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Isn't almost everything (except Charlotte Mason) a "workbook curriculum?"


KrisTom
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I feel like every homeschool curriculum is a workbook curriculum.

Am I not looking in the right places?  It doesn't have to be classical per se.  (Also, I was just looking at Royal Fireworks Press, and I am a little turned off by how many pieces it appears to be---kinda like with Memoria Press. Maybe they are both different.) 

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Not necessarily. I liked to make up my kids’ classes from various sources and chose a montessori inspired elementary math.
 

My always homeschooled 11th grader has only used a workbook for some practice in an outsourced French class. It’s reinforcement, not primary lesson material and takes maybe 45 mins/wk.

I never used anything remotely workbooky for science or history  or English/ literature. Real books mostly. Penmanship, yes. Grammar, no. Spelling, no.

My kids worked pages of practice problems for math, but not in a workbook. I taught lessons using a curriculum, a white board, and manipulatives. By PreA, math is generally textbooks. 

I mostly made up writing from various sources, (8’s Treasured Conversations among them), but no workbooks. 

I only have two to teach, though, and I can see how wbs could be helpful with more kids, just as they are in school.

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Michael Clay Thompson's language arts, and some of the other stuff from Royal Fireworks Press, isn't workbooks.  We've used all sorts of things, but for us elementary had very little output outside of math and handwriting.  I used a topic guide (we liked Core Knowledge, but there are others) to guide science and history topics and I just got resources - books, puzzles, videos, etc - about those topics.  Some people like journaling or lapbooking about topics, but my kids usually just read.  One liked to draw things sometimes.  They might have workbooks, I don't know, but reading and discussing books like those used by Sonlight/Bookshark might also work.  My kids particularly did not like reading historical fiction for school, but living history stories work for some families.  

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The best programs are the ones who focus on an individual subject.

My kid doesn't do a lot of workbooks.  Here are some things we've used with success:

Gattegno math: oral, visual, minimal writing.  Nonconsumable conversational teaching books.

Creek Edge Press: not quite CM, not quite Classical, a mix of both.  You use whatever books you want to complete the assignments given on the weekly cards.

BFSU science: a teaching manual to develop lessons.

Getting Started With....(Latin, Spanish, French): nonconsumable textbook

SOTW: textbook and activities

UnderTheHome: vintage textbooks planned out with lessons that go with.

English Lessons Through Literature/Reading & Spelling Through Literature: a workbook is available for ELTL levels, but not necessary.

 

 

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Workbooks and textbooks are "easy" and what most people think of when they think of school. So there are a lot out there. 

But there are ways to teach without them. Or without requiring the writing involved. CM methods are a great way to use living books instead of textbooks. There are a lot of reusable books on the market too. Gameschooling is another way to learn math, and language skills (some games focus on science and history too). There are also project based learning methods too. The ideas for education are as endless as your family's dynamics and imagination. 

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We use very few workbooks.

My kids do go through Math Mammoth in elementary, which is a "worktext", but they also read the Beast Academy Guides, do Hands on Geometry and Hands on Equations which are...well, hands on...play lots of games, and start working through Zaccaro's Challenge Math books which are not workbooks.

They do Daily Grams which is a workbook, but that is literally 5 minutes a couple times a week. Other than that, Language Arts is workbook free: parts of MCT (doing the practice book orally), All About Spelling, Lantern English, Writing with Ease and Writing with Skill, other writing through the curriculum, and reading lots of novels and other types of books.

History and Science - certainly no workbooks.

Spanish - no workbooks.

My oldest (7th grade) HATES workbooks and worksheets. He bends over backwards to stay in my good graces because under no circumstances does he want to go to public school because he would have to do mind-numbing worksheets (he sees what his brother and cousins bring home from school). So I have always found ways to include very few workbooks and worksheets in our homeschool. And while, yes, at times that ruled out some curriculum choices, and, yes, at times workbooks would have been the least teacher-intensive choice, I never felt like the kids' educations would be improved in any way by having them fill in workbooks.

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Waldorf uses main lesson books, which are just a blank books.
I don’t  follow Waldorf but we like the MLB idea and all the crafts, art, and stories.

What grades are you looking for? I haven’t looked at some of these in awhile but something like Blossom and root, build your library, little acorn, or lavenders blue? Hearth Magic comes to mind but that is more lit unit study. 


 

 

 

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6 hours ago, KrisTom said:

I feel like every homeschool curriculum is a workbook curriculum.

Am I not looking in the right places?  It doesn't have to be classical per se.  (Also, I was just looking at Royal Fireworks Press, and I am a little turned off by how many pieces it appears to be---kinda like with Memoria Press. Maybe they are both different.) 

MCT doesn't have nearly as many parts as MP. It's a completely different approach. It is time consuming in that it's a sit and talk and reason together program, which I didn't have much time for the last time I tried it. And I didn't like their replacement for diagramming though I don't recall specifics. I liked Caesars English and Music of the Hemispheres and I've just given some of the books to dd to read on her own as review.

 

Several programs use notebooking. (Apologia?). We did not like making our own notebook pages because it was too much writing for my kids.

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We use Singapore math K which can be workbooky I mean it comes as two workbook things (one is technically the textbook and the other is the workbook). We've made it not workbooky. I look at the problems they are doing and we may do the problems and/or similar problems using manipulatives or orally or through a game or discussion etc. Caveat is I'm not against workbooks/book work/seat work stuff and my oldest will ask for it  (sometimes he just wants to finish the lesson quickly to get on with his life).

I use a Montessori math program when my kids were younger and parents asked the maker to essentially make worksheets for them. 

I do find individual subject curriculums better at telling you what they are trying to teach, so it's easier to use them without doing their workbook or worksheet. 

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KONOS and other unit studies (Prairie Primer, Where the Brook and the River Meet, Further Up and Further In); Mystery of History; Truthquest History; Sonlight, Beautiful Feet Books, and other literature-based materials; Mott Media's reprints of Harvey's Grammars and Ray's Arithmetics (although they have now published workbooks for Ray's); most of Rod and Staff Publishers' materials are textbooks, not workbooks.

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Workbooks aren't necessarily bad. Some of my kids loved them, especially in the early grades. However, using them for every subject can get very old.

We do a lot of reading/discuss/writing instead of workbooks. Almost any book or textbook could work with that approach.

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You might want to search for threads about output. A lot of them discuss how much output is really necessary, if that output needs to be written down, what unique forms of output you can use to access learning, etc.

A program with lots of workbooks assumes that learning will not happen without lots of written output. But there are lots of other educational methods and pedagogies.

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Thank you all so much for weighing in.  I've never thought about searching for "output."  I think our struggle with MP is it's the same type of output for each class, and of course, I bought ALL the things, thinking it was all necessary. My son said that he held back from reading ahead in his last novel because he knew he'd have to answer the comprehension questions for his winter intensive class.  He has phenomenal recall of details. I really don't think he needs that type of curriculum for literature.  I think we just need to mix it up, but I need help with having a pre-planned curriculum.  I am just trying to brainstorm for next year. I am still trying to figure out the MCT books, lol. 

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I really love rod and staff English.  DS10 is doing level 3, he just started writing nice paragraphs across curricula because “rod and staff taught me how”.  We have never done MCT but I don’t think it’d work for our season of life.  The best grammar is the one that gets done, and done well.

We use textbooks for science without the workbooks.  They can be great resources, you are in charge of how to use curriculum 🙂

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The Well Trained Mind was great for me starting out because it explains how to get a "spine" book for history/science or lit list for English and turn it into a year of learning. It provides some goals depending whether the student is grammar/logic/rhetoric stage, e.g. grammar stage science: cultivate wonder and close observation; begin to learn some scientific terminology for what you observe.  It might give you the confidence to launch out on your own without a purchased curriculum, even if you start just DIYing one subject.

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7 hours ago, KrisTom said:

Thank you all so much for weighing in.  I've never thought about searching for "output."  I think our struggle with MP is it's the same type of output for each class, and of course, I bought ALL the things, thinking it was all necessary. My son said that he held back from reading ahead in his last novel because he knew he'd have to answer the comprehension questions for his winter intensive class.  He has phenomenal recall of details. I really don't think he needs that type of curriculum for literature.  I think we just need to mix it up, but I need help with having a pre-planned curriculum.  I am just trying to brainstorm for next year. I am still trying to figure out the MCT books, lol. 

You may enjoy Sarah McKenzie's open-ended question style of talking with kids about books. (I just now checked - her 11/4/20 podcast talks about this and has a handy list - though I'm sure she discusses it in other places as well.) Very enjoyable, sets a kid up for success, connects well to other fields/ areas, and Sarah convinces you you can teach a kiddo this way even if you didn't learn this way. No reading curriculum needed. 

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22 hours ago, Lucy the Valiant said:

You may enjoy Sarah McKenzie's open-ended question style of talking with kids about books. (I just now checked - her 11/4/20 podcast talks about this and has a handy list - though I'm sure she discusses it in other places as well.) Very enjoyable, sets a kid up for success, connects well to other fields/ areas, and Sarah convinces you you can teach a kiddo this way even if you didn't learn this way. No reading curriculum needed. 

Thank you so much for sharing!  Is that Charlotte Mason inspired? I tried to implement some of this in the fall, and my son wondered why we were reading so many books. I was going off a list from Mater Amabilis, a free Catholic CM curriculum (though only my husband is Catholic).  Going off that curriculum also made me feel a little crazy. Some of the books are thick and intended for the entire year.  

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No. A workbook curriculum would be something like ACE or AOP (which is not the same as AoP). There are textbook "traditional" programs like Kolbe, BJU, etc. There are unit study programs that are not Charlotte Mason, like Konos. There is just a ton out there. I feel like a child in a toy store when I go to a convention (have not been to one in a while though).

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On 1/16/2022 at 8:54 PM, KrisTom said:

Thank you so much for sharing!  Is that Charlotte Mason inspired? I tried to implement some of this in the fall, and my son wondered why we were reading so many books. I was going off a list from Mater Amabilis, a free Catholic CM curriculum (though only my husband is Catholic).  Going off that curriculum also made me feel a little crazy. Some of the books are thick and intended for the entire year.  

I'm not sure of the Charlotte Mason crossover, and I'm not Catholic (but Sarah McKenzie is). She does home school, but her podcast is called the Read-Aloud Revival, and is targeted at all families, not just home schoolers. She has a fresh, widely appealing, can-do approach that has been an encouragement to me off and on through the years - I often forget just how much kids really do take in and learn from simply listening to a good read-aloud.

(Spoken as a mom who still reads to the teenagers, because yes, they beg for it. This year we have read NOTHING serious - our light, frivolous, just-for-the-joy-of-it push-back to the misery in the headlines; we've made zero "educational progress" but we have laughed together, chuckled at some good characters, considered new-to-us ideas, and just enjoyed some slightly-above-average middle school books. Even the college kids.)

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On 1/19/2022 at 4:27 PM, Lucy the Valiant said:

(Spoken as a mom who still reads to the teenagers, because yes, they beg for it. This year we have read NOTHING serious - our light, frivolous, just-for-the-joy-of-it push-back to the misery in the headlines; we've made zero "educational progress" but we have laughed together, chuckled at some good characters, considered new-to-us ideas, and just enjoyed some slightly-above-average middle school books. Even the college kids.)

Can I ask what books you have read?  My teens like me to read too, but it's hard to get through a book in a decent time with their schedules.  But maybe if we had something really enjoyable we would be more apt to read the evenings when we are tired.

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32 minutes ago, smfmommy said:

Can I ask what books you have read?  My teens like me to read too, but it's hard to get through a book in a decent time with their schedules.  But maybe if we had something really enjoyable we would be more apt to read the evenings when we are tired.

So in previous years we have read "real" (aka classic) literature, history, biographies, and some narrative-style science books. 

THIS year, we have read Premeditated Myrtle, Summer of the Woods, The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane, Framed!, The Clockwork Sparrow. None of them are destined for a classics list, but they were all lighthearted & fun. I pulled them off a "read these new middle school books" list back in early September. No characters died a miserable death, were ruined by greed or hate or violence, lost the one true love of their life, or came excruciatingly of age. 

If you asked them today what were the 2 best books we've EVER read out loud, they would all agree on the Lord of the Rings trilogy (yes, it took forever) and The War with Mr. Wizzle. --> This one I remembered fondly from my own childhood as being the first book that made me laugh so hard I wept, and (it may have been the mood we were in at the time) it did not disappoint when I read it to my own kids. We screeched in laughter, and had. to. keep. reading. so that we read the whole thing in one day. (I live where winters are long, LOL. We don't read out loud in summer.)

Every year, I choose 1 book for each kid that becomes "their" book for that year; I read the book to ALL the kids, but then that ONE kid gets to own that book when I'm done as "Fred's 2nd grade book" or "Susie's 10th grade book". When each kid has received a book, I just choose for fun / whim / personal choice for the remainder of the year. ❤️ It's become a "thing" for our family. 

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