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Trail Guide to Learning User Profiles

Here we feature families who are using our Trail Guide to Learning curriculum in their homeschool. We would love to familiarize you with real folks who are using this innovative curriculum.

September 2011

Cindy, from Florida, has been homeschooling her 10-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy for 2 1/2 years! She started using Trail Guide to Learning last school year and has really enjoyed it. Here’s what she had to say about it:

"We love how in depth this curriculum goes into each subject matter.  We love learning not just "what" each group of people did but why and how much they had to go through to achieve their dreams.  You never learn that in any regular history course.  We love that it encompasses geography, science and art.  We also love the games for the days when we just need to lighten the load of homeschooling. You still learn and review but it's fun."

"I love that history is brought to life in the people or groups that we study.  I love that we get to see them at their best and at their worst.  I've used another history course in the past that was just an overview of history and I was so disappointed because I love history.  I wanted more meat not just fluff.  I found that in this history/geography/science and art curriculum.  Between Trail Guide to Learning and Learning Language Arts Through Literature-style language arts instruction, my daughter has blossomed in her writing skills and in her spelling abilities in just one year."

"Thank you for showing people that homeschooling doesn't have to be so structured that it gets boring.  I love that my kids are learning and it almost seems effortless.  The key for me is that they are retaining so much of what they are learning.  It's not about learning to make that grade for the test but learning and retaining for a lifetime."

October 2011

Dawn, from Virgina, has been homeschooling officially for 8 years! She has three children, a daughter that is 12 years old, another daughter 10, and a son that is 6. She started using Trail Guide to Learning in August of 2010. Here’s what she had to say about it:

"This curriculum has changed our homeschool experience because my children no longer have to just "memorize" information. While using Paths of Exploration they felt like they were living in the time of each unit we learned about. They think of it as an adventure and the readers, read-alouds and activities bring everything to life for them.  Paths of Exploration is so organized and that in turn keeps me organized and our homeschooling is so much more exciting. My children are able to connect, relate, and talk about everything they have learned."

"My oldest daughter loves the science activities (especially the North American Wildlife Guide) and my second daughter loves the readers and read alouds. Her favorite has been Daniel Boone, even though she started out not enjoying reading that much, just having us read all together has been very enjoyable for her and has encouraged her to read more. My son, whom I never thought was paying much attention to us while doing Paths of Exploration, talks about Columbus and his ships all the time (and that was the first unit done last year). For me, the best part of this curriculum is watching my children pretending to be the characters in the stories we read, staring at a bee swarm and actually knowing what it was and talking about the queen bee, visiting Jamestown and talking about everything that "Nate" went through...they do not complain when it is time to start school work, they don't think of it as work. They will complain every now and then about copy work and dictation but it's good for them to learn the value and importance of doing both. This curriculum does just that. It is so well written and organized, it has truly been a blessing to our family's adventure in homeschooling."

November 2011

Here’s what Shari from Kentucky had to say about it:

"I have all boys—ages 18, 16 and 11.  Just the 11 year old uses Trail Guide to Learning.  We have been homeschooling for 12 years and this is our second year using Trail Guides.  It makes learning much more fun for us.  I love how it pulls everything together and makes the topics interesting, while still getting the necessary amount of "schooling" in.  My son loves the interesting stories and the different topics he learns about each day.  I wish I'd had it when my older two were younger!"

December 2011

Here’s what Judi from Iowa had to say about it:

"I've been homeschooling my eight and ten year old boys for five years now. Since starting the Trail Guide to Learning series, we love doing school now! The language is so much more effective for my oldest, and he is writing better all the time. It makes it much easier to teach both of them also."

November 2012

Rebecca, is a homeschooling mother of three children. Rebecca has been sharing their family’s adventure on her blog—Mom’s Mustard Seeds. Rebecca wrote a thorough review of Paths of Settlement for her readers recently. Here is what she had to say about how The Trail Guide to Learning Series teaches history:

"GeoMatters hits the History ball out of the ballpark utilizing beautiful living books that help your children travel back in time and enjoy the truth about our American History. The books we have read so far are: Abigail Adams and George Washington. Both identify the beauty that each person possessed, due to their character and principles being founded upon the Bible."

"The books are beautifully written and help identify other individuals who were also alive at the same time, how their lives mingled across the earth from Europe to America and truly how God’s hand was at work during this time period of our American History."

"History is not learned only through the Living Books, It is integrated throughout the remainder of the lessons – copywork, writing lessons, dictation, etc. I will cover those later."

"In addition to the incredible books you read, Debbie includes other information to help draw your children in.  She does this in a beautiful way that helps move you along without sitting and reading 10 books at one time. Truly, the information provided in her lesson plan/text is not a ‘text-book’ dry list of facts, but great information that ALSO helps build your child’s vocabulary, as well as historical knowledge!"

You can read more about her thoughts on teaching with Trail Guide to Learning here.

January 2013

This month's Trail Guide to Learning user profile was submitted by homeschool veteran Terri:

"I have been homeschooling since 1997. I have four children, 25, 19, 13 and 10. I started out homeschooling my two oldest children who were in 5th grade and Kindergarten at the time. Needless to say, I have used various curriculums over the years and found things I loved and didn’t love. And I found things that worked with one child didn’t work with the second child. We had times of public school and private school for the younger three children in the middle of our homeschooling years. But after a year and a quarter of public school and two years of private school we were back to homeschooling. The first year we used the math they were using in the private school and found we loved it so we still use it (Math U See). We will be beginning our fifth year back to homeschooling this fall. Three years ago I found Trail Guides to Learning and it changed our homeschool experience into something I always hoped it would be, amazing and fun for them and me."

"Trail Guides to Learning fit our family just right. I needed something already put together with lesson plans that weren’t overwhelming and easy to follow. The fact that it was based on books instead of text books was an added plus to me. Text books can be so dry, but novels come alive when you read them. I loved how you could buy everything all at once without having to go hunt things down. I also love the middle school supplement that is offered with each level. We used the middle school supplement because one of my children is one grade higher than each one said it covered. I loved the extra book for each unit. That became our book we used for dictation and that they read silently each day. We used the other three books for each of us to read aloud to the “class”. My younger child reads the easiest and my older child reads whichever of the other two he chooses while I read the one remaining. We got so many different looks at each period of time. It was great."

"The middle school supplement had extra work that you could assign to challenge your students. It was easy to understand and the kids were able to complete it in a timely manner. I love how I can teach both of my children from one lesson but give the older one more without it disrupting our flow. In fact, I often give my younger child the same extra assignments if I feel she can handle it. Even though she is two grades below my son, my daughter has excelled and done most of the same extended work he has. Sometimes she is more willing to do the extended work than the older one is.

"I have and will continue to recommend this program to any and all who are homeschooling or thinking about it. After seeing the different curriculums for the past 15 years I can honestly say it is the best program for our family and I wish it had been around when I taught my older two children. We have such fun discovering history together. I never had this much fun when I was in school but I am learning along with my children and having fun. We connect what we have learned with so many things we see and do in our everyday lives."

February 2013

This month's Trail Guide to Learning user profile was submitted by Nanci, a homeschool mother of three from Georgia:

"I have an 11-year-old son, a 9-year-old daughter, and a 7-year-old son that I have been homeschooling since my oldest started Kindergarten. Before we started Paths of Exploration, we began our school days by going in 3 different directions, with me bouncing between the location of each child. Now, we are all able to sit down at the table and learn together, and since I'm big on family time, I'm thrilled with the way this works. That is the biggest advantage of using the Trail Guide to Learning, but there are many others. Before we started this new (to us) curriculum, schooldays were a drudgery in our house, with the kids just trying to get it done as fast as they could. Now, they look forward to each new learning experience, and so do I because I'm learning a lot of new things right along with them. Certainly, there are parts that they (we) like less than others, but they (we) are much more willing to get through the "not so fun" stuff to get to the "fun stuff." My boys, who used to not care very much for reading, now beg to read another chapter. All my little students love all the books, the special activities (i.e. cooking recipes from different countries, art activities), science projects, but most of all HISTORY! They love, love, love history, and that is another reason this curriculum works so well for our family—because everything revolves around history."

"I spent 5 years looking for the perfect homeschool curriculum for my little family. Believe me, I've tried a little of everything, but I've finally found what fits us best. My plan is to continue this curriculum through 12th grade, and I'm definitely looking forward to it."

August 2013

Meet Trail Guide to Learning user, Sheri. She recently wrote a review of Paths of Exploration on her blog Meaningful Home Life. I think you’ll agree it sounds like she has one of those kinesthetic learners!

"I am going to start with the end... which is to say... I. LOVE. THIS. CURRICULUM!  There. I said it.  I do, I truly love this curriculum.  It fits my son SO perfectly and has resolved so many struggles that he's previously experienced in other curriculums.   "Oh sure!", you might say.  I know what you're thinking... how can ONE curriculum be the answer?  Well, let me tell you how."

"First, let me give you a little background, though.  I am using this curriculum for my 10 year old (turns 11 tomorrow) ALL boy, boy.  When I say he's "all boy" what I mean is he is a rough n tumble, can't sit for very long because I need to move, kind of kid.  He is easily distracted and enjoys DOING rather than sitting.  He is not one that is thrilled to sit with a book for hours on end and he will certainly slump into a puddle of human goo at the thought of being handed a dry textbook to read.  I love this boy to death but he is a very different learner from my 13 year old son who is content to be handed a stack of books and a checklist and sit for hours reading to learn."

"I'll be honest... I took a chance with Trail Guide to Learning. It was a departure from the style of learning I'd been using before and what I was used to."

You can read the rest of Sheri’s review on her blog: Meaningful Home Life