By Marla A. Schultz
I know school is already in progress for most of you, but our family is just getting started and curriculum is on my mind. What should I use this year for my fifth grade daughter’s reading? Should I attempt to do the same history with the four younger ones again—or all of them—or give them each a separate textbook? Science … hmm … living books, buy them used, or borrow from an amazing church library here in town or from friends?
Are You Thinking About Your Homeschool Curriculum?
One subject I’m not pondering this year is math. Years ago I was introduced through a homeschool blogger to Christian Light Publications and I loved it. I used it for a couple of years and then decided to homeschool through a charter school and opted to use their curriculum. Big mistake. The continuity was lost, concepts were approached in a different way, and—honestly—the bright colors and pictures were distracting for my children. My oldest daughter, after attempting Algebra I for the second time with a second, well-known, curriculum, asked (i.e., begged) if we could go back to using CLP. I agreed and opted to use their math curriculum with all of my kids last year.
Christian Light Publications is a Mennonite company and the curricula seems to reflect this heritage. Overall the presentation is simple: teachers’ books have cardstock covers and are spiral bound and—instead of glossy, hardbound books—student workbooks are softbound and divided into ten, separate Light Units. Extra items, such as counting books, math charts, etc., are also unpretentious.
Why I Chose Christian Light Publications
Two of the things I like about CLP’s products are the spiral approach to math—concepts are consistently being reviewed—and the high standard. For one of my sons this past year I switched to a popular computer math program that teaches the child. Overall he seemed to like it, but I noticed that the concepts introduced in the sixth grade math weren’t much more advanced than my fourth grade daughter’s CLP math and, definitely, not even close to his fifth grade CLP math with which we had started the year. I had chosen to switch him to this program because, with six children, I was finding it challenging to teach all of them math on a daily basis and he struggles with this subject.
Another thing I really appreciate about Christian Light Publications is the affordability. Because we have several children, buying curriculum for everyone can be expensive. I personally like using workbooks as long as possible vs. a textbook where the child has to copy each question and then solve it, so their workbook approach appeals to me. With the workbooks for the year being broken into ten Light Units, there have been a few times that I have purchased just two or three workbooks and a teacher’s guide (or even just an answer key) for each child to get us started.
This is also a great way to decide if you like the curriculum or not. One workbook and a teacher’s book (covers the five Light Units) costs $12.40 before tax and shipping. Another plus is, if you decide this curriculum doesn’t work for you, it can be returned for a 100% refund as long as it is unused and/or in good condition. This wouldn’t, of course, apply to the workbooks if your child has written in them.
I have to be honest. One thing that I don’t love about their math is the lengthiness of the lessons. The questions may be numbered 1 through 35, but several of those questions may have four parts. I resolved this, at times, by allowing them to do every other problem. The spiral aspect is what adds to the length of the lessons, though, so the concepts are continually being reviewed—something I found lacking in a couple of other math curriculum I’ve used for my children.
Lastly, not only does Christian Light Publications offer math, they also have a full range of other subjects for Kindergarten through twelfth grade, all affordably priced, in my opinion. If you are struggling to find just the right fit for your child, I encourage you to take a look at their products.
Marla Schultz is married to Rick and the mother of six children, ages sixteen to five. She lives in California where she writes, including literature kits; homeschools; works from home; createsdelicious, healthy meals; and plans creative parties for her family.
Note: I’m not affiliated with Christian Light Publications and haven’t been paid to endorse any of their products. All opinions are my own.