Product Description: (from the Alpha Omega website)
The Weaver Curriculum is a unique unit-based, Christian homeschool curriculum. For grades PreK-12th, this family-based curriculum uses the same daily Bible theme as a foundation and then creates lessons for each student. Your students are then studying the same main subject the same time with individual lesson assignment geared to each student’s grade level. For example if you were teaching about the plagues of Egypt, your student would learn about frogs in science, Egyptian topography in geography, pharaohs in history, and so forth. Using this one-room schoolhouse type teaching, students are able to glean information from each other.
In this Christian homeschool curriculum, hands-on lessons include experiments, maps, murals, timelines, models, field trips, and more! The Weaver Curriculum is as flexible as it is fun. Parents can decide what topics to teach and what activities to do. Divided into volumes and supplemental volumes, this Christian homeschool curriculum uses binders to organize student lessons by grade level. Multiple subjects are included within each volume and woven into lessons, unlike separated subject focuses like other curriculums. Subjects covered are Bible, Social Studies, Science, Geography and History, Language Arts, Health, and Art.
This was a curriculum that Raymond and Dorothy Moore suggested, and they used to carry it in their catalog. While they later taught others how to create your own unit studies, they found a unit study curriculum often helped parents think outside of the traditional school method of teaching and help them discover the unique method of unit study.
A friend once mentioned that you can easily follow the Bible study portion and add to it SDA thoughts by pulling out the SDA Bible Concordance and reading the appropriate sections as you prepare for your lessons so that you have that information in your thoughts as you teach it to your children. This can be a great way for parents to get a good study out of it alongside of their children. Another idea might be using SOP books alongside with your Bible study for older children, for example, Patriarchs and Prophets could be used alongside of Volume One.
I have used Volume One twice. The first time, I used it with 3 of my kids and I found it took a lot of preparation to get all of the activities accomplished and finding all the books we needed to find. I spent a lot of time at the library searching for books, some of which are not easily available. If I took books out on library loan, sometimes they didn’t get to me in time for the unit or got to me too early, so the books were hard to use in relation to where we were at. I found the easiest thing was to go to the library and search topically for books, and use newer books if the older books were not available. I also found the supplement to be a little difficult to use (the supplement is the book for 7th-12th graders). The suggestions seemed way ahead of my 7th grader at the time and I struggled to find just one or two items per chapter to add to our studies. However, I later found out that for that grade level that is all one actually needs.
This second time around, I am doing it with only one child and I am finding the planning much easier. I am not trying to compile hands on projects for 3 kids, but just for one, which is more manageable for me. The assortment of books is not as varied, so I do not feel as flustered with needing bi-weekly library visits. I do have quite the collection of books, and often can find something at home that is comparable to what we need to learn.
I like the thoroughness of the curriculum. I like that I don’t have to always plan a unit study and that someone has done the work for me, even bringing alternatives so I can switch it up, if we already understand a concept. I think it is important however to relax and not feel you need to accomplish everything… there is a lot in each Volume and you can easily skip many things and still be doing enough.
There are some helpful things to know with Weaver that will make planning and implementing it much easier. Try to get the main resources ahead of time. You often can find these on used book boards or eBay or Amazon. Skim the book lists so you have an idea of the topics being taught so you can find appropriate books easier. Join the Unofficial Weaver email list and use their website for additional ideas and helps. I found this the most helpful, because often someone has already taken the time to figure out an alternative craft that works much easier… or perhaps a review sheet, or sharing field trip ideas and more.
The Day by Day’s are not necessary, but are very helpful for finding age appropriate materials for the study. It will make planning much easier on you, as well. The early editions of these are printed so that you need to turn your notebook and it takes up more table space. The newer editions are printed the same as the other materials in the Volume, so you can put them together and not be turning your book back and forth. It is best to use similar editions (with the volume package) for page numbers to match up as well.
Wisdom Words is a K-6 Language Arts program that goes along with the Weaver program. The Day by Day will refer to this book in its Language Arts assignments. What is nice is if the concept is too hard, you can go back a year and try to work at that level for that concept… or, similarly, move ahead if your child is able.
Teaching Tips and Techniques is a nice book for the parent. It has helps for ideas for teaching and using the Weaver Curriculum. It is not necessary, but if you have time to go through it, you may find some tips to make teaching unit studies easier for you.
The Volumes are the main resource of the curriculum. In it, you will have the Bible Lessons, vocabulary, book lists, field trip ideas, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts ideas. It is color coordinated by grade level, so it is easy to find your materials. It is suggested to take a 2 week time span and make plans. It is easiest to remove the two week section from the large binders and put it altogether into a smaller binder that you can work with on a daily basis. Just remember to put it back. When I went back to the volume after not using it for several years, I was missing a unit and I had to hunt for quite a while to find it.
The Supplement Volumes for grades 7-12, are nice if you want to combine your older children into the study. I have found my children at that age typically are ready to study on their own, but sometimes it is nice to add them in for an occasional lesson to have some family fun together. So while I agree you can use this curriculum for grades K-12, I prefer different programs for my older children so they can work more independently without needing the constant planning and direction from me.
All in all, I think it is a great program. The biggest thing I found and heard from others is the amount of teacher planning in the program, which again I think is felt more heavily the more kids you have using it at the same time. The kids typically enjoy it, but the parents are ones that can burn out with the planning. However, it is a great way to learn how to create unit studies if you haven’t used one before. You can jump right in and feel confident you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.
Review by: Melissa B.
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