New...Why does everyone use multiple curriculums for one subject? Help!


#1

Hi!

Thanks in advance for the help…

Background: I’m a mom of three, frustrated with the public schools and ready to start homeschooling my youngest two in August. (My oldest is in 10th grade, all AP and wants to finish high school at her public school) Our “littles” are in 1st grade and 4th grade. Both are gifted and are having trouble fitting in to the standard curriculum set for them in our state. The teachers have told me, based on class sizes (30+) it’s too difficult to help them individually with more challenging work. While they go to “gifted” class once a week, it’s just not enough. So, here we are…

Question:While I research like crazy (and I love this blog- thank you!), I like looking over everyone’s full curriculum choices… to see what it looks like, what might be good choices for us, etc. I _thought_I would like to pick and choose what works for them in each subject instead of an “all in one” like A Beka. However, I’m so overwhelmed on ONE thing….Why does everyone seem to choose more than one brand for each subject? Is it not possible to just choose Math Mammoth, or Math U See, etc.? Any suggestions on being able to choose just one, or do you feel it is important to combine two or more? Am I overshooting for the first year and should go with a boxed set like Sonlight? Is there a place to physically look them over? The library? Are most there? A book store?

Note: While I have looked at purchasing the Homeschooling 101 book, I’m not sure it’s for me yet. Looking over Erica’s curriculum choices on the blog, I’m really overwhelmed. I’m not a Type A with schedules, calendars, journals and more. I LOVE her style, but I don’t think it’s going to work for us.

Thanks! You all are wonderful! I’ve read a lot on here and this is my first post. Even being sacred and confused, having a supportive community makes it seem possible…:worried::relaxed:


#2

I am interested to see what responses you get bc I am right there with you my eldest is in 9th all AP and my two other school aged are in 2nd and 4th. I will be pulling my 2nd out and maybe my 4th as well I’m so overwhelmed with all the curriculum but I know for sure I will be using math.u.see! I love that they test them for placement on the website. Now reading and writing I am lost with.


#3

HI @jenhere! I remember starting out and wondering the exact same thing! We are finishing up our 5th year homeschooling (and I still feel very new to it! :slight_smile: ) I think one of the reasons families might use more than one curriculum for a subject is because one is more exhaustive while the other gives a good overview of the subject. Each subject is different. For math, for example, one curriculum might be the “main” curriculum while the other offers supplementary/additional practice. Of course another reason is because one child might excel with one type of curriculum while their brother/sister does better with something else. It took me awhile to see the differences in how my children learn, and we still try to combine everything we can (science, history, Bible, character, etc.), but they each (grades 2 and 4 this year) have their own math program. Also, my oldest does a more detailed grammar program (while my 2nd grader just doesn’t need that yet). And they each have their own spelling because my 2nd grader is right on par with the 2nd grade spelling level while my 4th grader is spelling beyond high school level (not because of any doing on my part–she is just a voracious reader and picks up so much that way).

I think using more than one curriculum for a subject can easily become overkill, yet sometimes I find myself just loving two programs and not wanting to choose, so I use both and alternate them (which, again, is probably overkill for my kids, so I try not to do that too much).

As far as starting off with a boxed set the first year, some may say that’s a great idea. I think it depends on the type of material you choose. I LOVE the look of Sonlight, but I have heard it is a lot (like a lot, a lot) of reading aloud, and even seasoned homeschoolers might have trouble fitting everything in while not feeling overwhelmed. Another option would be to buy materials that include several subjects, but just not all. This would be like finding a program that covers all Language Arts together (reading, writing, spelling, good literature, handwriting/copywork practice, etc.). Also, many programs will combine History with Bible (if you are looking for that) and even Art (what art was like during that historical period). And many will combine Science with Nature study. There are a lot of good options for these areas and maybe that would offer a way to choose only two or three different programs while still covering every area.

Ambleside Online is a free site that offers everything you need planned out from 1st grade to 12th grade. Many people like using this, and it might be a gentle way to begin a homeschool journey. This site does combine several subjects within literature options.

Other all/multi-encompasing programs I have looked into are Trail Guide to Learning (which is what we are using now and love it!), Winter Promise, Wayfarers, and Simply Charlotte Mason. There are lots of others, but these are the ones I have used and/or looked into in detail. Beautiful Feet Books also has some nice sets (we are using their composer study for next year).

I hope these ideas help somewhat. :slight_smile: We have been helped SO much by the other homeschoolers on this site. So many of the choices we use/are going to use have come from ideas I found here. I hope you’ll get more ideas here, and best of luck as you plan!


#4

Another place to check is mylittlepoppies.com – her whole blog / website is about her journey homeschooling her 3 gifted kids. She shares a lot of learning and teaching strategies and curriculum reviews.


#5

Something that I have contended with is fear. I wonder am I doing everything that I can? What if I add this, will my kids learn more or will they be “behind” if I don’t do this? Everyone else is using this product, it must be great. Sometimes looking at what others are doing is kinda like looking at Pinterest :slight_smile:

For history I love history, so we do have several options and I’m ok with that.
Currently my daughter has 1 math, 1 spelling, 2 grammar, and for the most part 1 history spine. My son has 1 each except he loves to listen to life of fred math so we include that too. There are times that I want them to have more practice with something so I will include something from an extra curriculum but not everyday.

@Forchristandkids gave some great options for all/multi-encompassing programs. We have used some or all of three of them, Ambleside Online, Simply Charlotte Mason and BF books.

If there is a convention near you this spring or summer that would be a good time to look over in person different curriculum. You can YouTube choices for a visual review. Cathy Duffy gives an in-depth review online (you do not have to buy the book, you can look online) and Exodus Books also has a nicely detailed description/review on many different curriculum.


#6

Thank you for the wonderful, detailed replies! It really helped me understand something: while I read a lot of folks curriculums that include more than “1” of each subject, it doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong if we only use “1”. Also, if I choose to add another “brand” of curriculum for a subject, it’s not going to be too much. It can just be enrichment. :slight_smile:

I am so glad I found this forum! Thank you again!


#7

Hi Jen,

I’m nearing the end of my homeschooling journey (my “baby” is a senior this year!). I remember starting out and reading about all these people doing two math curricula and thinking, “that sounds great! I like math, and love the idea of getting the strengths of two different styles of math and how well-rounded my kids’ education will be…” Then came reality–my child didn’t want to do two full math curricula! It was overwhelming to both of us.

Then I realized that there really are lots and lots of people just using one math (and one of other curricula too)–it’s just that the voices of those doing something different tend to stand out and it can make it seem like “everyone” is doing that.

Choose things that interest you, and try them out–I encourage you to choose just ONE for each subject as you get your feet wet this year. Use each thing you buy for a good trial time before you decide to change it up or add to it. Your kids will thrive at home–enjoy that time together, learning and exploring together–and don’t worry about what it seems like others are doing or not doing. Have fun! I hope you have a great first year!


#8

HI! I wanted to reccomend my favorite website, Timberdoodle.com to you! Last summer I was terrified when thinking of homeschooling(and it was just Kindergarten and Pre-K!) A friend told me about Timberdoodle and it has been the best resouce and starting point for me! They are a company that takes what they consider the best of cirriculem for each grade and put it in a kit. So it’s a boxed cirriculem but not in the traditional sense. For example, in their 1st grade kit the standard recommendation is Math-u-see for math, apologia for science, and story of the world for history. They also give you the option to customize a kit and give you other options if you don’t like the standard choice. It also love that they are very hands on with Stem and crital thinking games. Plus they give you a handbook with a checklist style schedule! Anyway I hope it’s helpful to you! We only use one math curriculum per kid, my 6 year old does math-u-see and loves it! I’m like you you, I’m not a super scheduler (Erica is amazing with the schedule!) but it’s defiantly not how life flows for us now. :slight_smile: I hope that is helpful to you, you can do it!


#9

I continue to be amazed at the support and kindness from you all. Thank you again! I’ve already started narrowing down some choices. May even visit the Convention in Greenville tomorrow to check some things out. We live in Atlanta, so it’s a two hour drive for me. I think it will be worth it to get a “hands on” look at things. There’s one here too…but it’s not until July 27th! That seems way too late since we’d like to start school in August. Thoughts?


#10

I decided that I really needed to look things over in person, so I took the day and traveled over to Greenville for the SEHC. It was WELL worth it and I’m so glad I went! My advice to any new Homeschooling mom would be to go to an Expo/Convention before choosing curriculum. Of course, my time on this forum, researching online and having at between 1-3 choices for each subject was very helpful before attending. Otherwise, I think it’s too overwhelming to get your bearings while there. Here’s how it went for me:

Before: Once I decided to Homeschool for next school year (August 2017) (It is now March 2016, however I was fully committed in February), I began researching online for help. I think you can purchase some wonderful books… Homeschooling 101 got great reviews. I was able to figure it out without needing one, although I still may purchase before the school year starts. Here’s the order I think I would’ve preferred to see it all in, but I didn’t! (I’ll explain why below)

  1. Homeschool Approaches [I found homeschool.com helpful] (http://www.homeschool.com/new/difstyles.asp#) Which teaching style is for you?..this is how you want to homeschool

  2. Once you decide the Approach you like, remember it, but don’t worry about choosing a curriculum that MUST follow it (This was stressful for me. I realized later that having a general idea of how I wanted to homeschool was important, but curriculum that worked for my kids was more important…I still think you should know your favorite approach first- for clarity- many of the curriculums you’ll be choosing from will use these terms, such as Charlotte Mason, or Classical, etc.)

  3. Curriculum Search in Homeschool Forums: I :heart_eyes: COAH forum, just search at the top for “curriculum” or “curriculum choices” The most helpful for me were the posts where people posted their entire subject list for the year, along with supplements. It gave me brands to look at and a peek into which ones were popular. There are other forums online that are helpful too. My belief is always to garner the wisdom of others who have more experience and forums are the best places to get it. There’s an anonymity to it, where I believe most are really honest about what they like and don’t like.

  4. Seek Out Friends: I only have one friend that homeschools, but if you have a few (or many!), go and observe. My friend has a wonderful espresso machine, so I brought pastries and we made a fun morning of my “observation.”:coffee: After watching her “in action,” I was able to get a better grasp of “a day in the life of…” :relaxed: I did not choose her curriculum, but it was a very detailed view of all materials. If you have many friends, you may want to choose ones that have curriculum that looks interesting to you as a bonus.

  5. Website, Reviews, and YouTube, Oh My!: This part took the longest. Once I had a list of all the brands I was interested in, I dug deeper to narrow my list to 2-3 of my favorites for each subject AND also a few of the “All in One” brands. Don’t discount one or the other! (I’ll explain why in the big reveal at the end) :wink: I can’t direct you to any of the specific brands websites, as you’ll have to Google them, however, after everything, most of the brands I liked were part of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks, so it’s a good place to start. You can buy the book, but they are also listed with an :apple: under each subject. She gives a very detailed review of each. I found the most “user reviews” on TheHomeschoolMom.

  6. Write or Print Your List: Erica (this site) has forms that come with her book for Homeschool Planning. They look amazing! I was in a rush (see #7) and had to use this free form.

During:
7. Go to a Homeschool Convention or Expo Near You: By the time I got to researching this step, I realized the one closest to me (Atlanta) was July 27th–well that was WAY too late for me! The next closest location (2 hrs from me) was in two days! :scream: All the rest were very far and/or I had schedule conflicts. So I decided to GO FOR IT! I worked it out so I could leave early in the morning, go for the day and be back by dinner. :sunrise: I know not everyone can do that, so plan accordingly! I’ll go into detail in #8, but Erica’s video was great for planning before I left. I saw moms dragging tired, sad kiddos around and was thankful for her tip about signing your kids up for activities there or leaving them at home with someone.

8… Homeschool Convention or Expo Path of Action: These events are usually multi-day, with many speakers, seminars, etc. if you’ve never homeschooled before, they could be very helpful. Or very overwhelming! :laughing: You should decide if you’d like to attend the entire event, or just visit the Exhibition Hall, where all the Curriculum Vendors are located. I was only able to go for the day and my mission was to look at curriculum ONLY, so that was my choice. Typically, the entire event is a certain amount :moneybag: and there is an option for just paying to see vendors. For this one is was $18 online or $20 at the door. I paid $20 and it was well worth it.
I decided I had all day, so no rush and it worked well. I wore a backpack with my curriculum brand favorites, a pencil, my phone, water and a few snacks. You should bring cash, check and cards, but all items I bought took cards. I think best order is: 1. Subject Brands you’re interested in 2. All in One’s 3.Brands you did NOT have one your list 4. Fun extras! :tada:

9… Talk to Vendors in Depth: Talk to each brand’s representatives. They are excited to show you everything! Have them show you how a typical day/lesson works, how long it takes to use their products, examples of kids work associated with it (many had this), look over all materials, how do you know which level/s?, cost, are there any convention specials?(most have free shipping and some have a % discount if you buy there) DON’T BUY ANYTHING YET! Make sure you visit all you’re interested in and then look at some you haven’t heard of some you thought would not be for you…just wait for my big reveal below!:fireworks: Don’t look at fun stuff yet. After this step, leave. Yes, I said leave. Important: Leave the Expo Hall…NOT the convention! Just go into a quiet hallway outside the room, outside or even in your car, maybe during lunch? You need to digest everything you saw, heard, read.

10… FUN Stuff!: Once you’ve digested it all and best case scenario, maybe, fingers crossed, have a clearer idea of what brand/s you want to go with (or at least don’t like!)… go back in for fun! We all love to come home with a few fun things, right? :sparkles:Note here: if you are solid and plan on 100% going with your selected brand/s, and think this is close to the best pricing, you could purchase first and then look at fun stuff. I was not purchasing, just viewing, so this didn’t apply to me :sparkles: I bought an Usborne Cookbook for Kids, a fun art book, some morning work “busy time” activity books and signed up for an Odyssey Kids Club Online subscription. They had amazing bonus items for signing up (3 free books, audio cd set, magazine and dvd, handed to me right there!) and it’s month to month, so no worries if we don’t like it! (No, I don’t work for them or get paid, haven;t even tried it yet…it was just pretty unbelievable!)

After:
11… Typical Day, Planners, School Rooms, etc: Remember at the very tippy top where I said, I’ll explain why I didn’t do it in this order, but I wish I did ?? Here’s why: This is one of those things that’s great in theory but I probably won’t get to you in time! :laughing: In any case, during my research phase and in between, I got consumed by all the other stuff…planning my day, what our schedule would look like, organizers, school room layouts, storage, school hauls, etc…I could go on and on. It was a real time suck. I WISH I had saved all that for now, when I KNOW what curriculum we’re doing and that is all “gravy” so to speak. (Can you tell I’m a Southerner?) :peach: Now I’m excited to look at all that! Try not to get pulled in while you are figuring out approaches and curriculums!

12…:fireworks:BIG REVELATION:fireworks:: At the end of the day, with all my research, approaches, etc. it all came down to what worked for my family. (Which is what all these amazing mom’s on COAH forums told me!) But, like Dorothy, I had to find it for myself. :boot:If you’ve been kind enough to follow this whole story, you’d probably like an ending…I’ll give you one with the caveat that it works for ME and you have to find what works for YOU.
I was going with an eclectic biblical based approach. I thought I wanted to use a different brand for each subject to best tailor to my two kids, for each of their needs. Using a singular brand if possible for a few subjects to teach both. I had choices I loved before going to the Expo (a few that were not there)…but when I got my choices in my hands and talked to the reps, I realized they weren’t for us.
Example: Apologia Science. So many people love it and even looking at the materials, it was beautiful, easy to use and loved it. I loved that it was K-5/6 too, so both my kiddos could use it. However, I really wanted to incorporate some Earth Science this year. My youngest LOVES geology. It is not included in their current elementary series. For the Earth book, they focus on Botany. Yes, I could’ve added supplements and that was my plan…until the writing brand I loved… I’ll skip the brand name, but it’s fabulous and I think I might try or add it next year. This year it was too complicated for me. The rep had to explain it twice and the books were not intuitive for me.
And on and on…I’d fine one thing worked and not another. :frowning:There were brands I totally discounted before going…but when I looked at them, I really liked them. Not a perfect fit, but so glad I was able to see them in person. My Father’s World was one of these. I’d also never heard of a few that I loved: Notgrass History! We are not old enough for it. The materials and prices were outstanding. In fact, I don’t know how they sell it so low for all the beautiful, color pictures. I checked out individual subjects and “all in ones”. I wasn’t set on doing one or the other, but was leaning towards different brands because finding an all in one that worked was proving tough.
Getting ready to leave when I made a last stop at a brand I had heard of, (It’s on Cathy Duffy’s Top 102 list) but it wasn’t on my list. Trail Guide to Learning. I won’t go into the details, but the more I looked through it, the more I realized THIS IS IT. I couldn’t believe I was choosing an all in one!! It worked BEST for us. I liked the approach (CM) but mostly the style (I could understand it and it looked fun), schedule, both my kids could use it (extensions avail for older and younger) there is a bible component you can add, and the only thing separate was Math (I really like Math Mammoth & Beast Academy) For extra morning or afternoon time, I may add some extra handwriting, art, music, science fun, etc. (these are already included) but I am SO HAPPY with my choice and I hope this path leads you to the same result. I decided my first year of HS (for my kids and myself) :sunglasses: needed to be rigorous enough that I felt they were learning and challenging themselves, but not boring and complicated for both of us. You will know too. Go with your feelings.

I hope this helps in the process of new homeschoolers choosing a curriculum. My sincere appreciation to all the moms on here who helped me with this process. I still plan to go to the Atlanta Convention in July to go to the workshops. If time and budget allowed, I think it’s the perfect situation. An Expo in the spring for curriculum and and one in the summer for learning, support, ideas, etc. and maybe more fun buys too! :yum:

*These are my personal ideas. They won’t work of everyone. Certainly time and money are factors. I didn’t want to go through the headache of buying used this year, but may consider it next year. Go with what works for you. Good Luck!

Hugs,
Jen


#11

Hi @jenhere
It was so exciting to read your story!! I couldn’t wait to see what you chose! HAHAHA!! I’m so excited for you that you found Trail Guide to Learning and I can just feel how ecstatic you are!! I love, love the look of TGTL. Right now my oldest is too old for it, and my youngest kids are too young! But, I have it on my radar for use in a couple of years! Congrats on your choice!
Jen


#12

@momof3 that’s so awesome! It was a really detailed journey but I was hoping to help someone else in my position soon. :slight_smile: Glad you enjoyed. TGFL has new extension packs for younger (K-2) and older (6-8) depending on which series you choose. I know Paths of Exploration has both. They also told me the newest edition Paths of Settlement was coming out with a younger extension very soon. I saw today on their website that if you sign up to be notified when the new version comes out in April, they will send you a 20% off coupon. I’m hoping that’s off anything on their site! If you click on POS, there’s a place to add your email. Hope that helps! I’m excited to see more of what everyone chooses for next year. It’s fun! :gift:


#13

Hi Jen!
I think for the most part people do just one curriculum per subject, but sometimes they’ll find some places where that curriculum is needing a little supplement. In that case they’ll add in an extra side-supplement to help make it better. Unfortunately after 11 years of homeschooling I haven’t found one curriculum that’s so amazing I wouldn’t change anything about it. I think they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

For our curriculum this year, we’re pretty much only doing one thing for each subject. In the past I’ve blended together Abeka with All About Spelling simply because I prefer the AAS lessons and phonics rules, but like the worksheets that Abeka provides to help show my kids they can do work independently without me guiding them.

Since it’s your first year I would NOT suggest doing two curriculum for one subject simply because I think it’s unnecessary and you and your kiddos will be overwhelmed. I would pick one thing per subject and then at the end of the year you’ll know what you like/dislike about the curriculum and can change what needs to be changed at that time.

The Homeschooling 101 book isn’t really “my” style, it’s more of a step by step to getting started. It lists several different curriculum per subject to help give you a starting point for your research, and it also tells you what to teach each year etc. It does cover some scheduling as well, but you don’t have to follow that exactly either. It’s more of a guide book to help you find your own groove and get going, not a direct reflection of my particular style if that makes sense :slight_smile:
Hope that helps :slight_smile:


#14

Thank you Erica for the detailed reply! It’s wonderful that you really assess every child each year and decide what’s best for them. I hope to do the same.

This year I’ve settled on Trail Guide For Learning’s Paths of Exploration for an all in one curriculum approach. I’m hoping their planning will be helpful for our first year as newbies! As it does not cover Math, we are using Math U See. I may add grammar for my 5th grader, but not until January as we see how we’re doing.

We also have Life of Fred, Minecraft Math, Fashion Through the Ages, Fill In Comics, some handwriting books, etc. that are just for downtime when I’m working with one child or the other. The kids helped picked these and are really excited to use them! :orange_book::blue_book::green_book::closed_book:

Thank you for the insight on Homeschooling 101. I’m going to get it as a reference. Thank you for this amazing and inspiring site! I also love your YouTube videos! :slight_smile:


#15

Can you post some more info about the Trail guide to Learning resource and how it works so well for your family? I’m just moving into a more solid Charlotte Mason method this next year for school and I was debating getting the lesson plans from the Simply Charlotte Mason website and using our local library and kindle for the books. I used A Beka this last year with the video streaming and it just didn’t work for us. We had to adapt and change method for each one of my kids except for my 5 year old. My 4th grader needed a different math, language arts, and spelling approach that didn’t fit. My 1st grader seemed bored with the videos most days and would drift off. We needed more flexibility too and have learned to use the parts that are working “best” for us right now with the curriculum just because it cost us so much and I refuse not to get use out of it. We shortened our days and include more outside time and we even change our hours sometimes so they have changes that challenge them. I’m looking now to use just the CM method this next year and use lessons that follow that method but with all the options, it’s hard to narrow it down.


#16

@HeatherSmith Hello! We are using Trail Guide for the first time this year (our 5th year homeschooling). My 4th grader does the main curriculum and my 2nd grader uses the K-2 extension materials. It is a wonderfully put together program. We typically do the Copywork, Reader books, Read Aloud book, and the Word Study (grammar) sections in the morning. Then, after lunch, we come back and do the remaining sections, which might include science, history, geography, art, writing, and some other fun review materials.

We use several other things alongside it (not because it is lacking whatsoever, but because we love a few other things we were using and didn’t want to give those up). So in the morning we also do Bible (sometimes using the Light for the Trail materials from Trail Guide) and an enrichment subject (either art, nature study, hymn study, or poetry). In the afternoon we add our foreign language (Chinese), math, and additional language arts: My 4th grader uses an additional spelling program because she excels in this and loves a challenge, although she also does the Challenge spelling words in Trail Guide too. My 2nd grader is still working through All About Reading for his reading instruction. Now that we are getting into our last few weeks of school, we will drop all of our “extras” and just use Trail Guide every day.

My 2nd grader loves the extension materials. It offers some wonderful, more kid-oriented books that coincide with the main materials. My daughter also reads the Middle School readers.

I really can’t recommend it highly enough–it has been a huge blessing on our year. We have also been incorporating more CM style in our days. I am considering Ambleside Online for when my youngest (now 4 years old) reaches Kindergarten/1st grade and for when my older two are finished with all of the Trail Guide Levels (a few years from now).

We have also had days where we use just parts A-D of Trail Guide one day and then parts E-G the next day. This allows us to break up the longer Read Aloud book into two days of reading, and it also gives us more room to include our extras that we enjoy so much. We are using Simply Charlotte Mason’s Hymn Study materials as well as their Poetry resource (Robert Louis Stevenson this year). For Nature Study, we are using Enjoying Nature with Children, and it is closely related to the CM approach, too.

Please let me know if I can answer any other questions for you about Trail Guide. There is a wonderful Facebook page for users of the materials, too! :hibiscus:


#17

Thank you for the detailed response! We received all the materials a few weeks ago (for next year) and they look wonderful and easy to use.
Just FYI- I was a little disappointed that I felt I had called/emailed serval times to make sure the complete package was “complete”, aside from math. When they arrived (I ordered the main curriculum and the K-2 extension) I was sad to see that the K-2 extension requires you to purchase Learning Language Arts thru Literature for language arts. We did and it’s no problem, however after spending so much $ and being told it is everything you need besides math, it was a hassle. When I inquired about this, they apologized and offered free shipping on the LLAL. Just a heads up so anyone purchasing the K-2 extension knows that you will need to spend another $80 on your language arts. And yes, you do not HAVE to use it, but it’s literally written into all the curriculum so it would’ve been tough to use something else. Especially if you are looking for a “one and done” approach.
We are using Math U See for the math portion for my 2nd and 5th graders. The great part is that other than purchasing some “busy” books for them to use while I work with the other one, we have everything now! :slight_smile:

Will keep you all posted next year…


#18

Yes, the program is complete for the main curriculum (for 3rd to 5th graders), not requiring an additional language arts program, but not so for the K-2 students. I believe what they recommend is the Learning Language Arts through Literature. We use AAR though and are able to substitute it out with no trouble. I think LLATL is less expensive than AAR though, and GeoMatters does sell the LLATL themselves (whereas they don’t sell the AAR program). I hope you really enjoy it! Best wishes on your upcoming year!!