Learning at Home
What a surprise to see this series back on our shelves! It brings back fond memories of our beginning days of homeschooling. Yes, it's true! I used Learning at Home way back when. I'm not sure where they've been in the meantime, but some curriculum just shouldn't "go away," and I think these are in that category. The loving work of a homeschool mom, Ann Ward, they are basically a set of very detailed lesson plans. The lesson plans cover everything from the expected "reading, writing, and arithmetic" to Bible study, memorization and character training, not overlooking other basics along the way - like science and history. For each day (36 weeks: week by week, four days a week), there is a brief segment for calendar time; Bible; language arts (reading, writing, and English); music; arithmetic; health, manners, and responsibility; physical education; history, geography, science; and a Bible memory verse. That may seem like an overwhelming lot but many subjects are combined - like history, geography, and science - and everything is a brief snippet. They might seem fragmented except that each brief segment builds on the last and lays a solid educational foundation.
These spiral-bound curriculum guides do "show their age" a bit - prepared before the day of glitzy graphic design. While they may seem plain, the format is straight-forward and easy-to-follow and the scope and sequence is amazingly thorough. Basically, these books provide all you need for full-bodied first or second grade coursework. There's a lot of flexibility, though, as well. The Writing Road to Reading (Spalding method) is the cornerstone for the phonics instruction, but you could substitute another program or use a version of intensive phonics that is more user-friendly than Spalding (such as All About Reading). The math lessons are carefully laid out, but you could insert another program there as well if you wished.
There is an extensive bibliography of children's reading books. Many of these are classics - like Billy and Blaze - but you might have trouble finding some of the others. In fact, you will find that many of the general references are sadly out of date and some will be unavailable. On the other hand, searching for individual songs and material has been greatly enhanced by the ready availability of internet resources (something unknown at the time of its original publication). In general, I think you will need to be prepared to do a little work to validate resources and find replacements, if necessary. However, that's a minimum of prep in order to have a fully developed first or second grade course of study. ~ Janice