So, you may have noticed that I do a lot of reviews. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to use and review some amazing curricula. Since my site is a direct reflection of my own hot-mess homeschool, sometimes things change or my kids needs change or I just decide to give something else a shot. What has happened then, is that I often will do a review and don’t always remember to do a follow up post.
Since I decided to come back and blog again, I thought the best way to ‘wipe the slate’, so to speak, would be to do ONE post that gives a bit of a follow up on some of the curricula and resources we’ve used and reviewed.
Reviews vs Follow-Ups
I want to share a truth here, if you’ll indulge me for a second before I move on to the rest of this follow up post. As bloggers, we are (often, not always) compensated for our reviews. Some of us only review products we plan to use with our own children, some of us like to review ALL the things we think our readers will want to know about.
I know I have done a lot of product reviews. I have never said anything I did not truly feel at the time I wrote it. When I first started doing reviews on this blog, I chose to only review things we would really utilize in our own homeschool. If I was excited about something, and spoke highly of something, that was not a lie or even an exaggeration. I have NEVER changed my opinion of something simply because I was being compensated for my time.
My truth here? I have, however, found myself not wanting to do a follow up of some of these products for one simple reason: I change my mind. A lot. I didn’t want my inability to make a decision, to affect how folks thought about the products. Usually, I wasn’t changing from a curriculum because of any fault in that program.
So I wasn’t always sure what to write in a follow up post for some of the products we’ve used/reviewed.
Memoria Press – Follow Up
Since this is the curriculum that I get asked about the most, I decided to make this one my first mini follow up post. If you’ll recall, I went ALL IN with Memoria Press, when I found out about their Charter & Public School Edition materials.
One of the reasons I moved in the “boxed curriculum” direction was that I was in a stage of severe burnout – not just “I need a bubble bath” kind of burnout, but the kind that you feel deep in your bones. The kind of homeschool burn-out that you don’t even realize you’re dealing with until you’ve come out on the other side.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I went searching for The Perfect Classical Curriculum, I was really searching for some magic beans. Something we could use that I wouldn’t have to think about, that was already laid out, and that would ensure that my kids grew into well-educated little humans.
When I started to come out of that burnout, I felt like I had just woken up. I blinked a few times, looked around and thought – what the f*ck am I doing?!
We will be moving in a different direction this year. Not because there’s necessarily anything ‘wrong’ with MP’s products. They are academically sound, beautifully and cohesively designed, and they WILL give a child a wonderful education.
However, they are not a match for my family’s personal ethics and values right now. I question their intentions when it comes to serving the secular community. I feel that we are in a time when it is more important than ever that we support companies who support us. That we use our dollars and our voices to support companies who are truly working to serve the secular community. I did have to decide if a curriculum written by and for conservative Christian homeschoolers was the one I wanted to use in my home.
This is not a personal attack against Memoria Press as a company, because I will be the first to acknowledge that I am NOT even remotely in their target market. I think I am just not as interested in finding The Perfect Classical Curriculum. I also got really tired of trying to be a member of the various online MP communities and always feeling like I didn’t belong (trust me, liberal progressive pagan-leaning homeschoolers are in a minority among MP users).
I’ve been doing a lot of reassessing things and I am just not sure MP has a place in my homeschool right now. Again, no real fault of the materials themselves, just not a fit right now. Who knows what the future will hold, but right now we’re just opting to go in another direction.
Lost Tools of Writing – Follow Up
This follow up will be short. I still really love this resource. However, with us not doing a lot of structured work (post soon to come about my burn-out year), we decided to just bump Lost Tools of Writing in to my oldest’s 9th grade plan. Circe is a faith-based company, but this particular curriculum is really amazing. The videos that you can access to help teach, use a biblical tale as their example, so that might not be everyone’s jam.
However, overall, all of my thoughts and feels about the Lost Tools of Writing stand as written in my original post. We plan to use it in the next year or so with my younger kiddo and with my oldest if he decides to continue homeschooling through high school.
Oak Meadow – Follow Up
So. When it comes to Oak Meadow, we have a long and strange history. I always joke that Oak Meadow is the “best curriculum you’ll never use”. I adore Oak Meadow. I have always adored Oak Meadow. I knew I wanted to use Oak Meadow when my firstborn was a toddler and my youngest not even born yet. For some reason, however, we can never quite seem to make it stick in the elementary years.
My follow up post for Oak Meadow will be short, I think. I love them. I love them as a company, I love their dedication to creating amazing, secular resources that are academically sound. I think their curriculum is beautiful, and they are a treasure in the homeschool curriculum world.
Just…not a fit for my youngest. We rehomed the OM6 I originally reviewed, and then this past winter I bought it AGAIN. For those keeping count, this is the THIRD time I’ve now owned Oak Meadow’s 6th grade. This particular kiddo really thrives in a Charlotte Mason-esque kind of approach, so that’s where we’re headed.
You can check out my original review HERE
Moving Beyond The Page – Follow Up
I had such high hopes for Moving Beyond The Page. We tried the Age 12-14 Science PackageThe content seemed to be solidly secular, the science is fine. However, what I realized as we started to dig in to it was two things:
- My son, who reads science encyclopedias for funsies, already had the basic understanding of a lot of the topics in the set! So, when we were deciding which we’d start with, and which order we’d do the units, he was like “Um, I know a lot of this stuff already”.
- The layout of MBTP products just are not a match for this child of mine. The pages are busy, the student worksheets are mixed in with the teacher manual stuff, and it was just not a well-designed curriculum. Like I said, the CONTENT is excellent, it’s the actual design and layout of the product that needs a major overhaul. For kids, like mine, who don’t like busy overwhelming worksheets and books, this just was not going to work. I thought we could make it work, but in the end it just was not a fit.
The suggested books for that level are really excellent, though. Well – with the exception of the puberty books (it included one for boys and one for girls). I was not at all a fan of those, and we knew right away that we were going to ixnay those from our bookshelf. Otherwise, solid content and solid book selections.
I have also read a lot of recent reviews and feedback from other homeschoolers who have found some problematic content in some of the MBTP levels.
I know that I have reviewed a lot of resources on my site over the years. These few I have included in this follow up post are the ones I get the most questions about. I am always happy to talk about my experiences with anything I review or use, so never hesitate to drop me a line if you have additional questions.
Moving forward from here, the reviews that you’ll see on this blog won’t necessarily be products we are planning to use in our day to day homeschooling. My hope is that I can review and share a lot of resources here, things that I think you all ought to know about. There are so many amazing new curricula out there, from companies that I think are working hard to create excellent products for secular homeschoolers – and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in the near future.