READ SOME MORE has value.

Agree so much. I HATE that word, and I especially despise the tone used to fling it at books. It's a totally judgmental word, like "Harry Potter is twaddle," which basically means, "I don't like Harry Potter and so I'll demean it to feel better about my choices."

 

I can't deal with anything that looks like the materials used at my cousins' hokey little Christian school when we were growing up - Abeka and those Lifepacs or whatever they are called.

 

 

Also if it takes too long to figure out what material/level my kid needs, I won't use it. (IEW)

 

 

I haven't bought from Critical Thinking Company because I feel like their catalog preys on parents' insecurities. The offer huge packages of material that look like a full year's curriculum but marketed as supplements.

 

 

And I was turned off of CM/AO for years after joining a yahoo group where all the moms seemed kind of miserable and constantly wringing their hands over whether or not something they were doing was "truly CM" style. I found the WTM boards and didn't look back. Now Bravewriter etc... is slowly getting me interested in it again.

Those CM groups are FULL of people wringing hands over doing it just the way "Miss Mason" would have. Shudder. BW is amazing.

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I complained about CPO book form in this thread, which led me to pull off CPO Life off then shelf aaaand try it. 😳 Still hate the shape, but the content is so, so good. So maybe my moral of this thread is not to toss a curriculum for stupid reason. 😂

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Can I politely point out a couple of things?

 

1. All the "I hate this product" has been about the font or name or pictures etc for everything except the "I hate AO and CM posts". Those have been pretty much a pile-on about the people that USE AO and CM.

 

2. There are people that use AO or CM that are also on the WTM forum..... some that are also on AO or CM forums or have blogs, or even the old Yahoo groups (so the subset of CM users being made fun of on this thread)....

 

Just a thought.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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Another one-I hate materials that claim to be for one grade level, but actually match another. The "Singapore" books sold by Fred Schaffer, where the grade level doesn't match the actual Singapore books by Mitchell Cavendish or Shing Lee are an example.

 

I also have a distrust of workbooks labeled as "gifted" (or various other similar terms, like Genius or Brighter Child) on the cover. They might be awesome, but I'm not likely to pick them up.

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I loved Barbara Ann Johnson and was so sad to turn on SOTW 3 to that different voice. He definitely takes getting used to. 

 

She goes to my church. She is the BEST first and second grade Sunday school teacher EVER! Not exaggerating. <3

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Never even considered Saxon Math because the size of the teacher's guide killed my soul. Though I sure could have used it as a weapon, if need be....

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Paper quality. I wouldn't even attemp Hake when I saw the paper resembled bad quality thin newspapers. Who wants to touch that every day? Not me.

You might be able to find a way to buy the school versions. They are hard back and on nice paper.

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She goes to my church. She is the BEST first and second grade Sunday school teacher EVER! Not exaggerating. <3

I may have to move just to go to your church.

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Never even considered Saxon Math because the size of the teacher's guide killed my soul. Though I sure could have used it as a weapon, if need be....

That's the original reason I didn't look at Saxon although not the only reason I went another route.
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True, she was quite progressive for her time! And I should have said that I do understand the pp's complaint about twee Little Lord Fauntleroy art in everything marketed as CM. We should probably blame Karen Andreola, who liked the style and went first, even though it's not her fault that so many people imitated her.

 

I read Karen Andreola's book A Charlotte Mason Companion, and her flowery, affected writing style gave me such a visceral reaction that it totally turned me off of anything CM.  (The affected lifestyle of the one person I knew who was into CM didn't help.)  This summer for some reason I picked up a CM book free for Kindle and discovered that I liked her original writings and wished I'd implemented some of her ideas when the dc were younger. I have only teens/adults now, so I missed the boat. 

 

Other stupid reasons for disliking curricula that I'd otherwise love - lack of white space (Wordsmith), small type (Lively Art of Writing), Comic Sans font (RS4K), spiral bindings that prevent me from reading the book title while on the shelf, and teacher answer keys that don't include the student pages (Windows to the World).

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Haven't read any reply so maybe this was mentioned but one time I bought a curriculum and when I got it I found out it was in Comic Sans. I told myself it didn't matter. I thought I could get over it. But I ended up never doing a single lesson out of it. :)

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Some scheduling stuff drives me crazy, like Sonlight's 4 day curriculum still scheduling a reader assignment on the fifth day. Quit disrespecting my ability to teach my children; I knew what I was doing when I ordered a 4 day curriculum. Also, MFW K's 6 day schedule. I feels like forced chaos; you can never finish a unit in one week. Drove me crazy.

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Some scheduling stuff drives me crazy, like Sonlight's 4 day curriculum still scheduling a reader assignment on the fifth day. Quit disrespecting my ability to teach my children; I knew what I was doing when I ordered a 4 day curriculum. Also, MFW K's 6 day schedule. I feels like forced chaos; you can never finish a unit in one week. Drove me crazy.

To add to this- when a certain company removes the four day option plan, then in the middle of the summer, long after most people have ordered their curricula for the coming fall, adds the four day option back in. Gee thanks. UGH.

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Curriculum that assumes its users live in the US. Okay, I get this for things like US history, or US civics - and I can also handle a maths curriculum that uses US currency in its examples. But I have put aside some curricula for other subjects because even though the topic really has nothing to do with the USA (or north america in general) and yet devotes so much time putting things in a USA-specific context, or comparing things to the US.

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Curriculum that assumes its users live in the US. Okay, I get this for things like US history, or US civics - and I can also handle a maths curriculum that uses US currency in its examples. But I have put aside some curricula for other subjects because even though the topic really has nothing to do with the USA (or north america in general) and yet devotes so much time putting things in a USA-specific context, or comparing things to the US.

This made me giggle a bit, because I accidentally bought a lot of Singapore math books years back that were actually the English language ones used in Singapore. With the reliance on word problems, we spent a lot of time googling and visiting the international market that year to figure out what the heck they were asking us!

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. Also, MFW K's 6 day schedule. I feels like forced chaos; you can never finish a unit in one week. Drove me crazy.

 

That's insane!!! I couldn't handle that. 

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I have at times had a strong negative reaction to a curriculum, even unseen and unconsidered, because it comes highly recommended by a person whose homeschooling/academic philosophy is antithetical to mine.  

 

Hard to be positive about something that someone I don't like or respect promotes.     

Quietly. Kerfuffle anyone?!   :leaving:

Edited by ScoutTN
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I didn't think it would make a huge success in our homeschool, but having curriculum that begins on Monday and ends on Thursday or Friday makes a huge difference for this logic stage/ADHD DS. It's easier to get him to not pass off a day of work when it messes up the flow of the next week. Fooling around and missing a day is easy when it's just one of 180 days. But when it is 1 of 5, not so easy.

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I reall, really WANT to love Jim Weiss. I do. I force my kids to listen to SOTW in the car. But man, he puts me to sleep. 😳 Let the tomato throwing begin.

 

I can't stand the sound of the man's voice.  It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

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I'm not sure why that's a stupid reason. I'd call that an excellent reason!

 

Another dislike - a writing curriculum (IEW, I think - not sure of order of letters) that you can't use unless you first watch the $$$ video. Seriously, how hard would it be to write an instructional manual for the parents to read? Surely you know how to write, right? I hope?

 

And the video itself is a huge waste of time.  Part of it is Padewa's lame attempt at sand up comedy, part of it is him misleading you into his methodology (copying great writers of past-it doesn't) and the rest is his bad teaching techniques.

 

That man owes me 2 afternoons of my life back.

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I so wanted to use TOG for history, but after multiple exchanges with customer service I still couldn't figure out how to use it, so I gave up.  I do not have the time to go through that kind of rigamarole every time I need to access the course. 

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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