Encouragement, tips, and practical helps for homeschool moms
BJU Press offers both curriculum for purchase and a distance learning solution. The texts cover all core subjects with a Christian worldview, critical thinking, and hands-on learning.
My children were in public school at first. They did tell me they were not doing History or Science in public school. Also they have complained about the work being hard…especially in Math. I have noticed with 5th grade Math I do have to teach the entire lesson, which can take up to 20-30 minutes to teach. Mind you I have 3 grades I am teaching, so that takes a big chunk of my time! When you have multiple grades to teach it can become overwhelming at times…that’s why I chose Bob Jones. It fits many different learning styles and it has all the lesson plans already done for you. Of course sometimes I switch it up. I don’t like that it’s so expensive and all the science activities, but for now I am planning on doing the online version once my kids reach high school level. I have also been thinking of doing a different science curriculum once we get to 7th grade. The most important reason I chose this curriculum was because it was from a Christian view. My kids have learned so much from Bible. That’s the biggest gift that it has been able to let me teach them!
I wanted to like the BJU reading program, and I tried hard to like it, but I have to say that it really didn’t work for my two girls. What happened is that both of my girls taught themselves at age four to read after a brief introduction to phonics, but I wanted them to have a broad knowledge of phonics rules rather than just the intuitive understanding they seemed to have. I had decided not to use A Beka (though it’s quite well-liked) or Rod and Staff (seemed too “boring” even though many recommended it), and I liked the cute way BJU teaches short and long vowels (Mrs. Short, Mr. Short, Miss Long with her dog Marker e, etc.). But one of my daughters still can’t consistently identify short and long vowels. You spend so much time trying to explain the cute clues and then they don’t really retain the information, which is clearly very frustrating. The math was pretty good, but then I started looking at A Beka’s math and realized BJU’s is not very advanced. It’s also missing speed drills, so my girls weren’t really memorizing their facts. I switched to A Beka math and am really liking that so far. As for teaching my two boys to read, I’m going to be using Rod and Staff. My mom used it with me for first grade, and I remember liking it and learning phonics really well, but somehow I thought I needed to jazz things up for my own kids. I’m regretting that choice today. I should mention that I was trained as a teacher and got a masters in reading education, so I’ve seen a huge variety of methods of teaching reading, but I’m still convinced that sometimes the best options are the simple, tried-and-true, traditional methods. . . .
Years ago I used 2nd grade history for another child so when we went back to homeschooling this year, I bought the hard drive kits for grades 1 and 7. Grade 1 was easy peasy. My first grader was already a confident reader so if anything it was too easy.
Grade 7–no so. The instruction is so thorough that it is very difficult to study for tests. Section quizes average 5 questions per section. Even combined with the other quizzes and reviews, this does not cover what all will appear on the test. I have looked through the book expecting somewhere to find this information in bold or somewhere signified, but much of the test is random details from the chapter.
Test taking became an agonizing struggle for us. Either I “studied the test” with my student or I had to go over the whole chapter again and the information was such overload that my student hates history now.
He was making straight A’s when I took him out of public school, but now even taking into consideration the adjustment to homeschooling, at the end of the year I don’t know how we can do Bob Jones again next year.
I don’t have time to rewrite tests to be relevant to the pertinent information and the teachers don’t do a good enough job of preparing students for what is expected on the tests and what to study. I’m very disappointed because while I want a thorough curriculum I just don’t feel this curriculum is age appropriate especially where testing is involved.
We have used BJU Bible Truths this year. My son is 4th grade, but I found a used TE for 5th grade (the TE are expensive!). I decided we would give it a try. We have loved it. Because I am involved in all of the lessons the grade level really didn’t matter. My son hates to sing. We have done a couple of the Hymn lesson, but most of them we skip. There are reviews included, but don’t use those. We have loved this so much that we have bought Math and English for next year. Like all BJU the parent has to be involved in the lessons. If you buy the TE, student workbook and all of the suggested items, BJU is expensive, but I do love it!
We loved BJU math for elementary aged children, and now we use BJU Biology and Literature courses. They are very informative, interesting, and provide some challenge too.
BJU Press Grammar curriculum for 7th grade is written from a Christian perspective, very thorough, with lots of useful information and activities. As a linguist, I like it, but my 12-year-old daughter finds it quite challenging.
We have been using the Bob Jones DVD curriculum for our daughter since she was 5. She has loved and looked forward to every year with BJU. The classes are entertaining and the curriculum is very thorough. I think that this setup for homeschool students is done very well. The DVD lessons are videotapes so that the teacher is talking to your child and NOT a classroom of other children. We saw this with other programs and thought it a little off putting. Our daughter has learned A LOT with BJU and enjoyed every minute of it. I have no qualms except the price but it’s worth every penny. If I have something pressing to take care of I can leave her with the DVD and she is still focused and learning.
Pluses for us are….
Christian Based Complete Curriculum Lesson Plans Laid out Very entertaining for mom too.
I have used BJU Home Distance Learning for my two children from 2nd grade through junior high. I have always been impressed with the quality of the program, how engaging the teachers were, and the level of instruction my children received. However, this all changed at the high school level. Courses that are taught by a teacher in the traditional BJU format are still fine (this includes English and Social Studies classes). But the LINC classes are horrible! They are supposed to be “live” classes but were recorded over 10 years ago,so the time given to prayer needs from their hundreds of “online” students are totally outdated and a waste of time. For science, labs are not shown or done with the student but rather one slide is put on the screen letting you know it is lab time and remains there for the entire class period. It is extremely tedious for a homeschool student to wait while students in schools across the country try to figure out how to ask or answer a question in class with their ancient electronic communication devises. Science, math, and foreign languages are all recorded in this manner. They are frustrating to my student, inadquately supported by BJU, and a huge waste of money and time. We have had to eventually abandon each LINC class and find an alternative mid-year when we could no longer tolerate the low quality of the teaching and the irritation of the outdated format. BJU should be ashamed of themselves!
BJU Press has worked very well for our family. I initially chose BJ’s curriculum because, having gone to school there for two years myself, I knew their academic standards are high, and that when they do something they do it well. I was not disappointed! I’ve gone to our state’s DoE website a few times to check the SOL’s for my kids’ grade levels, and every time I look I’m amazed that we’ve covered everything and then some with BJU’s curricula. We have used the DVD program the last two years, which is pricey, but I think we may switch to just the books next year as the DVD’s can get long and it makes for a long day.
We really enjoy the ease that on line schooling has to offer. Although we do tend to modify some of the assignments (as they are heavy on writing), we find their curriculum to be a near perfect fit for our family!
BJU Press produces good quality curriculum. But it is not for every student. My daughter went to a Christian school through 2nd grade before we started homeschooling. I think she learned to read with BJU. She is a very good reader and loves to read. That being said, I did not use BJU with her our first year at home. The second year we used the BJU hard drive for 4th grade. I realized that she was not the kind to just use the computer for all of her lessons. She needed to have an actual person for some or alot of her work. So I proceeded to use some of their products with me teaching. She did better, but things still needed to be tweaked. This, her 6th grade year, I don’t think we are using any BJU. Now my son, on the other hand, has used BJU hard drive from k-working on 2nd. He has done pretty well. I can not say enough about their reading. It was a scary thought for me about him learning to read. But they did an excellent job. BJU hard drive for the first at least two years really gives an excellent foundation. I’m not for sure how it works, but I know that it does. He does not like to read for a fun thing, but I know that he can read. That makes me happy!!!!! Having said all of this, I may eventually switch my son to other things. I think that BJU hard drive can get too in depth, tedious. I think it did this for both of mine. So I may move on to something else with my son to. I don’t know for sure yet. But if you are looking for something that is a good foundation and teaches one to read well, BJU hard drives does the job. (k-1)
We used English without the videos. It is easy to use but without the videos requires a lot of parent time, and for one of my sons likely would have still required a lot of my time even with the videos. The grade 6 level had a ridiculous amount of grammar, too much in my opinion. I have a masters degree & have published a thesis & never needed to know 90% of the grammar being taught at this level! We will be making a change next year.
excellent customer service!
We used the BJU history for a few years. My children liked the text books, but the notebook/workbooks at that time were in black and white and my children didn’t always like doing them. (Example: an activity might include coloring a picture of the type of clothing of a period.) The notebook did incorporate geography into the course. The quizzes were pretty easy, as were the unit tests. The tests were designed to be consumable back then, and the replacement cost was more than I felt it should have been, especially considering the notebooks and quizzes were consumable as well. The history is not cover with the depth that some curricula offer, however, it has been 10 years since we used it. It is not difficult to keep up with the lessons. Teachers’ guides were written for the classroom teacher, not the home school mom back then. Sometimes I needed to adapt the materials and activities to fit for one student.
We started using BJU handwriting when my oldest daughter was in 1st grade. She had started out with Zaner-Bloser(ball and stick) handwriting and it had become a fight to do handwriting each day. Reversals and mixups were common. I decided we needed to try something new. BJU’s handwriting was a blessing. It starts with Precursive, which is built on one-stroke letters. It easily transistions into cursive in later grades. The letter formation is logical and simple, which translates into fewer headaches for child and mom!
parts of speech divided into chapters (not the same old stuff each day) interesting information in the practice sentences clearly explained, logically laid out
interesting and well laid out chronologically subjects clearly separated into chapters companion work text tests available
easy to complete/read book concepts/subjects clearly separated into chapters companion work text tests available
We have used the BJU Press materials for most subjects, for all grades, with multiple children who have different learning styles. The first few years, we used the books alone (with my first child, a visual learner). Then when my second came along, an auditory learner, we decided to start using the DVD program. Both of them loved it. Now my 3rd, a hands-on learner, enjoys the DVD program as well. The DVD program really works for all types of learning styles.
Lesson plans are carefully laid out, so that the parent just has to follow along, if that works, or modify the lessons if a child needs extra or less work in a particular area.
For a working mom, the DVD program has been a godsend. The kids can watch the lessons on their own, and I only need to get involved in the teaching if they don’t understand something after watching the teacher’s presentation (which doesn’t happen very often).
Lastly, I appreciate that every subject is taught from a Biblical perspective. I know my kids are not being indoctrinated with secular worldviews.
This is our 3rd year using BJUPress on dvd’s. My son absolutely loves them. Very good Christian curriculum. It puts the Bible into every subject. My son loves doing school everyday, and he is never, ever bored. The dvd’s are great to use. Very easy to use for the parents. My son tested off the charts on his standardized test this year. I plan on using BJUPress for many years to come.
I used BJU science for 1st grade and enjoyed it, although I did end up switching to a different science curriculum because I found it hard to find many of the supplies needed for the experiments since this curriculum was originally written for Christian schools. I loved how they laid out the teacher’s manual in a very easy-to-use format. My child learned so much from this curriculum the year we used it. I just wish the experiments had been easier to do.
BJUP Math is incredibly thorough. There are three major portions to each lesson: 1) Review of previous skills 2)Introduction of new skills 3)Workbook. There is a manipulatives packet that comes with the curriculum, as well as a CD Rom with lots of reproducibles that accompany the lessons. Every part of the lesson is scripted so parents will know precisely what to say to teach the child, and things are laid out in an easy-to-use fashion.
The lessons include hands on activities which make learning fun, in addition to two pages per lesson of workbook activities. The workbook is colorful and interesting for young children, and incorporates many biblical themes (such as pictures of Jesus’ disciples). There are also lessons from scripture that accompany many of the lessons (i.e. the story of Ananias and Sapphira accompanies a lesson on money). The curriculum also includes fun characters, such as Digit the clown and his pet seal. These characters are found in the manipulatives, and are used throughout the curriculum to introduce concepts.
The curriculum does an excellent job of covering Math concepts in a complete manner, so that children learn them well. If there were a con (which it is not to me), it would be that this is not a “quick” curriculum – each lesson can easily take a minimum of 30 minutes. On the pro side, this means that kids really learn their Math! The lessons review past concepts repeatedly, and children are kept engaged through the bright graphics, hands on activities, variety of learning methods, and fun characters.
All in all I have been extremely pleased with BJUP Math, and highly recommend it for young children. My daughter, who completed K5 at 4 and is working on 1st grade at 5 (therefore still has a young child’s issues with attention and retention), enjoys doing her Math and looks forward to it every day. And the concepts that she learned in K5, once we review them now in 1st grade, she knows cold. If you want a complete, thorough program with a Christian worldview, which lays out exactly what the parent needs to do and say, this is it!
I bought this curriculum package when I first started homeschool. The science books have gotten the most use from our family. It’s been a great boon to have science materials that actually reinforce Christianity rather than preaching secular humanism!
My family has used Bob Jones materials for every grade level and almost every subject available. The textbooks completely cover standard skills. Every subject area is written from a Christian perspective.
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