Winter Promise Curriculum Review

I know many of us are making curriculum decisions for the coming year, and I’ve had many questions about how we like Winter Promise, so I hope this review will be helpful!

A little of our homeschooling history, so you’ll know where we’re coming from:

I’m now finishing up my fifth year of homeschooling. All along, we’ve been mostly Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers. For Kathryn’s kindergarten year, we used Heart of Dakota, and then we used Ambleside Online for 1st and 2nd grades. For her 3rd grade year, we used Winter Promise’s “Children Around the World.” In the middle of Kathryn’s 3rd grade year, we brought newly adopted Lindsey home full-time from a hybrid homeschool program, so she did this curriculum with us for half of the school year. This year, I’ve been using Winter Promise “American Crossing” with two different ages: Kathryn’s 4th grade year and Lindsey’s 9th grade year.

The living book selections are wonderful. There isn’t one I can think of that we didn’t all like. Some would be listed among my girls’ favorite books of all time.

books on shelf

Book lists for each of the themed programs are available on the Winter Promise site, so you could just pick and choose a few if you didn’t want to use the whole program.

One of our all-time favorite projects, and one in which we learned SO much, was in last year’s “Children Around the World” program: their exclusive World Travels Diary. It’s awesome! This was a year-long notebooking project. We made our own passports, and Kathryn l-o-v-e-d putting the stamps in her passport for the countries she visited. Even Lindsey thought the whole thing was pretty cool. I highly, highly recommend this for geography studies. But again, you could just purchase this one product if you wanted to put together your own world geography study.

Winter Promise travel journal

When you buy a themed program from Winter Promise, you receive the “program guide” for free. (This also could be purchased on it’s own if you so desired.) The guide plans out everything you could want to do — and more. And therein lies the problem, at least for me. To be fair, this could really be a pro or a con, depending on your personality and your homeschooling style. I loved it at first, but then realized I was becoming a slave to it. If there is something to check off a list, I want to check it off. This year, to save my sanity, I look at the WP lesson plans, but then I pick and choose and make my own.

We’ve enjoyed the lapbooking projects in this year’s program, but those are actually Homeschool in the Woods products, which can, of course, be purchased separately. I plan to use one or two of these next year.

The “American Crossing” program has been good overall, but the history text readings have been very dry (“boring”, according to the girls) and I just haven’t been as enthusiastic about it as last year’s program.

It was a hard decision to make, but we won’t be using Winter Promise again next year. If it fits your style and your budget, I’d still recommend the “Children Around the World” program. In fact, Kathryn told me there was nothing she would change, and she would recommend it to other families. ;)

A common complaint I’ve heard about Winter Promise is that they have poor customer service: not easy to get in touch with, and shipments taking months to arrive. I can’t say for sure whether my own experience is more the exception or the rule, but I have not had these problems. The only time I called customer service, someone answered the phone and helped me immediately. When I ordered our program for last year, it did come in more than one shipment, but they were only a few weeks apart, and I had ordered in plenty of time to allow for that.  I was a little surprised that a couple of the books were different than I ordered, but they explained that the books they planned for originally went out of print, so they made substitutions. If I remember correctly, this was only the case with two books out of many more.

I hope this has been helpful! If you have other specific questions about this curriculum, leave them in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer!

Comments

  1. says

    Nice to hear your thoughts, Jamie. We use WP for over 2 years as well. Loved it, but I would say that their notebooking pages are mediocre and their business savvy is poor. Nice people and great curriculum, but they don’t have all their ducks in a row.

  2. Marcee Rodgers says

    Fabulous review! It def. helped me a lot and I feel like I’m one step closer to making a decision:) I would love to know what you plan to use this coming Fall.

  3. says

    I liked Winter Promise just fine, but I think after I had to call them a month after placing my order (and I paid with Paypal, so they already had my money) and then being told that they had somehow missed receiving my order, I wasn’t really inspired to keep ordering from them again. They were very apologetic about it, but it was still annoying to have already sent them $250 and them to know nothing about my order.

    I really liked the novels, but agree that some of the books were dry, and I wasn’t crazy about their notebooking pages.

  4. says

    I ordered Animals and Their Worlds in February and I have only received half of my order. They have been great at replying back to my e-mails and phone calls! I had heard about the long ship times and complaints, but thought that ordering way ahead of the game would help me avoid that.

    Overall, I adore everything I have received!! It looks like an amazing curriculum, everything I’ve wanted and never been able to find until now. I wanted a Charlotte Mason curriculum…this one fits the bill & seems very exciting, lots of different activities that engage the whole child!

    Thank you for your review! CAW is the only theme I wasn’t sold on b/c it sounded sort of too heavy for children. But I am encouraged after hearing of your daughters loving it so much!

  5. says

    I’m going to be homeschooling my daughter for kindergarten next fall so I’ve been looking for lots of information about all different kinds of curriculum. This is some great information! I hadn’t heard of Heart of Dakota yet- so now I’m off to go read about that. Was there a reason you only used it one year?

    • says

      No, there wasn’t any real reason we didn’t use Heart of Dakota again. I liked it. I think we went to Ambleside partly because it was less expensive, but we had a wonderful kindergarten year with Heart of Dakota!

  6. says

    Thanks for such a thorough review. I am looking for a History/Geography curriculum for next year. We have only read great books for two years now and went in what ever direction my children wanted. I figured it might do us good to put some structure in our curriculum next year. Any suggestions?

  7. says

    We used Quest for the Ancient World this year and, overall, really enjoyed it but I won’t be using Winter Promise again unless they add some in-depth reading guides for the readers and read-alouds. I like having questions to ask my children about the books we read without coming up with all of the questions myself. We’ll be using Sonlight American History next year primarily due to the great reading guides.

    Samantha

  8. says

    I’m glad to hear something positive about it.

    I ordered for the first, and last, time back in March and I am not happy at all. The most obvious displeasure is that I still haven’t received my entire order. That has been an ordeal. No notice of what’s coming, no packing slips, duplicates, missing items, no communication whatsoever. Total fiasco. When I email and question/complain they usually respond with a phone call or email. They seem very sweet but don’t accomplish much.

    On top of that there have been a lot of errors in the IG including a book that was scheduled for weeks but apparently isn’t being used any more. I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me, as I’ve used a few of their notebooking packs and found some inaccuracies, but I was really shocked that they didn’t correct and reprint the IG.

    I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed CAW. That is what we were going to try. I don’t plan on using them again, we are only taking a year off so we can save SL’s core F for middle school, but it’s nice to hear that I might not have to scrap the whole thing. I’ve been debating about just chucking WP and doing core F over two years but now I’m going to give this a try before I do.

    I’ll be scouring your blog for some tips and ideas. It’ll help me to see it in action. =o) Thank you for some hope. LOL

  9. michal says

    Have you ever looked at heart of dakota bigger hearts. Would it be enough for an 11 year old boy . Should i look into sunlight d&e or W.P. american crossing? Thank You Michal.

  10. Jill says

    Thanks so much for writing this review. I’m trying to decide what WP curriculum to get for my son, age 8. He’s a crafty-arty-project intensive kiddo. Did this particular theme have a lot of crafts/projects to complete? Oh, and loving that I stumbled onto your blog and reading your heart for adoption…both my kiddos came into our family via adoption (domestic and Ethiopia)! :)

  11. Julie says

    Any thoughts about the American Crossings notebook pages, specifically the Make Your Own Magazine? They look word heavy with not much to do on them. Also, how is the Can-Do resource in American Crossings? I’m considering buying these resources to supplement our Sonlight Core E studies next year. Can you email me with your answer? :)

    • says

      I’m not sure about that, Julie. That’s not the specific program we did so I can’t give a whole lot of input on that. Sorry I’m not more help!

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