How does LA compare with textbook/workbook curricula?
How does LA compare with Sonlight?
How does LA compare with KONOS?
How does LA compare with Weaver?
How does LA compare with Life in America?
How does LA compare with textbook/workbook curricula?
I. too, am using Abeka and have for the past 4 years. I have a 4th grader and a 2nd grader. It is SO much work and, well, BORING! I want more out of the time I spend teaching them. I don't want them to be like I was in school... regurgitating facts to pass a test. I want them to EXPERIENCE knowledge. (Michael in SC)
I was just getting so frustrated last year, with all the differing books per child per subject, as were our kids. (Toni)
We just dropped Abeka mid-year to do this because we were all beginning to hate doing school. LA has brought us closer and we are having a great time doing it. We just made pyramids out of legos this morning. I haven't played with Legos in years and I had as much fun as they did. What a refreshing change. We are still using Abeka math, but everything else is LA. We purchased The Golden Goblet (one of the required books) and everything else is from the library. MUCH, much cheaper than Abeka and OH, so much more fun! (Michael)
I'm fairly new to homeschooling and started out using a boxed curriculum (Calvert), and after 3 months I was ready to throw in the towel. I didn't start homeschooling so my kids could sit in a chair for 3-4 hours working out of boring workbooks. I wanted to get to know my kids and interact with them and learn all the things I forgot myself. When I ran across LA I was desperate to find something different and like you I didn't have the foggiest idea how to put a unit study together. This looks perfect. I couldn't put it down after I got it in the mail. (Maryanne)
You would love LA. We too used textbooks and were burned out hardly before holidays each year. We tried a unit study on the Little House books and we were hooked. I will tell you though-LA is the best laid one out there that I have seen, thus far. No planning and no searching for millions of books. The grammar, spelling, writing, Bible, literature, science, history-are all right there for you. Easy!! (Debra)
I was using Abeka and I will be starting Learning Adventures on Monday. I have been reading The Well Trained Mind in addition to going over and over again LA just to see if its standard are high enough. The vocabulary is incredible and the writing assignments are more then Abeka ever had. Depending on your child you might want to sup. with Daily Grams, my 3rd grader will use Abeka. (Tina)
See the first couple of pages of the website www.learning-adventures.org for some discussion about this.
How does LA compare with Sonlight?
I have used The Weaver and Sonlight, so can share my thought on them. I do think they are both excellent programs. For us, the Weaver was too much planning. They had a lot of information, but there were too many suggestions for me. Sonlight has wonderful living books and this is the part I love. I have tried to use Sonlights language arts, but have not been successful with it. I have taken and continue to take the parts from Sonlight that work well for my family, which are the history read alouds. They don't have the hands on that LA has. We have only been using LA for about a month, but I can say it has been much easier on me. No planning on my part except to have the things on hand that we will need and it is all listed in the beginning of the unit. I also think LA is easier to use with multiple age children, which I am doing. You can take the lesson plan and add more for older children or require less for the younger. It has simplified our days and we are loving it! (Karen in WA)
LA has more hands on, not as time consuming, more focused on Christianity- my children find LA much more fun (Stephanie)
You can still incorporate Sonlight's readers in this program as well as their mark-it map stuff. You'll see that the Bible and Science parts of LA are better integrated than Sonlight. (Donna)
I think many of us have already used Sonlight. I tried to use it on and off for two years. LA is really more comprehensive, chronological, same books, better organized, and MUCH easier to use. LA is also a literature based program.
So I have SL2, FT4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th incl. science and language arts on my bookshelf collecting dust. Every time I take them out to re-evaluate, I vote for LA hands down.
You can always incorporate what you like about SL into LA, but not vice versa. (Donna)
I used that too and had such a hard time keeping up to all of those books. I too did like some of it, but it was just a little too much reading and not much else. There weren't many projects or hands on things to do. (Foo Foo)
WOW, I just got my LA and I am so impressed! We have tried...Konos, Sonlight, a TOG waiter, and other stuff. I bought the Well Trained Mind and decided to become 'classical' to the extent of chronological history, notebooks, 'root words', but didn't know how to put it all together. You have done this for US!! Thanks so much... My 11ds is so excited, we have been reading together some of the activities, and reading and he can't wait to start. He informed his siblings that "we get to eat pomegranates, and use our hands, and make a river..." WOW! (Kathi)
How does LA compare with KONOS?
LA is all plannned for you and take almost no prep time - way less time consuming. Includes everything with nothing to add but math, is not open-ended like KONOS and doesn't leave gaps (Stephanie)
It is planned much better than KONOS. KONOS gives you a list of things to choose from and you have to break it down into how much you'll do and on what days - etc. This one tells you exactly what to do each day - even what to say and how to explain things. All the questions have answers listed and everything. It couldn't be laid out for you more than it is. (Peggy)
I was one of the eager for TOG people and grieved when it demised. I have used Konos, Sonlight, my own Unit creations, other mixtures of curriculum, and Well Trained Mind. With the exception of Sonlight, all of those required a "ton" of work. I hesitated to buy LA when I saw it advertised on Vegsource. I knew Robin Poppy (Hi Robin!) from a former Charlotte Mason loop and asked her for her "true" opinion. I was mostly influenced by her statement that one could pick it up and go!! and the fact she has a large family. The other factor is that LA is following History in a chronological order. I feel like it has given me some time back to enjoy the homeschooling experience. I do not have to spend all my spare time planning!! I am so thankful for that. (Christina)
I haven't reviewed KONOS for around five years now, BUT, I have an opinion from when we DID use it! Smile KONOS is good, BUT, I feel LA has it beat, and for this reason: LA goes through history chronologically! The children are not confused as to where we are in history.... And, Dorian has ALL the hands-on items needed listed very neatly at the beginning of the unit. (Deb from Nebraska)
Another Konos defector enjoying the decision-free method of LA! I love being able to just pick it up each day and do it! No pre planning, except to make sure you have the supplies on hand (they actually give you a day by day list!) I like knowing I've actually FINISHED something, which I never felt like I did with Konos! (Gina)
How does LA compare with Weaver?
I have used both and hands down I prefer Learning Adventures. I stopped to think about why and the reasons came flooding in. I am not saying that Weaver is a bad curriculum! I am just saying to compare the two, LA is so much more fun, much easier to use, more helps for us mom's teaching, less resources to search for, LESS expensive, more for your money, etc., etc.! Again this is my opinion. We used one volume of the Weaver years ago and it was just too much for me to do. I do not think we even completed it. When I think of Weaver, my first thought is "boy was that stuff expensive!"............I did buy the recommended books to go with the Volume. Then to know that I would spend that much again on the next volumes was way beyond what I cared to think of! LOL. I am sure since you are posting to the Learning Adventure list most would agree that LA is their preferred choice. So, if I seem partial to LA..........it is because I am. Surprised) In all honesty, I am not saying all this just because this is a LA list.........I would say this on any message board too. (Kelly)
I used Weaver for many years when I had 5 of my 6 at home. I had from K-12 at that time. I found it to be a lifesaver. But I think that it took more prep time, like library time, than I need to spend on LA. Because it was written to cover all ages, I did not need to adjust any of it. I like the format of LA where all you need is there and in one book. Weaver had 3-4 books to use. Wisdom words for language, day by day for the general instructions each day, the volumes were also needed for the lessons and then if you have 7-12 grades you had to have those to. I really liked Weaver, but it is very expensive and did have lots of prep time. I think that LA can be used with older ones with some adjustments that will not be too hard. (Cheryl)
I used Weaver for a couple of years. My kids were young at the time (3-9) and it did require more of my time to plan. It also gave a lot of choices for each level and subject, so I had to choose which ones we would use. At the time, it just didn't work for us. Maybe with older kids it would work better. I have only been using LA for about a month and am really loving having it all planned out for me. I do make adjustments when I need to, but it is so easy to do that with. (Karen in WA)
How does LA compare with Life in America?
I have used both LIA & LA - and they are both good programs. There are a few differences though.
#1 - Different ages? - LA is geared for 4th - 8th grades. The reason for that is that they met the objectives for language arts and science for 4th - 8th grades. LIA claims to be for K-12th - but they are mostly geared for about the same level (read the review in either Mary Pride's book or Cathy Duffy's which said the same thing - mostly geared for middle school/higher elementary). In order to have higher sciences with LIA you have to use supplemental CDs or programs. The language arts is supposed to transfer because you do the same activities on your own level - but you have to buy the handbooks that teach you how to do those assignments - and grammar is not covered adequately (in my opinion). The author said she did that on purpose and that the grammar gets covered as the series progresses.
LA teaches you all the language arts right in the book - so you don't *need* anything else. It starts off very easy and advances as the book progresses. The writing program is excellent -- the best I have ever used. The instructions are clear and easy to understand -- and there are even some examples to help guide you. Initially we continued with our grammar and spelling, but when I actually compared the two programs I saw that the grammar in AWOA matched up with the topics covered in the other program. The language arts also reinforces the science, history and literature from the rest of the program. It flows together so beautifully!! The spelling and vocabulary are more meaningful to my son. Instead of just memorizing the list and then forgetting it -- he now remembers and applies the lessons learned. Surprised)
I currently have a 1st grade boy and a 6th grade boy. We do Literature reading - some history - Bible, science projects and some art projects together. Then they do math and english at their own levels. In order to make it work for a higher level student - you use your own language and science. They can read higher level books and the author has included digging deeper activities for advanced or older students.
I should add that when people consistently complained that there wasn't enough for their younger children in LIA - and that they needed more language arts instruction - LIA is now making books to address these issues - they will still cost extra though.
#2 - Bible. LIA talks about God throughout the books - and does believe that history is His Story. LA does that as well - but also has a Bible section - where you are working on/out of the Bible every day. You read verses- memorize scripture - learn about how the Bible was translated... compare the myths with the true Bible account of creation.. There are lessons in LIA that don't even mention God. For example - I saw two in a row that are supposed to last 3 days each (if you finish each book in one semester) that have no Biblical content at all. When it is covered in LIA it is good - and they do a great job of delivering historically accurate information from a Christian perspective - but LA does have more Bible study included. It also has memory verses - which tie in perfectly with what we are studying. It is one more way that they see that God's Word applies to everyday life-- history & science.
#3 Lessons. LIA has lessons with 4 step methods and then activity choices for each step. This makes it very flexible to use - you can pick and choose the things you want to do. These lessons can take anywhere from 2 - 6 days or more - depending on the activities you choose and the ages of your children. Planning which activities to do and making sure that I covered enough was very challenging for me. I felt like I had to do it all. It was also hard to guage which activities would be appropriate for which ages. Was my 4th grader supposed to be able to do that? Or was that one of the ones designed for high school? LA has everything laid out in a day by day plan - what you need to say - questions - answers - activities. The things they list for a day are what they designed for you to do. You pick and choose books to supplement your study but the basic outline of what to do is already laid out for you. This saves you a lot more prep time. It also takes away a lot of the stress of a unit study. Dorian has already done all the planning and organizing.
#4 Re-use factor - Because LIA is arranged for K-12th grades to use - and there are many different levels of activities to choose from - you can re-use them once your child is done with the other books. Then they just do the higher level activities that were too hard for them the last time. LA is geared just for 4th - 8th grades - and the grammar meets the objectives for that level. Since there is only one set of daily activities and required books - it's not something you would want to do again - unless the child is just listening in (like a
Kindergartener for example). It is 180 daily lesson plans broken down into 6 sections. There are also people who use this with their whole families as a guide. The high school students have their own science & English programs - and use higher level books that flow along the same historical time period. They also have the digging deeper sections in the front of each section and can do more research type activities.
#5. Time Periods - The reason I chose LA over LIA last year was because I wanted to study the ancients. LIA does not have a book to cover this time period. LIA starts with 1000 AD & The Vikings. Then
you cover exploration - which does cover quite a bit of World History. Then the focus does become American History - though there is enough to count for a high school World History credit (according to NARS - a school that offers homeschoolers diplomas if they meet their criteria). LIA also offers a world history CD supplement for some volumes (that may be how they meet the standard). LIA plans to have 7
volumes - mostly based in AMerican History - with more world history in the last volume - A World at War.
LA starts with ancient Egypt. Then you cover all the way to the age of exploration in the first book. They plan to have five books to get all the way to the present.... again the second volume on will mostly cover American History - although World History will be involved as it applies. I like both these programs - and I bought a world HIstory Encyclopedia that I used with LIA - and I use as a supplement with LA to incorporate more information. It's a great way to involve more of that history even after the books start to focus more on American history.
They both cover history chronologically - which is something they have over many unit study programs. I believe that really helps you to understand cause and effect and how history builds on itself. They also both cover Greek and Latin root words which really helps with vocabulary.
LIA has some pictures to look at in their book (black and white). LA has some charts and timelines... but no illustrations.
As far as cost - LA costs $75 for one year (Most people use the library for the books - although one lady bought all the required books at Half.com for $35).
LIA costs $55 for a core book - the extras cost more (CDs are around $15 each (some core books use one CD - some use 6)/writing handbooks are around $18 each.. the science program is $30, the History CD is
$30, History of US books were around $18, I think.... The books to teach writing and grammar will run you arond $50 for the set.....Literature packs run around $30..... etc.) - It lasts anywhere from a semester if you follow the schedule to a year if they are younger and you go through it more slowly.
(Peggy in KS)
I presently use LA and have purchased LIA in the past....
In comparing the two for ease of use, I vote for LA. With LA I don't have to get language arts resources they are all in the curriculum. Also, there is no real planning or prep with LA. I like the whole thing because everything ties in. The bible ties in with the history and the science and the spelling etc. In trying to put together LIA I found too much for me to do. LIA looked very good!!!, but I knew I would not put it together. I really like the writing in LA. I know you said you would stay with your Language program, but the writing in LA has really helped my children improve. I like the way Dorian puts a biblical perspective on things like the Greek Gods etc. It has given me a greater understanding of the culture. (Stephanie)
I purchased a used copy of LIA at our homeschool store here in Houston, and simply never could get into it like LA. I have to admit that I had one of the copies that was full of errors, and that was an initial turn-off for me. It made me doubt the integrity of the research. I suppose that's not fair, since "typing" is a far different skill than research. Smile My bottom line: LIA really is good, but LA is much better.
I have other built in prejudices, I must admit. Dorian Holt's methods for taking children through the writing process are VERY similar to that taught by The Institute for Excellence in Writing. She actually takes the child through the writing process, rather than simply assign "creative" writing assignments. For this and other reasons, it's a much more "complete" program.
The lesson plans are very easy to follow. At the beginning of each unit, she reminds us what we will need for the entire unit, so that we can gather up those items ahead of time. Other than that, we just pick up the manual and "go." I can't sing it's praises highly enough. I knew when I purchased LIA that I was purchasing it as a reference book, since I knew myself well enough to know that I'm not organized enough to do unit studies and attend to other areas of our busy lives. I am very sure, however, that I WILL be able to do Learning Adventures. For me, that's the major factor in choosing between the two. It's not perfect, but it's closest to what I would have written. (Joni)
While I don't think I can do as good a job as Peggy with her comparison I'll share my experience with LIA. My family worked through vol. 1, vol. 2 & sortof vol. 3. I bought LIA sight unseen & all the recommended resources because we were leaving for Poland missionaries) & I needed everything. This was a decision that I have regretted (never used most of what was "required" & spent a great amount of $$$) and therefore was very cautious when buying LA. I felt that LIA was very weak on literature and supplemented a great deal with library books.
LIA strives to cover American history with some world history thrown in. They bill this as a unit study but frankly they fall far below my expectations for all subjects but history. I also feel that LIA would be better suited for a specific age range rather than K-12. Ellen Gardner has spent considerable time writing LIA & I think it would be an excellent history study for upper grades, especially high school. She covers so much information in such detail that an elementary child would get lost or bogged down. She also uses old-fashioned quaint text. While this is sound information oftentimes the children can't understand the wording & you find yourself rewording everything. I wanted the work done for me!!! Things like maps for geography work were not included. Bible is done sporadically as is other subjects. If you are looking for just a good high school level history course this is it otherwise look somewhere else.
LA, haven't used yet, but have read through. Well planned. Subjects well covered. Age appropriate. Science is as exciting as history. Best writing program I've seen. The only negative -- Dorian doesn't cover math!! (ROFLOL). (Susan B. in N)
LIA lists different activities for you to choose from, based on your child's learning style and your teaching style. However, instructions on how to do things are sparse at best!
The narrative written in the LIA books is very good and thorough, but I have found that it comes up short in applying the information to today. LA seems to make the connection better than LIA.
The activities we have done with LIA are so loosely related to the topic that they have held little to no educational value for my kids (of course, this might be my lack of teaching ability, which is why I like that LA is more thorough in this area).
Don't get me wrong -- LIA is a very good unit study, but it doesn't seem as *connected* as LA. (Donna in NJ)