When we first began homeschooling Cathy Duffy had two large books out reviewing the popular curriculum choices at the time. The reviews she provided in those books were specific and in-depth; very helpful in deciding what would work.
Now she has provided those same types of in-depth reviews in 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. However, instead of the focus being on the materials, the focus is on the learners. Rather than being “curriculum driven,” she works in reverse fashion: determining what the children need to learn, deciding what methods to use, setting up a schedule — THEN finding a curriculum that “has the content and methodology that fits your agenda, and use it on your own timetable.” To help us accomplish this task she walks us through establishing our own “Philosophy of Education” by examining our priorities and ideas about learning. An “Approaches to Learning” questionnaire helps us zero in on our preferred methods of education. Other factors that could influence our decisions such as money, time and experience are also considered.
Yes, the choices are very pared down from the multitude of reviews in the original books. But by focusing in on the best choices in any particular category of learning, 100 Top Picks makes our decisions easier. Besides, you can read many of her original reviews free online at Cathy Duffy Reviews!
If you are planning to purchase this new, you may be interested in the “updated and heavily revised” 2012 version — 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.