Posted in Curriculum & Reviews

Link: 7 Secrets to Finding the Best Homeschool Curriculum

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Posted in Curriculum & Reviews

Curriculum Suppliers

There are several suppliers that offer or sell some sort of reformed curriculum, although these curriculum vary in their actual perspective.  We have not used resources from all of these suppliers so they would have to be further investigated before purchasing.  Some of these suppliers are:

Christian Liberty Press — this is a ministry that offers low-cost books and homeschooling packages.  Some of the books are published by Christian Liberty itself while other books it recommends come from other publishers.  We have been using the Christian Liberty kindergarten readers with Delightful and also own the Christian Liberty nature readers.  A lot of the resources focus on American history, which is not necessary for us since we are Canadian.

Puritans’ Home School Curriculum — this is the ONLY curriculum we know of that is consistent with the original Westminster standards.  We have used several of their texts and have found them to be quite good.  For example, the history text recommended for grades 6-8 is an adaptation of Henrik Van Loom’s The Story of Mankind with a reformed perspective incorporated into it.  We appreciated this perspective since it enabled us to teach our children various aspects of the reformed faith.  We are currently incorporating several resources from this curriculum into our Grade 10 Ancient World unit study.  On the positive side, this curriculum is free and academically challenging.  On the negative side, it is not designed for independent study and tends to focus on non-fiction reading selections.  We balance this out with the Robinson Curriculum’s literature selections to give our children a more well-rounded classical education.  This curriculum holds to the old Puritan standards of the faith, so it may challenge the beliefs and practices of those who use it.  We know it has certainly done so for us!

Robinson Curriculum — this curriculum is not reformed per se; however, it does promote reformed ideas through the Elsie Dinsmore series and Calvin’s Institutes.  Since most of this curriculum focuses on great books of the western tradition, it is easy to incorporate reformed materials into a student’s reading list.  We incorporate a lot of Puritans’ Home School Curriculum resources with what our children are reading and this gives them exposure to historic reformed ideas as well as to ideas that have influenced the western world.  What we like most about this curriculum is its method of teaching, which revolves around the 3 R’s.  With Robinson, there is no need to schedule 6 subjects a day or stress over how everything is going to get done. A student can work at his own pace or a parent can set deadlines if necessary.  This curriculum has enabled our family to homeschool even when we have been debilitated with difficult pregnancies or health concerns.  In our blog you can find detailed information about our adventures with the Robinson Curriculum.

Tapestry of Grace — this is a history-based classical unit study program designed for all ages.  This program is intellectually rigorous and comprehensive and has won several awards.  It offers reading suggestions and assignments for all ages and stages of the classical trivium.  On the downside, it requires a lot of parental planning (sometimes more than 50 pages of parent notes a week!).  It is also very costly if you need to buy all of the recommended resources.  For instance, to buy all of the resources for all ages for one year of the curriculum can run a person about $2000 based on Tapestry’s March 2011 bookstore prices.  In addition, Tapestry’s website is somewhat hard to navigate and reviewers have criticized Tapestry’s customer service (although we have had no personal experience with Tapestry’s customer service to be able render a personal opinion on this).  While we appreciate Tapestry’s approach, the cost of the program puts it out of consideration for our family.  For those who can afford it, though, this is one program worth investigating.

Veritas Press — this ministry offers curriculum for all grades and has a special curriculum called Omnibus for grades 7-12.  This curriculum offers a rigorous classical education to students.  It should be noted that the curriculum has in part been authored by Doug Phillips, a proponent of the federal vision heresy.  From reading reviews of Omnibus online, however, we note that the publisher has assured potential buyers that the federal vision heresy is not incorporated into the Omnibus materials.   The downside is that it is time-intensive and costly if you want to buy all of the resources for each level.  Another downside for our family was the nude art reproductions incorporated into some of the texts, which in our situation was not appropriate for our teenage son.  The upside to Omnibus, though, is that this program encourages students to really think about what they are reading.  A student completing the Omnibus program will have covered world history twice at both the dialectic and rhetoric levels using different materials.  We have no doubt that this curriculum will easily prepare a university for university studies, although parents will want to pre-read the materials for compatibility with their own theological perspective.

Other Sources of Curriculum:

Still Waters Revival Books — this is a ministry run out of Canada that is not a curriculum supplier but does sell classically reformed resources. One resource of note is “The Puritans’ Hard Drive,” which is an invaluable tool for homeschooling families interested in the historic reformed tradition.  The Puritans’ Hard Drive contains books, articles, sermons, etc. by both historic and modern reformers who hold to the original Westminster standards and the Three Forms of Unity.  It is handy for high school-aged children as well as for parents who want to clarify their theology on different issues.  Older students may also enjoy John Brown of Haddington’s Self-Interpreting Bible, which explains vocabulary and grammar and includes many helps for understanding the biblical text.  There is also a children’s coloring book for younger students, although there are not many other resources that could be easily used with young children.  SWRB does give some of its software away for free, so if you are interested in checking it out, go to SWRB’s website and browse the resources they have available.