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Memoria Press Alternative?


Teach05
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We started pandemic schooling with TGATB for LA and Math U See.  I’ve tried a lot of math, but always come back to Math U See because it’s the one math that seems to stick. For language arts I started to lose faith in TGATB because they repeatedly turned over products to roll out new lines and I couldn’t stand their in-house stories used instead of actual children’s books. That led me to MP because I loved the book selections.  That led me to a full year of exclusive MP only.  This year I have two cores, but I feel the magic of homeschool being sucked out of our house by doing only MP.  I need to start bouncing around ideas for other products.  What I loved with MP was the literature and book selection. Like, two thumbs up on books. I also loved that the company has a long history and isn’t going to switch things up every two years. I would love to be a K-12 homeschooler and I need a company with a vision for high school. 
 

I would really really love to find some products that are academically rigorous, but maybe infuse a little life back into our homeschool. 
 

Hopefully that makes sense. Any ideas? 

Edited by Teach05
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Well, I think if you take a look at some of the grade level threads here you'll find a few different things that people use.

We ended up with English Lessons Through Literature with this last kid.  Unfortunately, he needed more explicit writing instruction for a while than what ELTL provides (writing instruction is more Charlotte Mason in nature, with copywork and then modeling).  We ended up continuing the literature and grammar, but slowing down the writing for him with another program dovetailed in.

And that's the thing.  Kids don't always fit in a box, so it's important to be able to step back and see when something is working or when it isn't, and be able to see where a program has its strengths and weaknesses.  Sometimes a program will mesh with a kid very well for a few years and then you move away from it to something that specializes in a different stage.  It would be nice if there was a program that is equally strong in every subject, every level, but when we get people who are passionate and do their best work at a single stage, that's where we get very strong programs.

I'd say don't worry about finding something that will work for every single year.  Find something that works for this year, right now, and reassess needs as you go along.

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Maybe take a step back and think through your goals and desires for homeschooling. Big picture before details. Why are you on this road? What is your philosophy of education? What do your particular kids need? Books like For the Children’s Sake and Teaching from Rest were good reads for me. There are many other good ones, including of course, The Well Trained Mind. 

You don’t need a boxed set from one company. Just read lots of good books and talk about them, do spelling, grammar, and some writing, as your kids need. There are many good choices. Like Home Again said, read the grade level planning threads. Know why you are choosing what for which kids. 

Edited by ScoutTN
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The greatest blessing from homeschooling is that your child becomes the focus of learning vs. curriculum.  There is so much packed into that small comment.  

Classrooms function around the avg.  Curriculum developers take a bunch of standards, avg learning abilities of the current generation, and package curriculum to meet the avg x grader of the # thousands of x graders that exist in the country.   Homeschool curriculum providers are no different.  Grade-leveled, prepackaged curriculum does not meet the needs of the individual child.  It is about the child fitting the parameters of the preplanned package.

I have been homeschooling since 1994, back when there were few curricula options available for purchase.  What a blessing that was!  I learned to assess my kids and find what worked for each one of them individually.  I have graduated 6 kids from our homeschool and a 7th is a sr this yr.  Not a single one of them has received an education that at all resembles a siblings'.   I have had kids who took their first algebra class at age 10 while another was 13.  I have a dd who loves languages and studied 3 (Russian, French, Latin).  I have dyslexics who struggle with foreign languages and 2 yrs to fit a very minimum threshold was it.  I have some who love literature and Shakespeare for a yr was fun, others where math and science dominated everything and lit took a different direction.   I thought after homeschooling for almost 30 yrs that getting my 8th grader through to graduation would be coasting along with what I have already learned.  Nope.  She loves music.  She is a vocalist and a violinist.  I know nothing about music and I am back at square one learning how to help her achieve whatever goals she decides on.

Pt being, if I had picked a curriculum provider and used it with my kids, my kids would have been cookie cutter students representing that curriculum provider vs. being able to develop the strengths and interests they possess individually.  

My approach has been to find a math program that fits their abilities as well as my ability to teach it.  When they are younger, we read through stacks of books---history, lit, science.  They write across subjects.  Their writing assignments vary across history, science, and lit.  Other than math, spelling, and grammar, we don't really used textbooks until high school level science.  Foreign language grammar books are integrated into foreign language learning. I pick the themes, pick the books, determine the pace, create the assignments......and they progress at their pace.  

If you like the literature approach, I recommend looking at Sonlight.  Look at how they integrate learning across books.  Kids do not need to be filling out worksheets like MP.  MP's approach would suck all the joy out of homeschooling for me.  (Worksheets are pretty much nonexistent in our homeschool.  So are tests unless they are included in their math textbook or high school science course.)

FWIW, my kids have gone on to earn top scholarships to college and have graduated college with honors.  The idea that traditional classroom approaches need to be replicated at home is false.  The entirety of why our family homeschools is based on my POV that ps has flawed methodology.  Why would I adopt those same superficial, cookie cutter practices in my home?  Learning can be so much more......deeper, more complex, and far more interesting.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Just go back to TGTB. I also like BJU press materials. BUT, I was getting fed up with their (TGTB) frequent updates so I was looking to go elsewhere, but nothing brought as much joy as TGTB. What I do now is use the free readers on the ipad and only purchase the workbooks. I know in one level, we skipped a book and used something else, not a big deal as it costs so little. Memoria Press feels like a redundant thudding on my head. It is very rote.

Edited by Janeway
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4 hours ago, Teach05 said:

I also loved that the company has a long history and isn’t going to switch things up every two years. I would love to be a K-12 homeschooler and I need a company with a vision for high school. 

My dd graduated from MP's online academy so she did all of her high school level classes with them. (She also did dual enrollment classes at our local CC and graduated high school and her AA at the same time). We DIDN'T use many MP products before high school. She used their Latin prep stuff and did a year of Henle before she started their Latin 2 in 9th grade. We read a few of their books with their study guides and that was all. It didn't make any difference. I think if you plan on doing their online high school you should do a couple of classes online throughout middle school, but they don't have to be with MPOA. We used the defunct Landry Academy, WTM Online  and Art Of Problem Solving classes and dd was well prepared to do handle a full load at MPOA when she started. 

(OTOH, check current reviews when it's time to enroll. Dd had some excellent teachers but MPOA is so big that quality varies.)

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This is just my personal taste… I really like heart of dakota (especially preparing and up) for grades 4+.  Five in a row and beautiful feet primary guides for k-3/4.  All about reading & spelling.  Rod & staff English.  Math is math… pick a good one you can teach and stick with it.  I like math mammoth and math with confidence.  Singapore if I had only a couple children.  Tgtb just doesn’t work for me at all.

Creating my own plans was too time consuming for me and I found it hard to balance.  There were too many resources I “could” add.  I didn’t like some of the more pure Charlotte Mason programs because the material was too deep and dark for my children and me.

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Maybe something like Curiosity Chronicles? It's history and loads of good books. 

I wouldn't try to decide k-12 now though. Kids grow and change at a ridiculous speed. It's impossible to predict. Things that worked well for my big kids haven't worked at all for my younger two. Frankly I've grown and changed along with them and wouldn't want to go back to some of those. 🤷‍♀️ There's also a big shift in middle and high school curriculum made for homeschoolers. I find I'm barely using any of the same companies from when they were younger. 

Every spring I look at the kid in front of me and look for what's best for them for the coming year. Sometimes it's an old favorite and sometimes it's something entirely new to us. It's a mash. 

(There was a time I *wanted to like MP for the simplicity, but we never finished a single piece from them. 🙃 TGAB seemed watered down and "behind" when it was new. I'm not sure I've looked at it since. My boys wouldn't tolerate the overall vibe or religious tone anyway.)

Edited by SilverMoon
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I hear you on straight MP sucking the joy and life out of schooling. We have found MP works best for us as a booklist only. I understand your feelings about TGTB, too. We have tried getting on that wagon so many times but just say no and that is okay! I have tried a ton of things over 20 years so my older kids are pretty well-read at this point which makes what we use now work well for us. (My youngest is a whole 'nother story.)

What has worked best for us is BJU Homeschool online courses. I tried without the videos but it just doesn't work well for us. Those vids add a LOT and are worth every penny I pay for 3 kids. The kids like the teaching and I can be more of a facilatator rather than stressing about getting to everyone's lessons. We do NOT use their reading or english at any level. The English is straight school writing at every level which I do not feel is appropriate. I also did not feel they had enough drill for grammar in the old editions. We like that BJU is well-laid out, well-planned daily, has a clear path through high school, is rigorous, and gets done. I'm still involved and can modify assignments as needed. I still grade the writing and projects (love those rubrics!). Yes, the religious bias is there towards anyone not of their religion, including our religion. We have learned to roll our eyes, ignore it, and move on through. My older kids using BJU online are 18 and 15 so at this point they are secure in their beliefs. The BJU Hub is awesome! Love it! It is so easy to use. If you want to order, use a Homeworks consultant as they can save you money. It's a chunk even with the payment plan, but massively less than private Christian school for 3 kids tuition be. The years we use it, I spend less, we stay motivated, we enjoy school, and we progress.

ADDING: Some of the videos are old, but new courses are announced in February.

This is what I wrote about it to a friend just pulling her daughter out of school this year:

BJU Press Homeschool Online: www.bjupresshomeschool.com This is the one that has gotten done the most consistently in our house over the years. We use them for heritage studies (history/geog/social studies) and science for the olders now. Little Man is just starting out so also has spelling and math with them. Some materials point out how wrong our and other religions are or silly non-science things. We roll our eyes and ignore. Expensive, but follows a typical school's scope. Well-organized and well-paced. I do NOT use their math for my older kids. It is not explained well for mine. We found the English and Literature boring, but that is just us. Not a thing wrong with it at all. Considered honors level at all grades. The online Hub for the courses is awesome! Easy to navigate and use for Mom and child. Has an accredited diploma program, as well, but you are locked into ONLY using their courses. They also have a standardized testing service, if that matters to you. Order from a HomeWorks consultant to save especially in Aug/Sept. I can give you my person's contact info. Payment plan available.

Yep- I know what I'm saying is offensive to some people here, but honestly, you have to do what is best for you and your family whatever that may be. Not everyone is cut out to hand curate every course for their kids for years. Everyone has different talents. (8, you are AMAZING!!) A box can be a GREAT thing.

Feel free to pm me if you have any other questions about BJU.

Edited by Green Bean
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2 hours ago, Green Bean said:

I hear you on straight MP sucking the joy and life out of schooling. We have found MP works best for us as a booklist only. I understand your feelings about TGTB, too. We have tried getting on that wagon so many times but just say no and that is okay! I have tried a ton of things over 20 years so my older kids are pretty well-read at this point which makes what we use now work well for us. (My youngest is a whole 'nother story.)

What has worked best for us is BJU Homeschool online courses. I tried without the videos but it just doesn't work well for us. Those vids add a LOT and are worth every penny I pay for 3 kids. The kids like the teaching and I can be more of a facilatator rather than stressing about getting to everyone's lessons. We do NOT use their reading or english at any level. The English is straight school writing at every level which I do not feel is appropriate. I also did not feel they had enough drill for grammar in the old editions. We like that BJU is well-laid out, well-planned daily, has a clear path through high school, is rigorous, and gets done. I'm still involved and can modify assignments as needed. I still grade the writing and projects (love those rubrics!). Yes, the religious bias is there towards anyone not of their religion, including our religion. We have learned to roll our eyes, ignore it, and move on through. My older kids using BJU online are 18 and 15 so at this point they are secure in their beliefs. The BJU Hub is awesome! Love it! It is so easy to use. If you want to order, use a Homeworks consultant as they can save you money. It's a chunk even with the payment plan, but massively less than private Christian school for 3 kids tuition be. The years we use it, I spend less, we stay motivated, we enjoy school, and we progress.

This is what I wrote about it to a friend just pulling her daughter out of school this year:

BJU Press Homeschool Online: www.bjupresshomeschool.com This is the one that has gotten done the most consistently in our house over the years. We use them for heritage studies (history/geog/social studies) and science for the olders now. Little Man is just starting out so also has spelling and math with them. Some materials point out how wrong our and other religions are or silly non-science things. We roll our eyes and ignore. Expensive, but follows a typical school's scope. Well-organized and well-paced. I do NOT use their math for my older kids. It is not explained well for mine. We found the English and Literature boring, but that is just us. Not a thing wrong with it at all. Considered honors level at all grades. The online Hub for the courses is awesome! Easy to navigate and use for Mom and child. Has an accredited diploma program, as well, but you are locked into ONLY using their courses. They also have a standardized testing service, if that matters to you. Order from a HomeWorks consultant to save especially in Aug/Sept. I can give you my person's contact info. Payment plan available.

Yep- I know what I'm saying is offensive to some people here, but honestly, you have to do what is best for you and your family whatever that may be. Not everyone is cut out to hand curate every course for their kids for years. Everyone has different talents. (8, you are AMAZING!!) A box can be a GREAT thing.

Feel free to pm me if you have any other questions about BJU.

Thanks!!

BJU is one I’ve never looked into. Is it Protestant, or what is the religious view?  MP has it, but  I really like the mostly ecumenical approach. 

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7 minutes ago, Teach05 said:

Thanks!!

BJU is one I’ve never looked into. Is it Protestant, or what is the religious view?  MP has it, but  I really like the mostly ecumenical approach. 

BJU is protestant and anti-Catholic.  It is a private school curriculum that is sold to homeschoolers.

Edited by 8filltheheart
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3 minutes ago, Teach05 said:

Thanks!!

BJU is one I’ve never looked into. Is it Protestant, or what is the religious view?  MP has it, but  I really like the mostly ecumenical approach. 

Don't use Bob Jones.  Their textbooks are an absolute joke and aren't rigorous, nor taken seriously.  Their fourth grade science was such a hot mess that the picture from one of their pages makes the rounds as how absolutely stupid homeschoolers are, thinking electricity is a mystery.  The California university system declared that courses that used their books were "inconsistent with scientific principles" and refuses to accept courses that use them when considering students..They're known for being racist and obtuse.

 

You would not enjoy what you got out of it and your children would not benefit.

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If you in general like MP know that you don't have to do everything or everything everyday or every week. Even to the point of skipping certain things all together, I always skip "comprehension questions" from curriculum because I can just ask my kids what happened or discuss something of interest from the reading, or if the reading that day was a complete drag already then just move on. Well written books can sometime be on dull topics for your family. 

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19 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

Don't use Bob Jones.  Their textbooks are an absolute joke and aren't rigorous, nor taken seriously.  Their fourth grade science was such a hot mess that the picture from one of their pages makes the rounds as how absolutely stupid homeschoolers are, thinking electricity is a mystery.  The California university system declared that courses that used their books were "inconsistent with scientific principles" and refuses to accept courses that use them when considering students..They're known for being racist and obtuse.

 

You would not enjoy what you got out of it and your children would not benefit.

To each there own, I suppose. My kids are learning.

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2 hours ago, Green Bean said:

To each there own, I suppose. My kids are learning.

Don't your kids struggle academically, though?  I thought from reading your posts and your kids' ages that a less rigorous approach was really a good fit for them.  Learning should always be THE priority.

  The OP stated,

12 hours ago, Teach05 said:

I would really really love to find some products that are academically rigorous, but maybe infuse a little life back into our homeschool. 

@Teach05 Since you are new to the forums, one piece of advice I share with all new homeschoolers who seek the advice of faceless strangers online is that you are clueless about the academic objectives of said strangers.  What might be deemed academically rigorous by one family might not be for another.   I have been posting on these forums since my 34 yos was in 6th grade.  Over the yrs I have learned the families who share my values or families with kids with similar abilities.   I also know families that approach homeschooling via methodologies that wouldn't mesh with my philosophy of ed.  Pt being, take everything you read online with a grain of salt unless you have a good grasp of the perspective/educational outcomes of the person giving it and how align with your own family's values.  (People would not look at our family for advice on APs.  We don't really value them.  😉  I have lots of close IRL friends who also don't homeschool at all like we do.  Homeschooling methodologies just aren't a topic of conversation bc they love school in a box approaches.)

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Remember that Memoria Press materials are based on a classroom curriculum from their in-person school.  Hence all the work books.  I don’t think their materials have a lot of meaningless busy work, but I think you could have a conversation with your kids that covers the same material and saves a lot of time.  Have the kids write out some answers for some subjects just to get the practice, but not all the answers for all the subjects.  But most importantly, remember that curriculums are tools for you to use. They serve you.  Use them in any way that helps you best, and let go of the rest. 

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1 hour ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

Remember that Memoria Press materials are based on a classroom curriculum from their in-person school.  Hence all the work books.  I don’t think their materials have a lot of meaningless busy work, but I think you could have a conversation with your kids that covers the same material and saves a lot of time.  Have the kids write out some answers for some subjects just to get the practice, but not all the answers for all the subjects.  But most importantly, remember that curriculums are tools for you to use. They serve you.  Use them in any way that helps you best, and let go of the rest. 

Their online high school classes do not fill out the entire workbooks. They use them to guide class discussion and use them selectively for written practice.

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I like MP but could never do a whole boxed year for the reasons you stated -- they are dry and can be life sucking. Also, one of the joys of homeschooling is "family schooling" so we did Bible, history, and science together and then math and LA on level for each. If you have a math that you like, great. For History, we love Biblioplan and Veritas Press. We loved MP lit choices and used the lit guides to guide discussion. Use the curriculum to fit your kids and your vision for homeschooling. Veritas Press has a bit more life in the curriculum imho, as does Classical Academic Press which we loved for elementary writing and middle school logic. Don' feel bound by one curriculum... use it to fit your goals for your kids. Math is one that is best to stick with for continuity. 

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We tried MP about 2 yrs ago and hated it and didn't even finish a semester. It is so dry. The science and history, were so extremely dull. The workbooks are all formatted the same for every subject. I like some of their book choices but really dislike the lit guides. I think the Latin was one of their better subjects but still not what I would choose and I hated the writing.

I do like the recitations (through 3rd grade) and am using for my ds8. Ds11 is using Horatio at the Bridge study guide, and we are using manner of the week flashcards. Oh, we discovered Spelling Workout through MP and have continued with it. It's my favorite spelling program that we've tried. So there are bits and pieces that are good, but overall it is dry, boring, writing heavy, time consuming, busywork.

I would absolutely drop MP, count it a loss and move on.

What are your children's ages?

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We tried MP one year and then used some of the materials last year.  I just find it impossible to do everything in a full core with four children.  It could suck the life out of you if you try, which I did.   Another thing I dislike about the program is that much of it is a sequence that you need to stick with.  With that being said, I also really like it and think it is a good classical program.  Sometimes I regret getting away from it because we will always be off their path. I realize the students don't have to do everything in the books, so one remedy is just not buying the student books and using the teacher book.

This year, I bought few curriculum pieces.  I wanted to focus on just reading some good living books.  I'm still struggling with output when it comes to their writing or developing written spelling skills, so I hope I figure that out.  I also hope they can remember a thing or two---with MP, there is a lot of recitation and memory work.  It was actually good for my student who struggles with reading comprehension to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Anyway, I am rambling.  I feel like any pre-planned curriculum has the potential to have the same effect.  What I do know is that my kids seem to be enjoying our reading this year and the books I chose for them.  

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On 9/12/2023 at 1:57 PM, Green Bean said:

Not everyone is cut out to hand curate every course for their kids for years. Everyone has different talents. (8, you are AMAZING!!) A box can be a GREAT thing.

Just jumping in this thread to agree. I've been homeschooling for 7 years and am gradually becoming more confident. But, I needed some kind of curriculum, even in the early years to boost my confidence, give me ideas, show me what not to do, etc. And sometimes using curriculum is me not recreating the wheel: if it is a good curriculum and will prevent me from having to work hours to develop something, it is probably worth it to me right now. BUT, just because I use a curriculum doesn't mean I'm not teaching to each individual child. We spend a lot of time discussing things together. Sometimes I feel like I'm not very intelligent being on this forum because I don't create (or even know how to create) all my own curriculum.

OP: have you tried looking at individual subjects rather than looking at an entire curriculum set (like MP, Bob Jones, etc)? That has worked well for us. For example, for language arts we use:

-FLL 1/2, then some other resources, then Analytical Grammar for grammar

-Dictation Day by Day for spelling

-Writing Strands (and occasional papers that I assign in other subjects)

-I've just purchased a Progeny Press for a book I've assigned a couple kids to read. Mostly we just read good books based on many book lists I've found through the years.

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