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Complete Curriculum

Publisher: Complete Curriculum, LLC
Review last updated: November 2011

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

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See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Complete Curriculum has got to be one of the most inexpensive online programs available. They have digital-text courses for math, language arts, science, and social studies for kindergarten through twelfth grade, although a number of the high school courses are not yet available. For a $29.95 yearly membership fee, you have access to up to ten digital texts to use. While each text may be assigned to only one student at a time, you might have two or more students using the ten texts!

Course content is aligned with the national standards. The outlook is secular throughout all courses. Consequently, evolution and an “old earth” perspective show up in science and history texts. While student learn vocabulary, concepts, and skills, courses stress critical thinking rather than rote learning.

Each course has 180 lessons for the school year. The publisher says that lessons should take one to one and a half hours a day to complete, but many lessons I reviewed would not take that much time. The customer who alerted me to this curriculum told me that for kindergarten and first grade they usually completed all four subjects within about one and a half hours per day.

Lessons are laid out in a consistent fashion in the teacher’s manuals for each subject. For each lesson, the teacher’s manual lists:

For each course there are both a student manual and teacher manual. These are accessed as PDF files from the publisher’s website. You will certainly want to print out some or all of the student manual pages since many serve as worksheets. Lessons are presented in full color with plenty of illustrations....The teacher’s manual for each course includes the student manual pages with answers placed either at the end of the TM portion or within all worksheets, exercises, and assessments.

Lessons are editable so you can add or subtract lessons from this or other texts in the series that you have added to your shelf (limit ten texts). You can also add attachments to a student lesson and then email a lesson to a student’s email....

Sometimes, students can type directly onto worksheets on the computer, and those worksheets can be printed out. But this is not a computer-based curriculum like Switched on Schoolhouse where students type in all responses which are then graded by the computer. Students frequently complete work sheets that parents/teachers have printed out. Also, students create notebooks for some subjects such as spelling and writing as well as a Grammar Ring and a Vocabulary Ring where they collect rules and definitions they have written on index cards. High school students learn note taking skills, and apply them across the curriculum. Students learn to integrate knowledge and skills through projects such as creating brochures, PowerPoint presentations, and research reports.

Language Arts courses integrate all age-appropriate language arts skills—reading, literature, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, vocabulary, and composition. It is expected that children have some familiarity with the alphabet prior to kindergarten; they should recognize at least some of the letters. Kindergarten teaches sounds and letters, beginning reading, writing, spelling, and printing along with other facets of language arts typically taught in kindergarten. Reading instruction is phonics based but includes the introduction of many sight words. For reading material, their own proprietary Progressive Readers are used in grades K through three, while classic literature is included within the student manuals in the upper grades. Language arts lessons often revolve around the literary selections. Students begin to create a journal in first grade. They continue to learn all forms of composition, applying those skills within language arts and across the curriculum.

Math follows a fairly standard scope and sequence, including coverage of a broad range of topics at each grade level. Simple manipulatives and visual illustrations are used to teach concepts in the early grades....The sequence of high school math topics seems confused at the moment, but all high school level math texts are not yet complete. Algebra II and Geometry are both shown as complete courses for tenth grade level. Algebra I is studied in ninth grade and Pre-calculus in eleventh....

The science program is inquiry-based. Lessons begin by raising questions, observing, and/or experimenting. Students record and analyze data according to the scientific method even in kindergarten, albeit at a very simple level. However, the Biology course for tenth grade (which is not yet complete) seems to have a minimal amount of lab activity. Staff at www.CompleteCurriculum.com tell me that the "high school science texts will contain experiments within lessons and not call for a separate lab setting." This is an area you will need to watch to ensure that science lab courses meet requirements of the college a student wishes to attend....

Social Studies courses cover history, geography, civics/government, and economics, with emphasis varying from grade to grade....Christian home educators might have issues with the fourth grade social studies that includes a number of lessons dealing with Native American myths presented with no contrasting Christian worldview (e.g., only Native American creation stories)....Separate civics/government and economics courses are slated for tenth grade level to meet those requirements. Then eleventh graders study world history and geography.

Throughout the social studies courses, and more so in junior and senior high, there are frequently challenging questions to consider, and students are often directed to read or research topics and present contrasting views. All of these texts reflect a typical secular outlook as you might find in other texts used in government schools. The quality of the writing in the social studies courses varies from text to text. Some texts seem to be collections of information while others have more of a story-telling feel—probably the result of different authors.

For families looking for an inexpensive, secular curriculum, this is a real bargain.

Pricing

$29.95/year for up to ten digital textbook courses

Instant Key

  • Suitable for: mixture of independent and parent-assisted learning
    Audience: K-12
    Need for parent/teacher instruction: varies by text and grade level
    Prep time needed: minimal to none
    Teacher's manual: essential-included online
    Educational philosophy: traditional but using the computer
    Religious perspective: Secular

Publisher's Info