We made it! We survived another year of homeschooling, enjoyed our summer, and are beginning a new homeschool year!
So what worked and what didn't work last year?
MathUSee worked wonderfully as always. It is looking like we will eventually wind our way through the entire MUS curriculum since it really works well for us. It has been the easiest subject to deal with and succeed in by far. I really can't say enough about it.
Paths of Exploration worked in some ways, but did not work in others. As far as a history curriculum, it worked, but I definitely would not say it adequately covered ALL subjects. We started out really enjoying the lessons. We happily worked through the Columbus unit, and did get a lot out of it. The kids enjoyed it, and I was pleased with the flow of the lessons. The kids' knowledge in history, science, and geography was greatly improved. We continued with the second unit - Jamestown - but didn't feel the same enthusiasm as we did in unit 1. The lessons didn't feel like they had as much meat to them. The kids still felt connected to the historical characters and enjoyed the stories, but the lessons weren't as engaging. It just didn't feel as planned out as unit 1 felt. We pushed through and finished unit 2. The real difficulty came when we got to unit 3 - Pilgrims. Now the lessons felt more like a bunch of busy work. The information seemed repetitive and didn't tie together very well. Everything felt disjointed and without value or purpose. We barely made it through the lessons. We finished reading, but did not complete all the written lessons. Unit 3 became drudgery in the end. We decided that Part Two would wait till next Fall with the knowledge that it would not be considered a "complete" curriculum. We will definitely be supplementing with other materials, especially in Spelling and Language Arts.
Overall, I will continue using Paths of Exploration (part 2) just because we have it, but it will be considered a HISTORY curriculum only.