Saturday, November 6, 2010

Starting Fresh with Illuminations

illuminations-logo-09 As part of the TOS Crew, I was thrilled to see one of my favorite companies, Bright Ideas Press listed as one of the companies that would be offering products for review. So I guess you could imagine my disappointment when I read the list of selected reviewers and my name was not to be found.

I consoled myself by deciding that I’d already used or owned all the Bright Ideas Press products that I was interested in. After all, we’ve owned and used The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide for years. I’d also used the Hands-On Geography book when the kids were younger and a few of the other products that they carry.

Several years ago, my husband had suggested that we give the Mystery of History a try but since my son was already past the 8th grade, I worried that it may be too young for them. However, after a friend recently invited us over for lunch and shared how she implements Mystery of History with her high school age children, I began to have second thoughts.

I didn’t go to lunch that day thinking that I needed a history program, but I was thinking it was time to make a few changes to our current homeschool lifestyle. At home I perused the Bright Ideas Press website and was thrilled to discover a high school level program that utilized Mystery of History and also combined Bible, Language Arts, Literature, Humanities, Geography and Life Skills. It is called Illuminations and it instantly appealed to me for several reasons.

  1. The majority of the scheduling and lesson plans are done for you, which thrills me. Plus, my kids are getting older and on occasion I do hear “Why do I have to do this, read this, etc.” I’ve decided by incorporating lesson plans from an outside source, I can eliminate some of the whining.
  2. Even though there are lesson plans, they are not rigid. They are totally customizable and I LOVE that aspect of the program. This means that though the authors suggest Writeshop I for Illuminations Year 1 (High School), I can easily substitute the program we are currently using for review purposes from the Write Foundation.
  3. The program is multi-level, which saves time, money and allows my children to enjoy learning  many subjects at the same time.  
  4. I already own many of the texts and books that are suggested for the program which include English from the Roots Up, Vol. 1 , The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide and Winston Grammar.   
  5. The literature recommendations are easily attainable through our local library and the supplemental movies are available through Netflix which we subscribe to.
  6. The program incorporates many of the aspects that I love and already practice including, reading great literature and creating notebooks.
  7. The emphasis is on history, from a Christian worldview, a subject that my kids love.
  8. There are craft projects available and scheduled for you if you desire to incorporate them.

Excitedly I showed my husband what I had discovered and within minutes he had handed me our debit card and told me to purchase the first semester by instant download so we could get started right away. I couldn’t be happier! It is with incredible excitement that the kids and I will once again incorporate a structured program as part of our school days and I can’t wait to share with all of you how the coming weeks progress. 

How is your year going so far? Are you happy with the selections that you made or do you also feel that you need to make a change?

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