Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Ideal Curriculum

Many parents do not send their children to preschool and use this time to figure out if homeschooling is for them. It's sometimes hard to figure out exactly what to do for preschool at home. Should I focus on letters? What about science? Do they need history? Math? How do I go about teaching all of this to a child who can't even read yet?

Enter Ideal Curriculum.

What is Ideal Curriculum? (taken from their website)

Ideal Curriculum was created by a family with a passion for education. 
We grew up with parents who were teachers, and the topic around the dinner table frequently revolved around the joys and trials of education.  This interest in education continued as we grew older, inspiring several of us to become teachers.

Our desire is to make it easy for parents and teachers to help children learn in ways that are fun and effective.  Together we have experience in education (especially early literacy), business management, marketing, website design, graphic arts, and music.  We have found that we make a great team.  Our goal is to take current educational research and translate it into products that really work.

Recently I was asked to try out Ideal Curriculum's "Month 1 Kit" for preschoolers. Each kit is focused around a theme - Month 1 was all about transportation. All monthly kits include and focus on the following skills:
  • Daily lessons and activities for literacy, math, calendar, oral language, and science/social studies.
  • Teaching guides
  • Workbook
  • Music CD (or downloads if buying the eBook)
  • Science, sight words, and concepts about print books
  • Supplemental activities
  • Letters and sounds - letter names
  • Phonological awareness - listening skills
  • Concepts about print - print is all around
  • Sight words - name recognition
  • Math - rote counting
The kits can be purchased either as a download ($30/month) or a print version ($55/month).


I found it difficult to use the download for a couple of reasons. The first was that the student pages and the teaching guide were separate files. I didn't want to print everything out, however, I did print the first few pages in order to make it easier to teach. I would rather not teach off a computer screen. I did like that there was a "Read This First" pdf file. This file told you exactly what pages to print in the student files. Overall, the download, was set up well and easy to navigate. I just personally find eBooks difficult to use at times.

I just tried the "Initial Assessment" with both my youngest son, J6, and the little girl I babysit, Miss H, who is currently 2-1/2 years old. J6 blew through the assessment and really, this is probably too young for him. Miss H struggled with it but so wanted to "get it right." I think it would be something she'd do well with in about another six months to a year.

While the curriculum really didn't fit perfectly with the age of the children I currently I have, I do feel it is a solid curriculum. Lessons are kept short - no more than 10 minutes a day - and repetitive in order to help a child learn the concept presented. If you are a new homeschooling mom or just want to do preschool at home rather than send your child off to a preschool, you may find this curriculum  helpful. I did find the price a bit high, however, if you were to buy all nine months up front (scroll to the bottom of the page) it would be $444 for a printed version and $240 for a download. If you compare that to the cost of many of the boxed curriculum for homeschooling, it is very comparable in cost.

Be sure to head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to see what other Crew members had to say about it.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. All opinions shared are my own. TOS Crew Members are given the product free of charge in exchange for our unbiased opinion of the product.

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