Friday, July 19, 2013

Ten Reasons I Love the Abeka Curriculum

{On Fridays, I post about the highlights of our homeschooling week, usually with lots of photos. This week I’m joining with Classic Housewife and discussing our curriculum and must-have school supplies.}


How are you enjoying your summer?


In my life this week…I’ve been mulling over how to share with you our curriculum. I have some trepidation because I think in many homeschooler’s eyes we’re taking the easy way out by buying packaged curriculum. But I love what we do, and our children love what we do. I could easily get lost for hours {days?} looking over curriculum choices and making plans, but I simply don’t have that kind of time. So here goes…


In our homeschool this week…we’re acclimating to new grades and new books. Our curriculum hasn’t changed, so that provides some stability for us.

The 7yo continues on with her same materials, probably finishing first grade in the next two months and transitioning to second grade. She’ll finish that within this 180-day school year.


{Affiliate link ahead. If you purchase through this link, it doesn't cost you any more but blesses my family with a bit of income. See my disclosure.}

Hooked on Phonics ~ She only has two levels left, and we don’t use the CDs any longer because they slow her down. J

Hooked on Math ~ I tailor this to meet her needs, such as extra use of manipulatives and repeating concepts as necessary.

Comprehensive Curriculum workbook ~ When she finishes the first grade book, I’ll purchase the second grade book at Sam’s Club. These cover phonics, reading comprehension, English, spelling, and math.

Penmanship workbook ~ I have purchased these at Wal-Mart and Half-Price Books. After she masters the letters, I’ll write verses on manuscript paper for her to copy.

Abeka Second Grade Science and History texts ~ I found these teacher editions at Half-Price Books. We snuggle on the couch and I read aloud, typically with lots of extra discussion and questions I make up as we read.



From fourth grade on, we use the Abeka curriculum {not the DVD program, just the texts} for these ten reasons.

All the basics (language, arithmetic, penmanship, spelling, history/geography, science/health) are covered.

Peace of mind. Jesus tells us not to worry {Matthew 6}, and this helps me obey that. J

We can vary as much as we’d like. We don’t do every single problem in the books, every single test, or even every single lesson. Sometimes we turn a poster project into a lapbook, a book report into an oral presentation, or a research assignment into a field trip. Sometimes we add in something completely supplemental, like this free Artist’s Study I found online.

Stability and predictability. Because my husband is a community college professor, he has an irregular schedule, not just from spring semester to summer semester to fall semester but also from day to day. Some mornings we have breakfast together and other mornings he’s gone before the children are up. Despite this, the children know what the day will hold, at least for general school requirements, but they also know they can get creative as inspiration strikes.

The children can be independent. They don’t wait around for me to get them started or tell them what to do. They can pull out the lessons plans and books and plow ahead.

Easy-to-read texts with vivid color photos, images, and maps make learning interesting.

It’s reusable. For all of the eighth grade materials, I spent approximately $500. In future years, I will only need to buy three consumable workbooks as each child passes through eighth grade, costing approximately $50 each.

It is consistently Christian and respectful of parental authority. My children are learning about the theory of evolution, but creation is taught as fact. “Facts of life” are left to the parents. Texts and workbooks are peppered with Scripture.

The academy is there if we decide we need it. We’re still uncertain what to do about high school transcripts or if those are even needed. But if we should decide that our children need to be “enrolled” in a school that issues a diploma and transcripts, that opportunity is there.

Supplemental books. Abeka has several lines of historic fiction from periods of Biblical, church, and American history. These are presented as usable for book reports, but we’ve discovered that we just like reading them for pleasure. J

Local materials displays with discounts on purchases. Someday I hope to attend a real curriculum fair, but that just hasn’t been possible yet.


Our most necessary school supply? File folders. Next time I think I’ll get the pastel ones I’ve seen at Sam’s Club. Groovy!


What’s my most necessary school supply?


On the blog this week…



I’m grateful for…the freedom to choose curriculum!


Have a wonderful weekend! J







What curriculum do you use and why do you like it? How was your week?






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39 comments:

  1. Thanks for these posts!! I home schooled from 7th grade-12th. So becoming familiar with various curriculum used for younger grades is so helpful!! Also there was probably an unintended benefit of your post! I realized I can use those empty baby wipe containers as crayon/marker/art supplies holders. Thanks! God bless you and have a great weekend with your family.

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    1. Ashley, I wondered if anyone would notice the baby wipes containers holding crayons! :) Have a wonderful weekend!

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    2. What a great idea, Meghan! So resourceful and we have tons of baby wipes containers around here!

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  2. Thank you for this post! We recently decided to go with Abeka and we start PreK this fall...none of the people I know use it, so this is a refreshing post for me. I appreciate it. :-)
    Visiting from Christian Mommy Blogger.
    ~Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents

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    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Stacy. Thanks for commenting and enjoy your homeschool!

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  3. I have to say one of my most favorite would be the Pathway Readers for reading. I also like Easy Grammar for that daily dose of grammar learning. We have all our curriculum for the year, but not ready to start. (Goodness, we never really finished our last year!)

    I really enjoy the picture of your daughter in princess garb as she does school. Can't do that in the public school setting unless it's Halloween.

    I like your school supply picture, too. Where did you find the perfect cup to fit under it?

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    1. When we're so immersed in our children's learning, Rachel, I wonder if we ever feel like we're "finished"?

      The coffee maker is a small five-cup, and the mug was one of those extra-large ones from Wal-Mart at Mother's Day time. Not sure how it happened, but it just fits. :)

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  4. I don't think you're taking the easy way out. You need to do what works for you! :) I use Teaching Textbooks for math and ACE for English and Literature. We use a variety of books for everything else. :)

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    1. I've seen some of those ACE books -- Paces, I think they're called? I would think it would be quite motivating for a child to finish a book every three weeks. Thanks for commenting, Jillian, and have a wonderful weekend!

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  5. We used Abeka and the library for almost all of our homeschool books. More so the library than anything though I think. We also used a variety of other hand me downs to learn from. I miss homeschooling....*sigh*

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    1. If you have a good library and internet for downloads, a ton of homeschooling can be done for free now. I'm sorry to make you sigh, but thanks for the great reminder to use the library. :)

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  6. A friend gave me a few Abeka books years ago. I used them for my oldest then past them on to another family, not realizing that there would be several more additions into our family. Yes Abeka is one of those hidden treasure. Now I'm hunting for multi-aged curriculum, however I will consider Abeka again for my 6, 4, 2, and baby (just not writing in them and keeping in mind that there may be more to come). Thanks for sharing your reasons for using Abeka.

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    1. We got started with Abeka because of several books being passed on to us, so I'm sure your generosity was much appreciated by that other family. Thanks for visiting!

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  7. I grew up with Abeka in the Christian School. I taught Abeka for 12 years before staying at home. I taught Abeka for 2 years with my son. After that second year, I decided to move away from the hardcore textbooks as I could. Funny, now we are about to enter 8th grade and where do you find us this year - pulling from Abeka for Grammar and Composition. I honestly believe they have the best grammar program ever! I know if we stay with their English program, he will be ready for college.

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    1. Their grammar is pretty thorough, isn't it, Lori? I just jumped over to your blog, and I left a comment that I agreed with you it doesn't provide enough for writing. By eighth grade, I think my 13yo should be writing more. I'll have to look for something supplemental. Thanks for jogging my memory! :)

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  8. What I love about Abeka is that everything is connected. What they're learning about in history, they'll read about in literature. They'll use Bible verses and Biblical concepts in English.

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    1. Oh, I should have put that on the list, Sally. I've noticed that as well, and it definitely reinforces concepts. Thanks for #11!

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  9. My nephew has been Abeka taught since preschool. He will be a senior this year. He has consistently tested higher than 12th grade on the state tests ever since the 8th grade. Abeka just plain works! He just took his ACT and did VERY well, too. The only thing they wavered from in all these years was the Math. Two years ago, they switched to MathUSee for more help in learning it. We are not boxed curriculum people here, but I have nearly always used Abeka books for Science. I just buy them used, and they are great!

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    1. Great testimony, Val! Thank you for sharing! And I think you brought up a #12 for the list -- it is sooo easy to find used Abeka books.

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  10. I use boxed curriculum for math and English. We use Alpha Omega for the younger kids and Rod and Staff for the older kids. Like you, it helps me not to worry knowing we don't have any gaps in these two important subjects. All other subjects, I sort of make up unit studies, utilizing books and online "stuff". I love homeschooling!

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    1. I have Rod and Staff catalogs. I just haven't ever ordered, and I'm not sure why. I'll have to pull that out again. I know we would like their conservative pictures. Thanks for the nudge, Sarah! :)

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  11. As I plan our first homeschool year, I love seeing what others are using. Thanks for sharing about Abeka. Maybe that's something we can look at for next year when we start 1st grade.

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    1. It's an exciting time for you, Keri, with so many choices. Enjoy!

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  12. RIGHT ON!!!!! I’m an Abeka curriculum graduate of 20 :D From Kindergarten through sixth grade, I attended a Christian school that used about 90% Abeka curriculum; 7th grade, our family moved and knew nothing about any Christian schools in our new area and my mom didn’t yet “feel” as though she was capable of homeschooling, so we attended public school for one year. Then, the next school year, we enrolled into our church’s homeschool-program based Christian school, and guess what?! ABEKA ALL THE WAY!!! DVD homeschool curriculum. All 6 of us attended school there for… like 5 years? —during which time, my daddy got laid off for a year-and-a-half LL God provided some extra income and intensely cut expenses by opening the opportunity for mom to become the elementary supervisory for 30 or more kids, grades 1-6, using the Abeka DVD homeschool curriculum. The spring I graduated, God was really working in my parent’s hearts, and by fall, we had left that church. But! Through the rough spots, God had showed my mom, “hey! If you can teach 30+ children through a homeschool curriculum, you can totally make it with 5, with my help!”
    So! Now we homeschool, using the Abeka DVD program JJJ I am with you, almost all the way! I think it’s great for the parents to be the “teacher”, at least for the little ones, but highschool might not be so bad with the DVD teachers (whom we love so dearly LOL Wait until your girls get Mr. Smith! OH AND MR MCBRIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3) But I’ve had the thoughts that “oh, well maybe other die-hard homeschoolers would look down on us because we’re using a “pre-packaged” curriculum… makes me feel good to know I’m not the only one… but you know what? Thanks to this blogpost, I feel better about that! What works for my parents (and me, a wife and mother in training helping mom teach and grade and check… and supervise!) will most likely differ (even if slightly) from what will work with me and my children, and what works differently from all other homeschooling families!
    This was a great post! I could totally identify with you and what you were saying.
    Something I would add to how Scripture is everywhere in the books is that A) they tie everything back to Scripture, and B) they coordinate what you’re learning in one subject with all the rest of them! Vocab words you’re learning in Spelling suddenly appear in your History textbook at the same time, and the info you’re learning in Biology makes it into your Grammar sentences!!!

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    1. Wow. Well, thank you for your comment! :) And I do love how everything comes together. Everything reinforces everything else.

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  13. I love your blog :)

    Blessings,Renee
    http://thesimplelife2017.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Renee, and I love your curlicues!

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  14. We used Abeka too, with a little Bob Jones mixed in, and Apologia for the older science. We used Rod & Staff for their English classes until about 6th grade. It was inexpensive and did a great job concentrating on the basics. Not "fancy" but it was perfect for our needs! Thanks for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday!"

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    1. I've heard wonderful things about Bob Jones, Nan. Thanks for the suggestion, and thanks for the link-up! :)

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  15. Loved hearing your list! I have discovered "The hard way" I really like boxed curriculum too. I strayed from My Father's World and decided to be eclectic and it stressed me out and I made a lot of mistakes! I am using Abeka Language Arts and am excited about it. But I think next year I'll go back to boxed sets... less expensive and no having to make teacher's plans!

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    1. Isn't it wonderful when you find something that clicks? Have a terrific school year, and thanks for your comment!

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  16. Thanks for sharing about Abeca and why you love it. In the end we used mostly Bob Jones but over the years a little of this and that. When our children were young we used unit curriculums. I love your mug under the coffee pot.

    Thanks for sharing over at WholeHearted Wednesdays this week.

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    1. I think unit studies are a favorite of homeschoolers. Ours get stuck in the category of "a little of this and that." Thanks, Judith!

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  17. Paused to read your post from the blog hop because we too use A Beka and it seems like everyone else I talk to doesn't. The children absolutely love it! Also we use the same Complete Curriculum Workbooks as well. Obviously with that said I don't think you're cheating at all lol. I also use Mead workbooks I buy at WalMart for the younger grades (I've found through third grade) the kids love them and they're usually about $6 a piece.

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    1. A kindred spirit, in the words of Anne Shirley! Thanks for sharing, Chrystal. :-)

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  18. Happened onto your blog today as I was researching for finishing my son's highschool. This is child number 9. Loved Abeka for the same reasons you mentioned. ! thing I discovered as I went along is that sometimes 4 years later my Teachers Key does not fit the newly updated student book. That was frustrating in terms of money. SO since I was hooked on this curriculum I bought student books to match my teachers key for the last 4 children and used them as I got to them. No need to buy new TK's now. : ) for whatever that was worth. : ) Oldest child is now 36 and youngest is 15 in 10th grade. Hows that for a long time of homeschooling?!
    Loved it and still love it. It is just a lot easier today than it was 12 years ago when I had 6 in school at one time.
    Thanks for listening,
    Rachel

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  19. I'm so glad i stumbled across this blog post. This is our first year homeschooling. I chose to go with Abeka as well. We are on our 3rd week homeschooling and I'm already feeling a little discouraged. My son is in first grade and I have been following everything in the teacher lesson plans. Am I being lazy or is it ALOT of teaching? I feel like I'm teaching all day and my son is doing maybe five pages of book work. He's getting bored with my teaching as well haha. If anyone has any suggestions or advice it would be greatly appreciated! God Bless

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  20. You mention lap books quite frequently, do you have a post on how to make one? I love your ideas for homeschool! Found your blog this week! Love reading it!

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    1. The closest I've come to blogging about lapbooks, Michelle, is this following post about making a really big birthday card. Thanks for the question. I think I need a new post! :-)

      http://meghancarver.blogspot.com/2012/09/make-your-own-mega-birthday-card.html

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