I have been known to daydream! I know that comes as a complete surprise to those of you who know me well. After all, you all know me as a serious, get down to business, no nonsense person don’t you? No? Oh well.
But seriously, as a homeschool parent I do think about the teachers, teaching methods and curriculum that really clicked with me as a learner, and how I can make learning fun and affective for my kids. When we were given the opportunity to review the Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary Set by Alpha Omega Publications I really liked what I saw. It reminded me of the spelling and vocabulary books that I had and loved when I was a kid. I thought it would be a perfect fit for my youngest Jacob. Unfortunately it wasn’t, but that was not the fault of this wonderful curriculum, it was completely my fault. Let me explain by telling you why I like Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary and then I’ll explain what I did wrong.
Why I Really Like Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary Set.
It reminds me of the spelling curriculum that I used to use. – As I mentioned above, it worked for me and I loved it. A lot of good advancements have been made in home education and, if you do your homework, you can find curriculum and teaching styles that will fit any child and make them soar. However, sometimes the old tried and true ways are the best ways for a child.
Do you remember the spelling books where things were sequential? Where you took a pretest at the beginning of the week, had review activities throughout the week, then took the real test at the end of the week? Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary is that type of book.
- It is very sequential. – It starts out with short vowel words, continues with long vowel words, then goes in to diphthongs and blends. This is no willy – nilly list of words that don’t make sense together. I like that and learned best that way.
- There is an activity to do every day. – The child first takes a pretest to see what they know, and then have activities to do each day. They might be spelling out the words that match a picture, filling in the blank in a sentence, finding words that rhyme or doing some other creative activity. On Day One they assess the child’s knowledge and introduce the words. Day Two they examine and explore the words. Day 3 they look at the context and meaning of each word. Day 4 they apply understanding of words in writing. Day 5 they assess and evaluate progress. Every few weeks is a review week to review words previously learned. The tried and true way that I learned spelling.
- The student workbook is to be used up. - The neat thing about this curriculum is that it comes in a workbook where you can write in the workbook itself or tear out the pages and fill them in. I remember when I was young we had to have a separate notebook to copy things into. Copying is a pain and is hard for some kids to do.
- This is a Christian Curriculum. – Unfortunately even in my day, many many moons ago, curriculum companies couldn’t use much that was religious in their books. I like how there are sentences and activities that are Christian based with Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary Set. It isn’t forceful or trying to stretch things to put something Christian in, but it is definitely there and definitely used. That is something that I didn’t have in my day but really like.
- The Teacher’s Manual and Spelling and Vocabulary Dictionary that comes with this set are great. - The teacher’s manual is very easy to use. There is nothing left to chance. Everything that is to be done is spelled out and the answers to all of the workbook pages are there. There are even extended activities that can be done if a child needs extra help. The Spelling and Vocabulary Dictionary is very handy and contains every word that is used and covered in the spelling and vocabulary book.
So, why didn’t this fantastic curriculum work with Jacob? Well, there are three reasons and none of them has to do with this curriculum.
1. Dad was too optimistic. – I did my research before requesting this review and thought that Jacob was ready for this level. He wasn’t. Close, but not banana. We could struggle through it and get by, but that would be torture for Jacob and for me. That is the main reason why this great curriculum didn’t work for us.
2. It doesn’t fit his learning style. – I have always been an advocate of making sure that you fit curriculum to a child, you don’t try to force a child into a curriculum. That’s one of the reasons why we homeschool. We can choose what is best for each of our children. This is a fantastic curriculum that I believe will work wonderfully for most children, but this just didn’t fit Jacob. He fought tooth and nail every time we tried to sit down and work.
3. Jacob has some small motor issues. – Not as bad as our middle child, but still enough to make extended writing activities painful. Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary Set doesn’t have a terrible amount of writing, but it was a little too much for Jacob.
Okay, having said all of that, guess what? I am still going to use this with Jacob! I love the sequential system that Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary Set uses so I am going to adapt some of the activities and use them orally and even have him do some of the pages that don’t require as much writing. It may be a slow process and we may not do a week’s worth of pages in a week, but I really think he can learn from this!
As I said before, I think that Horizons First Grade Spelling and Vocabulary can be used in almost any homeschool with almost any child. To find out more about this great curriculum, click on any of the highlighted links above. To read about what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about this and other curriculum by Alpha Omega Publications click on the banner below. Happy Homeschooling!