NOTE: Veritas Press has updated and drastically changed their Phonics Museum curriculum. It now has a cartoony look and lacks the lovely fine arts aspects I loved so much. There are still copies of the old edition available, and that is the only reason I have not removed this review.
I’ve been promising this review for quite some time, but I wanted to give our family plenty of time to use it before I told all of you about it. Well, after a year and a half of using it, I think I’m ready!
The product is Phonics Museum from Veritas Press. I chose it because I like a lot of what Veritas Press offers and I wanted a more structured phonics program as I was struggling to teach my 3rd child to read. (Note: My first child learned how to read with very little effort my 2nd child taught herself to read.)
I went ahead and purchased the Kindergarten/1st Grade Combo at my husband’s urging considering I had another child who would be entering Kindergarten at the heels of #3.
We jumped in full force and we loved all the hands on activities! There were art lessons and projects, art cards to hang in the museum and coloring pages that matched each art card, an alphabet bag to hold all the treasures we found that began with each letter we were learning, puzzle pieces to spell our words, and games to play. There was even a CD with lively songs to teach reading concepts.
But, my daughter continued to struggle, so we took a 2 month break and picked it back up after that. And she began to soar! At 7, she is fluently reading on a 2nd to 3rd grade level! My 6 year old has also started the program and he is starting to sound out words as well (a huge accomplishment considering his speech delays!).
So, let me share with you some of the pros and cons we have encountered, so you can make an informed decision about the product, but suffice it to say, for us, the cons were easily overcome and were not enough to cancel out the pros of the program.
- Lesson plans are easy to follow and give you everything you need to know to teach with confidence.
- The Readers are incredibly engaging and interesting. Not your typical early reader fare.
- The use of art in the program adds a sense of beauty and wonderment to what can often be a dry subject.
- The coloring pages include a description of the art and the artist and often his or her religious views.
- The workbooks are useful and not full of “busy work.”
- The Lesson Plans also include plans for private Christian schools, so you have to wade through some of that.
- Some of the songs on the CD are too difficult to follow for young children and a wee bit boring.
- Some of the games would be better played with the entire family. We had to drag a sibling or two in on some of them.
- The iron-on for the alphabet bag fell apart quickly. Surely it wasn’t my ironing skills.
- We skipped 2 readers due to the fact that we do not teach mythology to children this age.
- The photos while of nostalgic/vintage quality do depict a few things our family does not care for…a shell-clad mermaid and a hideous-looking witch.
All in all, Phonics Museum has proven to be worth the money I spent on it. I know I probably could have used a much cheaper method, but the most important things Phonics Museum provided me was accountability, structure, and consistency – something I had been lacking with everything else I had tried. Perhaps it was the fact that the program was interesting even to a 35 year old homeschooling mama and sometimes, THAT is priceless!