Friday, September 14, 2012

Sharing All About Spelling and Life of Fred

While my nephew was here, I did slip away one evening for our local homeschool association monthly meeting.  It was the annual curriculum showcase night and I volunteered to bring All About Spelling and Life of Fred which had not been shown before.  This is our second year using both these programs and here are my pros and cons.

All About Spelling:

  • It's easy to modify every lesson.  Each lesson has multiple components, if we're struggling with an issue we may do all components over one or more days.  Conversely, it's super easy to abbreviate a lesson to not overwhelm a short attention span.
  • It's multi-sensory.  Each lesson has components that are heard, said, moved and written so it works great for sensory learners.
  • It builds on previous work.  We started with book one, which was below Older Toad's spelling level but learning the rules from the get go allows us to refer back to them if we run in to trouble.
  • It's a stand alone spelling program.  We have no issues with reading.  Many programs for early elementary are combined.  Toad just needs to work on his spelling.
  • On the downside, it feels expensive for what it is.  It's hard to find used so it's a given expense.  Also, since it has many components, you'll need to find a way to store all the parts so nothing gets lost.
Life of Fred:

We started homeschooling with Math U See.  After one week, Toad said, "I hate math."  Toad loves math so I knew I'd made a mistake.  I bought Math U See because it was similar to the Cuisenaire rods we'd used for preschool.  I struggled for several months with what to do and then found Life of Fred.

  • It's a narrative based, contextual math program.  There are no pages of worksheets that don't seem to apply to anything. 
  • It's funny.  I actually have a two chapter a day rule.  Toad would read the whole book in one sitting if I let him.
  • The lesson lengths are just right.
  • It's more about math concepts than rote memorization.
  • It's durable and you don't work in the book so you can pass them on or resell them easily.
  • Which is also it's downside, sort of.  Every kid needs more or less help with something and you'll need to supplement in areas that are giving you trouble.  If you need all the curriculum laid out for you and really need to stick to the plan, this may not be for you.  It could still make a nice supplement but couldn't be your spine.  I do supplement.

* I did not receive any compensation, in kind or paid, for this review.  These are my opinions based on curriculum we've used.

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