Years ago, the F.A.C.E. curriculum (see http://principleapproach.tv) became popular among the homeschoolers I was involved with in Utah County. I heard talk about people writing a similar curriculum using the 4 R’s approach that FACE is based on (research, reason, write, and record), with an LDS perspective. Then I never heard any more about it.
Well, I guess the idea was revived because the American Heritage School, an LDS-based private school in American Fork has recently launched the Latter-day Learning Curriculum that has the 4 R’s for literature, science, geography, history, and art. They launched it at the LDS Homeschool Conference I attended a few weeks ago.
You can try it out for a month free! If you’ve been looking for a guide for your homeschooling with LDS principles, this may be what you’ve been looking for.
They’ve created a free resource center at latterdaylearning.org where all can receive this first month of curriculum and introductory material for each course. Also, they will be adding dozens if not hundreds of free resources from the American Heritage campus in the coming months and throughout this year. These will be accessible to all, so check back occasionally.
My friend Becky Edwards has been using it and loves it! Here is what she says:
Hi Home Schooling Friends!There is a new LDS-oriented home school curriculum that I am super impressed with! I wanted to pass it along to you, in case you’re interested in checking it out. The Family School is put out by American Heritage School from Utah County, and created by experienced LDS home schooling mothers.Here are some things I like about it:1. I have been extremely impressed with everything I’ve been learning about this school! I visited it a couple weeks ago at an LDS home school conference and the walls were decorated with paintings of the Savior and the Founding Fathers! The Spirit was there!2. The academic subjects are all centered on Christ! I LOVE THAT. If you read DC 88:78-80 chronologically, the things God wants us to learn are listed in order of putting spiritual learning first as a foundation before secular learning. I knew there were Christian curricula that weaved Biblical principles into secular subjects, but we have the FULLNESS of the gospel here! I am thrilled with the opportunity to have God and gospel principles woven into all subjects! In the history timeline, they include events in history from the gospel, like Adam, Jesus, and the Nephites, along with Rome, Greece, and the Founding Fathers. How cool is that! In the intro of the science part, part of the point is for us to see God’s hand in creation of all living things. I saw the two main creators of the curricula speak at that conference, and I could feel their testimonies — great women.3. The school uses the methods we are using in our Vanguard youth group this year (a TJED-based scholar group Grace is in and I’ll be one of four teachers for the Layton group). As I’ve studied the mission and methods on the American Heritage School’s website, they totally remind me of the LDS church’s model for seminary and institute, along with Elder Bednar’s recent book Increase in Learning! I’ve taught institute for two years, and I never dreamed of finding a home school curriculum that used these inspired ways to involve youth in taking actions to internalize their own learning. SO GOOD. Some of these methods are the 4-R method, word studies, and so on.4. Family School is done as a family, for anyone ages 4-12, which reminds me of the one-room school house of yester-year.5. It covers 6 of the main subjects, but only one or two a day, which sounds so nice and simplified, rather than some home school families who try to check off a huge checklist every day. Family School covers science, history, geography, literature, art, music. The two core subjects it doesn’t cover need to be done on an individual age level, which are language arts and math.6. It seems to include many of the TJED principles I love!
- You not them — you are learning together with your children.
- Mentors not professors — you are the mother mentor.
- Inspire not require — the lessons seem so inspirational, engaging, fun, and meaningful I think the children will want to learn!
- Structure time not content — I think using this curriculum does both. It allows for some structured lesson time, plus some free time to pursue the children’s own interests. I asked one of the creators of the curriculum, and she said they do their Family School for two hours after lunch each day.
- Classics not textbooks — the American Heritage School believes in using classics and original works, studying great lives and great works.
- Quality not conformity — this fits.
- Simplicity not complexity — studying great minds and works in all fields, write and discuss and apply. That is very much what this curriculum seems to do.
- Secure not stressed — get your own inspiration to know you’re doing what God wants you to do in your home school, and that you’re doing it well. I’m not pushing anyone else here, but for me, after much prayer, I felt inspired to look into this curriculum. Even though I haven’t taken the time to read many of the lesson plan samples, I am already so impressed, I purchased it. I really love the agency-honoring approach of TJED, yet I was going kind of nuts with no structure, so I’m flooded with relief at having some structure that I love.7. The lessons are so inspiring and make the content so meaningful! For example, the sample literature lesson talks about fairy tales. They discuss what makes a fairy tale, and princesses and princes. They read the story together of The Princess and the Pea, (with a fun activity of the kids finding a pea under their pillow) and then discuss what if someone is a prince or princess and doesn’t know it? What if they are but don’t act like it? Those questions lead into the principle that each of us is a real prince of princess, and then how can we act like it. There are invitations to act, according to age level. So a young child might set a goal of one thing she can do that week to be worthy of the Spirit and behave like a daughter of God.8. It can be used as your family alone or along with another one or more families in a co-op, where each mom chooses a subject or two to teach.9. It is in a six-year rotation.10. You can use their suggested schedule, or create your own schedule. If you’re home schooling five days a week, their schedule allows for one day a week as an enrichment day, which they use for things like field trips, teaching life skills like cooking, scouts, etc.11. They are now offering the first month for free so people can use it as a trial basis, and see if it’s a good fit for their family.12. There is a network of support with other LDS home school families using the curriculum too.13. The school is passionate about quality, so they are asking for feedback all along the way. Although it’s more expensive for them to print and ship in smaller increments, than the entire binders at once, they want to get parents’ feedback, use it to tweak and polish the next section before they send it out, and so on.Here is how I am planning on using the curriculum. We do a morning devotional already, along with a morning school together as a family. So we’ll do devotional, the Family School lesson together, then have lunch. The afternoon will be more individualized learning for things the kids are interested in, and for some math and language arts. Then we plan on using dinner table time as a place for each child to share what they’re excited about that they learned that day, and we have our bedtime devotional with Dad. I may tweak this as we go along, but that’s how I plan to use it for now.The creators of it use it the other way around: they start the day with family devotional and do individual studies before lunch (practice musical instrument, math, language arts), then after lunch they do family school between 12 and 2.In case anyone else out there is praying hard like I was, maybe this will be the answer to your prayers too!