Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kolbe review

While I'm talking about opinions...
I was asked by a friend to post a review of Kolbe's kindergarten materials. Take these with the appropriate lick of salt.

1. Language arts.
A. Phonics. I like the MCP Phonics, though we used the 2003 edition instead of the 1995--which is more likely to go out of print sooner? I like the pictures and the simplicity of one letter per lesson. The teacher's manual is chock full of extra activities, but we didn't need to look to those much.
Kolbe's lesson plans have you skip ahead at some point to the vowels, which frankly I think is a great idea. The fact that the book has them all together makes it easier to do and easier for the parent to decide when to do it.
B. Reading. I like the McGuffey's, the reviews every fifth lesson, the progression, and the illustrations. I have no problem with the McGuffey's in and of itself. My question comes with the first grade stuff. Why not use the Catholic National Reader's Primer for kindergarten, since the Primer is in the same book as the first grade book? McGuffey's has the Primer and Book One separate.

2. Mathematics.
Math is math to me; I think Seton's uses Catholic imagery where pictures are useful, but MCP's is fine. Again I didn't need the teacher's manual much but it's kindergarten math, for Heaven's sake. If I couldn't wing it through that, I have problems all my own.

3. Science.
Not to knock Our Lady of the Rosary, but it's a coloring book. $10 for a coloring book seems a bit steep. Not to mention some of the experiments take more patience than a kindergartener usually has. Science, with its hands-on and gee-whiz factors, could easily be a little one's favorite subject and once weekly lessons don't cut it. Usborne's and a simple experiment book would be better, not to mention better illustrated and more current. We'll be doing that with Dale when the time comes.

4. Religion.
Since Daddy does religion, this is a secondhand summary. The kindergarten materials are age-appropriate and worthwhile. The activities are good reinforcement of each lesson and hold the student's attention well without needing lots of preparation.

5. Kolbe's course plans in general.
They're detailed and easy to follow without being overwhelming. Something to keep in mind is they presume no prior knowledge on the part of the student whatsoever. Example--the language arts start with introducing the letters themselves, both capital and small. If your child already knows his letters, you'll find yourself skipping ahead. I think though it's better to presume less than more and let each parent decide what to skip, so I didn't mind.

We didn't do much with the supplementals or penmanship, so I can't comment on those. Does that help?

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