Review: Ideal Curriculum

5/06/2010
I have two young children who are Pre-K and K, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a curriculum designed just for that age group - Ideal Curriculum. I'll share a little about this curriculum, what I found "ideal" about it, and my final thoughts on the curriculum.

I received Month 1: Transportation theme. This unit includes art, science, dramatic play, and many other hands-on activities.

The monthly kits include:
  • Daily lessons and activities for literacy, math, calendar, oral language, and science/social studies
  • Teaching guides
  • Workbook
  • Music CD
  • Science, sight words, and concepts about print books
  • Supplemental activities

Skills Taught:
  • Letters and Sounds -Letter Names
  • Phonological Awareness -Listening Skills
  • Concepts About Print -Print is all Around
  • Sight Words -Name Recognition
  • Math -Rote Counting
Price:
  • $55 print version
  • $30 electronic version

This price is for one month worth of curriculum. You can save by ordering 3 months at a time or all 9 months at once.

Other monthly kit themes include:
  • Color
  • Weather
  • About Me
  • A Healthy Life
  • Animals
  • People in My Community
  • Traditions in Our Country
  • The World Around Us

The kits are all inclusive, but you can also order curriculum by subject.

Our Experience:

There are a lot of files (Music Files, Print Files, Read Files, Teacher Manuals, etc.) to go through, so I was a little overwhelmed at first. I decided to make this a week long theme (rather than a month), and just use what I liked from the materials. I pulled several lessons that appealed to me and jumped right in.

Here are a few of the lessons we did.

"Letter Lines" and "Vertical Lines Are All Around:"

For this "Letters and Sounds Lesson", I printed some diagonal, vertical, horizontal and curve printables to go along with the "Letter Lines" song and the lesson from the manual. We listened to the song on the computer and then I sang the verses to Eliana while she practiced writing.

I also printed a caterpillar set (composed of a straight and a curved caterpillar) and had her place the caterpillar horizontal, vertical, etc. To help her remember, I sang the verses from the song:
"A horizontal line goes side to side,

Side to side, side to side.

A horizontal line goes side to side.

It is laying down."

"Play Rocket Ship:"

In this math lesson, I was instructed to tell Malachi that he is an astronaut and that he has a secret mission. I told him to crouch down and get ready to blast off. Then together, we counted backwards from 10 to one and yelled "blast off!" This was great, because he did not know how to rote-count backwards from 10.
I printed two different sets of story sequence cards (a Science activity) and had Malachi put them in the correct order. I also printed and gave him an assessment.
We had a fun time reading the stories, listening to the songs, and more. We played the Sounds Bingo, where we matched a sound file to its correct picture. We also had a blast doing the "Animal Freeze Dance." It goes like this:
"Can you do the animal dance? Can you do the froggy hip hop? Can you hop up and down, can you jum all around, can you make your body flip flop? And now if you please, all the frogs freeze."
This was a song designed to teach listening skills. They made movements like the animals in the song, and then they had to freeze when the music stopped. I loved that it got my kids moving and learning to listen at the same time. I even had fun doing this with them.
I also really liked the stories. We read them on the computer, but they are very quick and have full color illustrations.
I really liked that this is a complete program all planned out for you. There are lots of hands on activities, printable files, music files, and stories to make this interesting. There are step by step instructions for implementing the curriculum and practical suggestions for practicing concepts throughout the day. We even learned our CBA's (The Backwards ABC's)!

What I did not like is that this was overwhelming. There are a lot of files to go through and implementing it requires a lot of teacher preparation - too much for just two children. It would have been easier to follow along if the files were linked in the teachers manual. Also, it seems geared towards a public school or classroom setting (this would probably work great in a homeschool co-op, though!). Finally, there are lots of files to print. The cost of paper and ink, and the expense of the curriculum is more than I would want to spend on a monthly basis.

Be sure to read my Crew mates reviews, when they are available, to see what they think of Ideal Curriculum.

I received month one electronic version of the lessons for the purpose of this review and no further compensation was received. In exchange, I offer my honest opinion and review. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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