Friday, September 9, 2011

Illuminations and Our Current Curriculum

For a while now I have been meaning to post about what we are using for curriculum this year.  In the spring, I learned of a curriculum I hadn't heard of before: Illuminations by Bright Ideas Press.  Right away it looked like something I might be interested in.  I liked the idea of all of the kids working on the same thing.  Last year I had too many different things going on and I wanted us to be mostly on the same page as a family.

You can watch this video for an overview of what is covered in Illuminations

I purchased both levels of Illuminations 1.  The younger level covers grades 3-8 with included lessons for early learners) and the upper level covers high school. You can download samples from the website.

Illuminations 1 uses The Mystery of History as the "spine" of the curriculum.  In grades 3-8 lessons are provided for Bible, Literature, Writing, Spelling, History, Grammar, Biology, English from the Roots Up, Copywork, Geography and Humanities. When you purchase Illuminations you are buying the lessons but the books do not come with it.  Many of the literature titles are available through my local library so I didn't have to purchase very many. I already owned English From the Roots Up, The Ultimate Guide to Geography and Natural Speller so I had a bit of a head start.

You can pick and choose to use as much or as little as you want to use.  Each week I have a pdf schedule grid with all of the available lessons.  I can add to or change anything I want and then save it.  When I choose to change things in the grid I don't lose the original so I can feel free to change things around at any time and still be able to go back to the original.

This video will show you more about the Illuminations program which is available as a download (what I did) or on CD.

 This is what we are using:

Ryan (6th grade)

Illuminations copywork
Illuminations Literature Guides for Read Alouds and Read Alones
Write Shop (Illuminations lessons)
Natural Speller (Illuminations lessons)
Mystery of History (Illuminations lessons)
Easy Grammar 6 (Illuminations lessons)
Christian Kids Explore Biology (Illuminations lessons)
English from the Roots Up (Illuminations lessons)
The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide (Illuminations lessons)
Teaching Textbooks 6 (not a part of Illuminations)
In addition, we will cover physical education, health education and various other topics particularly things I get to review on the TOS crew.

Emma (3rd grade)

Illuminations copywork
Illuminations Literature Guides for Read Alouds and Read Alone
Winning with Writing (not included in Illuminations)
Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary (not included in Illuminations)
Growing with Grammar (not included in Illuminations)
Mystery of History (Illuminations lessons)
Christian Kids Explore Biology (Illuminations lessons)
English from the Roots Up (Illuminations lessons)
Hands On Geography (Illuminations lessons for Early Learners)
Life of Fred Elementary series and Daily Word Problems
(Emma will also cover the subjects above I mentioned for Ryan)

For my High School Students:

Rachel (11th grade)
Illuminations Literature Guides for Read Alouds and Read Alone
Write Shop (Illuminations lessons)
Easy Grammar Ultimate (no lessons do one page a day)
Mystery of History (Illuminations lessons)
Apologia Physical Science (I prepared the lessons for this)
English From the Roots Up (Illuminations Lessons)
The Ultimate Geography and Time Line Guide (Illuminations)
Business Math (Paces)
Spanish (Mango Languages)

Kaitlyn (9th grade)
Katie is using the same curriculum as Rachel except she is taking
Life of Fred Beginning Algebra 
French in 10 Minutes a Day

(Kaitlyn and Rachel will both study other topics including health and PE and parts of the Life 101 course also included in Illuminations.)

I have other children that are not using Illuminations but I'll discuss that in another post. In the coming weeks I hope to share about some of the curriculum I listed here and how we like it. I also hope to share about what the other children are doing.

We have completed 5 weeks of Illuminations and I just love it.  I love the convenience of the schedule grids and I love the curriculum. We have really been enjoying the literature choices too. I was really worried just before school started that I had made a mistake and should have just stuck to what I already knew (mainly unit studies) but I am so happy that I purchased this.


Noteable Scraps said...

Thanks for all the info! Already following.

Karen said...

Thank you. I'm following you on networked blogs now.

brandyb said...

This looks so good, I'm thinking about using it next year. I am using Winning with Writing this year and it is going well! How do you like Growing with Grammar? I'm already following you!

Karen said...

Brandy, I really like Growing with Grammar. I won the set at a Facebook party or I never would have tried it. We've mostly used Easy Grammar. I like the Spelling book too.

I don't know if I'm following you. When I click on your name it doesn't show your blog. I have the same problem with mine. If you figure out how to get your blog to come up let me know because I've tried all week to fix that.

Anna said...

I loved reading about your curriculum! Following from TOS.

Karen said...

Thanks Anna. I'm already following you.

Berry Patch said...

I would love to hear more about Growing with Grammar. I've been eyeing that along with their spelling program. I own all the Easy Grammar books (the old 2/3, 3/4, etc. ones) from 2nd grade to high school so obviously I don't want to dump something I have. However, it looks really, really good! The grass always has to appear greener doesn't it? It sounds like you have a great schedule going! ;-)

Very Blessed Mamma said...

I have used many of these products before but not all together in Illuminations.

it looks like fun!

I am now following you.

You can find me at:

Karen said...

@Berry Patch... I am following you now. I will have to do a review of Growing Grammar soon.

Doreen said...

My son is in 6th grade too and we started using Easy Grammar - Daily Grams this year. He likes it and it helps him keep sharp on his grammar. We used to use MOH also, but now we use America the Beautiful and like it a whole lot! I'm following you on GFC now and I hope you'll follow me back. Blessings,

Karen said...

Thanks for stopping by Doreen. I'm already following you.

brandyb said...

Here's a link to my blog...GFC does that to me sometimes too!

Heather said...

I loved reading your post! I am so glad Illuminations is working well for you. We use it and I tend to use some parts ...and add in things, and basically, make a big mess, but it works for us:) I like how organized you have it all! We are doing MOH Volume 2, but many similar items. I just got the life of fred, too! Are you an affiliate for Illuminations? You should sign up if not! It is definitely a fun program we think, too:)

Ammy said...

Following from Abundantly blessed. Have a great year!

Karen said...

Heather, I'm not an affiliate and I'm not really sure I want to be. :) I will have to look into it.

Ammy, I am following you now too. Thanks for posting (and following).

DaLynn said...

Going to follow you! We are finishing ILM1 after a leisurely stroll through it, and are trying to decide between years 2 or 4 for the fall. I've 5 kids including year-old twins, so I'm looking forward to seeing how you manage all the levels! Have a great year! ~DaLynn

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...