Sycamore Tree

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jennylynn

  • Reviewed on Saturday, March 24, 2007
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2006-07
We've been using Sycamore Tree (the Christian option) this year for our dd who is in first grade. This is our first year, so I wanted to get something that came as a complete set and included lesson plans/schedule. It has been great for this year. We've really enjoyed the Pathway Readers. In fact, my daughter read ahead and finished them all months before she was supposed to:). They have interesting little stories and are quite wholesome. The Saxon Math has been very easy to implement. They pull from a variety of sources for science and include some textbook type work and some experiments. Most of the experiments can be done with materials found around the house. My only complaint is the Steck-Vaughn social studies books. They seem a bit "watered down." They've been good for reading practice, as my dd can read them aloud to me, but most everything in them is common sense. I ask my dd the chapter end questions, and she can answer them before reading the chapter. So, if I were going to use this again, I would definitely purchase something else for social studies. Another problem I had (and this is really not all that important) is the way that the Lesson Plan book is set up. It is divided into subjects, so that all 180 days of reading are in one section, all 180 days of math in another. . . I would much rather have each day's work together on a page. So, I went through during the summer and wrote them up this way. It took awhile, but it was well worth it for me during the year. So, overall I've been happy with this curriculum. I think it is great for a first year homeschooler. Now, I feel more comfortable in picking from different companies to piece curriculum together. That said, we are switching to A Beka math and language arts along with My Father's World next year.

Laura

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, November 2, 2005
  • Grades Used: K
  • Dates used: 9-05 through Present
My daughter and I have really enjoyed this curriculum set. They pull from all different publishers, which is nice for the variety, then send along a handy day-by-day lesson guide. It is very thorough in subject matter for the K age. Many homeschoolers stick with just reading and math for K, but my daughter LOVES the variety with hands-on science lessons, art projects, social studies, and Bible. Not every subject is every day, so we can finish in about 60-90 minutes. Very doable!

Their boxed set includes Saxon Math, too, which is great! Cost is about $300 total including shipping. Worth every penny!

Michele

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, April 13, 2005
  • Grades Used: 2
  • Dates used: 2004-present
After homeschooling from the Classical/Charlotte Mason/Sonlight curriculum type method (see my first review of Alpha Omega on the complete curriculum board to see my story) I wanted a pre-packed boxed type curriculum with reading level appropriate books that my kids can read themselves and I would not have to read aloud like I did with Sonlight. We also wanted (gasp!) workbooks. :-) (Some workbooks we do orally. There is a bit of writing in this curriculum so if my daughter is pooped out, I won't make her write and we will do the exercises orally.) After a bad experience with Alpha Omega we have finally settled on Sycamore Tree. Now my 5 year old son won't have to suffer through all the trial and error my daughter did.

Sycamore Tree has a complete secular or complete Christian curriculum. They use different publishers materials and they also provide a lesson plan/schedule for 180 days worth of work and all you have to do is check it off and that's good enough recording keeping for me!

We are using the secular curriculum.

Sycamore Tree is a Christian company so even their materials that are considered secular will be pretty non-offensive to many Christians. Beside a couple things in science a Christian family who chooses can explain the differences in beliefs or gloss over it. It's very minor and could be used as a springboard for discussion. We're also going to add Abeka grade 3 Science and Abeka grade 3 History next fall to get a Christian perspective. We also do Abeka Health Safety and Manners (for better manners and Christian perspective) in addition to the Health curriculum Sycamore Tree uses. We can fit these Abeka extras in because you can move through these subjects with the Sycamore Tree curriculum pretty quickly if you choose (at least at this lower grade level)

Sycamore Tree uses a variety of publishers. There is Steck-Vaughn, Mc-Graw Hill Spectrum Series, Writing Strands, and much more for secular and Christian Liberty Press, Pathway Readers, Rod and Staff and much more for Christian. The math used is Saxon for both secular and Christian. For us this is the only part we have had to substitute. We don't like Saxon so we use Modern Curriculum Press.

You can buy a complete package ($230.00 to $365.00 for Christian grades K-6, and $230.00 to $485.00 for Secular grades K-6) or buy things individually. If you buy individually you need to be careful of what you're buying and be sure it's what you need because there are a couple errors in their catalog and their website is a bit annoying to navigate. These prices include Saxon Math so you can either re-sell it or like I said before buy things individually minus the Saxon and use a different math program. **** Every time I have called them or emailed them to clarify something about their curriculum they have been soooo polite and helpful!! Great customer service!!****

There are also grades 7-9 available. Also, they have an academy-type thing were you can report back to them with the work your child does and get assistance and a diploma from an accredited school. We don't do this but it is something that some people would like.

My daughter and I have been diligently working through the second grade curriculum since we got it after we realized that Alpha Omega wasn't working. We are both loving it! We will start Grade 3 in the fall and I will start Grade K with my son this summer after he is finished with pre-school at the park district. We cannot wait!!

I see there are no other reviews for Sycamore Tree here!! I hope some of you try it and report back. I have definitely found a keeper this time!!