I feel like my head is going to explode! I’ve been comparing Living Books Curriculum, SCM curriculum guide and Ambleside booklists and see more similarities than differences (I think). I am NOT a re-invent the wheel mom. I also like a plan but not a rigid one. I have four children I’m homeschooling now (1st, 2nd, 4th grades). I guess my bottom line question is this: IF Living Books Curriculum was free would more of you choose this curriculum? Is the SCM guide really easy to select books from and plan with? What about Ambleside?
Thanks so much,
If the Living Books curriculum was free I would not purchase it. I may pick and choose from it, but used in totality, I do not think any curriculum (including Ambleside and even, gasp! SCM) is able to precisely meet the needs and bent of a particular child as well as a parent. If a list of books is taken as suggestions (which is more of what Ambleside and SCM are all about), then the parent has more ability to really pray through it and see what God has for their own child.
I am not familiar with the study guide that goes with LBC, but I have a love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand, I like the help when things get busy or just hard and I need to ‘peek’ at the answers. On the other hand, I have found that we can easily use them as a crutch rather than stretching our narration skills (as in, “Just go answer the study guide questions, Dear.”). Personally, I would judge something like this based on whether it will fullfill a need in my children and whether I will get my money out of it.
I don’t know much at all about Living Books Curric, but we’re so happy with Ambleside, I haven’t found need to look at anything else. I personally think AO is easy to use, altho their website is quite user-unfriendly IMO. It’s very overwhelming to a first-timer.
The great thing is: with those ages, you could start them all in Yr 1 and do all the same books. Only their phonics, copywork, and math would need to be different.
I have four in AO Yr 2, they are: 9, 8, 7, and 7.amy390Member
LBC was at a local hs fair and i spent quite a bit of time there…we are in MI where they are located. I like their list which, i THINK was online. I have picked up a few things that are LBC published- like a companion book to the Apologia Astronomy Guide. I thought they had a lot of great books (most would probably be living books) but it didn’t ‘quite’ fit CM. This isn’t a judgement- as some of what they did I like. but for example, the don’t study a composer or artist per term… the do it more generally. I think of them as ‘sonlightish’ without the big curriculum. I will confess- that I am a do-it-yourselfer. I’d RATHER have something i could just pick up and do but it has never worked for us. so i know LBC wouldn’t..for us. I guess i say this to mention that you could look at some of the books from the library over the summer and see what you think. We are still fine tuning our CM curric.
I do remember when the prepared package type things looked so good to me! I felt overwhelmed at all the choices. I did use Sonlight for two years and tried My Father’s World one year. But what I discovered about myself is I get “curriculum fatigue” LOL Partway through the year, I would be frustrated by something that wasn’t a good fit for us, or I’d get up one morning and think “But I don’t WANT to do that today!” but still feel pressured into “keeping up with the schedule”. The packaged plans are just not a good fit for me, so no, I wouldn’t use Living Books most likely, even if I could afford it (which I definitely cannot!)
I even have the same sort of problem with AO, to the point that the last year we used it, I was switching and subsituting and tweaking so many things that finally, I gave up on the weekly schedules. It just wasn’t worth it.
I do so very much better when I have more flexibility and don’t have some schedule someone else made staring me in the face.
The Organizer is soooo easy to use. I really feel like someone opened up a door and let us all fly out, we feel so much less pressured. Not to mention that I now don’t have to worry about “where” a child is in history–if you keep all your children together you are going at some point ot have a third grader who is NOT “where” they are “supposed” to be in history. Just too frustrating for me.
I could go on and on about the joys of a flexible booklist and using the Organizer to plan. I am planning my ninth year of homeschool now, and this is surely what is working best for us at this time.
You don’t have to use the AO weekly schedules. You could just use the booklists. I don’t use the AO schedules b/c I get most of our books at the library. But I LOVE Ambleside and it works so great with the SCM Planner. 😀BookwormParticipant
Well, I DO use the portions of the booklists that I like–I “imported” a few favorites over here with me. But I don’t want to use the books at the same time AO has them listed–I’ve moved quite a few around. And there are a number of AO books that were just not right for our family, which we deleted. So, I don’t know that one can say one is “using” AO when one has ditched the schedules and just imported the favorite books into the overall SCM framework, which just works better for us. We HATED having all 3 kids in different years, we missed so much that way. This way we avoid the “curriculum meltdown” that has plagued us every spring every time we use something “canned”–last spring we very nearly threw The Age of Fable threw a plate glass window. LOL Also, the AO history breakdown just wasn’t intuitive to us and just wasn’t working. We have been much happier using the SCM framework and just tacking on our favorite nature books and a few other favorites. So maybe we are partially “inspired” by AO, but “using” SCM. 🙂
Funny. And thanks for the warning about The Age of Fable. My four school-age kids are all in one year, so that makes a big difference I’m sure. I can’t imagine trying to do three different years. My kids (9, 8, 7 & 7) are all in Yr 2. Simple! (for us anyway;) )Sue in MNMember
I use the book lists from a number of different curriculums but I love the CM Planner because it works the way I teach. I put the books in our schedule but if a book is not working we just delete it. If we don’t get to something one day we just pick it up when we get to it. If we want to do more a certain day the planner works fine. We can look back at what we did in the report area. I even have myself listed as a student so I can keep track of my reading and other activities. It is the best $10 that I spend each month.
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