If you are interested in finding out about or using any of the text books that are used by APS there are two ways of going about it.
You can visit Tireman Library at UNM College of Education and look at the materials that APS district has adopted. If interested in purchasing at the discounted price that APS †is able to get †you can call Resolve Corporation at 766-9721. †They are located at 1600 1st Street NW.
I was also told that APS has a curriculum center on Commanche and Louisana that you can visit to look at text books. †3315 Louisiana
By the way, I would love to find out what others are using for curriculum!
Here are a couple of good things I've come across in my search for good learning materials:
Singapore Math - http://www.singaporemath.com. This is the actual math curriculum (teacher's book, student book, work book) that †they use in Singapore, whose students routinely top the world in standardized math tests. I'm told that they tend to teach things about a year ahead of what we do here. The books are in English (the official language of Singapore is English). What I like about the books (we're a number-loving household) is that there isn't a great deal of repetition or spiraling, it emphasizes solving word problems phrased in various ways from the very beginning, it explains alternative ways of thinking about (and solving) different problems so students can go with what works best for their own brain! The workbooks are colorful and interesting, and it's not too expensive because everything's paperback. Also, it comes with some math game software that fits in well with the lessons.
History of US, by Joy Hakim - http://www.oup.com/us/collections/historyofus/?view=usa and http://www.historyofus.org/. Pricey, but I was able to buy a used set of an older edition for a lot less. This 10-volume set of books is a wonderful, wonderful history of the United States written for kids at about 5th grade level. It sounds like a lot, but they are so interesting, written directly to the child and full of pictures and interesting stories. It doesn't emphasize remembering dates or even most of the people, but getting the big picture, building a real interest in history, and presenting what makes our country so unique and special in the world. This is something I'm planning to read to my children (unless they want to read it themselves).
Story of the World, by Susan Wise Bauer - http://www.welltrainedmind.com/childsworldhistory.html. A multi volume set (Ancient Times, The Middle Ages, Early Modern Times, etc.) that can be purchased separately, and with or without activity books. This is series written by the woman who co-wrote A Well Trained Mind. It's a history of the world written for very young children (1-3 graders?) and meant to be read to them, and written directly to the child. Again, it's something that makes history fun and doesn't push the memorization. I guess I lean towards that kind of thing, since most of what I retain from history is from historical novels I enjoyed reading, not from school textbooks.
Writing Strands, by Dave Marks - http://www.writingstrands.com. †A process approach to writing and composition. Something of a radical book, but it appealed to my own sense of what was important in instilling both skill and interest in communicating in written form. My family are writers (my sister and I both made our living from it -- she retired very well off after writing a couple of best-sellers, I just burned out!) and this is the approach that makes the most sense to me. The following quote from their web site conveys the somewhat unusual approach of teaching spelling, grammar, and puntuation within the context of composition, which I heartily agree with:
"Writing Strands is a program designed to teach children how to use their language effectively in creative and expository modes. The upper levels of the series have creative, basic, research and report, argumentative, and explanatory training. The lower levels teach the skills needed by the students to be able to take advantage of the upper levels' exercises. Does Writing Strands teach grammar, punctuation and spelling? Yes, but only on a need-to-know basis. Research shows that abstracted exercises in grammar workbooks do not carry over into application in the production of written work. Children can be expert at underlining nouns and verbs and not use them with precision. They can diagram perfectly and not be able to write an effective sentence. When students need to understand a rule of writing to do an exercise, that is the time they should learn the rule. †The research in spelling †shows that for most children memorizing lists of words and testing on those lists employs short-term memory abilities and those exercises do not carry over into use after the tests are taken."
I found some of the Writing Strands books cheap at Title Wave books.
With my step daughter we ordered the entire set of Alpha Omega workbooks for her grade level. I am still waiting on my order...(shoudl be here next week), so I have not really gotten a good look at them yet. By what I can tell so far, I figure this should be a simple way to make sure we are covering all the bases. We will supplement with other things as we find materials or things we want to use.
With the twins, I have just picked up various workbooks from the dollar store to work in as well as different hands on items like manipulatives, puzzles, craft materials, playdough, etc. I will work more school type activities with them starting in the Fall when we begin working with my stepdaughter more. I think I will stick to only 2 - 3 days a week doing "school" with them.
I also picked up some learning videos for the boys. They are geared for ages 1 - 3 or 4 I think, but the boys love them and they seem to keep Aidan's attention pretty well too. I did not really get these to really teach them anything neccessarily, but more to buy some time when I need to work one on one with Jordan.
Also, we have the Reader Rabbit series of Computer games from Baby up to 2nd or 3rd grade. We have had these for awhile as my stepdaughter has used from preschool and up as she has grown up. We use the computer a lot in our family and usually have atleast 2 available if not more. My husband's living is computers, so the kids will probably use lots of computer programs growing up. However, I plan to use these more to back up things they have already learned rather than teach new concepts.
Well, don't know if that makes much sense. It has been a long day. Long story short...Flat tire in the pouring rain with 3 very cranky kids in the car.
Thank you for the information Elizabeth and Jessica!
FYI I called APS and they sent me information on where to purchase textbooks and teaching materials. They also provided phone numbers of home school parent associations. Have you heard of New Mexico Family Educators, Karee Sowards at 899-0652? They also listed the Tijeras Foundation as an Educational resource Center 292-3156. Those were the only two I had never heard of.
APS Curriculum Guides or Content Standards are available for purchase at Montgomery Complex, from the Teaching and Learning Systems department. 3315 Louisiana NE, 880-8249 ext.. 100
Has anyone become a product tester for http://www.homeschool.com/ProductTester? They send curriculum, educational toys, items for early childhood development and then your kids help write up a review to send back in. I signed up so I am hoping I didn't get into something awful.
Shannon, Karee Sowards with New Mexico Family Educators is the one you and I had spoke of on Monday. I thought that they had closed that group out, and I know her a little. I'm going to put in a call and see if they're still around.
This Tijeras Foundation used to be up here, in fact that's where the Friday Enrichment Classes used to be held at. I think we spoke of them and I highly recommend them. You can go to their building, pay a small signup fee for your family and check out all kinds of different curriculum for either a day, month or year. They are a great resource and have lots of stuff. They are in Albuq. off of Tramway.
I just love what I received in the mail from http://www.homeschool.com/ProductTester. †Jonathan is enjoying the CD, flash cards and activities! †I get to keep the product and just have to fill out a survey on the product. I will probably order some of the other learning kits from the company †(www.kidzup.com). I received the I'm Learning My ABC's learning kit.
I will bring the kit to our next activity so others can check it out.