Easy Peasy - All in One Homeschool
|Publisher: All in One Homeschool
Review last updated: March 2013
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Easy Peasy is a totally free online homeschool curriculum for preschool through ninth grade, generously shared by a homeschooling mom named Lee Giles. More is added as she completes additional grade levels and gets the time to post lesson plans. It is intended to eventually be a college prep program covering all the way through high school. Methodology is an eclectic mix of traditional and "Charlotte Mason" with lapbooking and online resources. It uses real books, picture studies, copy work, and narration techniques, but it also has activity sheets and incorporates other online courses that are more traditionally designed. I placed "Charlotte Mason" in quotes because there was no purposeful intent to employ Charlotte Mason (CM) methods even though some of the methods such as narration and picture studies look like CM.
All of the resources you need are linked online. You will need to print out pages for some activities, but basic requirements other than a computer with an internet connection are paper, pencils, scissors, glue, crayons or colored pencils.
“Getting Ready” levels 1 and 2 are complete readiness courses for preschool and kindergarten levels. Daily lesson plans include links to everything you need to teach math and language arts. The language arts emphasis is on reading readiness and beginning reading and writing at these levels.
Lee’s approach to reading is a little unusual and worth mentioning. She describes it: “I teach my children the letter names and sounds. Then I teach them to read by sight words. Then I teach them phonics. Phonics is simple at that point because they can already read. By the time I finish with phonics my children can read things like The Boxcar Children and Little House on the Prairie. All of this takes two years.” She draws heavily on the phonics presentation of Phonics Pathways in the first few years for the phonics. However, because she also teaches sight reading, she expects that children should be able to read McGuffey’s First Reader as they start first grade.
After kindergarten level, you can either select a grade level program that includes both math and English in the lesson plans or you can select math or English levels individually. ("English" in Easy Peasy includes reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and composition.) Math lessons are complete up through high school geometry. Easy Peasy arranges middle school math lessons for grades five through seven in three steps. Step 1 uses quite a bit of material from Khan Academy while Steps 2 and 3 use material from other sites. (Since Khan Academy is going through many changes with its math, Step 1 might soon be revised to use other material too.) Easy Peasy has links to specific lesson material for each day with clear instructions as to where to go and what to do. Sites used include practice problems and some quizzes for middle school math. Students completing the middle school math Steps should then be ready for Algebra 1.
The lesson plans include instructions or directions right there in each lesson plan (with questions and answers if appropriate). For example, students might be instructed to look at a picture then tell what they see in the manner of a Charlotte Mason picture study at a younger level. Math questions and answers are likewise included directly in the lesson plans at younger levels. Older students might have literature comprehension questions or grammar questions. The intent at all levels is that students will work through the lesson plans themselves, with or without assistance depending upon their age level.
In addition to math and language arts lessons, “Programs of Study” round out the curriculum with history, science, Bible study, music, art, computer, and "thinking." Programs of Study are designed for the entire family to study the same topics together. The “Programs of Study” listed on the website indicate four “years” of core themes, but only three “years” of those are posted. Year 1 covers biology, ancient through medieval history, and the gospel of Matthew and historical books of the Bible. Year 2 covers early American history and animals. Year 4 covers physics and chemistry (elementary level) and 20th century history, plus the gospel of John and the prophets for Bible. Year 3 will study geography, world cultures, and world history (between the Middle Ages and modern times) plus earth science. These four themes will be repeated at high school level.
If you select the grade level program for any of grades one through eight, you immediately see the daily lesson plans for math and language arts. Within those lesson plans are links to assignments in the “Programs of Study.” You click on which year you are using to go straight to the assignments for history, Bible, science, music, art, computer, and/or thinking for that day’s lesson. Links for Year 3 are not yet complete. Separate Programs of Study are provided for grades 1-4 and grades 5-8 so that assignments are age appropriate. If a student is working in the seventh grade level math and English and clicks on the Year 1 assignment, it will take him or her to the upper level Program of Study assignment. Likewise a younger student would get connected to a lower level Program of Study assignment. (I can just imagine the amount of work it took to create all of these links!)
If you want to “unbundle” science, history, Bible, music, art, computer, and/or thinking, those courses are also available separately like the English and math courses. The elective course material (music, art, computer, and thinking) for elementary grades is supplemental—much less than if you were completing a complete course in any one of those subjects within one year. Computer learning covers basic operations and the use of various programs and applications at the elementary level. Thinking primary consists of links to logic games. In addition to the "core curricula," there are links to review activities and games for the different subjects. Introductory Spanish is included in the lesson plans for grades six and seven. Those who want to introduce a different language can use other links provided to find alternative lesson material. Eighth grade lesson plans include Spanish 1 lessons that can be used for high school credit. Links to sites for foreign language include options for both younger and older learners.
Questions are generally in the lesson plans rather than on the activity sheets. Answers are often printed in white; highlighting with a browser makes them appear. Some answers are on password-protected pages. Also, many of the links serve as drill and practice sites. There are no tests that I could find unless they appear in a linked site. Every forty days, children are told to give parents things to add to their portfolio, so parents instead build a physical record of student work. Sometimes a lesson plan will tell the student to take a screen shot of a completed activity that should be put into his or her portfolio. Of course parents are welcome to grade student work as they go. A daily progress chart provided as a PDF file is a simple chart with one small box for each day—essentially room to check off that a day’s lesson was completed.
Real books are built into the curriculum with recommendations mostly coming from the Robinson and Ambleside curricula. Required books are available online. Also, many links come from Lee’s “All Things Free for Homeschooler’s” blog.
Lee rarely interjects her own text into the lesson plans for history and science. However, Year 1 history and science both begin with one of these rare interjections as Lee explains a Christian (young earth) view of early man and of creation and the age of the earth. The curriculum is Christian, but non-Christians might still use it and skip the Bible lessons since the Christian perspective is generally lacking in most internet links.
Students who are independent readers should be able to do much of their work independently but not all. Younger students will, of course, need much more parental assistance. Even so, this program is very easy for the parent and student to use. It could be great for a family with a number of children as long as you have enough computers or tablets with internet connections. (Note that you might have to overcome problems with sites that use Flash when a student works on a tablet.)
Lee has recently created a separate site for high school level at www.allinonehighschool.com. Ninth grade is almost complete with final development happening quickly enough that students can begin the courses for the 2013-14 school year. Online courses and course material are the foundational resources rather than texts. Course lesson plans link to free online information or course material such as the University of California College Prep Online AP US History course. Courses are from sources such as Georgia Virtual Learning, UCCP Online courses, saylor.org, Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, and Education Portal. (The plan is for courses to often include AP and/or CLEP test preparation.) Some courses are submitted by other parents rather than being the work of Lee Giles.
Grading systems include quizzes, tests, and rubrics so that parents can evaluate student work and create transcripts. Quizzes are often included within courses, but some are separate. The Early American History course has students write answers to questions then check them against "your teacher's answers." There's nothing to prevent students from perusing the teacher's answers before writing their own responses. For some of the online quizzes, students are directed to write down their scores, trusting students to do so accurately. Because of this as well as the high level of much of the course content, these courses are generally going to work best for the self-motivated, independent student rather than for those who just want to get by with the least amount of effort.
For high school the available courses thus far include Bible I, English 8 (which is actually a ninth grade course), Literature and Composition (for 9th or 10th grade), Algebra I, Geometry, Early American History, World Geography, Physics with Lab, Oceanography with Lab, Biology with Lab, Anatomy and Physiology, Art Appreciation, Spanish 1, French 1, and PE/Health 1. There are links to computer programming and computer science courses that might serve as electives.
The entire site is created on a blog platform. It’s quite impressive, but this isn’t a full-service program with support although Lee will try to respond to questions. In the FAQs, you’ll quickly get the idea that Lee expects you to put a little effort into figuring things out for yourself. Don’t expect her to create a scope and sequence for you to hand in to your oversight program!
Sure the curriculum is sometimes uneven depending upon which sources are being used, but you can always supplement or adapt as needed. And you will have to be patient if you need coverage of topics or grade levels that Lee hasn’t completed online. Remember that the entire curriculum is free! If you find the Easy Peasy curriculum useful, please consider making a donation—donation links are on the web site.
- Suitable for: family or individual student
Audience: preschool - high school
Need for parent/teacher instruction: high for young children, but minimal for older
Prep time needed: minimal
Teacher's manual: N/A
Educational philosophy: eclectic
Religious perspective: Protestant
All in One Homeschool
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