Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: Ideal Curriculum

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Back when my oldest was my “only child”, I would spend copious amounts of money on educational products. I wanted my girl to be as smart as possible (we’ll chalk it up to a case of full-blown, first-time-mommy pride), and if I found something that was guaranteed to help her succeed academically, I jumped on it with both feet! :)  No matter the cost!

{After Ethan and Abby were born—when Sierra was 3 and 4 yrs old—things changed dramatically. Obviously spending every extra dime on one child is easier than dividing that dime up three ways! Ahem.}

The point to all my prattling is this: had this product been available back when my children were younger, I would’ve definitely jumped on it, too!  

Ideal Curriculum is a research based preschool/Pre-K program that was originally designed for the classroom or daycare setting. Homeschoolers however, will find their monthly themed kits to be a great way to teach concepts such as reading, writing, math, music, science and social studies in a fun, engaging way.  {I received their Month 1—Transportation kit for review.}

How It Works

Each month, you’ll download (or receive a printed version in the mail) each new kit. You’ll receive a selection of Teacher’s Manuals (literacy, math/calendar, science) as well as files for printing (worksheets, flash cards, games) and mp3 music files (or a CD if you select the physical/mailed version). The themes change from month to month while the lesson format and program structure remains the same. Idealproduct-graphic

The curriculum is divided into weekly lessons with a suggested daily schedule. You’re also encouraged to remind your child what they’ve learned while engaging in your daily activities. (Something that is very easy to do with a topic like transportation!)

Lessons include short stories, brief science experiments (like dragging a 20 lb bag of rice on a mat, then pulling that same bag of rice in a wagon and discussing how much easier it is with wheels), learning to read the calendar, counting practice, sight word recognition, writing and more. At the end of each week, a short assessment is provided to track your child’s progress.

Cost

  • Printed kits are $55/each. Downloadable kits are $30/each.
  • 5% discount when you order 3 kits at a time ($156 print/$85.50 download)
  • Receive 1 month free when you order all 9 monthly kits at once ($440 print/$240 download)

While the cost itself may seem a bit steep, I consider the digital version to be extremely cost effective when compared to the average tuition charged by many private preschools. ;-)

My Thoughts

I thought this format was absolutely genius as many first-time homeschoolers are desperate to know “what to do” each day, thrive on routine and/or prefer to keep things structured. (Especially during the preschool years.)

I also loved how everything is right in front of you, including the e-book selections for reading practice and mp3 music files. (I must say, the songs “Animal Freeze” and “Letter March” are super cute ‘n funky, while the Sound Bingo Game is just plain fun!)

There is virtually zero prep-time (aside from printing and skimming over the schedule), and by receiving a new kit each month, it gives children (and parents) something fun and unique to look forward to.

In fact, this program is similar to one I used years ago with Sierra (when she was like—TWO!) and believe me, that girl looked forward to her next “batch of school work”. I have no doubt that Ideal Curriculum’s kits would be a big hit with today’s “5 and under” crowd!

To learn more about Ideal Curriculum please click here.

To read what my fellow Crew mates had to say, please click here. :)

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of the above product for free in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided and my thoughts are strictly my own.*

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