Simply put, we are an A Beka Book family. I will tell you about our choice and how it works for us but if you want to find more about A BEKA BOOK click the link for a new window.
Some time ago we began our journey and thought about what we wanted in a curriculum. Religion was not at the core of what we wanted to teach in school. We manage to teach about God and His Son in our everyday living experienced. We wanted our curriculum to be academic in nature and felt that the Calvert program was going to be our choice. It was not long before we realized that we simply were not going to spend that kind of money on lesson material. A friend had some items she had not used up and sent it to us. She blessed us with readers as well.
Once we physically got our hands on the items we moved forward and had a successful year. When the spring came the entire family attended a materials display in our area and spent a long time checking out the entire program. It was decided by their mother and father, especially father, that we would use the A Beka Book curriculum through out their entire school experience. He spent time looking deep into the books through high school as well.
One would wonder why a family would commit to this. After all, it seems that people spend much of their spring and early summer evaluating the curriculum choices they are going to use the next year. As it turns out, that is exactly why a commitment like that was made. It seemed like more time and effort was going into the search and evaluate process than the lessons themselves. I could be using that time enhancing what we are learning, taking a trip to the woods, encouraging the creative process. I cannot begin to tell you how liberating it is when you make that choice and don't look back.
It is working for us. We do not specifically include religion into our daily lesson schedule as the program list but that is the other great component of the curriculum choice. It seems they do cater to the people who break up the curriculum so it can be purchased as individual books, as subject sets or as an entire curriculum. It is Christian based and even without the daily Bible lesson the influence of Our Lord is evident in the daily lessons. The books complement each other as the lessons go on. The Lesson Manuals permit me free time as I do not have to plan the lesson at all. Truth be told, I use it as a guide but can see the benefit when I reach a topic that I am perhaps not so comfortable with.
The cost, compared to many, is reasonable. I like my one stop shopping as well and the representatives at the material display can be very helpful to be sure you have what you need. If the day comes that the program does not work for us then we will be sure to search again.
To enhance our days we also enjoy lapbooking. I have taken the time to purchase several projects but have discovered that if I want to put together my own creative juices, I am capable of creating an impressive project on my own. I made the mistake getting so creative that I have found that I can sabotage my curriculum. For instance, I felt that I could enhance science one year so I expanded the lessons with some home done experiments. Turns out that they were in the next years science book and so I ruined the excitement of science the following year. Lesson learned, I no longer do something like that without knowing what is in the next years book. After all, it builds upon itself appropriately.
I am sure that if you are a homeschooling parent/grandparent that you must think I am crazy to stick with one thing. I find that for us, consistency is best. I don't have the stamina to teach, run a home, work, manage a Girl Scout Troop and spend hours buried into curriculum reviews. Best of all, it works!