Joyce Herzog's Choosing & Using Curriculum Set {Review}

By 10:00 AM ,

I find that the abundance of curriculum to choose from is both a blessing and a curse.  It's a blessing to have options; but the curse is that there are too many options that it is easy for newbies and veteran homeschoolers to feel overwhelmed and loose sight of what may be best for their family.  You could search all day long on the web for answers to your questions, comparisons between curriculum, and where to "begin"-- and I can tell you I've been there, done that!  It is exhausting! That's why having a guide like the, "Choosing and Using Curriculum Set" by Joyce Herzog, can help make the process less mind-boggling.

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Joyce Herzog has spent many years in the educational profession--over 25, in fact! She's shared her gifts with children and educator's in public and private schools settings, as well as the homeschooling community.  Joyce's products were designed to bring out the potential within all students, though I believe her heart lies with the learning disabled and providing resources for those with special needs. 

I received the Choosing and Using Curriculum Set which consisted of a guide book and resource e-book full of hyperlinks as part of the SchoolHouse Review Crew.  You may purchase it at Joyce Herzog's product store for $15.

Our review team also had the opportunity to review several of her products.  Please click the link below to check out reviews for: Scaredy Cat Reading System, Learning in Spite of Labels, Timeless Teaching Tips, Luke's Life & School List, Stepping Stones to Praise and Worship, Budding Authors, Bible Quotes, & Educational Dice Bag.


There are seasons to everyone's life and up until a few months ago, having a curriculum that I added things to worked well.  Searching for go-alongs and activities was something I enjoyed, and it still is... it's just with three babes, my "spare" time is limited.  So since realizing our curriculum would have to change, I was just at a complete loss over what do, and where to turn to next!  I started to look at what everyone else was doing and felt even more overwhelmed!!  Then this review came, and it was an answered prayer!  Now after saying that, let me say that this book wasn't thee answer; it didn't tell me that I should be doing x,y,z.  Instead, it gave me many things to consider and ask myself so that I could find the answer.  It gave me resources to make MY homeschool vision a reality.

Some chapter titles you will come across in the book are:
  • Curriculum Types and Comments
  • What Can They Do by Themselves? 
(And provides a chart of independent task based on age range-- a very helpful tool!)
  • What Grade Level?
  • Which One is Me?  
( Are you Mrs. High Performance? Mrs. Happy? Mrs. Hopeful...  A description of several types of homeschooling styles are given and though I see a small piece of me in several types, I am overwhelmingly, "Mrs. Average Homeschooler.")
  • Points to Consider When Choosing a Reading Curriculum
  • How to Interest a Child in Reading
  • Comparison of Math Programs
  • Developing Written Expression
  • Geography, Science, and History Resources
  • Testing
  • Special Help for Our Very Special Students
  • ... and many more!!
I've not been to a homeschool convention before, but the book is a curriculum convention in itself!  The book and e-resource provides an exhaustive list of companies that creates curriculum for every subject.  The hyper-links was a neat resource as it gave a short description of the product and provided a link to take me there!  The e-resource provides links to printable worksheet websites, craft ideas, math help, special needs resources, free resources, etc. etc!!  It provided resources for all ages (with emphasis on early elementary- middle school), learning styles, and types of learners.

I was hungry for what this book had to say, so I finished it in a matter of days.  It is an easy and simple read.  I have gone back several times to re-read many things that caught my attention.  Some of the key points that hit home to me were:
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  • Academics can be laid aside for a while until "the basics" have been learned-- obedience, listening & responding when called upon, developing a work habit, teaching them about God... etc.  The Basics are to be taught before age 5 and then academics will follow.  
  • Information about the different ways to think about Education; Joyce suggests choosing a style before you begin the process of choosing and using curriculum.  She compares not knowing what you prefer and how you want your homeschool to look like to going on a long vacation without a map or adequate planning.  
  • She laid to rest my worries to the question so many of us ask, "Will my child miss something?" And Joyce says, " I assure you that your child will miss something!  Everyone does!  We all have gaps in our learning.  Yet we all manage to learn what we need to when we need to (17)."  
  • And, I found it very helpful that a short description was given under each company name, along with the website to help endless searches become more focused.
I am glad I had the opportunity to read this resource for myself!  And others that are homeschooling-- parents, grandparents, etc.may find this resource useful.  It definitely came at a perfect time as I am preparing to purchase curriculum for next year; the guide book has helped me sort through many questions I have been so focused on.

To offer such material I think we depend on that person having a certain amount of knowledge and experience, and I think it is safe to say that Joyce has that!  In the end, no matter how many blogs and books your read about curriculum, Joyce wants you to remember that "your approach to curriculum will grow out of your personality, your life philosophy, and the unique traits of the children God has put in your family (18, underlined emphasis mine)."  Happy choosing and using!!

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