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Karma G

Searching for Good Secular Home School Curriculum

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Hello all,

We are home schooling our children.  I am not too familiar with home school curriculum.  I am looking for a secular home school curriculum that is good and also reasonably priced.  I have a kid that will be going to Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 7th grade.

Any information will be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the board!  There are many styles of curriculum. It would be helpful to try to detail what you are looking for or what your goals are. 

Ruth in NZ

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Do you want a scripted teacher's manual or just content with answers?

Do you like object content or a more exploratory style?

Do your kids prefer whole-to-parts or parts-to-whole learning?

There are lots of things to consider when evaluating curriculum. And it often takes a year (or more) to figure out what works for both you as the teacher and for each of your students. 

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For K, we did 15 minutes of handwriting (Getty Dubay style) and 30 minutes of learning to read (readers from the library). We typically played 'shop' for math. No curriculum necessary.

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Yes, welcome to the board. Seconding all those questions above. There are a lot of secular options now. I would say the most key question is whether you're hoping to find an all in one option and then whether you're looking or an online based option, which seems really popular these days (but isn't all that popular on these boards!).

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Something that may be helpful is ordering a Rainbow Resources Catalog to look through. They have icons now to show whether the product is secular, neutral, or Christian. Also has icons to show which type of learning style, price range, and more. It gave me a place to start figuring out what we were looking for when everything was new and overwhelming.

Edited by Servant4Christ

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18 minutes ago, Karma G said:

How do I order a Rainbow Resource catalogue @Servant4Christ?

You can call and ask for one or order online. The physical catalog only lists a fraction of what they have in stock but the icons in it helped me a lot. The icons are not on the website but the list of products is pretty complete and up to date.

https://www.rainbowresource.com/catalog

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1 hour ago, Karma G said:

@Melissa in Australia I am looking for a all-in-one type package.  Doesn't matter if it's online or with workbooks and books, audio etc.

 

Not Melissa, but you might look at Rainbow Resource's Starter Packages.  They have them in secular and religious, and you can always order things separately if you wanted.

I don't mean to be nosy, but what brought you to homeschooling? I only ask because a lot of times a family's lifestyle can have an impact on what is suggested by the folks here.  I mean, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to suggest something teacher intensive if you feel spread thin, kwim?

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6 hours ago, Karma G said:

@Melissa in Australia I am looking for a all-in-one type package.  Doesn't matter if it's online or with workbooks and books, audio etc.

 

 

Some popular options for secular all-in-one or almost-all-in-one (most require you to add your own math) are Moving Beyond the Page, Oak Meadow, and Build Your Library. A few popular secular math programs are Singapore Primary, Beast Academy, Art of Problem Solving, and Math Mammoth. These may or may not fit your particular needs, but they’re a place to start.

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Some thoughts... If you want to go online, then do that. Time4Learning is one option. But there are others. Most of them are very, very easy, not very enriching, and pretty "schooly." They're not my cup of tea. But if that's what you're looking for, then do that, assume it'll be quick and easy. Add some enrichment. Get off the screens, get into nature, get some games, do enrichment classes or a co-op, just add actual life to them.

If you don't want to do that, I'll say that Oak Meadow and Calvert are the two serious secular true all in ones that are probably "the best" that cover all those grades. However, if I had to do an all-in-one for kids in that range, I'd get Moving Beyond the Page or Build Your Library and then add a math program. I'd probably add Singapore for the youngers. Impossible to say for the 7th grader. Are they ready for algebra? Pre-algebra? Not ready for either? Way ahead? It's too variable. If you needed to hand it off, I'd suggest Mr. D's math for pre-algebra or algebra. Or Derek Owens for algebra, if they're really ready for it. But maybe they need a basic online option or a basic 6th/7th grade textbook. So hard to say.

In any case, if you bought a package of any kind, I'd do the following...

* Get one package for your 7th grader.
* Get another package for your 2nd and 3rd grader. Combine them into one level. If they need different math levels, customize that.
* Let your kinder tag along with your 2nd and 3rd grader for most things. But get a phonics program for them. Just a phonics program. That's it. I'd suggest All About Reading or IEW's Primary Arts of Language, but there are plenty of others.

Without knowing your goals, your kids' needs, what led you to homeschooling, it's hard to recommend something more specifically. I would also be open to considering doing one thing for your 7th grader and another thing altogether for your younger ones. It's going to be hard to combine them for a ton of things. There's no reason if Moving Beyond the Page looks awesome for your 7th grader that you therefore have to use it for your youngers or vice versa for any program.

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I started with Bookshark (secular sonlight) and really liked it.  You could combine 2, maybe all 3 of younger kids for science and history and get readers/math for each age.  For me, this was a great introduction to homeschooling.  It has a 4 or 5 day week and easy to follow guide book.  We did 4 day week.

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Saxon is a secular and popular math option. Singapore Math needs to make sense to YOU, first.

All in ones: Calvert School, Laural Springs School, Oak Meadow, k12 (you may have the option to use them as a charter school for free),

Keystone School has elementary through high school options.

https://www.keystoneschoolonline.com

Timberdoddle has secular packages.

Pandia Press has a facebook page which will link you with hundreds of other secular only homeschoolers. PP publishes secular history and science.

Another excellent place to start is Cathy Duffy's Review website. And of course, a lovely copy of The Well-Trained Mind.

https://cathyduffyreviews.com/#

Welcome to the Board!

Edited by Paradox5

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18 minutes ago, Paradox5 said:

I haven't heard of this one before. The site says they have secular options.

https://www.foresttrailacademy.com/secular-correspondence-courses.html


I browsed around on the site and the samples looked quite familiar, so I pulled up a book study to compare to one on my shelf.

It was exactly the same.

Forest Trail appears to use Moving Beyond The Page and sell it as their own package, adding $1800 to the price for online academy option.  FWIW, the "correspondence courses" are $950, along with $150 for enrollment, and a possible 3 month extension for $600.....but the curriculum itself is only $868 on MBTP's site.

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On 9/22/2019 at 4:00 PM, HomeAgain said:


I browsed around on the site and the samples looked quite familiar, so I pulled up a book study to compare to one on my shelf.

It was exactly the same.

Forest Trail appears to use Moving Beyond The Page and sell it as their own package, adding $1800 to the price for online academy option.  FWIW, the "correspondence courses" are $950, along with $150 for enrollment, and a possible 3 month extension for $600.....but the curriculum itself is only $868 on MBTP's site.

That was my determination, too, after poking around a bit. Better to just buy MBtP yourself.

Edited by Paradox5

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Few other options: 

Secular, eclectic, academic homeschoolers (SEA) is a great facebook community and loads of help.

Literature based options (meaning learning occurs arounds books): Torchlight and Blossom and Roots - both have through 3rd grade released, but many combine their kids in one program and move expectations based on age/grade. Torchlight can be expensive if you plan on buying all the books, but if you have a decent library there really is no need to do that (I combine both programs and only use the library) 

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