Ideal Curriculum recenently sent some of the Homeschool Crew the first month of their Preschool Curriculum. My Schnickelfritz is beyond this stage, so most of this review is based solely on my reading the materials, not on actual use.
The Level 1 curriculum is divided into nine month-long lesson plans for math, literacy, and science/social studies . This last category has a theme of the month (month 1 is about transportation). Other topics include health, color, weather, animals, and people and traditions of the community. This is not a unit study approach as far as I can tell. In other words, the literacy lessons have no reference to the transportation theme. The monthly lessons need to be done in order as concepts and skills build on themselves.
This program appears to be designed for use in preschools or day care centers. There are some role playing activites that require more than one child. The teacher's manual often directs you to "seat the children in a semi-circle around you," and uses terminology like "diologic reading." If I were a first-time homeschooling mom, I might be intimidated by the educational lingo or the assessment sheets.
I don't believe that preschool learning needs to be this structured. We spent our time snuggling on the couch reading Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Blueberries for Sal. Math and counting came naturally as we stacked blocks and arranged matchbox cars. I wanted to foster a love for learning, not learn anything specific. But if you are a first time homeschooler with truly no idea of what to do first, you may appreciate the planning Ideal Curriculum has done for you. You can sign up for a free one-week sample at their website.
The customer service seems to be on top of things. Several reviewers contacted them about one of the songs sounding garbled and in less than a week they emailed us a new recording.
The download version ($30.00 per month) includes teacher's manuals, mp3's of songs, pdf files of flashcards, worksheets and read aloud stories. A print version with a cd for the songs is also available for $55.00 per month. There is some savings if you order the complete year at once. Through May 31st, you may also use discount code welovekids for a 10% discount on first purchases.
You may see what fellow crew members think of Ideal Curriculum by clicking here.
Disclaimer: I received a free download copy of the Level 1 Month 1 curriclum for the purposes of completing this review. I received no other compensation.