Illuminations - A Review

As much as I like to make my own way, there are certainly times that having things planned out for you is an wonderful blessing. So it is with Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press.

I reviewed the High School, Year 2 edition. Illuminations is a wrap-around program designed to be used with Mystery of History or All American History (also from Bright Ideas Press). It's available for grades 3 through 8 and high school. The flexibility of this program is so cool! It has lesson plans all laid out for you, just ready to print when you need them. But the terrific part is that if there's a particular subject that you have different curriculum you prefer to use, you just click in the box and type your own plan, replacing what is there. Then you can print it out, all nicely modified and personalized for your own students.

The weekly schedule prints out in a grid format and they lightly color each subject in various shades for easy readability. My boys and I all love having a weekly plan at a glance, so this is a great format.

Just what does the product cover?

History - Mystery of History (or All American History)

Bible - reading plan that includes memorization and journaling

Writing - WriteShop 1 & 2 or The Write Stuff Adventure

Literature - Literature Guides are included; you'll need to purchase specific works separately, although some are from the Bible, and some are available online or at the library. There's a nice variety of literary works included.

Vocabulary - English from the Roots Up, Volume 2

Grammar - Winston Grammar

Geography - The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide

Humanities - The Art of Poetry

Life 101 - Cracking the SAT, Do Hard Things, Hollywood Worldviews, Precepts: Finances

You provide your own math program, which makes the most sense since student can be in so many different levels at this age.

The program runs in Adobe Reader 9 (free!) and is very simple to use. Everywhere you need to go has a clickable link. The start-up screen offers you the following choices:

  1. Quick Start - Provides an excellent introduction and instructions. Here you will find directions for individual subjects. There is also a User Guide, Book & Program Checklist, Notebook Spines you can print out, and a Literature Evaluation form to assist you in grading literary assignments. You will also find Supplemental Activities and an Evaluation/Grading Rubric in this section.
  2. Browse by Subject - Specific lessons related to each subject. Also included are Supplemental resources and Graphic Organizers (a tremendous asset, particularly for visual learners).
  3. Browse by Date - Click on any week of the year to see that week's specific plans.
  4. Contact Info/License - Contact Bright Ideas Press through a variety of means, take a look at their catalog, or read the license agreement.
The high school program is priced as follows:

Full year download = $95.00
One semester download = $47.50
Full year on CD = $115.00

Pricing for grades 3-8 can be found on the Illuminations site. Many of the necessary resources can be purchased from Bright Ideas Press.

For a look at the actual product, check out their sample pages.

If you want to have well thought out, organized, yet flexible, plans for your homeschool, I highly recommend looking into Illuminations. Bright Ideas Press, check out the TOS Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I was provided a free copy of Illuminations - Year 2, High School to review. The opinions stated here are my own.

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