Illuminations 1: Creation to the Resurrection
Year One (grades 3-8) download $165 (CD-Rom $185)
(High School) download $95 (CD-Rom $115)
Bundle (both levels) download $240 (CD-Rom $280)
Our family received the download version of Year One for grades 3-8. This includes a schedule for Early Learners as well. We received this free of charge for the purpose of doing this review.
At first, I had some difficulties in getting the download to open. We have a Mac and did not have Adobe Reader software installed. We had not needed any for other items we viewed or downloaded. When BIP states that Adobe Reader V. 9 is required, it truly is. An older version will not work, nor will another PDF reader. After getting the latest version intalled, everything opened and worked smoothly. Following the directions is a great thing!
At first glance, it seems as though Illuminations 1 is just a schedule to coordintate the spine of Mystery of History 1 with additional subjects. While Illuminations does do this, it is so much more. It has been so nice having everything scheduled out for me. We were already part of the way into MOH1 when we received Illuminations. I had been supplementing the readings from MOH with my own findings from the library as well as the suggestions from MOH itself. Now, the additional readings are not only scheduled to coordinate with what/when we are studying, there are activities to go along with them. The Family Study Guides and Read Alone Guides are excellent for digging deeper into the lives of the people we are learning about. All of these selections we read aloud. My learners are 3rd grade and younger. This did not seem to be too much reading for them. In addition to the literature selections, Illuminations also includes Bible readings and Supplemental Resources which are generally video selections. We have been able to find nearly all of the books at our library or through inter-library loan. Bright Ideas Press also has a link on their page for Illuminations to Book Peddler for purchasing many of these books as well. http://www.bookpeddler.us/category/Illuminations/?a=BIP
Other than math, Illuminations is a full curriculum. Rounding out the Language Arts offering is Copywork, Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, and Writing. The copywork is up to three different selections per week. Within the selections, a single sentence is highlighted for the youngest of writers; a slightly longer selection for your intermediate writers; and the full excerpt or paragraph for more experienced writers. Both manuscript and italic fonts are used. Grammar is scheduled using either Grammar Punk or Winston Grammar at either the standard or an accelerated pace. This is to be purchased separately. The spelling scheduled is from Natural Speller, a spelling curriculum for grades 1-8 in a single volume. The entire curriculum is not included in the download, but much of the lessons as well as placement tests and teachers instructions are included. These included portions have also been tweaked a bit as to included some words to aid in the reinforcement of the history being learned. These lessons can be used in addition to another spelling program. The full curriculum of Natural Speller is an additional purchase. Vocabulary is learned through English From the Roots Up–based on Greek and Latin. Again, this is an additional purchase. Writing is scheduled for both Foundations to Writing and Write Shop 1. Write Shop 1 is geared towards older students. This is also to be purchased separately. Since we were not going to be purchasing any additional items, we utilized what was/became available through other review items (Roots and Fruits for vocabulary and All About Spelling). I had not planned on introducing my children to formal grammar lessons until 4th grade or so and this has worked well with our plans.
Illuminations also schedules in Science and Geography. Science is covered through Christian Kids Explore Biology–an offering from Bright Ideas Press. Geography is scheduled using The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide also an offering from BIP. These are available for additional purchase. We were already using a science curriculum and continued with that.
Illuminations is a very flexible curriculum to use with all ages. You can use it exactly as written with a variety of ages. The inclusion of the Early Learners activities makes the grades 3-8 version great for families with learners as young as 4 or 5 to be included in the fun. Add the High School version and you have every learner in your family learning together and having fun. The format used for the schedule grids allow you to add your own topics or subjects in the additional spaces or change what is scheduled to suit your own needs. This is a great feature if you are a tweaker like me! As our life has become a bit busy these past few weeks with the arrival our newest little one, I have enjoyed the simplicity and ease of just printing off the schedule and study guides and keeping up (somewhat) with our studies. I am sure I will be back to tweaking in a few weeks, with no time lost in our studies of HIStory.
To read my fellow crew mates reviews on Illuminations 1 and other great products from Bright Ideas Press just follow this link http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HomeschoolCrew/724592/