Curriculum 2012-2013

I suppose a few of you already have guessed know {because I yak about it constantly} that we are using the next title in the Trail Guide To Learning Series, Paths of Settlement for our curriculum this fall. We will be using it for grades 1, 3, 4 and 7th. We will be using these components of the curriculum:

Of course you can buy the first four things listed at an $80 savings by buying the complete package, but I couldn’t swing that this year, so I am buying things bit by bit. Next year I  am going to buy the full kit just to get that giant box I saw at the Cincinnati convention last week! They were HUGE!

Isn’t it all delicious?

Okay, on to what you don’t know-

Our oldest will be in high school this fall, despite the fact that I am not old enough to have a child in high school. For Christian, we will be using…..

Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press!

I don’t have all of the details for this curriculum, as I am not as familiar with it as Trail Guide To Learning, but I can tell you that it uses The Mystery of History as the spine. We will be using Illuminations 3 to go along with where Christian will be in the MOH series, which is Volume 3.

Here is a description that I pulled straight from the Bright Ideas Press website:

Each year is available in a single download and includes a wealth of practical schedules and useful information. Simply load it on your computer and you’re ready to go! Visually appealing schedules are provided – use them as is or type your own entries in the blocks. They are customizable!

Choose the elements you want to use – just history and literature or all the disciplines – your choice! Either way, your curriculum elements are completely scheduled for you. We’ve chosen curriculum you can just pick up and use.

Our literature guides are the best available. They include discussion questions and activities for all learning styles. And you can find a list of required items at the beginning of each guide, so you’ll have everything you need.

However, even with the best plans, homeschooling can sometimes feel overwhelming. With Illuminations, our on-line community provides you with support and encouragement, without ever stepping out your door. Go ahead, dive in! You CAN do it!

The lesson plans are done for me! I am so excited to get this and use it. Expect lots of posts coming as I get familiar with both of these curricula for the upcoming school year!


We are currently using Horizons for math, and it is going very well. I am making no change for next year.

Our oldest is working his way through the “Key To” series, and will be using Key to Decimals and Key to Percents to start his year.


© 2012, Sam. All rights reserved.

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  1. says

    Hi Sam! I just stumbled upon your blog while reading today’s BIP blog post. Love it! I wanted to ask how Illuminations ended up for your son? Are you all still using it?

    • says

      Unfortunately, no. It didn’t work out well at all. It needs to be more streamlined, and the added cost to finish the curriculum for the year was never-ending!

  2. says

    So I am sorry that I keep coming back to this with you. I still am trying to decide if I’m shelling out the cash for either Learning Adventures or Illuminations. Both are very similar and have similar reading lists in their year 1 for 4th grade plans. The reading lists include books like, “Classic Myths to Read Out Loud” “God King” and other books that contain stories about false gods. I am curious what your take is on teaching these types of materials to our little ones. These were things I read in high school. So how do we go about teaching our God is real but all the rest are false, when we fill their minds with literature that focuses on the false powers of these false gods.
    I am pretty conservative in my view of life. I want to shield and protect little minds as much as possible. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive. What is your take?
    Renee Brown latest thoughts..Grocery Store MathMy Profile

    • says

      I am just as sensitive as you. Our high school student is the one who will be using it, and he is a Christian. I haven’t pondered the thoughts you bring up as my little ones aren’t using it. I looked up the “God King” book on Amazon, and it might be the one in the time of Hezekiah. You could always switch books from the same time period if you were uncomfortable with the choices.

      LA is a lot more time consuming gathering materials. You could always call BIP and ask for more info about their readers.
      Sam Kelley latest thoughts..IdentityMy Profile

  3. says

    Oh so many questions!
    Did you find this at convention?
    If it works grades 3 and up then why aren’t you using it with all of your children.
    The web page doesnt’ give much detail, at least I haven’t found much yet.
    How do you think this differs from Learning Adventures?
    Are you loving it for the Software based learning as opposed to text and or workbooks?
    I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before!

  4. Heidi says

    OK, I have another question about POE. :-) Right now our school day is split in half. In the morning the school aged kids work on things they can do alone. Then when the little kids are sleeping we do the things we do as a group. Do you think there are some things in POE that older kids can work on alone? I am thinking copywork and stuff like that. I am so tempted to try this. We have struggled for so long to find something that really fits for our crazy crew. Thanks again for all of your help. :)

    • says

      Mapping can be done alone, looking up definitions, copywork, and all of that sort. You could do the reading together and then discuss what you read, take your break and come back to do the student pages and math. This curriculum is not your master, make it work for you!
      Sam Kelley latest thoughts..Curriculum 2012-2013My Profile

  5. Judy says

    I am VERY close to Trail Guide. We would be doing POS and starting it sooner than later since we are going to be schooling through the summer off (we took lots of time off in December and January).
    Wondering….do you add anything to Trail Guide or do you use it “as is”? I have read in a couple of place where people do not think it is beefy enough in the language arts department. I will be using All About Spelling with my kids since I have a couple of struggling spellers and I have been using AAS for a couple of months now and love it.

    I have never heard of the Illumination curriculum. I have a son who is close to high school. Something to keep in mind for the future.

  6. says

    I am keeping Allie home next year!!!!! Fourth grade. I’m deciding on what to use, so I’ll have to check out your “Trails….” stuff you’ve been gabbing about 😉 Have a good week, my friend!

  7. says

    I was really close to trying the Trail Guide to learning because you have talked so much about it….but I am 95% sure I am going with Illuminations next year too! We’ve never done MOH so I am really excited!

  8. says

    I’m glad you have been “yakking” (LOL) about this curriculum because I never would have heard about it otherwise! I plan on using this for my third grader and we are so excited about it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about curriculum. There are so many choices out there and it is overwhelming. I like to hear from people who have tried it firsthand before I make any decisions!