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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Deciding on Curriculum and Resources

Below are four common curriculum approaches. The four corresponding letters will be used as a descriptive tool in the Commonly Used Curricula section that follows.
  • A Traditional and Conventional Text Books: Uses graded textbooks for each subject; most commonly used approach in institutional schools.
  • B Early Academics: Stresses reading, writing, and arithmetic skills at an early age; uses workbooks, visual aids, and manipulatives.
  • C Workbooks or Programmed Learning: Workbooks are consumable books with questions or projects included and condensed instructions. Programmed is step-by-step sequence of small units of facts which provide immediate feedback.
  • D Unit Study: All subjects center around a common theme and different ages can be involved with the same theme. Units do not include a math or language program, therefore, these need to be added.

Commonly Used Curricula

A Beka             (800) 874-BEKA      

  • Curriculum approaches: A, B, C
  • Christian, patriotic, and conservative.
  • Developed for classroom use.
  • Must be adapted to home situation; if done as recommended it would be a whole day's school work; books may be good reference material.

Accelerated Christian Educators             (800) 925-7777      

  • Curriculum approaches: B, C
  • Materials designed for students to work independently.
  • Students are placed at the appropriate starting point in each subject.
  • Biblical perspectives are incorporated throughout the material.

Advanced Training Institute             (630) 323-2842      

  • Curriculum approach: D
  • Unique Bible-centered family program emphasizing life training and character development.
  • Requires attendance at three week-long seminars and adoption of certain spiritual convictions.
  • Requires commitment to regular reporting to the Institute.
  • Multi-age level use.

Alpha Omega             (800) 622-3070      

  • Curriculum approaches: B, C
  • Bible-centered.
  • CD-ROM and correspondence versions available.
  • An interactive, teacher-presented math is an option in K-6.
  • Diagnostic tests for appropriate placement in each subject.

Bob Jones             (800) 845-5731      

  • Curriculum approaches: A, B, C
  • Christian, patriotic, and conservative.
  • Developed for classroom use.
  • Must be adapted to home situation; if done as recommended it would be a whole day's school work; books may be good reference material.

Calvert             (410) 785-3400      

  • Curriculum approaches: A, B, C
  • Early academics offered but more relaxed than Bob Jones and A Beka.
  • Uses a tutorial method and therefore takes less time than other traditional approaches, especially in the early years.
  • Mixing of grade levels not allowed; pre-packaged for each grade level; fully prepared daily lessons.
  • Secular, but has traditional moral values.
  • K through eighth grade.

Christian Liberty Academy             (847) 259-4444      

  • Curriculum approaches: A, B, C
  • Christian, patriotic and conservative.
  • Texts chosen according to student's achievement level.

Clonlara (734) 769-451

  • Curriculum approach up to the parent.
  • Provides record keeping and counseling.
  • Supportive of less structured homeschooling.
  • Provides recommendations of educational resources.
  • Offers some computerized high school courses.

Konos             (336) 887-2045      

  • Curriculum approach: D
  • Based on character traits such as obedience.
  • Comes from a Christian perspective.
  • Provides activity suggestions, book lists, vocabulary words, pertinent historical character examples, and optional character timeline.
  • Multi-age level use.
  • Offers a new high school program covering world history, English and art, written to the student.
  • Emphasis is discovery learning.

Sonlight Curriculum             (303) 730-6292      

  • Literature based, emphasis on world history and cultures and international Christian missions.
  • Provides materials in all subjects and coordinates them for a school year.
  • Early academics offered but more relaxed than Bob Jones, A Beka, Alpha Omega, etc.
  • Provided in grade levels but can be adapted for multiple children close in age.

Other Sources for Math

Other Sources for Phonics and Reading

    • Alpha-Phonics
    • Explode the Code
    • Learning Language Arts Through Literature
    • 100 Easy Lessons
    • Phonics Museum
    • Reading Made Easy
    • Sing, Spell, Read, and Write

    Other Sources for Language Arts

    • Daily Grams
    • Design-a-Study's Comprehensive Composition
    • Easy Grammar
    • Grammar Songs, Audio Memory             (800) 365-SING      
    • Learning Language Arts Through Literature
    • Understanding Writing
    • Wordsmith, Wordsmith Apprentice
    • Writing Strands

    Other Sources for Science

    • Apologia Science Series by Jay Wile: Exploring Creation with General Science, Exploring Creation with Physical Science
    • Beautiful Feet's Literature Approach to the History of Science, by Rea Berg
    • Considering God's Creation by Mortimer and Smith
    • Creation Series by Felice Gerwitz and Jill Whitlock: Creation Anatomy, Creation Astronomy, Creation Science, Creation Geology
    • Lyrical Life Science Series by Eldon


    • Design-a-Study
    • How to Create Your Own Unit Study and the Unit Study Idea Book, Valerie Bendt


    Most homeschoolers acquire their resources by attending a book fair or by ordering from a catalog. Annual Conferences and Book Fairs offer the opportunity to view and purchase many of the homeschooling resources that are available. 

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      1 comment:

      1. I am surprised that you did not mention Kolbe Academy. They have an excellent program which is accredited and goes from Kinder (or maybe even pre-K) thru 12th grade with online courses for high school as well as a parent forum and academic counselors. They are also present at homeschool conferences and fairs. You may want to check them out: www.kolbe.org