I am often asked about what we use and how we use it. Many parents that I've talked to have tried to piece together curriculum but it has not worked out well for them. They're wondering the advantages and disadvantages of using what we do - A Beka. I do need to note, my son is in pre-k so we have not yet have experience with a boy using this. However, many, many families out there have used this successfully with boys. I will also say that I do think any curriculum can be made more exciting if need be.
Here the edited question and edited response I gave just today to a parent who is asking about the curriculum.
Question from parent:
"I know you have used Abeka in the past are you using it with your son? If so how does he like it? We did Lifepacs this year and I was not thrilled 100% with their Language Arts so we supplement with Explode the Code which has helped ________ a lot. So I was thinking of switching to Abeka next year for both kids I like that they offer all subjects for K5 (where lifepacs is just math and LA) and the 2nd Grade seems to be pretty equivalent to Explode the Code books so I think it will be an easy transition for ________. I know a lot of people like to hunt and pick from different area or publishers but I think for me it seems easier to just stick with one for the most part. Any insight into Abeka would be great."
"We have used A Beka for 6 years now and love it still! Jon is right here so I'll ask him how he likes his school books :)
Me - "Jon, how do you like your school books"
Jon - "Good."
Me - "Are they fun?"
Jon - "Of course!"
Yes he loves his school books. I often find him doing extra pages. I agree with you on it being much easier to have a curriculum that's all laid out and ready to go. That's one of the reasons we use A Beka. We also think their academics are very strong. Here's some things we do.
- We do not use A Beka's lesson plans. We do our own thing.
- We add in living books, movies, activities, etc...
As far as how I feel about the curriculum itself:
Phonics - I think the phonetics is the best I've used. They are very strong in reading!
Spelling - their spelling is also amazing! We also add in a pre-test in the beginning of the week to see what my daughter already knows and what she doesn't. Then we just focus more on what she doesn't know. It also has fun activities to do with the words. I have my daughter write out the spelling words in a sentence or make a story about it as well.
Language - Just like with their phonics and spelling, their language is very strong as well. There was one change I would like to see made to the 5th grade curriculum which I mentioned to them. Otherwise, it's very thorough and helpful. I am even learning more through their teaching style.
Math - very, very strong! I love how they introduce one thing one year, then the next build on it. It's very thorough. We add in manipulatives when we can.
History - I love how they teach history through a biblical perspective. The history can be a bit dry. This is where we add in things like LIberty's Kids, living books, lapbooks, movies, ethnic foods, etc...
Science - again, great! It does the same as math by introducing something, then building on it as they get older. It also has fun experiments to do with the lessons. I skipped then when Allysha was younger but wish I hadn't. My thinking was "how will this help her, it's so elementary". DUH! She was in elementary. rofl! I'm going to make sure to do them with the boys.
Health - very good! I made the mistake of thinking I'd teach health on my own. When she was in 4th grade I thought it was ridiculous that her science book was not teaching basic anatomy. Then realized, the health book had gone through it. So...we're also now making sure to do health along with the science next year.
As far as jr. high and high school, i looked up what public schools require from their students. A Beka's curriculum follows along with and exceeds what the public schools do. That's another reason why I love their curriculum. I don't have to think about making sure they are learning what they need to be according to the state. I also would like to make sure my children are getting at least an equivalent of public school (and better). I feel A Beka covers that for us.