10 December 2009

Trying New Things

So, is anyone excited about trying a new book or method or curriculum? I decided to get Writing With Easeby the author of The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer.

I looked at the reviews and inside the book (digitally,actually, which only includes the table of contents, and a sample page or two), but I haven't actually handled a copy. I trust Susan (like I know her!- this is what they mean by brand imprinting!) so I decided to go ahead and purchase it anyway. It is a non-consumable, 4-year guide for the elementary (or in classical lingo, Grammar) age group. Each of the grade levels has a corresponding workbook, too, but I only got the text. So we'll see!

There is a lot of trust involved when you buy based on reviews, or buy without handling the actual product. In addition is the pressure of knowing if or when you should change curriculum and try a new one. Is your student struggling? Are YOU bored? Are they actually learning the material? Is it too remedial, or too advanced? Is it too hands-on and project oriented when you have small children underfoot or a home business?

I have to say after a few years of Saxon, I was tired of the repetition and wanted to do something that made math time more exciting and involved. I tried Miquon Math because math seemed so boring and I wanted to do some drills that were more interesting than worksheets, so I purchased a lot of math games to spice things up. I discarded it the next semester and went running back to Saxon. Any drawback to Saxon's repetitiveness is felt more on the part of the parent, and not the student who is doing the material for the first time.

Another time when I changed books was when we followed The Well-Trained Mind suggestion to buy Spelling Workout. (You can read the entire post about this HERE.) The gist of it is, with more than one student it became too expensive for us. Now we use Natural Speller, an 8-year non-consumable text.

One time I felt burned by buying without handling was when I bought Color Adventure! Unit Study by Kym Wright, a homeschool mom. I paid $15 for it and decided it wasn't worth it... it had at least 6 pages of ads at the end for her other products and I felt like I could've gotten the same instruction on color wheels by googling it.

Are any of you trying something new, and either loving or hating it? Anyone been burned by buying something without handling it? I can't wait to tell you about how Writing With Easeturns out!


  1. I can't wait to hear about Writing With Ease. I've graduated two children from "homeschool,", but the Lord has been good to me with respect to their writing. That's my way of saying that they are naturally gifted writers, and I didn't have to do a lot. Thank you, Lord. But now I have my third high schooler, and he is like me, i.e., he's really good in math, but writing just AIN'T his thang. LOL! So I'm on the lookout for some help. Yes, I know it's elementary level, but sometimes the principles taught there can be helpful. Oh, and I also have an elementary student who is like my son. She is really good at math but not so hip on the writing. Perhaps I can get started much sooner with her.

    BTW, I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you so much for all the great info.

  2. I am so happy to hear from happy readers! I just got it in the mail yesterday and I'm really enjoying it so far- it has assesments for starting in the middle. More soon.