The Abeka book curriculum has many guides, manuals, and keys. There aren't many places on the Internet that explain what is contained in each and what parents are recommending. This is one of those places where you can get more detailed information to help you make sense of all the books and materials they have available.
Each grade set contains at least a student book and some sort of teacher guide. The older your child gets, the bigger the books get. The guides and manuals for the younger grades include enrichment ideas that some parents are looking for.
Student Textbook - The textbooks just contain the written text with no answers anywhere in the book. Most editions contain some kind of comprehension questions at the end of each chapter. Your child can write in the books, or if you are wanting to sell the books after you are done with them, you might want to have your child write their answers on a separate piece of paper if you have them answer the questions at all.
Teacher Edition - The teacher edition books give you the student text as it is listed in their books along with the answers. If you're looking for the day-by-day lesson plans, you will need to purchase yet another book. Some parents, for the younger grades, just get the teacher book and not the student book because the answers are provided and the student usually can't read anyways. The parent usually reads to the child at this age. By ordering just the teacher edition, the parent has everything they need contained in just one book.
Lesson Plans - The lesson plan books give you a day-by-day plan that tell you what to do and say each day. There are some teaching suggestions and supplement ideas, but you need to purchase those separately. There are advantages and disadvantages to daily lesson plans. On one hand they can keep you on track and tell you exactly what to do. On the other hand, it is pretty easy to get behind because of the amount of material you are expected to cover each day. Be aware that sometimes they can be a help and sometimes they can be a frustration. Make sure you know your teaching style before you start using them and be ready to adapt the curriculum if needed.
Teacher Guide - The teacher guide gives you the
student text answers along with the scope and sequence and some lesson
plan samples. You will not get the student text with this book, just the
answers to the questions in the student text. If you want complete
day-by-day lesson plans, you will need to purchase the lesson plan book
since the guide will not give you this. Many parents that just want to
be able to grade their students work will choose this option of getting
just the teacher guide.
Test/Quiz Key - Abeka has separate test and quiz books that you can use for chapter or unit testing. The key booklets give you what the student sees along with the answers. There is nothing else included with these except the test/quiz and the answer.
Answer Key - If you don't need any
help or want to save money, then you can get just the answer keysl. You can look up the page numbers and problem
numbers and get the correct answer written out for you. They don't tell
you how or why they got the answer, just what the answer actually is.
Solution Key - The solution keys are usually available for the Math and Science books. They tell you, for selected problems, how they came up with the answers. This gives a more detailed look into how to work the problems if you are not able to figure them out on your own.
Child Kit - When you purchase a complete child kit you get the readers, workbooks, texts, and test books if they are included with that subject and grade. The least you will receive will be a student text with a workbook included in the text. As you move up in the grades you will usually receive more books. Sometimes the kits can save you money and time by providing everything in one package, but sometimes you find that you don't need all the material that is available. Sometimes parents like to adapt the curriculum because it tends to get overwhelming if you try to do everything that is suggested or required in the curriculum.
- The parent kits include daily lesson plans, answer keys
and teaching aids. Here again, sometimes it helps to purchase everything
together and sometimes it can be overwhelming.
As with any curriculum, it helps to do your research. Make sure you know what you're getting into. Make sure you know your teaching style, your child's learning style and what the curriculum expects you to accomplish.
It helps to know the pros and cons of Abeka before you make any decisions. Some parents love it Abeka and some parents (and students) end up hating it before the year is out. That's where knowing everything about yourself and the curriculum help to give you a good picture about whether this curriculum is right for you and your children.
If you find yourself starting to burn out, check out my avoiding homeschool burnout tips.
You can also get more detailed information on Abeka's History, Math, Phonics, English, and Abeka Science programs.