Trevor will be in first grade next year. I have been trying to figure out which curriculum to use for him. This past year I used My Father’s World Kindergarten. I liked some things about it, but over-all I wasn’t pleased with it, and neither was Trevor.
For his first grade year, I felt pretty settled with the idea of using A Beka. I had most of the workbooks that someone had given me, so I thought to be a good steward I would use what I have and buy the rest of what I need for the complete set. Come to find out, I still had to purchase quite a bit to make a complete set – but that was ok with me, I thought it seemed to be a good fit for us.
I also had a friend who offered to give me her first grade Sonlight teacher books. I would still need to purchase the student workbooks (and some other books), and I came to the conclusion that Sonlight is too pricy for us, and would not be a good long-term fit.
After browsing all of the booths I was torn between about 4 curricula and 2 methods of teaching. Now I am down to being torn between 2 different curricula choices. A Beka being one of them, and the other is by Heart of Dakota Publishing, called Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. 2 completely different types of curriculum – they seem to be worlds apart, but somehow I am drawn to both of them for different reasons.
With A Beka I feel safe. I know that academically it is sound, and that my kids will learn a lot. It feels like “real” school, which is all I know. But is “real” school what they need? I fear that cramming so much info into them through workbooks, and tests, that they will begin to lose their love for learning, and it will be a dread.
I like the idea of the Charlotte Mason approach, which is what Heart of Dakota uses. Most importantly what I love about HOD is that it is a Christ-centered curriculum, with the Bible the center of the curriculum, instead of just added in as a subject like so many others. My only fear is that they wont learn enough, but I think that is a silly fear. I have researched it a lot, and it seems very academically sound. I love all of the great reading books that go with the curriculum. I love how it is laid out so nicely for teaching. I also agree that teaching through great literature and books will help to develop a love for learning, rather than making it a dread, like workbooks & textbooks tend to do.
*Edited to add: I feel I am leaning toward Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. I had a very good discussion about all of this with my husband, who so sweetly made some time to talk with me about it. After we talked he felt it sounded like the best fit too. The idea of having a Christ-centered curriculum, along with instilling a love for learning in our children far outweighed the “safety” felt with A Beka.
I still would love to hear all of your thoughts on this topic, on what you use, and how you came to that conclusion!