Illuminations - By Bright Ideas Press
available online here
We were given the opportunity to choose from several exciting programs from Bright Ideas Press for this review (I wasn't paid for my honest opinion). Well, since I LOVE their products, and have purchased almost everything on the list - Illuminations - Year 3 was my choice.
Illuminations is software product that schedules your curriculum for you. It uses the wildy popular (and my personal favorite) history program - Mystery of History by Linda Hobar as a "spine". Then, they add grammar, spelling (several popular programs already scheduled - you pick the one you use...), copywork, vocabulary, writing, literature (both family read alouds and student readers), Bible, Geography, Humanities and Science. And, if that isn't enough - they have extra lists with Supplemental Activities like Audio and Netflix recommendations! The only subject you need to schedule is Math (and everyone knows it would be impossible to pre-schedule a subject like math...arghhh!)
This is exactly the way I would schedule and plan - if I only had the time! I love to pull together various resources and come up with an integrated program that all flows together. But, with 8 kiddos and a home to run - I run out of time and energy to do this. Illuminations is the answer! Best of all, all these pre-planned schedules are fully "tweakable" to your needs. If you don't use a particular resource they have planned, or don't want to cover it, simply type over it (on their handy form) and replace it with your plan! I love it!
The literature guides are great. Each year comes with a literature list, so that you can easily see what books are recommended. You get teacher notes and student sheets for each. And, the Year 3 program included an Ebook to use as well! Well done, easy to understand and super easy to implement. The schedules are seperated into Grades 3-8 and Early Learners. Each Literature guide has a reading schedule, vocabulary, comprehension and discussion questions, and hands-on lessons for that selection. (and the answer key for Mom - just in case, you didn't have time to actually read the book you assigned to your child to read...)
It's easy to see and print, exactly what you want. Just choose a subject, or a week and you can access a pre-planned grid of lessons. Click on anything you want to see to get more information. It is truly a very easy program to master (I hate reading the instruction manual first - and I was able to find my way around with ease...)
Here's a Video that explains it very well.
The cost is $165.00 for a full year plan (year 3) Grades 3-8. High school options are available for an extra $95.00.
This price is for the Illuminations scheduling product only, and not all the resources and books that it uses. Since you customize to your needs, that will cost will vary greatly between families.
If it seems a tad expensive at first, consider how often did you want to... plan to... but never quite do it? I mean, the taking the time to fully plan out your year, pull the resources together, and write it all into a nifty program that lets you print it out? Just the Literature guides alone are worth the cost! (I've been known to assign reading selections that I haven't pre-read... shhhh don't tell the kiddos - but having teacher notes is a lifesaver!) It may be a bargain - when you look at it from that perspective. I thought it was...
See what my other reviewers thought Here