Monday, July 27, 2009

Literature-Based Curriculum Options

Photobucket"The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived." - Howard Pyle

There are many options when it comes to Literature-based homeschooling. I thought I'd share a bit about these options with all of you.

Five in a Row was my very first adventure in learning with a literature-based approach. In studying with Five In A Row you are expected to read the same book over and over for a week, gleaning new insight each day. Sometimes the tasks suggested were challenging and other times I felt like there wasn't enough to do. I began to use the books as springboards for other ideas and we extended many topics that way. My only real complaint with Five In A Row is the difficulty in finding many of the books on the reading list. When we did The Carrot Seed unit I was ready to pull my hair out. We went to several local libraries and a few book stores and no one had it! If you live in a small town like I do it can become very difficult to hunt down each book. If you have a good local library you should do fine. It's a very good curriculum for homeschoolers who are just starting out. The best part about FIAR is tat it's a homeschool family who created and run the business. They've shared what worked for them and many families have benefited from their effort. Check out Five In a Row here. To see books on their reading list look here.

Ambelside is what I am currently using. They are a free Charlotte Mason/ living books curriculum advice website that has been a blessing to any families by making homeschooling very affordable. If you are a single parent or in a financial bind, Ambelside really helps to make it possible to continue in your vision to homeschool despite what the bank account reads. They provide a book list and a schedule, but being Charlotte Mason, they are very flexible and easy to adapt to any schedule. The key is short lessons and lots of great reading. I am really enjoying the older living books that have found a place on the Ambelside list. Heidi and Robinhood are pretty well known books for childhood reading, but we have also enjoyed jems like Understood Betsy which I probably never would have found on my own. Click here to visit Ambelside. Look here to see the Ambelside reading list.

Another popular Literature- Based Curriculum is Sonlight. I subscribe to their e-mail newsletter, but I have not used their curriculum. I think their reading lists are great, but their package cost is a bit high for my budget (example: a full year's Kindergarten curriculum will cost you $777.56). Sonlight is a homeschool supplier and books can be ordered separately as well. I usually keep a current catalogue on hand because teir prices for individual books are sometimes better than other places. As someone who doesn't use Sonlight, one of the things that is most intrieging to me about this curriculum is the amount of support that Sonlight users can get. If you chose to use Sonlight you won't be alone. If you get stuck they have support boards available and I've heard wonderful things about their customer service from Sonlight users I know. I've found them to be very friendly vendors at homeschool conventions as well. You can learn more about Sonlight here.

Itty-Bitty Bookworm is a curriculum I just became aware of recently. My blogging friend , Carisa is reviewing them over at 1+1+1=1. This curriculum is built for Preschoolers and Toddlers. Baily's Curriculum covers ages 18-36 months and Bo's Curriculum covers ages 3-5. Itty-Bitty Bookworm costs $25/ unit or month for their CD or $20 for download. That's about $300 for a full 12 months (plus the actual cost of the books). Not too bad. This is something I'm really praying about purchasing for my little ones. If you have little ones like I do, it's worth it to visit their website whether you order their products or not. They have wonderful downloads available for free. Check out Itty-Bitty Bookworm here. See their book list here.

The Noah Plan is a biblical approach that uses literature in it's study. They call themselves a literature-based curriculum, but from what I saw of their site is looks more bible-based. However, they do use wonderful literature selections like Snowflake Bently and Little House on the Prairie. Subjects other than literature look a bit classical and possible challenging to some. You can see their catalogue here.

Heart of Dakota is a wonderful homeschool resource and supplier. They are also bible based stories. Teacher guides are all under $50. Pretty good price. Go here to learn more about Heart of Dakota.

Veritas Press Classical Home School Curriculum is another catalogue that I like to have on hand. They are a classical approach, but many of their literature selections can be found on other lists. Go here to request a catalogue. Tapestry of Grace is also a popular classical choice. I've tried this for a review and quickly learned that I am not a classical style homeschooler. If you are you might want to check them out here.

There are many other options that, honestly, I know very little about. I'll list them anyway and you can visit sites and form your own opinions.

Popular Lit-based curr. I know little about:

My Father's World
Winter Promise- has anyone used this? I'm really interested in this one.
Beautiful Feet
Epi Kardia

Others I found:

Footprints on our Land and Love 2 Learn are two South African based curriculum choices that I found.
Robinson Curriculum looks morality heavy.
Student of the Word is Bible- centered.
Living Lessons has a Classical approach.

The biggest challenge in having so many choices is that you have to choose what fits your family (and your budget) best.

Please let me know if you've tried something I haven't, or if you know of something great that isn't on my list. Comments are always welcome. What have you tried and loved? Please feel free to share .


  1. We are going to be using "Living Books Curriculum" this year along with AO. I plan to switch exclusively to AO next year, and I think LBC will help me understand how to implement a CM learning lifestyle.

  2. thank you so much for this post, I've been looking for some booklists to enrich my daughter's learning during the summer and your post has helped me a lot, thanks a million :)


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