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4 Stars Out Of 5
August 29, 2013
I have not done formal curriculum with my son yet, I purchased this material for first grade and we started it the beginning of July. I selected to not purchase a formal curriculum for kindergarten, but rather download a free scope and sequence and make sure we had all the goals met.
I was skeptical of purchasing this curriculum because of reviewers (on this site and elsewhere) said they felt the curriculum was difficult, and or would take two years to go through. Because I did not start with a formal program I was concerned that if this was too advance for a child who had already had a formal curriculum, then would my little man really be ready.
After exploring for weeks I decided to take the plunge and purchase this program, the math program, and the spelling program.
Before continuing with this review I would like to clarify a few things. First I do a lot of hands on teaching for science, history, and geography. I really wanted the phonics program to cover language arts, I wanted to teach punctuation, hand writing, reading comprehension... At the price many of these materials cost and because I do not want my children to become bored and feel over loaded with work I was looking for a more all in one curriculum. In our home we incorporate learning in all we do, weather making cookies in the kitchen, measuring laundry soap, gathering rocks into piles of five outside...I do not feel the need to sit down and make my child work for two- three hours straight. I wanted simple lessons that could be taught, and then applied into real life.
With the above in mind this curriculum is great for us. My son is learning to read, he is getting plenty of writing practice and he is learning all the foundation material that will be wonderful building blocks for his entire education.
He completes the Spelling, Math, and Phonics program in about an hour each day, if he applies himself it can be all done in around 30-45 mins. The phonics usually takes the longest at around 25-35 minutes.
The only cons to this program specifically is that many of the pictures do not make sense, it does require a parent being with the child explaining some of these concepts. Some vocabulary is old school, but I am all for that it just teaches a larger vocabulary and ultimately a better grasp on the English language. I would prefer some of the worksheets that are re enforcing concepts like hard and soft c, g be done a little differently. Mostly I wish they would spell the word below the pictures not just let the child see the picture. My reason for this is because some of the pictures they choose to use have a "s" and a soft "c" sound and it can get confusing. If they were looking at the picture and the word as well the concept is more easily comprehended. These cons are minor and easy for me to shift and change.
I imagine every program you use has pros and cons, at least with the cons on this program I can easily change it. For example I can write in the words :)
The only other complaint I have is they advertise there are flash cards, and there are not really. In the back of the teachers guide there are "flash" cards but they are just additional pages like a appendix . If they were made of card stock and perforated you could use them, other wise you have to copy them or write them out of flash cards yourself to be more usable.
This program is not perfect, but for me when all factors are considered I like it and my son likes it. We will continue using this program and I look forward to using it with the next two kids. I also love that I can buy just the work books for my other kids when they need them and not re invest in a entire new program.
Like the previous reviewer, my daughter has loved 1st grade phonics/reading with Horizons. The lessons are shorter then the K level and it seems easier for her to learn. She actually asked we not use this set for 1st grade after her experience with the kindergarten set but I had already ordered it. She changed her mind once we started it and now she LOVES it! I'd highly recommend the 1st grade curriculum. It's also very colorful and they learn skills such as writing stories and how to write a proper letter.
We are just finishing Horizons 1st grade in all subjects. All I have to say is wow! Our twin sons are excelling with the program. They are both fluent readers and seem at least a year ahead of other kids their age at church.
I really like that they are given a small section at a time and things are continually reviewed so they remember the concepts they learned months before. Unlike the Horizons Kindergarten, 1st grade phonics workbooks usually only have 2 pages of work a day. This seems much less overwhelming to our sons than the Kindergarten program where they might have 8 pages a day.
As typical for Alpha Omega products, there are some typos in the reader and occasionally in the workbook or teacher's book. Overall, I am very pleased with the product.