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Anyone looked at Gather Round yet?


ktgrok
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It's brand new - they will be releasing new units as time goes on. Unit study approach, not sure how I feel about it. Unit studies often feel forced to me - and disjointed which I guess is the opposite of the point, lol. But the idea of a main thing for everyone and then leveled books for different ages is a great idea. And it seems that when two kids have the same directions/wording/info on a page in different levels it says so right on the page so you can read it to both at once. 

Price is $50 a month for unlimited students or $19 for one student  -that is for digital downloads of everything. Supposedly includes all subjects but math. 

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We are unit study homeschoolers who use a lot of the CM method.

First, wow, $50 a month is expensive.  You would still need to buy whatever books you're using for the unit study, I'm guessing.  That could really add up.  Also, one month for a unit study is really short.  I can't pull one off in less than 6 weeks.

It says the student notebooks are 100+ pages per unit study!!  Oh, my goodness!!  My kids would mutiny.  That could be some seriously expensive printing.  I'm actually tempted to try it, but 100 pages per kid...I have 5 kids, but would be using this for 3...that's 300 pages I would have to print out every month.

Is there a booklist on their website?  I'm tempted to try a unit.  If we do, I'll report back.  LOL.

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2 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

We are unit study homeschoolers who use a lot of the CM method.

First, wow, $50 a month is expensive.  You would still need to buy whatever books you're using for the unit study, I'm guessing.  That could really add up.  Also, one month for a unit study is really short.  I can't pull one off in less than 6 weeks.

It says the student notebooks are 100+ pages per unit study!!  Oh, my goodness!!  My kids would mutiny.  That could be some seriously expensive printing.  I'm actually tempted to try it, but 100 pages per kid...I have 5 kids, but would be using this for 3...that's 300 pages I would have to print out every month.

Is there a booklist on their website?  I'm tempted to try a unit.  If we do, I'll report back.  LOL.

You can download a free week sample of a few of the units, to see what it is like. Doesn't look like there are other required books - just an encyclopedia, dictionary, etc plus whatever you want to grab at the library for further research. The teacher guide (included) has the information on the topic, like a textbook I guess, and then they do the workbook pages. I didn't see a booklist but could have missed it. 

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AS for the pages - a lot of the pages there is writing they read, a map to color, etc. It isn't a ton of writing. And that's for all subjects. So 5 pages a day, but one is tracing or drawing a picture, one is a map where they color a state or country and label it, one has multiple choice, one is a more typical note booking page, etc. 

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Oh, no, why did you show me this??  😂  I'm going to end up buying it!  They have a unit on birds, Asia, space...  If you buy the Full Bundle, it just includes everything, right?  I wonder what kind of labs or hands-on science projects there are...

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5 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

Oh, no, why did you show me this??  😂  I'm going to end up buying it!  They have a unit on birds, Asia, space...  If you buy the Full Bundle, it just includes everything, right?  I wonder what kind of labs or hands-on science projects there are...

Yes, full bundle has everything - teacher guide and student guides. 

I haven't seen any labs or anything in the bit I looked through, maybe in the older kid stuff? 

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Yeah, I would really want to see a list of labs before I bought it.  A couple of things that bug me...  It says her oldest is only in 7th grade.  She also says it's an entirely new way to homeschool - Lol!  No, unit studies have been around forever.  We were doing unit studies 11 years ago.  She says she doesn't like being a "ping pong ball" while working with multiple ages.  Well...I mean, that's going to happen anyway - even with a unit study.  My 16 year-old is not going to be doing the exact same thing as my 12 year-old at all times.  You'll still feel like a ping pong ball, at least a little.

Even so, I might try the birds unit.  At the least, I'm going to look around more on her website.  There's a couple of typos on her website, but overall, she did a really good job designing the website (or whoever put it together for her).

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I'm with you, @Evanthe - why in the world does she think she has invented anything? And if her eldest is in seventh grade, but she has written for high school, what are her credentials? Her tagline on her "about" page is "Inspired, Called, Equipped," but she doesn't offer any specifics.

I am somewhat reminded of Heart of Wisdom, if anyone remembers that. I will look at the sample week, which might answer some of my questions!

I am not too bothered by typos, but her syntax and grammar are not very precise. As I am reading through the FAQs, I am getting a very poor impression of her English skills. Again, I am looking for education and competence in the author of my child's lessons. I would not criticize a forum post or even a blog post, but answers to frequently asked questions about an academic course of study should be grammatical.

I might report back (if anyone is interested) after investigating the sample week.

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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I looked through the sample week for the Birds unit.  So, my thoughts:

1.  She's very artistic.  The notebooking pages are very pretty.  

2.  I didn't see any labs...she does list General Science as the credit you could receive if you do a year of the unit studies.  There is a big Earth Science theme in her first year of planned unit studies.  Unfortunately, my high schoolers don't need any more Earth Science.

3.  If you look in the Teacher's Guide, there are recommended reading lists for each grade level.  She has middle school/high school reading grouped together and the reading is way too easy for high school.  She has Mr. Popper's Penguins and Hoot on there...  

4.  I can tell she has middle schoolers - the whole thing would be very fun and appropriate for middle school.  

5.  The unit studies I put together are much more rigorous (lol).

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3 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

I looked through the sample week for the Birds unit.  So, my thoughts:

1.  She's very artistic.  The notebooking pages are very pretty.  

2.  I didn't see any labs...she does list General Science as the credit you could receive if you do a year of the unit studies.  There is a big Earth Science theme in her first year of planned unit studies.  Unfortunately, my high schoolers don't need any more Earth Science.

3.  If you look in the Teacher's Guide, there are recommended reading lists for each grade level.  She has middle school/high school reading grouped together and the reading is way too easy for high school.  She has Mr. Popper's Penguins and Hoot on there...  

4.  I can tell she has middle schoolers - the whole thing would be very fun and appropriate for middle school.  

5.  The unit studies I put together are much more rigorous (lol).

 

I didn't find the Birds unit; I was looking at Asia. I will take a look at Birds.

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It would have to be the best thing in the whole world, ever, for me to spend that much money on anything other than a trip to Disneyland.

Unit studies that include English skills (phonics, literature, spelling, grammar, writing) often seem to be not to be enough English. I prefer unit studies like KONOS, which don't do English or math.

The web site alone makes me twitch with its grammar and punctuation errors; I wonder what the actual curriculum will be like?

Her comment about credits and high school were a little concerning: "From what I've read..." She's just making her best guess.

Also, she hasn't found a new way to homeschool; authors like Jessica Hulcy and Mary Pride have been talking about that for over 30 years. Somehow, she has managed to homeschool in a vacuum for the last eight years. It does not bother me that she is writing something after homeschooling for such a short time; Jessica Hulcy and Carol Thaxton were themselves baby homeschoolers when they wrote KONOS. I just I don't know how she could be so clueless and yet write a curriculum that would be awesome enough that I'd want to buy it instead of going to Disneyland.

Edited by Ellie
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So I looked at it.
In a way, it reminds me of Learning Adventures.  We did that for a year while ds was in middle school and it was just right for him.  Some of what I looked at reminded me of that year:
-workpages for each group of the family (LA sells their main package as 4th-8th, and offers extension pages for 1-3rd)
-lecture heavy lessons
-all subjects except math

And then you have the differences:
-Price.  Completely printed, LA was about $130 for the main work.  Reading books were extra but the library provided most of those since there was only 1 required book per unit and they were easy to find.  Other books were optional and things like "find a book on this topic".
-sequence. LA builds on itself in the language arts, science, and history, and follows more of a historical sequence (ancients, middle ages, early modern U.S.)
-crafts.  There are only so many worksheets my kids will do, and those 5 worksheets per day and short lecture lessons would take us about 2 hours total with GR.  LA incorporated more hands on work.  There would be a lot more down time, which could be a plus or minus depending on your family style.
-Gather Round is beautiful. Learning Adventures is not.  But if I was printing it out myself GR would be in black and white and I'm not sure how all those background pictures would work out.

 

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The price doesn't quite bother me. I mean, compared to some it seems steep. But if I had say, 5 kids I was going to use it with and it is marketed to large families mostly, so that isn't unreasonable, that works out to $10 a month each, so $90 for a 9  month school year. That seems like less than I might spend if I was putting together a science text, grammar text, social studies text, handwriting text, religion text, etc for each child. Or at least comparable. 

My main complaint I think is that doing history so scattershot might drive me mad - if you change later it would be very hard to figure what you've already covered, etc. And the lack of hands on. And yes, it feels a bit light, although she's coming from a Masterbooks background I think, where the idea is to have lighter school work and more free time. 

Also, if anyone cares, pretty sure she's the one that started up the big controversy about The Good and The Beautiful - made the big swan song video about leaving that curriculum because as an authority in the homeschool world she had to be held to a higher standard etc. (she writes a religion curriculum/devotional thing for Masterbooks, but this product is not via Masterbooks from what I can tell)

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7 hours ago, Ellie said:

It would have to be the best thing in the whole world, ever, for me to spend that much money on anything other than a trip to Disneyland.

 

 just that I don't know how she could be so clueless and yet write a curriculum that would be awesome enough that I'd want to buy it instead of going to Disneyland.

Well, given the choice between curriculum and Disneyland I would pretty much always choose curriculum.

Disneyland has zero appeal for me. I've been there once or twice as a child and once as an adult and have no desire to go again.

#notathemeparkperson

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5 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

The price doesn't quite bother me. I mean, compared to some it seems steep. But if I had say, 5 kids I was going to use it with and it is marketed to large families mostly, so that isn't unreasonable, that works out to $10 a month each, so $90 for a 9  month school year. That seems like less than I might spend if I was putting together a science text, grammar text, social studies text, handwriting text, religion text, etc for each child. Or at least comparable. 

My main complaint I think is that doing history so scattershot might drive me mad - if you change later it would be very hard to figure what you've already covered, etc. And the lack of hands on. And yes, it feels a bit light, although she's coming from a Masterbooks background I think, where the idea is to have lighter school work and more free time. 

Also, if anyone cares, pretty sure she's the one that started up the big controversy about The Good and The Beautiful - made the big swan song video about leaving that curriculum because as an authority in the homeschool world she had to be held to a higher standard etc. (she writes a religion curriculum/devotional thing for Masterbooks, but this product is not via Masterbooks from what I can tell)

What was her complaint about The Good and the Beautiful?

 

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I will say I DO get the appeal of having ONE program for everything. As in, could hand each kid ONE notebook or whatever each day (well plus math) and when that day's stuff is done you are done. There are times in my life where having that for a period might be great. 

Of course, in real life it wouldn't actually work that way, lol. My 9 yr old would still need additional spelling for her dyslexia (and would have needed way more phonics if done when she was younger), my 7 yr old would need additional handwriting work (suspected dysgraphia), possibly more phonics, etc etc. Middle school or upper elementary does seem like the best time for this program, when they are reading/spelling well, done with handwriting instruction, etc. 

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

What was her complaint about The Good and the Beautiful?

 

That the writer is LDS. That was her only complaint. That she couldn't morally/ethically use a program that was written by someone who was LDS, particularly since as a homeschool authority (aka she has a popular youtube channel) she was held to a higher standard to not promote things that are not in line with traditional Christianity. 

Now, wether this discovery had anything to do with her being about to publish her own curriculum.....one may well wonder. 

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2 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

That the writer is LDS. That was her only complaint. That she couldn't morally/ethically use a program that was written by someone who was LDS, particularly since as a homeschool authority (aka she has a popular youtube channel) she was held to a higher standard to not promote things that are not in line with traditional Christianity. 

Now, wether this discovery had anything to do with her being about to publish her own curriculum.....one may well wonder. 

Reminds of the thread on here where some lady was going on about how The Good and the Beautiful was full of Mormon doctrine but the only evidence she offered was that it included southwest artwork 😄

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Actually, DD9 would need separate handwriting too - she's still learning cursive and I see no instruction in this for that. Really, you couldn't have systemic instruction in it if it is designed to be used in any order, picking up whatever unit you want.  How could you teach phonics in any systemic way either, with that approach?

Really, I don't see how this could be "all in one" at the elementary level. Not unless she's going to beef up those two things (phonics and handwriting, and likely spelling as well). For a season, sure. But as a main curriculum for years on end? 

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

Reminds of the thread on here where some lady was going on about how The Good and the Beautiful was full of Mormon doctrine but the only evidence she offered was that it included southwest artwork 😄

What's funny is that aside from how crazy it is to think pictures of the southwest might teach religious doctrine, we are using The Good and the Beautiful history, science, and language arts in two levels (and have tried out two other levels) and not seen a single bit of artwork depicting the southwest so far!

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33 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

My main concern with this curriculum is the language arts instruction. How can you have a year long progression of grammar/English skills if the units are interchangeable? The concept is appealing and the design is attractive but I keep reminding myself not to jump at all things shiny and new.

 

Honestly, I looked through the high school sample and the language arts is on an elementary/middle school level.  We use Easy Grammar and looking at her high school samples - my kids would be bored.

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21 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

I ultimately decided to hold off and wait for it to be put to the test, get the kinks worked out, and see if this curriculum survives. Then there should be plenty of reviews to give me a better feel for whether it's right for my family.

 

I don't know how old your kids are, but if your kids are younger (elementary-middle school), I think it could be a lot of fun!

But, high school... it's not enough for high school (IMO).  You would have to really add to it.  And seeing Mr. Popper's Penguins on the high school reading list just cracks me up.  

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8 hours ago, Ellie said:

Her comment about credits and high school were a little concerning: "From what I've read..." She's just making her best guess.

 

If you look at the samples, you can tell she doesn't have any experience with high schoolers yet.  Also, you probably wouldn't put General Science on your transcript, either.  Eh...someone out there might do it, but I wouldn't.  

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36 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

I thought someone on there did give more reasons that were doctrine specific with actual examples from the curriculum but I can't remember if it was on that thread, another one, or somewhere else entirely. I spent a lot of time researching on that one.

I ultimately decided to hold off and wait for it to be put to the test, get the kinks worked out, and see if this curriculum survives. Then there should be plenty of reviews to give me a better feel for whether it's right for my family.

I can say that so far I've seen nothing that goes against mainstream Christian beliefs in The Good and The Beautiful. And she apparently had people of several mainstream Christian denomination, Protestant and Catholic, look it over before publishing. 

I have yet to see anyone give a specific quote of something from the curriculum that would be against mainstream Christian beliefs. 

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1 minute ago, Ktgrok said:

I can say that so far I've seen nothing that goes against mainstream Christian beliefs in The Good and The Beautiful. And she apparently had people of several mainstream Christian denomination, Protestant and Catholic, look it over before publishing. 

I have yet to see anyone give a specific quote of something from the curriculum that would be against mainstream Christian beliefs. 


I can say it is the only place I've seen that states matter of factly that Pangea broke because of the tower of Babel, overnight and putting the continents in their current places.  It was in both second and third grade language arts, the first geography lesson. I know the story is biblical, but I had never seen it being treated as scientific fact and with the embellishments added.  It certainly was not a part of my Catholic upbringing.

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17 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:


I can say it is the only place I've seen that states matter of factly that Pangea broke because of the tower of Babel, overnight and putting the continents in their current places.  It was in both second and third grade language arts, the first geography lesson. I know the story is biblical, but I had never seen it being treated as scientific fact and with the embellishments added.  It certainly was not a part of my Catholic upbringing.

That is not LDS doctrine.

LDS church sponsored schools such as BYU teach standard secular science.

There are a few YEC's among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as there are among Protestants and Catholics, but it isn't a matter of official LDS doctrine. I've really only encountered such beliefs among homeschoolers of various denominations.

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29 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:


I can say it is the only place I've seen that states matter of factly that Pangea broke because of the tower of Babel, overnight and putting the continents in their current places.  It was in both second and third grade language arts, the first geography lesson. I know the story is biblical, but I had never seen it being treated as scientific fact and with the embellishments added.  It certainly was not a part of my Catholic upbringing.

 

13 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

I didn't necessarily think this was an LDS thing, but definitely a difference of opinion among doctrines in general and very much worthy of deep investigation before considering it in our homeschool. 

Yes, this did bother me, and I can't remember if I skipped that bit or just explained we don't believe that when we did it, but I don't think that is an LDS belief but a young earth belief. 

I definitely have a few issues with this curriculum (okay, with all curriculums) but not LDS specific. The history is to whitewashed for us in the sense of being a bit too hunky dory, but given that I have a kid right now with major anxiety and some intrusive thought/OCD plus general sensitivity that works for us at this time. I addd in what is appropriate for him. And we are not young earth, in any way, so I alter that. And the spelling in the language arts is pretty useless in my opinion, so we skip that. But it IS beautiful and brings things alive for my kids, and has exactly the right amount of book work versus hands on for them. And it is beautiful. I have been starved for beauty, and tend not to incorporate that into our day without something telling me how. 

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38 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

I didn't necessarily think this was an LDS thing, but definitely a difference of opinion among doctrines in general and very much worthy of deep investigation before considering it in our homeschool. 

Totally valid.

There are people out there however loudly promoting an unsubstantiated fear-mongering insistence that there is LDS indoctrination in TGATB. The idea that there must be some kind of dangerous contamination if a curriculum was written by a Mormon.

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8 minutes ago, maize said:

Totally valid.

There are people out there however loudly promoting an unsubstantiated fear-mongering insistence that there is LDS indoctrination in TGATB. The idea that there must be some kind of dangerous contamination if a curriculum was written by a Mormon.

Exactly. There are parts that are young earth, but nothing I've seen that is specifically LDS. And the funny thing is most of those saying not to use it because it is LDS promoting are in fact young earth themselves. 

Edited by Ktgrok
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4 hours ago, maize said:

Well, given the choice between curriculum and Disneyland I would pretty much always choose curriculum.

Disneyland has zero appeal for me. I've been there once or twice as a child and once as an adult and have no desire to go again.

#notathemeparkperson

The point is that the curriculum is way overpriced. Substitute any vacation that you would love to do but cannot because of the expense.

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45 minutes ago, Servant4Christ said:

I am a young earth believer but I am not so laser focused on it that I am willing to discount, alienate, or manipulate facts in an attempt to prove it.

I may get eaten alive for stating this, but I personally won't buy LDS written curriculum even if it is screened by every Christian denomination in America. I don't buy into mainstream please everyone Christian curriculums because I don't want to teach my children how to be a wishy washy Christian. Many conservative Christians feel the same way. At the core, whether stated or not in the materials they provide, we have differing opinions on facts I find spiritually crucial. This isn't just aimed at LDS, though. I would feel the same about materials from others that don't need to be specified here.

In other words, you only want materials from a particular approach/denomination - so lets pretend you are from the church of XYZ, you only will use materials from XYZ publishers. That is totally reasonable, even if people don't agree. That is very different from saying you will use any other non specific Christian materials except this one BECAUSE it contains specific info that will lead your children astray. You are more saying the problem is as much what it doesn't cover as what it does. Similar to a Catholic only using Catholic materials because they want those specific things included. I think that's understandable and not the same as saying the curriculum has LDS information/doctrine in it that will conflict with mainstream Christian beliefs without offering any actual examples or proof - which is what many have done recently. (not you)

And since I am raising my kids in a denomination that doesn't HAVE curriculum, I don't get to just use their materials 🙂

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6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Her artwork is stunning. Just beautiful. I love the look. In terms of the actual curriculum, I wish @Lang Syne Boardiehadn't deleted her comments bc they were excellent. A simple summation without reference to Ellie's pts would be know your children and appropriate grade level expectations.

 

Thank you. I'm sorry for deleting, but I realized that I had been sent a one DAY sample, not a one week sample, so I was worried that I was being unfair. I meant to look further, but all of my adult children came home and I had to run!

I wanted to search the sample week for these concerns:

1. Were scientific and historical facts and perspectives/biases ever cited or supported, or did the lesson ever present multiple perspectives or any primary source documents?

2. Did she ever offer any instruction at all, for writing assignments?

3. There was no connection or resemblance to Charlotte Mason philosophy or method, in the one day sample. This is where I thought I might have missed something, by not seeing the full week.

4. Lastly, I wondered if the week sample had been edited more thoroughly. I thought it possible that the one day sample had been put up too hastily.

But even without seeing the week sample, I am firm on my opinion that this author is not qualified to write educational materials because of her deficiency in English. In the one day sample, I saw problems with antecedents, clauses, prepositions, word order, and worse. Someone upthread said that they didn't require extensive English skills written into their unit studies, because their child is proficient in English. I would be concerned that after a year with this author, he would NOT be. This author's type of errors are very contagious, as anyone who has educated children from pre-K through grade 12 would know. The pervasive errors were very distracting and unacceptable to me, and my credentials are only that I majored in English in high school, and then taught grammar and composition to six children (using professional materials).

And again, this author is well-intentioned, obviously, but she did not invent unit studies, nor did she invent the concept of teaching the entire family together when possible. For evidence, I would submit this incomplete list:

KONOS

Heart of Wisdom

My Father's World

Tapestry of Grace

Biblioplan

and probably thousands of stand-alone unit studies for multiple levels, that were available on Currclick and are now available on Teachers Pay Teachers, that have been churned out on the regular by homeschool moms since approximately 1985.

I would hope that this author would contribute her artistic skills where applicable, and I understand her podcast is well-received! That's wonderful. But for those looking for appropriate lessons for their children, I would give Gather 'Round a pass. If you want unit studies for your whole family, those are available. If you would like to create your own, it's easy to find some guidance. If I have alarmed you about English skills, perhaps because you didn't notice the problems, this forum can recommend many excellent options.

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17 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

Thank you. I'm sorry for deleting, but I realized that I had been sent a one DAY sample, not a one week sample, so I was worried that I was being unfair. I meant to look further, but all of my adult children came home and I had to run!

I wanted to search the sample week for these concerns:

1. Were scientific and historical facts and perspectives/biases ever cited or supported, or did the lesson ever present multiple perspectives or any primary source documents?

2. Did she ever offer any instruction at all, for writing assignments?

3. There was no connection or resemblance to Charlotte Mason philosophy or method, in the one day sample. This is where I thought I might have missed something, by not seeing the full week.

4. Lastly, I wondered if the week sample had been edited more thoroughly. I thought it possible that the one day sample had been put up too hastily.

But even without seeing the week sample, I am firm on my opinion that this author is not qualified to write educational materials because of her deficiency in English. In the one day sample, I saw problems with antecedents, clauses, prepositions, word order, and worse. Someone upthread said that they didn't require extensive English skills written into their unit studies, because their child is proficient in English. I would be concerned that after a year with this author, he would NOT be. This author's type of errors are very contagious, as anyone who has educated children from pre-K through grade 12 would know. The pervasive errors were very distracting and unacceptable to me, and my credentials are only that I majored in English in high school, and then taught grammar and composition to six children (using professional materials).

And again, this author is well-intentioned, obviously, but she did not invent unit studies, nor did she invent the concept of teaching the entire family together when possible. For evidence, I would submit this incomplete list:

KONOS

Heart of Wisdom

My Father's World

Tapestry of Grace

Biblioplan

and probably thousands of stand-alone unit studies for multiple levels, that were available on Currclick and are now available on Teachers Pay Teachers, that have been churned out on the regular by homeschool moms since approximately 1985.

I would hope that this author would contribute her artistic skills where applicable, and I understand her podcast is well-received! That's wonderful. But for those looking for appropriate lessons for their children, I would give Gather 'Round a pass. If you want unit studies for your whole family, those are available. If you would like to create your own, it's easy to find some guidance. If I have alarmed you about English skills, perhaps because you didn't notice the problems, this forum can recommend many excellent options.

I took a look at the space unit and unfortunately have to agree, this would be poor modeling of written English.

Nothing a good editor couldn't clean up, but I would want to wait for a cleaned up version if I were going to use it.

Edited by maize
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49 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

It's very reminiscent of how Masterbooks operates. They highly manipulate reviews - only allow positive reviews on their website and Facebook group.

That makes sense, given that her other curriculum is published by them. 

And I'm still bothered by her having a sudden "conviction" about using TGTB and making a video about it warn others from using it shortly before coming out with her own competing product. 

Masterbooks drives me nuts with a lot of their stances on many things, but darned if some of their materials don't work well for my daughter right now. Sucking it up and dealing. 

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2 hours ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

Exactly. All you saw online (on their website or FB page), were glowing reviews. It sounded like the dream come true, rainbows and unicorns curriculum. And don't get me wrong, I'm sure it really does work well for a lot of people. But not everyone, as you would be led to believe. As I learned through personal experience:  1. Only positive reviews are approved for posting on their website 2. Any negative discussions/comments/concerns are either deleted entirely, or quickly shut down, on their FB page. Their FB in particular, is very heavily moderated by paid employees, and they very much control the discussions that are/aren't allowed to happen. It was a HUGE turn off to me.

Even bigger of a turn off, was seeing how rude the author of the history program was, to a woman of color (I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be offensive, I'm just not sure what the correct term is), who raised some concerns about some statements in the history program.  The text in question was pretty dismissive of slavery (something along the lines of, plenty of good people had slaves, just because someone owned slaves didn't mean they were bad people or bad to their slaves etc...  It was walking a very fine line, in my opinion).  When the woman gave her own personal viewpoints, and very politely I might add, mentioned how that could be hurtful to people of color, the author basically told this woman that "I'm not interested in re-writing history just to appease a few people". And yes, that is pretty close to word for word, what she said. I was SHOCKED that she would be so rude, to the "face" of the very "people" she was referencing. I left the group that day, sold my MB curriculum, and haven't looked back. I refuse to support that attitude.

So all that to say, I guess perhaps I'm a bit suspicious of anyone that works with/for them, if that is the attitude they promote? Especially coming off the backs of the TG&TB fiasco, which I had forgotten about, before I purchased the units.

 

Yes! I forget the name of the company, Salt & Light maybe? She had already published part of her Protestant program, but was also releasing a Catholic version. Well wouldn't you know, life came up, and she shut down her whole business last minute (like, late August) - so now everyone that had invested in her curriculum, is left without any continuation, support etc...  If they had purchased the upcoming curriculum, they had to go through the hassle of waiting to be refunded, and everyone was left having to turn around and find something new for the upcoming year etc...

Ugh! I almost bought the Catholic version of Salt and Light!! Glad I didn't!

And yeah, Masterbooks has such a weird place in my thoughts. On the one hand, I hate their version of "if you don't believe in a 7 day Creation you are not a Christian and if your kids ever doubt that one thing they will lose their faith entirely". Hate it. It's dumb. Plenty of (most of?) Christians have a very deep, real faith and yet don't believe in a literal 7 day creation! Not accepting a young earth does not mean you will lose your faith. Ugh. And I dislike their...intense...business practices that border on cultish. 

BUT.....I LOVE their emphasis on the actual ways kids learn, that stress prevents a kid from learning, that short lecture with more emphasis on implementation works better, that kids need more time but also more brain power left after school to be creative and free, that less workbook time means more time for free reading which is at least as important, etc etc. And their accommodation of different thinking styles, push for more visual work for memorization for right brained learners, etc. All that jives with my experience, especially with my DD9. So we are using both their LA and their Math for her (we do a different/extra spelling and because I love the art stuff in TGTB will substitute that in for some of it as well). Because at this point, what works for my kid is more important than my philosophical beefs with the company. 

But man it is annoying. 

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  • 3 months later...

I have seen mention of so much poor English in the curriculum, and I thought this would be relevant. I received an email to a link to apply for a position. Gather Round is hiring. Here is what they say about hiring writers. 
 


Writers: We are always looking for writers. For this, we do require being a homeschool parent who uses and loves Gather 'Round, a Christian that agrees to my statement of faith, and someone who is passionate about the topic. Degrees are interesting, but not required or anything I base decisions on. Being an eloquent writer is not required, I am not looking for fancy words that make you sound like an expert, I am looking for you to take concepts and make them come to life in a simple explanation with a very conversational writers voice. Honestly, sometimes the best writers are the hardest to understand and not the best fit for this project. 

This was an immediate nail in the coffin for me.

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Here is what they require to apply to proofread, as they call it.

“Proofreaders: Right now we have 2 proofreaders. One that proofs written work before it hits design, and one that proofs projects throughout the design process and before it goes live. We will for sure be adding to this so feel free to apply. No degrees are needed, but grammar knowledge helps, we often ask you to read through for understanding too in case something could be tweaked to make better sense“

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2 hours ago, Allie said:

I have seen mention of so much poor English in the curriculum, and I thought this would be relevant. I received an email to a link to apply for a position. Gather Round is hiring. Here is what they say about hiring writers. 
 


Writers: We are always looking for writers. For this, we do require being a homeschool parent who uses and loves Gather 'Round, a Christian that agrees to my statement of faith, and someone who is passionate about the topic. Degrees are interesting, but not required or anything I base decisions on. Being an eloquent writer is not required, I am not looking for fancy words that make you sound like an expert, I am looking for you to take concepts and make them come to life in a simple explanation with a very conversational writers voice. Honestly, sometimes the best writers are the hardest to understand and not the best fit for this project. 

This was an immediate nail in the coffin for me.

 

2 hours ago, Allie said:

Here is what they require to apply to proofread, as they call it.

“Proofreaders: Right now we have 2 proofreaders. One that proofs written work before it hits design, and one that proofs projects throughout the design process and before it goes live. We will for sure be adding to this so feel free to apply. No degrees are needed, but grammar knowledge helps, we often ask you to read through for understanding too in case something could be tweaked to make better sense“

 

How popular is this program? How many people are unable to discern such an obvious disqualification as this woman's illiterate syntax?

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12 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

 

How popular is this program? How many people are unable to discern such an obvious disqualification as this woman's illiterate syntax?


I am not sure how many users they have. It came out last year and is very “new and shiny” right now in several homeschool Facebook groups I am in. I am disturbed by the lack of qualifications from the person writing this.

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5 hours ago, Allie said:


Writers: We are always looking for writers. For this, we do require being a homeschool parent who uses and loves Gather 'Round, a Christian that agrees to my statement of faith, and someone who is passionate about the topic. Degrees are interesting, but not required or anything I base decisions on. Being an eloquent writer is not required, I am not looking for fancy words that make you sound like an expert, I am looking for you to take concepts and make them come to life in a simple explanation with a very conversational writers voice. Honestly, sometimes the best writers are the hardest to understand and not the best fit for this project. 

This was an immediate nail in the coffin for me.

Um, no. You don't know what a good writer is if you think one characteristic is 'hard to understand", lol. That's pretty much the opposite of what a good writer is. 

4 hours ago, Allie said:

 Right now we have 2 proofreaders. One that proofs written work before it hits design, and one that proofs projects throughout the design process and before it goes live. We will for sure be adding to this so feel free to apply. No degrees are needed, but grammar knowledge helps, we often ask you to read through for understanding too in case something could be tweaked to make better sense“

So, grammar knowledge isn't actually required for a proof reading position? What???? 

I'll be honest - I have one of the Gather Round units - North American Birds. We have a bird feeder by the kitchen window, right by the table we eat at, and have been seeing a lot of birds on our weekly hikes and wanted to learn more. That said, we mostly use it as a jumping off point and use youtube videos and our own bird reference books, and are reading aloud from the Burgess Bird Book. Oh, and we got Bird Bingo and a kit of science activities from another website that have to do with birds. So mostly, again, as a starting point for the bird stuff, and some VERY basic geography. (I actually kind of like the very simple geography/map work, but even in that I seem to remember a mistake). 

We don't use the language arts at all, and only some of the other stuff. My DD loves the art part, and we like learning about the various birds, and during the worst of my SAD it was easy to open and go but wow. Just...wow. 

We will absolutely finish the unit, or at least the birds we like, but are transitioning to Layers of Learning. I mostly want a framework, and then plug in whatever. 

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Her Facebook group has over 7,000 members. So many people are being pulled in to this new, shiny program. I can’t lie. I bought the oceans unit. I could use it as an amazing jumping off point. No way would I use it as a stand alone with only math added. I also wouldn’t use the majority of her student pages. It does make me feel more competent in designing my own unit studies. 😂

If you search Youtube, there are tons of people reviewing her program and singing its praises. I wonder how many of those people are “writers” that Submitted units to her. 🧐

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1 hour ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

Honestly, it's growing FAST. It has a serious cult-like following. And they are all blind to the issues. 

The thing is, some of it is good. Or at least the idea of it. Different topic each month, other subjects woven in, keep it fresh, etc. She just tried to make it more than it is/should be. 

So yeah, with an elementary student, learning about the Robin migrating, and then linking the idea of migration to immigration and learning about that is actually cool. And okay, some copywork based on bible verses that mention birds, also good. But then, don't add in a quick writing assignment on your favorite bird and say voila it covers everything but math, no need for anything else ever. 

For natural writers who pick up grammar easily or with no real teaching, maybe. But a lot of kids will need more spelling than just studied dictation. A lot of kids will need WAY more phonics instruction than her pre reader has (although she's coming out with another level I hear). A lot of kids will need more writing instruction, and a lot of parents will want more grammar instruction for the kids. 

And then you add in the typos, mistakes, etc.....ugh. Like I said, we just use it for the bird stuff, lol. Especially after I saw a page of copywork that said to copy "digraphs" and then included vowel teams, R controlled vowels, etc in that same category with TH, etc. 

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