I am a second-generation homeschooler. I started homeschooling as a freshman in high school and eventually graduated with a GED at the age of 17. During that time, I mostly used ABEKA, because in those days, unless you were unschooling, that’s about all there was (other than BJU and some other homemade types of curriculum). By the way, as a side note, all of my siblings ended up graduating college, and I have a Master’s Degree, so yes, you can be successful in “real” life after being homeschooled 😉
After deciding to homeschool precious daughter P, I just assumed we would use ABEKA as well, because I didn’t know much about curriculum. Well, it didn’t take much longer than a few days of their Pre-K4 curriculum to know this was NOT the way to go for her. She did not the rigidity of the worksheets. Even coloring was a problem for her. I will never forget her little four-year-old self telling me, “Well, I’ll color it yellow, but it’s not going to look good.” If nothing else, she learned how to follow directions that year.
I went to my first homeschool convention last year with no plan in mind. I had looked into Charlotte Mason, and while I loved the idea of it, I knew for me, I needed a little more structure. I had also looked into Classical Conversations, which I loved, but I also knew that with my Type-A personality, I would end up putting WAY too much pressure on myself and daughter P and we would probably both end up hating school.
And then I found the Memoria Press display. I knew in a matter of 5 minutes it was the perfect curriculum for both P and I, and we have loved every minute of our Kindergarten year. Seriously, I’m sure my homeschooling friends are sick to death of hearing me talk about how much I love this curriculum. And here’s why:
1. Simplicity of Planning.
The picture above shows the entire week of lesson plans. Everything is laid out for you, yet it allows for flexibility with time and ideas. For Kindergarten, we generally spend 1-2 hours a day on school. The boxes allow me to check off what we have done, so if we get behind in math or super ahead in reading, it’s still easy to keep track of where we’ve been. Plus, the guidelines for History and Science are just that, guidelines, so there’s lots of time and space to add additional books, videos and crafts as your days (and desires) allow.
2. The Use of Real Literature.
The true foundation of Memoria Press is books. Although there are simple readers used for phonics, the basis is books. Every week, we read a new book – it teaches vocabulary, comprehension, and context clues. We also learn about authors and illustrators. The curriculum then builds upon the fictional book to teach a poem later in the week and incorporates a theme of non-fiction books into history and science on Thursdays and Fridays. But there are no textbooks, just real books.
3. The Bible is used to teach language instead of worksheets.
Every week begins with a Bible story. From there the children begin to memorize a verse. This verse is also used to teach the rules of English and writing (punctuation, Capitalization, etc). At the end of the week, they recite the verse and draw a picture (my daughter’s favorite part).
4. The Incorporation of Art and Music.
This is Daughter P’s absolute favorite part of school. Each week they learn about a new artist and painting and a new composer and piece of music. I have created a playlist on my iphone of all the songs and play them while P does her math, as she works better that way. She asks to listen to the music all throughout the day through. Sometimes she even plays “symphony” in her room. How awesome is that?!? Memoria Press has taught my six-year-old to love classical music!
5. The Affordability.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the cost. For us, Memoria Press was very affordable. Without a lot of workbooks and Teacher’s Books to buy, the cost naturally comes down. We did not purchase all of the read aloud books as our library has a great reciprocal system where we can borrow from other libraries and always get what we need. I spent just over $100 for Kindergarten. I know Indiana has a PLAC card for about $80 a year where you can borrow from any library in the state, so that may be an option for you if your local library is not very good.
Our convention is at the end of this week, and I cannot wait to buy my Memoria Press for First Grade – we will be starting Latin! Eeek!