Thursday, May 13, 2010

TOS Crew Review -- Ideal Curriculum

Product: Ideal Curriculum
Details: Ideal Curriculum offers unit studies for preschoolers. They come packaged with material meant to be used for one full month of teaching. They offer 9 months, to cover the traditional 9 month school year.
Price: $30 for each downloadable monthly kit (discounts for ordering multiple months at once) Also available in print for $55 per month (plus additional fee for each child)

What we loved . . .
  • Well rounded. The curriculum includes lots of fun, activities, subjects, and materials to keep you quite busy for the whole month. We did not use it for a whole month, but got our feet wet with a good sampling of the activities available.
  • Easy to print from home. I found this a great downloadable resource. I generally prefer to have an actual product in my hand, but this was a great one to download and use. I printed two copies of the student book, one for each of my kids. They loved having their own workbook or activity pages to go with what we talked about together.
  • Fun themes. Transportation was a fun one to start with, well loved by both boys and girls. They also offer animals, colors, weather, and more. The site says they are designed to be used sequentially, so you should do them in order, not just jump to a theme you think will interest your child.
  • Foundational. This program starts at the very beginning. Vertical lines. Then, horizontal lines. My kids had lots of fun running all over and finding the vertical lines. This starts very basic, so it is great for a child's first exposure to academics, or as a fun review for preparing a child for kindergarten.
  • Easy to implement. Although they offer an abundance of ideas and teaching material, I found that I could quickly skim the material and be ready to have some fun introducing the topic to the kids. Building on it did take more time and prep, but we could get a sampling of what we were learning without too much time investment.
  • Age appropriate. My four and six year olds both enjoyed this material. Even though it was review for my daughter, she had fun playing along, being actively involved, and reinforcing her writing skills. This is definitely fun and educational.

Some considerations . . .

  • Lots of teacher prep. For one month we received three different teacher's manuals with a combined total of over 100 pages. I don't know that most of us have time to read through an extra 100 pages each month just to tell us how to teach the preschoolers in our home. You can use this material without reading all of it, but obviously they provide it for a reason.
  • Not all on theme. I'm used to unit studies that go out of their way to make everything fit the theme. In this case, that doesn't necessarily happen. The student literacy workbook didn't really draw along the theme much at all, nor did the music (which included an animal freeze dance, when a transportation freeze dance might have been more unifying). This doesn't necessarily detract from the material, but I was a bit surprised that they didn't take more advantage of the theme.

Getting started homeschooling can sometimes seem intimidating and a curriculum like this might be helpful to you if you are just entering the preschool years and need some direction. Or, if you find yourself always focusing on the older kids and need a plan to spend that focused time on your little one, or ones. It definitely comes with everything that you need and gives you lots of planned, educational interaction with your preschool child, without the over-structuring of a kindergarten type curriculum.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Ideal Curriculum as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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