Monday, April 29, 2013

Missionary Monday ~ Homeschooling on the Field

I really enjoy talking to other homeschooling moms about homeschooling.  It is fun talking about  our children, their curriculum, and homeschooling styles.  I want to learn from experienced moms and help moms just starting out.  And best of all, they get it!
The one great thing about our group on facebook is that we can have these kinds of discussions, although not face to face, there is still a kinship between us all.
So, here is a chance for you to listen in as we discussed the topic of homeschooling a few a weeks ago.

Discussion Question:

Please share what homeschool curriculum you use and why.

~ We use CLE. Christian Light Education. It is a Mennonite based curriculum. When we started deputation, we needed something that would fit our schedule. This works. We had five kids at the time, and I could not possibly use DVD's or videos because of the prices. All my kids were in different grades!! Three of my boys are done and have had their diploma test and received their diploma, and there will be one more this year. Then, just one more teen to get through!! Yaaa, almost done. One bit of advice for all you moms: stick with what you use and don't change every couple of years. The kids need that stability, and you will not find that perfect program. There are problems with all of them, but one will work for you and will work for your schedule. Because of what we use, we can stop for a period of time if needed. We are missionaries, and have responsibilities others may not have. - Christine
~ A Beka academy with accredited DVDs:) We use it because our kids used Abeka in school before we went on deputation, and we wanted to make the transition easier. We also wanted to be safe as it is a bit difficult to homeschool in Europe, and we are going to Spain. Abeka programs are a bit on the high side as far as price, but I love the accountability in turning in grades and staying on top of the kids. My kids are in 8th and 6th grade; so it can be a bit difficult and time consuming, but God has been so good to us!!! Everyone has a different program and opinion, but this one works great for us!!!! God bless:)  - Jen H.
~ We currently use A Beka (not dvd's) for Math and Language. I feel they are very thorough, although advanced. We use Apologia for Science. We love Apologia. We also purchased the student journals. (Our homeschool co-op also uses this; so it is a bonus doing it with a bunch of other kids.) We use ACE for Spelling (Word Building) and Creative Writing/Literature. We are currently using Rod and Staff for History, but honestly, I do not like it. I am planning to purchase the Mystery of History next year. Our homeschool co-op also has art classes. We do lapbooks for holidays to switch things up a bit.  - Jen B
~ We use the A Beka DVDs. I have not been given the gift of teaching; so I love that all the teaching is on the DVDs and I get to be the backup. The curriculum is challenging and keeps my daughter on her toes.  - Carol

~ We have art projects and sketching/ photography since our kids are older. For PE, three out of four of us are huge runners; so we run together dragging our daughter along in complete misery. She will thank us later. I will say that I am not a huge fan of high level A Beka math. Our son is in Algebra, and some of the wording is a bit hard for him. Otherwise, they love their teachers and the set-up. It is so convenient!!!!  - Jen H.
~ We use all A Beka traditional method for all three of our children. No DVDs. I like their higher standard, and thus the child is well prepared for college.  - DeeDee
~ We started with the traditional method. Although I'm academically strong, I realized that I didn't have the time to devote to all the preparation once our children reached junior high. I don't regret switching to DVDs (videos back then). All three are academically doing well, and the two that graduated from high school scored high on the college entrance tests.
I used A Beka for elementary with BJU Bible.
7th and 8th Grades - A Beka English, Saxon Math, BJU everything else.
9th - 12th Grades - Saxon Math and BJU everything else.
Why? That's what our home church's Christian school uses, and this has allowed our children to transition well during furloughs.  - Sue

~ We used the home school plus for all 5. The one thing I did change was the math. Up until a couple years ago, they used Alpha and Omega, which my kids had a very hard time using; so, we did use ACE for that. Tim used the CLE algebra last year though, and the other math will not be ready for a while. That is okay; we are almost done anyway! Another thing that we liked so much is that we were able to do the CAT testing. Our schedule is so irregular at times, people coming, us doing things - I love the flexibility we have with HS.  - Christine
~ I still do not homeschool my son, but I grew up on the mission field, and we used Christian Liberty Academy. They have some of their own curriculum, and they also use A Beka for Science and Math and then Saxon Math on the higher grades. We really enjoyed it!  - Jessica
~ I started homeschooling with all kinds of opinions, many of which have fallen by the wayside. I used A Beka kindergaren for my three daughters, and it was okay. The only problem I had with it was trying to do all the cute little do-dads that come with it on the road with my two oldest. They struggled with their reading, and I believe that is why - I don't blame the material. I made a mistake! Then next girl did pretty well learning to read after we settled in. Last year was a struggle. I gathered first grade material from here and there for my youngest girl, and we had found an online curricullum for the two oldest, time4learning. They did well with 2nd grade, but 3rd grade was an epic fail. They forgot almost everything they learned in math! Thank God, we were accepted for Operation Lighthouse, and I am so happy with how the kids are catching up. They are learning the basics and learning them well with ACE. I used to think poorly of the ACE math, but now I know that the basics are vital; so advanced math is pretty much useless if you can't remember what you learned before. I have always enjoyed the motivation program, and my kids are excited about it too, and for the first time, they are really motivated to get through their paces! Once a month, we have a really heavy week where they will try to finish all their paces in a week for a prize. Then, we go back to the regular schedule. It has been such a blessing, and we are very grateful for this opportunity.  - Sarah
~ I agree about not switching curriculum every few years. Each year builds on the other, especially math and English. Like she said, no curriculum is perfect. If your child is really having a problem, then switch; but do not allow yourself to change with every new program that comes out or second guess yourself every time a friend tells you of something really great. How do I know this?? Well...personal experience. We ended up settling on BJU DVDs. I always wondered if they would be prepared for college. My oldest son went one year to Bible college and found that he was well prepared for the academics. Then he has so far done a semester of community college, and he is doing well there too. He has felt prepared for everything except deadlines and projects. It is important to incorporate assignment deadlines with your children. It is easy when homeschooling to go with the flow, but this is not real life and definitely not college life. He also found he had to do a lot of projects and had a hard time keeping up. Once he figured that out, he was fine.  - Tammy
~ We use BJU Press for all of our kids. I teach them using the curriculum until 3rd, and then they begin using DVDs. They are finishing grades 11, 8, 3, and 1. The oldest will finish his Senior year in the States at a Christian School. The others will do the same if it works. I use BJU because it is complete; I do not have to put it together, and I love their English/Literature classes for all grades. Our oldest is doing Saxon Math advanced this year because he finished the BJU math early.  - Cathy
~ We use BJU DVDs and love it. The kids really enjoy it, and they love calling each other into their room to show them something they are watching. We actually have sent our kids to Kenyan schools up until 5th grade, and then we homeschool. They have all gone into our Christian school in the U.S. while on furlough and done very well. I am not a huge homeschool fan; so the DVDs work great, and I try to keep up on grading daily so I know how they are doing and help them when they do not understand. I agree about not switching. I think it is best to pick one way and keep up with it. One nice thing about BJU is that they allow you to keep the DVDs for all your kids, so very affordable for missionaries. We have bought workbooks for all the other kids in case they change editions.  - Tina
~ We use A Beka with all our kids. ( Now finishing grades 11, 8,7, and 4) We started our oldest daughter with Christ-centered curriculum in K4 & 5. At that time, they only went through 1st grade; so I was scoping out curriculums back then (around 1999). I chose A Beka for a few different reasons...1. The phonics method that she learned was the same way that A Beka taught it; so it was a smooth transition. 2. I did not train to be a "teacher" like lots of missionary wives; so I was a little apprehensive about the responsibility of teaching my kids. At that time, there were other missionary wives that already used A Beka; so I knew that I could ask them if I had any questions. (This was back before email and Internet were easily accessible.) When I got the curriculum, I loved it!! It is very friendly for homeschool parents that are not "teachers." I teach my kids the traditional method through 4th grade; then we go to DVDs.

~A Beka is very strong in Language Arts. I know some MKs that have taken A Beka throughout all their schooling, and they tested out of the freshman English classes in college. I agree that there are stronger curriculums in the higher maths, but it has not been a problem for us because math/ science are my strengths.

~As has been stated before, find a curriculum and stick with it. There will always be something that you do not enjoy or wish that it was a little different.

~I was so glad to see her comment about deadlines!! My oldest daughter has had a tough time this year because she has had a lot of projects and papers. I have been pretty strict about it and told her that she would love me for it in a few years. It is teaching her time management as well

~I have heard from several others that A Beka customer service is not good. Personally, I have always had good experiences with them. I always have our curriculum sent to my parents and then sent to us somehow from them. They ship books and DVDs separately. This year, we bought some new classes. The books arrived, but the DVDs did not. We searched and searched, and it ended up being UPS that delivered to the wrong house, but the DVDs were never located. A Beka shipped a whole new set without us having to pay a dime.  - Paige


I know this is not about the curriculum, but just wanted to say... Moms, when starting school, make sure you have a set time every day. Make a schedule and stick with it. We always started at 9 and finished around noon or shortly after, when the kids were younger. As they grew older, the time was different. Make sure (when the kids are younger) that you are there with them to answer questions. This was the time when I graded tests or did the paper work. No phone calls or house work - I waited until later. As my kids grew older, that also changed. The most important thing is to be consistent. I loved home schooling. But, I know there are moms out there that don't. You don't have to love it, but if it's what the Lord wants, then try to be the best you can be. There are others here who can help and give suggestions!!  - Christine
~ We started out with A Beka and switched to BJ DVD's. My kids have done great with them and find school to be so interesting. Like someone else stated, they are always asking if their sisters can watch certain parts with them because of how interesting it is. One of the main things I like is how much reading it incorporates into each subject. They send the suggested books right along with the textbooks, and they are almost always great Christian biographies. My girls have read so many good books through their school assignments.  - Sarah
~ We do BJU Press, and here's the long story why... We finished our first furlough when our oldest child was only 2. Looking ahead into curriculum was a bit daunting when potty training was the challenge of the day! Thus, our schooling choices were made largely on customer service and ease of picking out the needed books. I really liked A Beka, as that is what I grew up using (mostly), but their customer service (and prices!) made it seem like not the best fit for us. Another missionary recommended Veritas Press, and I liked their catalogue, but it seemed hard to forsee the needed fillers, and if the child whizzed through a certain book... I liked the pre-set curriculum because I knew she'd be getting everything needed for that grade in the pack. We don't do video school yet, but I like that if we do, it won't be a curriculum change. Also, there's an umbrella school option that we're considering for high school... See, told you- long winded!  - Lisa
~ Just something I was thinking about along this line as you said you want to use this to help others. When I came to Kenya, I found myself looking at others and thinking I had to do things just like them! I have since learned that everyone is different and every family is different! I'm glad it is that way too because it would be a pretty boring world if we all did everything the same.  - Tina 
~ We used ACE for everything except for Algebra I, II and Geometry. We used Saxon Math for that.  - Marty
~ We started out with A Beka DVDs. Our kids are now in a school that another missionary started; they also use the A Beka DVDs. Each child is different and has different areas in which they struggle, but they do not seem to have a problem keeping up with the fast-paced curriculum.  - Laura
~ I use ACE. I didn't homeschool; so I am not a homeschool buff by any means. My husband used it all growing up and was real happy with it; so that is why we use it. I have been happy with it also because I am not the best teacher, and it allows my kids to do it themselves, and I just check their work. I do help out if needed and read ahead to see what they are doing that day, if they need any help, etc. It is easy even for me, and that is another bonus in my book!  - Amanda

Please keep in mind that every family is different, and what works for one family may not work for another.  What may work for one child will not work for another.  I always enjoy hearing about what curriculum people use and why, and I hope this was an encouragement to you.
If you have anything to add, please leave a comment.


Linda said...

I have an only child, and we have used Time4Learning as our core curriculum. However, it only goes to 8th grade and we are getting ready to have to look for high school curriculum. Let's Homeschool High School ( has a pretty large list of available high school curricula so we are checking that out.

Anonymous said...

We have 6 children and have used numerous materials over the years. We've found things we have really liked and at times tried things that didn't work for us. What I have found that works best for us has been MathUSee for math. I like it for all grade levels. I like A.C.E. English in all grades. I have used some Abeka and some A.C.E. for spelling and have been pleased with both. Abeka is the harder of the 2, but some kids prefer harder work. Up through middle school I've used some Abeka and some A.C.E. for science and been happy with both. For high school we use some A.C.E., some Apologia, and some materials from the Creation Museum. We have used many different history materials including Abeka, A.C.E., Christian Liberty Press (they have some really good materials), documentaries, etc. For preschool we used the ABC readiness series by Rod and Staff. For K4-1st grade we used Abeka phonics materials, some A.C.E. first grade, plus a little of this and a little of that. We often use several curriculums per subject per year in the younger grades to make sure we have the basics down. Each curriculum has its strengths and weaknesses. I take that into account as I evaluate my children's strengths and weaknesses when determining what each needs in each subject each year.It can be a hard decision and one I pray much over.I ask a lot of questions to other home school mothers to get ideas and learn about different curriculums.

Nikki said...

We use A Beka home school and have used their online streaming before but this year we are going to teach the classes ourselves! We have used Sonlight Curriculum for the younger years as it is full of Bible and History and Reading books but once they reached 6th we felt that their Language Arts program was weak and we really liked A Beka (curriculum and lesson plans)! We also use the reading kits from BJ to supplement and have found those great for after school quiet time activities - Preparing their schedule and each weeks activities quizzes and tests each week really help make things smooth during the school day!

Carmon Hamill said...

Valuable post - I am thankful for the points , Does someone know if I would be able to get a fillable CA FL-158 form to complete ?

Elie Uuu said...

Greetings carmon . my work colleague saw a template AMC 140 copy at this site