Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ideal Curriculum Preschool


One of the more recent products the TOS Crew was given to review was the 1st month module of Ideal Curriculum's Monthly Preschool program, "Transportation". If you are just starting out on your homeschool journey, and are looking for a structured "program" to use with your children,  you may be interested in the following information.

Ideal curriculum was written by a team of people dedicated to "Education", and an interest in translating the latest education research into products that can be used by a variety of educators.

Each monthly kit has a "Theme", and is available as an e-product download(Which is the format the TOS Crew received), or as a printed version.  The download version comes as a zip file with a number of folders and files.
  • A "Read This First" pdf that really SHOULD be read(I often skip those... oops!), containing information on how the curriculum is organized, and what pages to print when, and how many to print.
  • A folder that includes 3 Teacher's Manual files(Literature, Math, and Science)
  • A "Read" folder with 4  interactive Book files (Following the Math, Science, and Literature themes) meant to be read on the computer
  • A Folder with those files that I mentioned above for printing. Each one is its own PDF file.
  • A Folder with mp3 music files to use throughout the month, as required.
I personally would prefer the print version, as I found jumping around the different folders and files within the folders to be a little too cumbersome. This could be abated somewhat by printing all the files, but at this time that isn't an economical choice for my household. However, if printing isn't a problem, I would recommend printing and collating all three manuals week-by-week into one cohesive manual, and possibly having it comb bound at an office store.

 So, on to the actual curriculum~

What is it?
  • Ideal curriculum is very formatted and formal, with very in-depth and precise directions for the instructor. There are explanations for the reasons behind each concept and activity, and each week includes goals and assessments for the teacher. 
  • The month is split into weekly segments within the theme. There are those colorful books to be read, activities that cover the gamut from dramatic play to science experiments, phonological awareness to letter shapes, as well as basic counting, ordinal numbering, etc...most within the given theme.  In our Module, "Transportation", the literacy unit seemed less "Themed", and more basic literacy learning. The Math unit used "transportation props" as interest-getters (pictures of bikes and rocketships, and exploring fast and slow, elevators and floor levels, etc...). The science/Oral Language unit seemed to me to follow the theme most closely, with axle and wheel experiments, transportation inspired art projects, and story sequencing to name a few of the activities.
What do I think?
  • This could be very useful for a new homeschooling parent, who is very unsure of their ability, or extremely scheduled, and concerned that they might forget to touch on a particular area of development with their young preschooler. 
  • In my honest opinion, I think it is more directed towards productive daycares and preschools with groups of children~ Some things just work better with a few more children. This could perhaps lend itself to a co-op style setting.
  • My personal style of homeschooling, particularly with a preschooler, is rather free and relaxed.  I very seldom follow a "Theme", although I have thought about it upon occasion. ;) I have had books on my shelves for years that are preschool "themed", and while I have used portions of them, I am not the scheduled sort of person that will follow through with them on a regular basis. If yours is also a more "eclectic" or "relaxed" homeschool family, this product may not be a good fit for you.
  • Also, just a quick note, that at 2+ my littlest isn't quite the right age for this sort of program, so these are my opinions, based on my looking the material over, and only using portions of it with him. In a couple of years it is possible that I could find this much more adaptable to my "schooling" methods for an older preK child. :)
Remember that these are my opinions, based on where my family is now. You can see for yourself, by signing up for a free newsletter that includes specials, coupons, and information on new products, as well as a free two week trial. If I were looking for a very formal preschool program, this is an offer I'd probably accept, as I always appreciate the opportunity to try before I buy. ;)

There are a variety of purchasing options but the basic rate is
Monthly kits: $30 for downloads, and $55 for printed. There are discounts for 3 month purchases as well as a complete 9 month purchase, and individual units may be purchased as well. For the month of  May, Ideal Curriculum is offering TOS Homeschool Crew followers a 10% discount on a first purchase by using the code: welovekids

As always, I hope that this review will help you decide where to best spend your homeschool budget, and what will work for YOUR family. For more TOS Crew opinions on Ideal Curriculum's Preschool program, head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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