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Has anyone used the light units for social studies or science from Christian Light Education?

We like what we are seeing as far as the math and L/A but wondered about the other subjects.

Also, we are new to homeschooling (4th&5thgrade) and have heard there are better curriculums out there other than Abeka,Bju,etc. So if anyone can offer better suggestions in their experience we would appreciate any ideas.

 

 

Edited by Caglehs

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Welcome aboard!

Well, yes there are many curricula out there. A lot depends on what you are looking for in a program and what type of learner your children are. 

No, to answer your first question.

I use story of the world for history with the activity guide and I am all over the place for science. I use mystery science, brainpop videos, and real science odyssey. I would like to start science in the beginning this summer. 😆 you may like that one since it is Christian based. I have others I am contemplating.  🤔😏

Different programs offer different ways of teaching. For instance, with regard to math, there are programs out there that is workbook based and others that have lots of hands on learning (rightstart math). I use beast academy because my kids like the comic book guide. I sometumes use Singapore math because beast academy can be really hard.

When I started homeschooling I looked at cathy Duffy's site because she has a bunch of reviews for most of the programs out there. I also read the well trained mind book and looked at the different homeschooling methods. Waldorf, classical trivium, Charlotte Mason, etc.

Hope this helps!

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I've also heard that Abeka and BJU are dry as well???

Any suggestions..I like what I am seeing with Notgrass..any others you would recommend.

My kids like history, historical fiction but have not been exposed to it as much as they would like (I would like more too) at public school.

They are 4th and 5th grade.

 

 

 

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With 4th and 5th grades you could do science and history together. There are many curricula written for homeschoolers that are designed to be used with multiple grades. For example, Story of the World, Notgrass, Mystery of History, Biblioplan, Sonlight, My Father’s World for History. Apologia, Berean Builders, Answers in Genesis, Sonlight, for science. (There are, of course, others. These at all Christian as it seemed that’s what you were looking for.) 

Another science and history option would be to just follow their interests and use the library. That can work really well for those ages. Also, since you are new to homeschooling, it would give you a chance to figure out what “style” works for your family before you dump a lot of money into curricula that may or may not work. With some experience under your belt it will be easier to choose. Not that you won’t still have some duds but your chances are better once you have an idea of what works for your family. 

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I do really like CLE for language arts and I have heard great things about their math on this site.  

I used Story of the World for History and that was our favorite.  I think my kids reread those books at least once on their own.  We used some history from Memoria press and Sonlight as well occasionally.

I think for science we used Real Science for Kids at that age and the Exploring the World of.... series ( Chemistry, Math, Astronomy, Planet Earth).

edited:  We also watched a lot of interesting documenteries about science.  

 

Edited by Mbelle

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6 minutes ago, 2ndGenHomeschooler said:

With 4th and 5th grades you could do science and history together. There are many curricula written for homeschoolers that are designed to be used with multiple grades. For example, Story of the World, Notgrass, Mystery of History, Biblioplan, Sonlight, My Father’s World for History. Apologia, Berean Builders, Answers in Genesis, Sonlight, for science. (There are, of course, others. These at all Christian as it seemed that’s what you were looking for.) 

Another science and history option would be to just follow their interests and use the library. That can work really well for those ages. Also, since you are new to homeschooling, it would give you a chance to figure out what “style” works for your family before you dump a lot of money into curricula that may or may not work. With some experience under your belt it will be easier to choose. Not that you won’t still have some duds but your chances are better once you have an idea of what works for your family. 

Thank you for the advice..you mentioned several above that I have been considering..Notgrass, berean builders being the 2 I'm leaning toward.

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CLE math is fantastic. I like their LA as well. I looked at their science and SS and wasn’t impressed.

We use Nottgrass for history and I really like it. The only problem is.... there aren’t enough books to do a full elementary sequence. The three books - From Adam to Us, America the Beautiful and Uncle Sam And You would be great for grades 5,6 &7 or 6,7 &8. I just did Our Star Spangled Story with my 2nd and 4th grader and it worked, but now what??

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I was thinking CLE for math and L/A and Notgrass for history but know I would have to find another curriculum for 4th year middle school. They said they have a 4th curriculum in the works but no release date yet.

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Honestly, in your position I'd put most effort into getting Math and LA sorted out. I agree with PP to be as simple as possible- maybe grab a Notgrass spine, or Story of the World, or Mystery of History, grab a couple of books off the Sonlight or Bookshark reading lists for History and/or Science and call it good until you get some momentum going with the  true core subjects. Of course, that's assuming that would work for whatever your state requirements are. 

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I adored Story of the World for history.  We used the activity guide and did a lot of the activities.  I’d read the book out loud to the boys while they colored in the coloring sheets and then we’d do the activities.  

We didn’t always do the narrations or outlines that were suggested (where the child writes down a summary of what was read in the lesson).  Sometimes we would and sometimes we wouldn't.  

I didn’t use Notgrass for ss until high school.  I’m not sure if the earlier grades are like high school or not.  For the high school Government and Economics, there is a text book, but then there are other books to read and writing assignments to be done IF you want to use Notgrass for ss AND for English.  I didn’t want to use Notgrass for English, so we only read the textbook.  It wasn’t the most dry text in the world, but reading the text only was pretty dull.  If I had known then what I know now, I’d have come up with activities or something to make it more engaging. Fortunately, Gov’t and Econ were hoops my son was jumping through to meet the college requirements for high school students and so he was just glad to read the text and be done and spend more time on the subjects he loves.  (He might have loved Gov’t and Econ if it wasn’t just reading a chapter about the Fed or about interest rates and home mortgages.  Not the most exciting of material.)  I have to admit, I was rather disappointed with it.  I’d heard such good things about Notgrass and how everyone loved it, but the Gov’t and Econ was pretty boring.  Though, perhaps it’s just that those subjects can be boring and it’s not Notgrass’s fault.  I think perhaps if we’d done the LA stuff it would have been better, but I already have LA covered for the year and there was no time to do more LA in the day.

So, find out if Notgrass is intended to be the ss AND the language arts for your grade level.  If you are already using CLE, then you won’t need to use Notgrass for LA.  And if you don’t use Notgrass for LA, then find out if the only thing you’ll be doing for ss is reading the text book.  And if the only thing you’ll be doing is reading the textbook, then you might want to go with Story of the World instead, because the SOTW activity guide has tons of ideas to make the lessons more engaging and hundreds of book suggestions (or you can get your own at your local library.). Plus the coloring pages are a lot of fun, too. My son is in 12th grade and still keeps one of his coloring pages from 6th grade up on his wall because he likes it so much.  🙂

 

Anyone on here know how Notgrass’s 5th grade ss works?  

Edited by Garga
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3 hours ago, Caglehs said:

I was thinking CLE for math and L/A and Notgrass for history but know I would have to find another curriculum for 4th year middle school. They said they have a 4th curriculum in the works but no release date yet.

If you use Notgrass, you could spread one text over two years by alternating with science (MWF for history and T, TH for science one semester and then switch next semester - or whatever!), or adding more biographies, historical fiction, etc. alongside.  I haven't used the elementary texts, but America the Beautiful is definitely dense enough to take two years, imho.  

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Have you read The Well-trained Mind?  It would probably give you a good idea of what resources are out there for each subject and how to piece together a curriculum without buying curriculum (especially the older editions of TWTM).  

Also, you don't have to buy a curriculum for history and science.  Library books were always sufficient at that age.   

Don't feel like you have to recreate school at home.  I pulled my oldest two out of school because I think the public schools' way of doing things is awful.  I don't want to recreate it at home, too.  

The Story of the World series is awesome.  I've read through it with 4 kids now...even I've learned a lot.

If you're looking at boxed curricula, we've really enjoyed My Father's World for the younger crowd.  This was the first year in a few years that I didn't buy MFW, because they didn't have a very good sale (and I just couldn't afford it this time) and dd11 is missing it.  

Other curricula we've enjoyed....Five in a Row (ds4 is starting this next year)...Beyond Five in a Row...Real Science 4 Kids...Apologia Zoology, Botany and Anatomy...Janice Van Cleave science books...KONOS unit studies...Prairie Primer (a unit study based on the Little House books)...Sonlight (but we've only used the high school cores).  

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You know, sometimes I go through old homeschool catalogues and just get ideas to piece things together. Not sure if you are wanting to do that, but you could get on the mailing lists- those to me are sometimes better put together and less confusing than websites. CLE has a catalogue, Memoria Press, Sonlight, Veritas Press, My Father’s World, Notgrass...I am sure I’m forgetting some. But catalogues are nice to have around imo, when you are looking for ideas and inspiration, even if you don’t buy “box sets”. 

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I bought Notgrass my first year coming out of public school and we ditched it really quickly because it was boring. Story of the World was much much better! We also enjoyed Mystery of History.

Berean builders was great for elementary science too. The only reason we aren't still using it was because my kids like to study science by topic, not time period, so we switched to God's Design for Science instead.

CLE is a good solid program for both math and LA, I hope they work for you!

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Story of the World for history. With lots of library books. Start with Volume 1. Do a chx mummy! My kids also liked cuneiform cookies, cave paintings,  Roman road building and Roman baths! 

Follow their interests for science. Library books plus whatever hands-on you want. Zoo, Nature Center, Tinker Crate, etc. If they like space, it's a fabulous year for that because of all the fun stuff out for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. 

Be homeschooly and ditch the textbooks! They are inevitable in higher grades, but not necessary for youngers. Read real books! 

Edited by ScoutTN
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12 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

I bought Notgrass my first year coming out of public school and we ditched it really quickly because it was boring. Story of the World was much much better! We also enjoyed Mystery of History.

Berean builders was great for elementary science too. The only reason we aren't still using it was because my kids like to study science by topic, not time period, so we switched to God's Design for Science instead.

CLE is a good solid program for both math and LA, I hope they work for you!

I was looking at God's Design as well. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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We have used 5th grade CLE science and history. I like the history better than the science. But they are both no frills 'get er done' type of curricula. Basically, it is read the text then fill out questions in the workbook. I think there were some science experiments in the text but we skipped them. Also be aware that Chrisitian Light is very Christian and Mennonite. This isn't as obvious in their math and Language Arts but is very apparent in their history books. If you don't mind covering some Mennonite specific history and if you are ok with a rather neutral Christian viewpoint that supports non-resistance then it might work for you. If you are looking for a history curriculum that is very patriotic and United States centric this is not it.  

Also, I do not recommend any of their courses that have not been updated. All the updated editions will say "Sunrise Edition". If it isn't a "Sunrise Edition" you don't want it. Currently 4th grade science is still the old edition. 

Susan in TX

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22 minutes ago, Susan in TX said:

We have used 5th grade CLE science and history. I like the history better than the science. But they are both no frills 'get er done' type of curricula. Basically, it is read the text then fill out questions in the workbook. I think there were some science experiments in the text but we skipped them. Also be aware that Chrisitian Light is very Christian and Mennonite. This isn't as obvious in their math and Language Arts but is very apparent in their history books. If you don't mind covering some Mennonite specific history and if you are ok with a rather neutral Christian viewpoint that supports non-resistance then it might work for you. If you are looking for a history curriculum that is very patriotic and United States centric this is not it.  

Also, I do not recommend any of their courses that have not been updated. All the updated editions will say "Sunrise Edition". If it isn't a "Sunrise Edition" you don't want it. Currently 4th grade science is still the old edition. 

Susan in TX

Thank you for the insight. I think we may use them for math and L/A but from what I've seen not history or science. Those are my girls 2 favorite subjects and would like to explore little more with those areas.

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On 7/1/2019 at 12:24 PM, Caglehs said:

I've also heard that Abeka and BJU are dry as well???

Any suggestions..I like what I am seeing with Notgrass..any others you would recommend.

My kids like history, historical fiction but have not been exposed to it as much as they would like (I would like more too) at public school.

They are 4th and 5th grade.

Understand that ABeka, BJUP, Rod and Staff Publishers, CLE, Alpha Omega, ACE are all publishers of textbooks/workbooks intended for use in classrooms, not in homes.

R&S assumes that most of the schools which use their materials are one-room, multi-grade, single-teacher schools; most of their texts above, oh, third grade are written to be used very independently, because the teachers don't have time to lecture and assign projects and have class discussions or projects; they have time to have the students correct their papers and do the next assignment. Most Mennonite schools don't go past eighth grade, although some go through tenth. ABeka and BJUP assume age-segregated classrooms, with a single teacher; students are going to trudge their way through 12 years (or more) of age-segregated classrooms.

CLE, Alpha Omega, and ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) are a little more flexible, because often the schools which use them are small, and students can work in different levels for different subjects, but they are still *schools.* If I were sending my children to a private Christian school, I would prefer ABeka or BJUP or R&S rather than most secular school textbooks.

Many hsers use school textbooks, sometimes for just one or two subjects, sometimes a whole box of books. If it works for them, it works for me.

But there is a boatload of materials written by and for homeschoolers, which are often far more suited to homeschooling than school textbooks.

Have you checked Cathy Duffy Reviews? That's a good place to start.

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You have just enough time to do a 4 year history cycle before high school.  I would go with story of the world and add in the books from various other sources to go along since you say they like historical fiction.  Sotw has audio books available so you can listen together and not worry about how to pronounce new names.  For science you may also want to check out memoria press.  The science courses published by them (mammals, astronomy, birds, insects, trees) are great in-depth courses that don't require tons of prep.  They also cover things that many youth today don't get in science.

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On 7/2/2019 at 10:07 AM, Caglehs said:

I was looking at God's Design as well. Thank you for sharing your experience.

I read mostly good reviews on God's design but one said they quit using it because she was having to search internet and Pinterest for activities to make it more of a full curriculum??? Do you find it sufficient for 4th grade thru 6/7th?

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On 7/1/2019 at 4:28 PM, Caglehs said:

I was thinking CLE for math and L/A and Notgrass for history but know I would have to find another curriculum for 4th year middle school. They said they have a 4th curriculum in the works but no release date yet.

I am a huge fan of Rod and Staff 4th grade Geography book.  

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We have used Christian Light for Bible, Reading, LA, Math, Science, and Social Studies for grades 1, 2, & 3 and will be continuing with grade 4 for the upcoming school year. My son likes their social studies and I personally like how thorough and balanced their social studies is. They do not promote idolizing Patriot figures in history like some curriculums do but give you the facts concerning them. Also, geography and history are taught together which is awesome. That being said, we will consider a switch to Notgrass for highschool if CLE doesn't update their HS social studies to sunrise edition by that time. We used CLE science in grades 1 & 2 because it was in sunrise edition which breaks up the lessons by day which is a huge timesaver and the layout is easier to understand and more visually appealing. We switched to Rod & Staff for science in grade 3 and will likely continue until time for biology, chemistry, and physics in highschool. I would absolutely consider God's Design for Science or Berean Builders Elementary Science if my 2 sons were closer in age and could learn together. I even showed the samples of both to my older ds but he loves the Rod and Staff science and doesn't want to switch. It probably helps that we live in a farming community so the agricultural areas of science in R&S appeal to him. Christian Light overall is a great open and go curriculum that is easy for any homeschooler to teach, grade, and keep track of yet it is gentle, thorough, and meets or exceeds everything a student needs to learn as far as I can tell. If you are new to CLE, definitely take their placement tests beforehand, though. Not all curriculums move at the same pace or in the same order.

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