2012 Mid-Year Curriculum Changes

Hi everyone! I’ve had several questions from readers asking how our 2012 curriculum choices are going. I think one of the things I like most about homeschooling is the ability to be flexible and note when something is working well and when something isn’t working! That said in order to maintain my own sanity, and thus the sanity of those around me, I’ve decided to change the things that weren’t working. And while I hate to waste money, sanity is priceless, no?

 

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Change Number 1: Saxon –> to Math U See

I said at the start of the school year that we were trying out Saxon for the first time. Well, I have to say that Saxon just wasn’t a right fit for us!  Partly because I had a hard time adjusting to teaching it, and partly because my kids just weren’t getting how they explained certain things. I found myself pulling out our Math U See blocks and trying to re-word the Saxon lessons using the Math U See principles so it made sense. After awhile of saying “remember in Math U See when we did it this way?…” I wondered why I was trying to hard to make Saxon work, when clearly MUS was what was working for us!

The other reason I originally switched to Saxon was because I thought MUS wasn’t covering some of the side subjects as well such as money, time, and measurement type of activities as well as we needed. Saxon does cover these topics well. However with the instruction time it was taking me to get through 3 different levels of math I found myself skipping some of those parts just so we could get through math and onto the rest of our day. Considering that was why I choose it to begin with, add to that the fact that I was having to re-explain the Saxon lessons so my kids could understand them, it just didn’t make much sense to keep going.

I decided it would be easier for me to add those things in on my own if needed…and so…

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After about 3 months of trying desperately to make Saxon work, and me wanting to tear my hair out, I made the choice to switch back to Math U See. I have to say the first few months of school this year were H A R D. Hard, like I think I’ll stop homeschooling and ship my kids to the nearest school, HARD. The day we switched back to MUS was like smooth sailing and I’ll never look back. If I do feel free to remind me about this post ;o)

Now, let me say I’m a “finish the book” type of homeschooler, we finish what we start, and typically it’s done in one year. Starting MUS 3 mos. in means we’ll either have to continue it next year, or I’ll spend the summer making my kids do math. I’ll keep you posted on that ;o) But the amount of peace the change has brought makes it all worth it.

 

Change Number 2: BJU Kindergarten –>  All About Spelling + All About Reading + Abeka K

(We’ve been using AAS & AAR already, so no change there, just didn’t want you to think I stopped because NO WAY! You’d have to pry it out of my cold dead hands!)

I switched off of BJU Kindergarten just about a month into our year because I didn’t like the format of the phonics lessons. This was surprising to me because I’m still using BJU for my older kids. And I actually really like it!

The main issue for me was the BJU phonics. They are built around a family of characters that represent the vowels and consonants. They tell stories about the characters and worksheets are made using them. That said it’s really hard to get around the whole family of characters. Since we’ve been using All About Spelling Tinkerbell was confused. She didn’t understand why I was trying to explain this family and who likes to hang out with who when I could just tell her the phonics rule straight up like AAS does.

So…I stopped using BJU Kindergarten and also the phonics portion of the BJU Press English for my 2nd and 3rd graders (it’s weaved into the Reading lessons, and not hard to skip at all). And for my kindergartner, I am doing All About Spelling Level 1, and All About Reading Level 1.

I had Abeka Kindergarten already since I’ve used it previously, and so I just pulled out those workbooks and started going through their phonics lessons as well. What I’ve found is I really don’t need Abeka either, but since I had the workbooks already I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to have her doing some extra phonics and reading practice through Abeka. So for now, she just completes one of the phonics worksheets per day. I make sure to check the TM to see if there’s anything that AAS isn’t covering that might be on her worksheet, but so far that hasn’t happened. Next year I’ll probably scrap it all together, but I hate to waste a workbook!

What are we keeping? (a.k.a. What do we LOVE!)

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Tinkerbell (Kindergarten)

 

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Turbo (2nd grade) & Strawberry Shortcake (3rd Grade)

 

Moral of the story:

I’m sure Saxon and BJU Press Kindergarten are solid programs, They’re just not for US and that’s what matters. No homeschool family will look the same, and when you find something that works, stick with it! If it’s not working, give something else a try. You might just relieve yourself a huge amount of stress in the process!

 

 

More awesome curriculum ideas available on my website:

Letter of the Week:

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K4 Curriculum:

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Road Trip USA & Road Trip USA Animals!

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Expedition Earth World Geography:

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Expedition Earth World Animals:

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World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1

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44 Comments

  • Jennifer January 25, 2012 at 1:20 am

    We LOVE MUS!

    And thank you for reminding us all that our families are all different and therefore require different approaches. 🙂

    Reply
  • Beth January 25, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Thanks for sharing. I love seeing what people think of different curriculums!! And I too LOVE the flexibility. When my hubby’s job announced they could no longer roll over PTO we had 10 weeks to use up this year. So decidd to take a HUGE 4 week road trip out west – I changed around our mathc & social studies to get som history of westward expansion, gold boom, and science for grand canyon – I LOVE homeschooling!! =-)
    Beth

    Reply
  • Karen January 25, 2012 at 5:16 am

    I’m interested in Speekee to use with my ds after we finish Salsa Spanish. I went to their website, but I still have a few questions. (1) How many lessons per week are there? (2) The school option (which we wouldn’t use, of course) says it can last 2 years. Is this also true of the home version? (3) Is it possible to preview it as a guest, or do I have to set up an account? We won’t need it for several months.

    Reply
  • L2L January 25, 2012 at 6:01 am

    We are enjoying your Expedition Earth and look forward to our Artist books getting here to start that one AND I think during baseball season we are going to do a focus on the Road Trip curriculum. But we are in the same boat of things not working just right for us and under some changes this month as well!!!!

    Reply
  • Katie Desjardin January 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I have a quick question about AAS and AAR, did you start them at the same time or do you stagger the starts? if so how do you coordinate them? Thanks

    Reply
    • Rebekah July 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      (from All about learning website) How do All About Reading and All About Spelling work together, and in which order should I use them?
      We recommend completing the All About Reading Pre-reading Program and All About Reading Level 1 first, and then adding in the All About Spelling program. By doing so, students will have a solid start in reading, which in turn gives them a strong basis for spelling.

      All About Spelling and All About Reading use the same sequence and the same phonograms. Both are complete phonics programs, so they are interrelated in that way. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle, while AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

      All About Reading includes decoding skills, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and lots of reading practice. It uses letter tiles just like All About Spelling does, though AAS focuses instead on encoding skills, spelling rules, and other strategies that help children become good spellers.

      Because of the way they are designed, the programs are also independent of each other so students can move as quickly or as slowly as they need to with each skill. Kids generally move ahead more quickly in reading, and we don’t want to hold them back with the spelling.

      Reply
  • Amy January 25, 2012 at 6:53 am

    This is so encouraging. I always feel terrible when I decided to change curriculum mid year. I have only done it a couple times but I find myself hanging in there far too long because I feel like I need to finish it even though we are all miserable. I looked at the Spanish you use for the older 2 and I was wondering what led you to choose that over Rosetta Stone? We have been using Spanish in 10 minutes a Day which has been fun for some vocabulary but not exactly what we are looking for. It is geared more toward an adult getting ready for a trip abroad, in my opinion. Also, wanted to let you know we are LOVING Expedition Earth and just started the artist unit study and are really enjoying it as well. I recommend them both to all my homeschooling friends 🙂

    Reply
  • Denise January 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Thank you so much for this post! God ‘s timing is perfect! We have a little guy with some some learning challenges and we just scrapped everything yesterday and picked up/ ordered all new stuff! I was feeing so guilty about wasting the money and it feels like time wasted too (should have abandoned ship sooner). I really needed to hear that others change mid-school year and it’s OK! Blessings, Denise

    Reply
  • Erika January 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I have done the same thing. We started out using Calvert and switched to My Father’s World. My kids are loving school again and it’s so much easier on me.

    Reply
  • Aise January 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Hi Erica, I’ve recently found your site and I’m so thankful for all the things I’m learning. I’m new to homeschooling (1yr) and still learning in making our own curriculum, searching different sites for good materials that will fit us, and so many other things.Would just like to ask if you’ve encountered Charlotte Mason and My Father’s World materials. What can you say about them? Thanks.

    Reply
  • Lisa January 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

    LOVED this post! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with your readers. We love hearing how things are working or not working! If you have time in the future you could share how the Family Time Fitness is working in your home. It sounds great, but would love to see it in “action”! Thanks so much Erica, and I pray God blesses the remainder of your school year!

    Reply
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