Our Curriculum: Tried and True
Updated: Dec 17, 2022
The curriculum we use is very important for our students to succeed and for our teachers to use in instructing our students towards mastery of their goals.
That is why the following list and the accompanying descriptions of the curriculums we use have been chosen by me and used for more that eighteen years. These are the best of the best. These are the books and programs that support Maricopa Christian Academy in supporting our parents in the training of their children.
Almost all of these books are geared towards homeschool And that fits into our instructional model of an individualized education provided daily for each of our students. Almost all have the distinction of being developed by one person who could not find what he or she needed to instruct their children or students.
These learning materials were not designed by a committee or newbie college students with oversite provided by their professor. No, these materials were designed with love, subject mastery, and a desire for their students to master this subject. Our students at Maricopa Christian Academy are the beneficiaries.
And without further ado, our curriculum.
Bible Study Guide for All Ages
The program does not teach but as its title says, guides, It consists of four units containing a reading guide alternating between the Old and New Testament. We mostly use it for the reading schedule and the follow-up questions. The guide usually has some map work and some memorization worksheets that are supportive of the readings.
We use the NIV Bible translation with Bible Study Guide because that is what they use. Plus it is a good translation.
We have used MemLok for the whole school, first through 8th grades, for years. We like how students are able to progress at their own pace. Most students learn at least 30 verses a year, with some already knowing over 100 verses in the past 2 years. The parents report back to me that rarely a church sermon is preached that their son or daughter doesn't give them a nudge and say, "I know that verse, Mom and Dad". Thank you for a great program!”Surrey Garden Christian School Gilbert, AZ
Yep, that is me being quoted over 25 years ago as principal of my first school.
Here is what Memlok says about their program:
"MemLok Bible Memory System was founded in 1989 by Drake Mariani.
Drake’s goal was to create an effective tool to encourage people of all ages toward a sustainable, lifetime commitment of memorizing God’s Word. The MemLok Bible Memory System is used in scores of countries."
I have had students memorize over 200 Bible verses built around the different topics Memlok provides such as Trust and Forgiveness. And parents really do repeat the comment from their kids during church, "I know that verse, Mom and Dad."
"The most popular homeschooling math program hands down! Highly recommended by both Mary Pride and Cathy Duffy, Saxon Math also wins our award for the "Most Requested Text." So says The Reading Ranbow Resource Center, an online homeschool curriculum catalog.
I always say Saxon makes me look good as a math teacher. It uses a spiral method of teaching and reviewing previous goals. This spiral method is key to our students retaining the skills they have mastered. We use Saxon math beginning in grade 4 and all the way through calculus. I have successfully used the text with students in special education and regular education.
Horizon Math is another curriculum that uses a spiral method in supporting our students in their mastery of math skills. We use it for first through third grade students. It has high expectations for our student achievement.
Easy Grammar is a local publisher with an amazing system for learning grammar. It uses a spiral method also for reviewing and maintaining skills. I have tried over the years other grammar programs and have always regretted leaving Easy Grammar and its results.
We begin Easy Grammar in third grade.
Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Levels A and B
The first and second grade students work on phonics skills. Phonics works. It provides a firm foundation for reading and spelling. The 1995 version is the best. I have used it with nonreaders and good readers. It always provides the support I need to help my students learn their necessary phonics skills.
Here is what Rainbow Resource has to say about Pathway Readers. "An Amish reading program which portrays a lifestyle in which people cherish Christian traits, and in which children gain insights into how to behave! Families are large and stories are centered around the family and farm. The stories are interesting to children, if our kids are any indicator! One of my favorites is a story from First Steps in which little Rachel discovers, after attempting to help mother shell peas, that watching baby Miriam really is a good way to help mother with meal preparations!"
This is another spiral program we use. Our students in first through third grades read stories built on previous words introduced in earlier stories. New words are added in each new story.
I have used this series successfully with junior high gang members in Phoenix who had literally no reading skills. They surprised me with their interest in the stories and our discussions on the bad behavior of the children in the stories.
The reading of good literature is an important part of our education here at Maricopa Christian Academy. All books in our library are handpicked by me. While not all the books are written by Christian authors, all have a Christian worldview.
Each grade level has between 40 to 80 books to pick from. Reading is just like any other skill to be learned. The more time you spend on it, the better you become. I have quite a disdain for using any kind of typical reading curriculum because they are ineffective and boring.
Typing Instructor Gold
One of the new curriculums we use this year and one of the few not designed by a homeschool parent or grandparent. Simple in design but it does what I want - practicing keyboard skills in a way other than the hunt and peck method.
We use a program designed by the school. It works. The teachers using it have developed confident writers who spell well and write clearly.
We have PE everyday. A different sport or game is enjoyed over a two week period. Exercise, having fun and supporting your team are emphasized.
English from the Roots Up
We gave a survey to the high school graduates of my second school, Bios Christian Academy, on what they thought helped them the most in being successful in college. English from the Roots Up was on almost every list.
It is a simple program that has our students memorize Greek and Latin words, their meaning and common words in English where the Greek and Latin words form a base. It is a great support for not only English but science
Remember the Days Biblio Plan
We use to base our elementary history on The Story of the World books. But as I was pulling everything together to begin the school year, I looked to see if there was anything better available. And that is when I found Remember the Days. After calling and discussing their curriculum with them, their program sounded like a better fit. Remember the Days begins with ancient history and continues to modern times. It does a good job of intertwining Bible stories as a part of that history. Their learning materials include map work, time lines and coloring. We augment it with outside resources such as Eyewitness Books, historical board games, historical fiction and The Story of the World short stories.
Life Science takes the student from cells to plants and animals and finally to the pinnacle of God's creation, humans. All of this is a quest to understand the life that God has created. Clear, accurate scientific images help students picture the structures they study. Case studies, webquests, lab activities, ethics boxes, and questions help them think like scientists and view life science from a biblical perspective.
One of the wonderful results of our science and math program at my last school, Bios Christian Academy, was the fact that over 80% of my graduates went into some kind of math or science major - engineering, nursing, chemistry and nursing. We used BJU Press for all of our science. That and our amazing science and math teachers created the top heavy science/math graduates.
And if anything, their newest editions are even better at providing a focused, Christ centered curriculum. With that said, I still need to augment the science program with additional labs to further explain the basic science concepts.
BJU Press has continued to produce a superior science program to help our students better understand the world our savior created.
Science in a Nutshell is the science program for grades 4-6. It provides hands-on science activities in such areas as magnets, flight vision and hearing and sound.
Science is learned with a partner. No textbooks. Just basic information and experiments to reinforce the idea.
Science in a Nutshell has been a staple of my elementary education for eighteen years.