Friday, August 7, 2009


Eh, the Catholic church isn't going great....nothing there for kids at our parish. Having them with me at a traditional service each week with nothing at all for the kids is just not going to work out for us. While I feel the faith is beautiful on paper, I am not sure I love the way it actually gets executed in service. There is just literally nothing for my kids. I am just not sure where to go from here. UPDATE: I called our parish and asked about kid's programs and the educational lady told me that there is lots for the kids, including a 30 min block during the homily where they are taken out for kid level Bible study as well as catechism classes on week nights and even a family catechism class on Friday nights. She said that all the ministries take a break during summer so that is why it has seemed pretty dead lately for kids. She assured me all the programs start back in early Sept so I am thinking about sticking it out. We have a nice, local Southern Baptist church here as well that seems great, but after calling, they seem VERY anti baby in service and I wont tolerate church's with that attitude any longer. We have always felt welcome each week in the Catholic church, noise and all!

As for Abeka, we are in our 4th or 5th week(sorry my mommy brain lost track) and there are many positives as well as some negatives with the curriculum:

Positives first:

  • God centered
  • self directed
  • advanced
  • the kids are enjoying the workbooks for grammar
  • the health text booklet is cute and fun for the kids


  • tooooo advanced esp for Wyatt
  • moves way too fast
  • everyone works individually, which means I am trying to divide myself 4 ways and I feel like I am ready to collapse from brain work by the end lol
  • Bible stories are written in a very unengaging way
  • takes too long to finish school

the really bad:

  • The spelling program is by far the worst I have ever used. It is really way too advanced, moves too fast, is poorly designed and laid out and the execution is even worse. Kayla is spelling things like Connecticut, Massachusetts, leisure, restaurant, hyphen and cyclone, but 28 words total. They are just too hard for any 4th grader that I know. Its producing tears and I don't do tears. School is supposed to be fun and engaging
  • The history and science are dry and boring beyond boring. They are also extremely repetitive. Wyatt's history is literally word for word, page for page, almost identical to Everett's, with very little extra elaboration.

I wont do this curriculum again, but we will try and finish it up by Jan at which time we will go back to Weaver curriculum. Its an amazing curriculum which is more hands on and real life style learning with Bible as front and center.


Mommyto3Boys1Girl said...

Hi Janis,

Hope its okay to leave you a comment. I am homeschooling my 4 this year and we are using Christian Light Education and the kids are really loving it. I was looking at A Beka but wasn't liking the reviews I was reading. We are using CLE for math, LA, reading and social studies. For science we are using Apologia which is by far their favorite! Bible is from a Bible Study Guide for All Ages.
I'm very sorry your kiddos are having a rough time with the new program.

Truefemininity said...

I used Abeka throughout high school, and I have to admit that even for an extremely motivated hard worker like myself, it literally drained me and took up all of my time--from 8:00AM to 9:00PM, every day, including Saturdays. My mom also used the Abeka spelling books with me when I was in the younger grades and I can remember the tears flowing!

LauraLea said...

Hi - I knew you from the Large Families group on Babycenter. I hope you don't mind me commenting. I have never homeschooled because I don't think I am a good enough teacher (and I teach them for the 18 hours that they aren't in school) but I have known people who use Abeka and it is my understanding that their spelling stuff is one to two grades ahead of where they would be in another curriculum - do 2nd or 3rd grade for a 4th grade child, etc. Just because the curriculum says it is for a certain grade doesn't mean that is set in stone! :-)

Also, about the Southern Baptist church - I am surprised at the babies comment. I am in Minnesota, and I attend a Southern Baptist church because they are so family-friendly. The other thing I like about them is that the congregation sets their own constitution and beliefs - the denomination does not dictate those. Bottom-up decisions instead of Top-down. I have been very interested in following your blog, as I used to live in Calimesa, two of my children were born at Redlands Community Hospital, and I also briefly belonged the the LDS Church - in the Redlands Stake. I tried to persuade you not to go there (my own bad experience) but I think I wasn't vocal enough because I didn't want to get flamed by all of the LDS women on BBC (where I no longer go).

I would love to renew my acquaintance with you, although I am much older than you. My youngest sister is 29, and she was born when I was 15. My oldest daughter is 22 and recently engaged. I've been where you are, and I loved it.


LauraLea said...

I originally made your acquaintance on the Large Families group on BabyCenter, although I no longer go there. I have never homeschooled, but it is my understanding from friends who do that the Abeka curriculum is one to two grade levels advanced for spelling. In other words, for a 4th grade child, you would want to use the 2nd or 3rd grade spelling curriculum. Just because they label it a certain grade level doesn’t mean you have to use it that way! 
I’ve also been interested in following you because I used to live in the area (Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa) and two of my children were born at Redlands Community Hospital. A third was born at home in Beaumont with the assistance of a midwife. The oldest was born in Wisconsin, and the last two have been born in Minnesota – I missed snow and went home, although I still have friends in your area.
I am a former member of the LDS Church, too and I’ve found my home at a Southern Baptist church. I encourage you to meet with the pastor and express your frustrations and concerns to him prior to going there. You’ll get a good feel for whether the church is a good fit, and if that one isn’t, try another Southern Baptist church. They are usually very family- and baby-friendly, but they vary widely from church to church. See, each Southern Baptist church writes, votes on and approves it’s own constitution and beliefs statement. They are the only denomination I know of that believes in bottom-up policy-making as opposed to top-down. I would think that would appeal to your philosophical side, and it gives you the option of finding a congregation that fits your family and a voice to ensure that the congregation continues to fit your family. I tried to dissuade you from the LDS church (too controlling, too paternalistic, follow the letter of the law and not the meaning [see complaints in the Bible about Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day], etc.) back when you were posting about it on BBC, but I am also not a vociferous presence and I don’t tend to demand that anyone do anything (well, maybe that my kids clean up their own messes, lol).
I am quite a bit older than you – my oldest daughter is 22 and newly engaged, but my youngest sister is 29. She was born when I was 15, and she is the reason that I knew I wanted lots of these little people in my family. I would love to renew my acquaintance with you.

AOP said...

Hello, my name is Kristi Gesink and I work for the homeschooling company Alpha Omega Publications. I noticed after reading through your blog that you have used our Weaver Curriculum in the past. We would like to say a big thank you for mentioning our products on your blog and we would appreciate it very much if you would please turn that mention into a link from your blog to our site at

that way friends and readers can click on the link and find out more information about a curriculum that you have used!

If you have any questions please email me at tkgesink@mtcnet,net

Thanks again
Kristi Gesink

Julie said...

Janis, have you ever thought of using Story of the World with your kids? I do and my kids love it. I have put together a more updated book list along with more crafts and such and my kids always want to learn more. Also, geography, you could try Galloping the Globe, which is fabulous. I habe also put together units on countries, animals, food, anything the kids want to learn, I put something together for them. I still use Sonlight but much less. I prefer teaching my kids with units that I have put together.

Good luck with your current curriculum.