I will start by mentioning this product is a bundle and includes a DVD-Rom , a CD, a teacher's guide, and 2 student books (volume 1 and volume 2) and will retail for $124.95 during the 2012-2013 school year. While it is a complete program since the worksheets and other teacher resources are a the media discs there will be quite a lot of printing involved in using this product, so that is something to take into consideration when looking at the price.
We currently use old school McGuffey's readers so this was something totally new for the boys. I decided to let Nathan try the worksheets and some of the reading even though he is only starting 2nd grade. I went ahead and let Cameron read and do many of the worksheets as he just finished 3rd grade but was a late reader. We were able to read the stories and extras in the textbook and use the various worksheets which included fun activities as well as the traditional dry worksheets.
I printed up a set of various worksheets for the First Unit weeks 1-5 and we began our journey. I put all the worksheets into a file folder and would pull from that. I also printed the word lists and flashcards only I printed them at 1/2 and 1/4 size so the boys could make collages from the words.
Overall, the boys didn't mind the program and given that I was able to use the program with both the boys was a nice bonus. I can see using this throughout the rest of the year and even into next year for Nathan as a way to break from the norm a little bit as the stories are fun and engaging for the kids. I am considering put some of the teacher resources on my laptop (especially the flip charts) so we can use them without printing them. I can also see having the flash cards on the laptop as a way to flip through the flashcards on the screen. The fun word search worksheets were a hit with Nathan so I will most likely go through and print those first since these are harder and above his grade level.
The program is secular but I didn't find anything in the first volume that would be an issue. My boys are use to me creatively adjusting time lines when it comes to evolution within a text book, it has actually become a silly thing for them. Honestly, I can't say if I would have purchased this program, the price is higher than I would consider reasonable for our budget, but if I look at the life use of the program I could see value there.
Pearson Homeschool has a variety of curriculum in a variety of grades from elementary through high school and covering Math, reading, science, and social studies. Their website also has links to state resources if you are unsure where to find your state's guidelines. The site is still under some construction but has a lot of information. I also enjoyed searching other online sources including Teacher's blog to see how others were using the program. Since the edition we reviewed is the newest edition the lesson didn't always line up with what I was finding online, but I was inspired to think outside the box a little and see how fun we could make it.