Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blue Manor Academy Christian Preschool Curriculum Review

I had the wonderful opportunity to review the Christian Preschool Curriculum from Blue Manor Academy. I was given access to the entire set of 24 eBooks that you see below, along with some other materials.

The Blue Manor Academy is dedicated to giving children an elite education, instilling values and exposing children to essential knowledge. There are books to read and share with your child, but that is not all. As a part of the curriculum, I received the Teaching Handbook which gives an introduction to the authors' philosophy and goals for the curriculum. There are books for the parent's to read for their own knowledge, including Character Building and Strength & Ability. Additionally, I received a Quick Start Guide which made it possible to start the curriculum as soon as I received it, a Learning Schedule file, Bible Memory, Responsibility Charts and a Completion Certificate.
From their website:

"Our Christian preschool curriculum will not only prepare your children for kindergarten, but will also lay a strong physical, intellectual, and spiritual foundation that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.  The best part is that our lessons require zero preparation and zero teaching experience."
I have to confess that I was a bit hesitant to try out this curriculum. Obviously we weren't going to want to print out every book and that meant viewing the material on the computer, you know, they are eBooks. Additionally, we are very hands-on in our learning approach, loving to do crafts and activities so I was unsure how to incorporate this curriculum. It turns out that Blue Manor Academy Christian Preschool Curriculum is a wonderful supplement in our homeschool. While I don't quite agree with some details of the philosophy I have found the materials to be great for introducing Hannah to a wide range of subjects. And she loves having her own special time with mommy.  
After deciding to use this curriculum with Hannah because it is a preschool curriculum, I realized it would also be wonderful for Harold as they suggest starting with the children at anywhere between 9 months and 1 year old. I have yet to use it with him as he is usually taking a nap when we get around to using it, but I am determined to find a time to have special mommy/Harold time. They recommend using it 3-5 days a week, 2-3 times a day for 10-30 minutes. As we are using this as a supplement we have only been using it once a day and that seems to be enough for now. 
When I first received the curriculum we downloaded the files and were able to read the books on our computer. Hannah would sit on my lap and we would choose a book at random to read. I wanted to gauge what knowledge she already had and what we needed to work on. We started with Animal Recognition and added in Alphabet LettersBasic Shapes, Basic Colors and Counting and Numbers
She loves looking through the Animal Recognition book. It is actually the longest book with 75 pages, so we started out by reading the first 20 or so pages at the first sitting. She would have loved to read more, but the older girls still need time on the computer, so we could only do so much at a time.
Here is an example of one of the pages from the Animal Recognition book.

Each animal is introduced with a photograph of real animals in their natural setting along with a 1-2 sentence description of the animal. I have to admit we tend to expand on the information that is provided, though I can see the information being just enough for a younger child, like Harold. One thing that seemed a bit weird to me is that there doesn't seem to be any organization in the way the animals are presented. They are not listed alphabetically or categorized in any way that I can tell. This wasn't a huge concern because we love looking at the animals and making the animal sounds. I was actually more concerned about the inaccuracy I discovered on the page about the camel where we were told that the camel stores water in its hump. It sort of brought up a red flag and made me want to make sure all the information being shared was accurate. I do understand that they are trying to teach at a child's level but I felt that the information should still be accurate. I am glad to say that is the only inaccuracy I found and the author has stated that she will be changing that detail. 
Each book is full of realistic pictures, with no frills to distract them. Having had a bit of a Montessori background, I can appreciate the wisdom of this in teaching young children. Realistic pictures are so much more appropriate for young children than cartoony type pictures. Hannah is enjoying learning her numbers and letters. She surprised me by already knowing most of her shapes and colors, but she enjoys getting to tell me what each one is. 
We were fortunate to get 2 tablets for free from our cell phone provider a week or so ago. This has made our learning time so much more cozy. We can sit on the couch and look at the books while the older girls have time on the computer, which gives us more time as well. I can tell Hannah is enjoying the curriculum because she will constantly ask for one more book. 

Not only is Hannah learning essential subjects, but her sisters are working on their reading skills by taking their turn teaching her.

I do have to say we haven't really used the phonics portion of the curriculum. I have used the Alphabet Letters book to make sure Hannah knows both the sound and the letter name. This is not how they recommend using the curriculum, as they would prefer just the letter name be taught in the Alphabet Letters book. If you couldn't tell, I am a bit of a rebel. In the Montessori we taught the sound and not the name of the letter. When each of our children has been introduced to letters over the past 5 years I have always taught both the name and the most common sound. This seems to work the best for us, so I continue to do so. The Phonics Reading Level 1 book teaches the sounds and combining them into words. As they are taught in a different order than what I found beneficial I have decided not to use it so as to not confuse Hannah. 
As I have stated, this is a great curriculum for us as used as a supplement. There are subjects taught that I wouldn't have thought about teaching but I can now see are essential knowledge. The parent is left to their own discretion with how much extra information or activities they want to add/include. This would be wonderful for parents who are not sure what exactly to teach their young children and need a bit of guidance. There is no planning involved besides choosing which books to read at each sitting.
While it is called the Christian Preschool Curriculum the majority of the books could also be used by secular families as most of the general concept books do not have a mention of God. We love to focus on God's creation and learn more about it, but the books don't really focus on God. There is a basic Bible Story book that introduces a very short history of God's plan for the world, going from Creation, through the fall and God's promise for salvation, to a short  description of Jesus's life, death and resurrection in just 7 pages. The author purposefully only included the central, essential message of the Bible in plans for the child to have a foundation on which to build. In addition to this book, the Character Building book for parents and the Social Etiquette book for children also mention God and prayer. And, of course, there is the Bible Memory portion. 
You can learn more about Blue Manor Academy at the website. They offer both the Preschool curriculum and a Kindergarten curriculum which builds upon the Preschool material from what I understand. They have a page that is full of information regarding preschool which you can find here. You will find topics such as Why Preschool is Important and What to Know for Kindergarten. Additionally there is a link to a listing of Free Learning Websites, both for preschool and older children. Both the Preschool and the Kindergarten curriculum can be purchased in eBook format for $39.99 each. Or, you have the choice to only purchase select titles in sets. You can check out the specific categories, prices and how to order at their store.

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to offer 1 Full Christian Preschool Curriculum to one of my readers!

Disclosure: I received the Blue Manor Academy Christian Preschool Curriculum in exchange for my honest review. I received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers. 


  1. That looks like a really great program.

    Michelle F.

  2. looks like somebody's having fun.... :D

  3. I like that you're just using it as a supplement. I, like you, am hands on, and like the work in my hands, but the e-learning is growing on me. :) Thank you for sharing this program!

  4. I'm looking forward to the giveaway! We plan to homeschool, and although I'm not sold on e-books for curriculum (I didn't like using e-textbooks in grad school), I'd be willing to try least as supplemental material.

  5. I think Blue Manor Academy Christian Preschool Curriculum is a great way to teach children.

  6. This is exactly the sort of curriculum I have been looking for. WOuld just love to try it. Thanks.

  7. I've been looking for a curriculum for my daughter's age range (18 months old), but all I ever find is for preschool, so that makes me very happy that this can be used with someone as young as 9 months old. I try to teach her the best I can, but sometimes it's good to have help with something more organized, and it makes me even happier that this is a Christian curriculum.

  8. My son really loves digital devices but I worry about the APA suggested guidelines for the amount of time spent on them. I think using them for learning instead of entertainment should be a consideration.


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