I’ve Been Daydreaming of a Curriculum Like This

When I daydream about being a great homeschooling mom, the picture always looks something like sitting on the sofa surrounded by my kids, reading them a book, in which they are highly engaged, hanging on my every word. Or, looking on admirably while they master new words as they read. With BookShark, a literature-based curriculum, that dream becomes our reality—although the house always looks more tidy in the daydream…

When I opened my BookShark curriculum (which I received in exchange for this review), I couldn’t help but get excited. There are so many cool books included in the curriculum: chapter books, picture books, a timeline, a map and even markers to go with the markable map!

Almost everything you need to teach is provided. You can visit BookShark.com to see a list of everything that will be included for the level you need. The amount of material you receive is incredible, and the choice of literature is wonderful. If you’re looking for curriculum that covers all the subjects, this is a one-stop shopping experience.

What Makes BookShark Unique?

According to their website, “BookShark is a complete, literature-based, homeschool curriculum developed for pre-K to age 16 students. Our curriculum uses a variety of educational resources including literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations and hands-on experiments to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbook memorization.”

When I spoke with a BookShark representative at a homeschool convention, she said that Bookshark is “religiously neutral,” and after reviewing the materials, I agree. The curriculum simply encourages parents to have conversations with their kids about what their family believes rather than teaching a specific perspective. This religious neutrality makes Bookshark a good choice for use in a group setting (co-op) of diverse homeschooling families.

The Layout

The instructor’s guide schedule is laid out in a simple four-day schedule. Day 1-Day 4 instructions and notes include a shopping list of things you will need for next week’s lessons when applicable (usually for science).

Book SharkDay five can be used for a catch-up day or co-op, extracurricular activities or field trips. You could even take a break and only do school four days in a given week!

Here’s how the curriculum breaks out:

History and Language Arts
The history and language arts instructor’s guides are very easy to follow and include activity pages (make copies for multiple children). Optional add-ons include Handwriting Without Tears and Explode the Code.

Science
I got Level 1 Reading with History and Level 1 Science (ages 6-8). One of my sons, Simeon, loves science and I know that he is really going to appreciate this curriculum. Level 1 is all about animals, astronomy and physics. It comes with an instructor’s guide including a schedule, books and a science DVD and kit to use throughout the year.

Math
If you choose to purchase math through BookShark, they offer Math-U-See, Saxon and Singapore. I appreciate that BookShark gives you options for math curriculums, since for this subject, more than others, teaching approach seems to matter.

My Take on Bookshark

Book SharkSome of the benefits I found while using the curriculum is that the instructor’s guide layout is very clear on the day’s instructions and assignments. The whole year is at your fingertips with a glance at the 36-week format, and you can combine the instructor guides of all the different subjects into one binder so that you have the full week’s schedule in one place.

If you are task-oriented, you’ll love checking off the daily tasks.

Schooling multiple children with various instructor guides requires organizational skills. However, children who are two or three years apart in age may be able to share a history and science program while doing their math and language arts independently. The books are an asset for your homeschool that you can use over and over with children down the line.

Final Thoughts

As we finish up our current curriculum, I really am excited to move into BookShark. I plan to supplement with a Bible curriculum as well. I love the literature-based philosophy of this curriculum, and I think it does a good job of choosing quality books and cutting out busy work in the schedule.

Just like in the daydream, our favorite time of the day is sitting together and reading aloud, and with this curriculum, I have a great stack of books to enjoy. The instructor’s guide actually has a note to parents encouraging them to skip what they don’t need/find helpful and to enjoy the read-aloud time with their kids. I am 100 percent onboard with that philosophy and appreciate the encouragement.


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