Best in ClassYour Opinion Counts: For the third annual Homeschool Facts Survey, we've added in specific comments that homeschool parents included about their best and worst experiences with homeschool curriculum. The survey indicated that, typical of homeschool curriculum in general, what some homeschoolers liked, others did not.
Please keep in mind that we at Homeschool Facts neither endorse nor reject the opinions provided in the survey (we’re just the messenger). We have included comments from the survey as written (although I’ve cleaned up the typos and grammar just a little.
The third annual survey was sent to over 4,500 homeschool support groups, and hopefully reached more homeschoolers through those groups. If you didn't have the chance to respond, please feel free to post your comments at: Best & Worst Survey.
Best in Class –
Complete Curriculum Packages: There were only two homeschool curricula that rose to the top of the heap in the “complete curriculum category.” All other reviews were mixed with equal positive and negative comments.
* Global Student Network
+ Complete curriculum package that addresses multiple learning styles
+ Answer keys provided for every lesson
+ Self-paced curriculum that is engaging and interactive
+ Saved me hours of research and development time
+ Standards based curriculum that gave me complete control over my child’s education
+ Great customer support from the company – Responsive, informative, helped me to navigate the homeschool regulations.
+ Easy to use while still being flexible
+ Great books, easy scheduling, and a blast to learn together as a family. Also, it helped my children to think critically about both sides of issues that were presented.
+ My son is excited about learning. He asks to move ahead in the curriculum (particularly the novels and read aloud).
+ The rich literature and topics that were woven together so well. Also how it brings us closer as a family by spending time reading together.
+ Reading great books that I would never get around to finding, buying and reading if I wasn't doing so with Sonlight.
+ How easy and natural it was; how well my kids retained what they learned and were able to make connections and apply it to new things
+ The quality of the materials.
- WAY too much reading on the part of the parent for the student. Not bad choices of reading, just too much.
- On the surface, it appears to be neutral in slant, but when its covert evangelism becomes apparent, it is revolting.
* Global Student Network Online Mathematics
+ GSN told me that their math is the diamond of their program – I agree. The self-paced curriculum helped my son to learn the concepts he needed. GSN added free math assessments that helped me identify my son’s strengths and weaknesses that increased his comprehension considerably.
+ Complete standards based math program that uses multiple learning styles
+ While my daughter struggled with the math, she was able to pace herself through it and get much better comprehension as a result – the free assessment helped considerably.
+ Thank goodness for the answer keys. I definitely needed them, and it helped me to better understand what my son was learning.
Math U See (Mixed Reviews)
+ It saves me the time of having to write out hundreds of math problems for my children each week. -It is clear and straight to the point. -It lives up to its name in that you can actually "see" and understand the patterns in the math rather than just me
+ it is easy to implement.
- Contains mathematical errors in fact and definition. Impossible to transition to other math programs because of its loose use of mathematical terminology.
- I had a hard time understanding math being taught the way they teach it and so I was not able to make my children grasp the concepts
- My son just felt overwhelmed with everything. Also he wanted more colors on his page
Saxon Math: (Mixed Reviews)
+ Proven results. Accurate information. Easy for students to transition to college level material. Excellent explanations.
+ It covers it all
+ It is teacher friendly, well organized so I don't have to set up daily plans (it does it for me), easy to understand directions and fun for the kids with good activities.
- Expensive, hard to use, not homeschool friendly, better products for K-3 on the market
- Didn't like my kids coping all their work from a hard back and no Visuals
- I know most parents like Saxon math. But there was too much review, too many problems and the lesson did not provide enough practice on the new subject.
- My child just cried and cried. It was to cut and dried. Not enough explanations.
* Global Student Network Online Language Arts
+ Very comprehensive English courses. My 6th grade son struggles with language arts, but was able to be more engaged – good selection of reading material.
+ While I would have preferred more Christian reading, the selected course materials were engaging for my daughter and helped her to increase her reading and writing skills.
+ Great free assessment – The report the company provides helped us to identify both strengths and weaknesses, and really make progress in reading comprehension skills.
My Father's World
+ It's a well-planned, easy to teach, Bible-centered, hands on program using great resources.
+ Multi-child, multi-age - Charlotte Mason oriented - uses living books
* Global Student Network Online Social Studies
+ This curriculum provided all the high school social studies courses my daughter needed to graduate.
+ Comprehensive secular social studies courses.
+ While I would have liked a more Christian perspective in the US and World History courses, my son did learn a lot from the curriculum. The social studies courses integrate reading and writing well throughout the courses.
Mystery of History
+ Chronological history, multi grade level, many activities, awesome time line!
+ Multi-grade level activities, Christ centered, interesting reading
+ It can be used for multiple children at one time. It is well written and well thought out and presents world history from a Christian perspective.
The Story of the World
+ My children absolutely love it! They beg for history since beginning this program--ages 5, 8, 12, and 14. My 17 year old even enjoy listening with us. I love how complete it is. This is history written as a story, and that is what children love. There is an activity guide full of enrichment items--maps, additional reading, projects, recipes, coloring pages, questions about the text, timeline information. + Maybe the best support material to this program for the mother here is the audio companion you can buy separately. I get to listen with the children instead of trying to read and watch over the littlest one at the same time. My children and I love this program.
+ Easily adjustable to each students learning style, age, interest and ability
+ It was well-written, enjoyable and my girls learned their history, while looking forward to the next lesson.
+ The information and ideas in the activity books was invaluable.
+ It is engaging and global. The chronological presentation makes the information easier to retain. Mom enjoys it as much as the kids!
Science: Only two science curricula stood above the pack as being well liked by most homeschoolers.
* Global Student Network Online Science
+ Excellent science courses. My children are 3rd, 5th, and 9th grade, and this curriculum met all our needs.
+ Science courses include many streaming video and audio files that help learning.
+ Although this is a secular curriculum, we found very little conflict with our Christian beliefs
+ My son completed several high school science courses and learned a lot. He especially liked the Forensic Science course.
+ Excellent courses that are complete. My daughter graduated and got into the college of her choice, mainly because of the comprehensiveness of the math and science courses
+ Ease of use/understandability for tough subjects. Great content.
+ Directed to student, interesting, provides tests and experiments
+ Dr. Wile's conversational style and his availability to answer questions.
+ Very well written, conversational tone. Science applied to current issues.
+ The projects are interesting and keep my children's attention
+ The high school science books are well written and easy to utlilize.
- Too religious, and filled with false information.
Private School-at-Home programs:
International Virtual Learning Academy (IVLA): This is a private online school that awards an accredited California high school diploma. The school is completely online, and provides diagnostic assessments in reading and math, as well as teachers for every course.
www.homeschoolfacts.com (thank you!)
Other Honorable Mention Websites:
Mixed Reviews – Some liked it, some did not
+ All inclusive, Bible-based, everything is done for me and a feeling of confidence curriculum, plus the kids loved it.
+ Books that they could do on their own.
+ Solid teaching preK-12
- Rather than going through the book, it jumped around and did provide test etc in a simple manner. Plus it had a confusing way to explain writing
- It was fine at first, but around 3rd grade it became way too intense. There is too much busy work and testing.
- Too much like the classroom and very straining on the parents. It is written for the classroom and ABeka will not alter for home.
- Therefore making parents feel inadequate and they tend to burn-out quicker.
- To much parent preparation -- too many teachers manuels --- the work load