I really enjoy research and I really enjoy looking at curriculum. Researching curricula is perfect for me. (I am not really sure I should admit that because it does sound rather nerdish. LOL) I have been looking at a number of different curricula lately because I genuinely want to know what is out there and what I would recommend to those who ask me. I have several friends who use these books and curriculum, so today I want to look at Master Books.
Master Books has been around since 1976 (so it is as old as me!) and is a leading publisher of biblical apologetic books and resources. Yes, Master Books is faith based. It is a strong Christian curriculum. Their ethos is “Lessons for a Living Education”.
From their website:
Whether you’re new to homeschooling or a seasoned pro, we are here to help you succeed with our award-winning, faith-based homeschool curriculum, educational resources, Moms of Master Books groups, and best-in-class support team.
Their catalog is extensive and covers Language Arts, Science, Math, History, Social Studies and other electives. You can see the full catalog online or order a physical copy.
What I appreciate about Master Books is that its style is eclectic. They have worked to provide something that can be individualized – based on strengths and interests. They mix traditional education with principles from Montessori and Charlotte Mason.
THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MASTER BOOKS:
- It is an “open and go” curriculum, meaning that you don’t have to do lots of preparation and the teachers guides are very easy to use
- It is from preschool (for those who want to do an academic preschool year) to Grade 12
- You can order a four basic subject set bundle that includes math, language arts, history, and science or you can pick and choose. Being able to mix and match according to your child’s level is extremely helpful.
- They include activities that cover all the learning styles.
- Each subject has 180 days of lessons, but you can be flexible on how you do them.
- The lessons are interactive and interesting.
- The development team has also thought about gifted children and children with learning disabilities/special needs
- The lessons are not long and labor intensive (1 page a day per subject). This certainly helps with keeping children focused and active in their learning.
- There are subjects designed to be family-style learning (multiple age).
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE:
- The Biblical worldview is incorporated in the lessons in such a way that you wouldn’t be able to “skip the Christian content”. In using Master Books you need to be aware that it is heavily faith-based.
- Some people have expressed that they think the lessons are too easy, or too gentle, and want something more rigorous for their children. This is entirely up to you as the parent, and this is why we have so many different curricula.
- If you want to stay in line with common core, Master Books does not line up with it.
- They also have Master Books Academy, which is a catalog of online enrichment videos (with instructors) you can purchase access to (18 months access for that particular lesson) for self-paced instruction.
- There are placement tests available to know what level to purchase for your child.
Purchasing a four subject bundle will cost between $135 and $325 depending on the grade. Individual books will also range in price depending on the level and content. These can range from $20 to $60 depending on the subject and level. Many of the books are around $35.
Using Master Books is an affordable option for families as the books can be used again by other children. The cost of the bundles is also not extreme.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT MASTER BOOKS
I like how Master Books is set out and is comprehensive in what it covers subjects and elective wise. I appreciate that they have stayed true to their heart for a Biblical worldview in all lessons as I know this appeals to many Christian homeschooling families. Another thing I appreciate is that they have taken the learning styles into consideration and the lessons aren’t taxing.
But would I use this curriculum myself? At this point, no. It is not that I have any personal objections to Master Books and its content. It is just not how we homeschool, and as I work on skills based learning for my girls and a focus on critical thinking, it doesn’t work for us.
Is this one I would recommend to others? Yes, I would (after ascertaining what style of homeschooling curriculum they are looking for). I can see why it is popular for many Christian families and why it has been successful for almost 50 years.
Learn more about Master Books here