When I was selected to try out myWorld Social Studies from Pearson, I was excited, as social studies was one of the things on my list of subjects to look into for the 2012-2013 school year. I know that my children learn a lot about how society works through everyday life. However, we have never addressed the subject formally.
I received one of their new myWorld Social Studies bundles for homeschool. Included was a student book, a student video disc, and a teacher resource disc. This bundle sells for $69.99 at pearsonhomeschool.com.
To be honest, our schooling style is pretty independent right now. I assist the kids where they need it, but for the most part, they are learning from the materials. I don't tend to prepare and present lessons. That said, I didn't really use the teacher resource disc. One of the items listed on it is "hands-on activities," and my kids always seem to like those, so we will be looking into them. Other items on the teacher disc are lesson plan support, "professional development podcasts," tests, and answer keys. We don't really do formal tests here, so I won't be using those! The primary way we used these materials was the way we use most materials - my kids took the book up to their room, read through the lesson, and answered the questions on a separate piece of paper - this lets me get away with only having one book!
Pearson is not new to the curriculum world - they are simply trying to branch out more into the homeschool market. This means that the materials are the same ones they produce for schools, but repackaged for homeschoolers. My materials came with a paper stating that the homeschool bundle does not include access to the website which is referenced in the print materials. I think this is fine, as there is a lot of materials in the book, in addition to short videos on the student disc. If supplemental materials are desired, there is plenty to be found at a library or on the internet. If you want something that is Bible-based, or geared toward homeschoolers, or not written from the stand-point of government schooling, then this curriculum is not for you. If you don't mind using public-school materials in your homeschool, then you may like this program! Either way, even though I haven't come across anything I disagree with yet, I suggest going over the lessons ahead of time, to make sure you agree with the point of view being presented.
As for my children, they like the book. It's loaded with color pictures and graphics. There is a basic review section at the beginning of the book, which helped introduce my kids to the basics of social studies. The questions for each lesson are spread out through the chapter, and numbered, to help make sure the student doesn't miss one. The book we received was the second semester of the fifth grade level, and though my kids are technically wrapping up sixth grade, they did not find it too easy or too young. They were able to do the lessons on their own, without any problems. They also seem to like the short videos that go with the lessons - my son especially loves anything that has to do with war, and the first lesson in our book addresses the civil war. He loved seeing some of the features of the Gettysburg battlefield. I think we will definitely be finishing up this book over the summer!
***Disclaimer: I received a homeschool bundle from Pearson in exchange for my review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. All opinions are my own.