Okay, so there really isn’t any ugly. 😉
We are officially halfway through the grade 1 edition of this curriculum and I know there is a giveaway starting soon (April 15th) so I thought I would take the time to write an updated and more detailed review.
If I were to give this a rating out of 5 stars I would give it a solid 4, if not 4.5. I really enjoy using this curriculum and I like how it is structured. I feel like it gives a good, solid knowledge base without being too “flighty” for my tastes (not everyone has my tastes of course!).
My favorite part of the curriculum is that there is a lot of wiggle room. For example if I want to check on reading comprehension (which I do from time to time) I can easily take out copywork and add in a few handwritten questions for my kid(s) to answer. As another example, since we stared later in the year than most science was supposed to be outside but it didn’t jive with the weather here at that time of year so I marked that section and skipped ahead, in just science, to the section that was more geared toward winter and now we are getting ready to start the section we skipped since the weather has improved.
My kids’ favorite part has been hearing the awesome stories. There has been a lot of adventure and excitement in them. They are always sad to finish a book but excited to start the next. Reading aloud to them has been awesome for me too because I never read a lot of these books when I was younger.
“Pros” worth noting:
– The cost of the curriculum itself is VERY affordable. You can use it mostly in PDF form or you can print the whole thing out, 3-hole punch it, and put it into a binder (which is what I did since I had access to a free printing set up).
– The books are nearly all available via Amazon and are pretty inexpensive. I am told most libraries have the books as well, but as a family we enjoy having books as our own so we don’t go that route.
-Since the books are used at different times during the year it is easy to spread out the spending. You don’t have to drop $300 (costs less than that) on a full year worth of anything. When you finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you can order the next book. This is great for families on a tight budget that don’t have a large sum of money to spend all at once.
– Very flexible both in the content and in the age ranges. My 4 year old gets a good chunk of information out of hearing what I read to her 6 year old brother. I imagine it would be very easy to use one curriculum year to tailor it toward 2 (or more) kids of similar ages (though I haven’t actually done much of that yet).
“Cons” worth noting:
– There is no math included. This isn’t a big deal for us as it lets us try different math programs since that is one area that kids can vary *greatly* on.
– There is no phonics included. Again, not a bit deal for us. My Big Kid never did phonics, ever and reads like a champ. Little Kid is following in his footsteps quite well too, so the lack of phonics didn’t stop us from purchasing.
– The books in the 1st Grade edition do include a lot of death. This isn’t an issue in my home since we just take things as they come and the kids haven’t been sheltered from the idea of death. However if you are morally/ethically/etc against having your kids hear stories where mice die or Greeks get eaten by 6-headed monsters, this probably isn’t the best choice for you.
– Grade 1 science focuses on nature with quite a few outdoor trips etc. Living where we do, this isn’t an issue as we have woods, lakes, and lawns all easily accesible. If someone lives in a city it might be more difficult to manage but as long as there is a good local park it would probably still be possible to complete.
– There aren’t a ton of projects. There are SOME just not a lot. This can either be a pro or a con depending on your/your child’s style. If it is something you want more of, particularly for history, it is very easy to buy the activity book that pairs with the history spine and pick things based on the chapter you are reading.
I am sure there are more things that I am forgetting to mention so if anyone has questions please feel free to ask! I highly recommend this curriculum and have already purchased the 2nd Grade edition!