View Full Version : After FIAR plans?

02-10-2013, 12:52 PM
Mine are only 3rd-ish grade, 1st grade, and preschool so I've got a bit of time here but....

it seems, from reading the boards here, that most people tend to piece together a plan for high school (some as early as 7th and 8th). Something for history, something for science, something for writing, something for lit., etc. and then extras as needed for requirements and interests.

I was wondering, too, if anyone goes into a "complete curriculum" after finishing FIAR or Beyond (ie. Sonlight, MFW, Ambleside).

Why did you choose one way over the other?

Leslie Nelsen
02-11-2013, 10:35 AM
We have pieced together our learning after finishing with all of the FIAR products. Mostly because we wanted to continue this style of learning. We have added in unit studies where we could. There are some great products out there for high school and I wanted to choose the ones that would work best for my children and those for us came from different companies. :)

02-11-2013, 10:57 AM
I've never used a "complete curriculum" because there are certain things I like my kids to do that aren't included in them. I piece together and include a lot of scripture memory, other memorization, dictation, narration, reading classics, etc.

Nancy Ann
02-11-2013, 06:00 PM
I have tried piecing together curriculum and it just doesn't work out for us. We use Sonlight. I love the curriculum and I love the schedule. I don't like all the books and there are certain things I wish I could add or do differently and this is what has lead me to try and piece together my own. But even when I piece together my own I get frustrated because I can't have everything I want. There are pros and cons to piecing together your own curriculum and pros and cons to using something like Sonlight. I have been happier with our homeschooling when I don't try to make our school have all pros and no cons. I try to focus on all the things we are doing and all the things we get to do and not what is missing. This has made all the difference with us using Sonlight. Once I put aside some of my expecations we are really just enjoying school much more. I don't worry if there is a certain book in our curriculum that we are reading that isn't all that great because I think about all the wonderful books that are great. I don't think about certain curriculum or things we are missing and instead look at all the great stuff we are doing. I love how Sonlight just flows together. When I was piecing my own curriculum together I couldn't get everything to flow so nicely. The history, literature, language arts and geography just flow together. I can't say enough good things about it.

The library and I don't get along very well!! I always rack up fines and can never seem to go there on a regular basis. The library works well for us to get extra books or fun books but I can't be dependent on it for our curriculum. So, in that way Sonlight works really well for us. I love having all the books right there when I need them.
I also find Sonlight to be cost effective because the majority of it you can use with more than one child at the same time and/or save it for a younger child. For the cost of Sonlight you can divide each core by how many kids you have and that's about what you are spending.

Their science is also really great.
The new guides are wonderful.
The customer service is quite amamzing.
I stay away from the forums, they are not as great as the FIAR. I will go onto ask a question but when I go on just to sort of hang out, I always regret it. But there are plenty of wonderful people on the forums and very helpful, they just have alot of topics they talk about that are stressful to me like religion and politics stuff or just basic Christian living type stuff that always ends up in arguments!

I am very happy with Sonlight and whenever I have strayed from Sonlight our school is just not as good. Same with FIAR, when my kids were young. When I strayed from FIAR it was never as good. So FIAR and Sonlight for us and it's great!

One of the problems I have had with Sonlight is my son is not all the fond of books. I have been reading to him since he was a toddler but once he reached about 1st grade he just wasn't interested anymore. So he is not in love with Sonlight like me, but I have learned to get over that and just realize what a great education he is getting. The other trouble I have had is that some of the books are quite tear jerkers. I mean that in a good way..but I am incredibly sensitive and sometimes it's hard for me to read books out loud to him because I get chocked up. I get chocked up over patriotic stuff too like reading about Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and other American Heroes. But, I would have this problem with most everything else.

ETA: I tried Tapestry of Grace and just found the books to be not as enjoyable. It is also much more expensive if you purchase all the books. It is sort of made for you to get some of the books from the library.

Ambleside online again I didn't care for all the books. I do like some of those books but I like that Sonlight has a variety of historical fiction, classics and also just fun books. Ambleside and Tapestry have books just too serious all the time it seemed.

MFW- I didn't really look into all that much. I am not a Protestant, we are Eastern Orthodox Christians and so I was concerned about the bible portions of MFW. Also the schedule and books just did not seem as friendly and easy to use. With Sonlight you can basically buy everything you need from them for all your subjects and even some electives. Their schedule allows you to put extra stuff on which is nice I don't have to have all sorts of additional planners.

Winterpromise - Looks great but again the books and schedule are just not as nice.

It really depends on your style and what you want for your family. What you are capable of as a teacher, what your needs are as a teacher is equally important to what your child's needs are. I know that may not be the most popular opinion. When I first started homeschooling I felt so overwhelmed by the amazing things people were doing with their kids and I just couldn't pull it off. The best curriculum is the one that gets done. We get more accomplished and enjoy each other more and I stay more sane with Sonlight.

02-11-2013, 06:17 PM
I'm a very eclectic homeschooler and also very independent-minded. :D I looked at the boxed curricula for high school and even though I was tempted (because it seemed like a lot less work for me), I knew it wasn't right for me as a teacher, or for my dc. I just have too much that I would veer from -- it wouldn't be worth it to buy the package and then be constantly adding or taking away, or fussing about this or that with it. And I know I would do that.

So I put it together myself and tweak as needed. It has worked out well so far!

Also (and this kind of goes without saying), one huge benefit to homeschooling is avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach. My dc are different, and will use different things in their high school and jr. high years. What works for one may not work for another. What one is interested in may not interest the next one. Everybody has to do math and science and English,, etc., but they can do it in different ways.

Heather (WI)
02-11-2013, 10:40 PM
We're using "Heart of Dakota" and really enjoying it! Check it out: www.heartofdakota.com (Of course, nothing compares to FIAR, but after you are past the age range, HOD is great!!)

02-11-2013, 11:01 PM
Trail Guide to Learning. We still use FIAR for the youngers.

Ginger Lynn
02-12-2013, 06:53 AM
We're using "Heart of Dakota" and really enjoying it! Check it out: www.heartofdakota.com (Of course, nothing compares to FIAR, but after you are past the age range, HOD is great!!)

:yes: this is what we are doing!

02-12-2013, 08:32 AM
We actually left HOD to come back to FIAR. DS was in the Bigger guide (DD was in Beyond) and it produced nothing but tears for him. I do love the program and was sad to have to lay it down. It does have so many wonderful points. I'd like to think we could go back to it when he would place into one of the upper guides, Preparing or up. I've heard great things about them.. But Bigger was a bomb for him. :(

Hollie in SC
02-12-2013, 08:50 AM
Ditto to Rebe and Leslie. :)

02-12-2013, 10:08 AM
I used A World of Adventure (Learning Adventures) by Dorian Holt. It is a fabulous unit study that covers history chronologically. (Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, Age of Exploration) We loved it!

For high school with my oldest we used Bob Jones. It's not thrilling, but it got the job done. It's expensive and I won't be using it this time around. I chose to use Bright Ideas Press Illuminations instead. This year is going well. It is a teacher's guide that pulls together an eclectic mix of curriculum.

02-12-2013, 11:15 AM
I used A World of Adventure (Learning Adventures) by Dorian Holt. It is a fabulous unit study that covers history chronologically. (Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, Age of Exploration) We loved it!

I agree -- this is an excellent unit study! You can easily pick and choose what you want to use, or not use. We use it after BY FIAR, for upper elementary and/or middle school ages.

02-12-2013, 02:12 PM
I am a piecer as well. My oldest is going into high school next year but we are going to continue our way of learning that we have been doing for the last two years.

We use Tapestry of Grace for history, Apologia for science (we also mix in living science books as well) and Ambleside for literature. I can't seem to use a program the way it is meant to be used. I am a tweaker of everything so a boxed curriculum would be a waste of money. Even ToG would be a waste of money for me but I was able to get it used so I felt okay in changing it to fit our family.

Donna in MO
02-16-2013, 07:13 PM
We use MFW all the way into high school. I do tweak it wherever I want, but we've also had seasons where I just went right down the grid and did "the next thing" because I didn't have the time or energy to mess around with it. I like having that "base" there for me. However, it allows for lots of flexibility by using the Book Basket list in the back of the TMs (which also include videos, and often include titles from SL, FIAR, and HOD as well), and the weekly grid on which I can "move" things around as desired.

When I was teaching all three of my girls together, I would photocopy the grid for recordkeeping purposes so that I could write each child's individual 3 R's on their own copy of the grid. When they get to high school, though, they have their own lesson plan manual and follow the grid themselves.