Winter Promise

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  • Reviewed on Friday, April 19, 2013
  • Grades Used: 3rd Grade Language Arts
  • Dates used: Currently Using
I have read so many negative reviews about WP's shipping and customer service that I feel the need to chime in with my own experience. I purchased "Readers to Real Books" language arts to use in the Fall. I had a very difficult time ordering with my credit card, but I have a PayPal account, so I used that to place my order. I became distraught when a week passed and my order hadn't shipped yet. I had received an e-mail stating that my order would be shipping 6-10 days after I placed the order, so I wasn't uninformed, just concerned that I spent $15 on shipping and it wasn't shipped quickly! Well, I contacted WP on a Friday, and didn't hear back right away. Finally, after the weekend, I got a phone call from Don Brooks. He apologized for not getting back to me faster and he was extremely polite. He informed me that my order had indeed shipped and gave me a credit on my account to use towards a future purchase. He informed me that they are attempting to get faster shipping...BUT I really don't think the shipping was all that unreasonable. It could have been faster getting out to me, but once it was shipped, it got to me in just two days! So, start to finish, it took less than two weeks to get to me. That's really not too bad. I'm just spoiled by companies like Sonlight, who have been around longer and have all those kinks worked out. I would have liked updates on shipping status, and a tracking number, but that didn't happen. I will write about the program once we've used it.

UPDATE: I just ordered another language arts program from them! My 5th Grader has issues with concentration. He's very creative, but hates to write, so I really need an all-in-one language arts that is FUN to use with him. The Readers to Real Books is a lot of fun, so I thought I'd give their 5th Grade program a chance! I'm actually starting to like WP the more I look at their materials, so I'm thinking about ordering a complete themed program next year.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, February 22, 2012
  • Grades Used: Pre K. K
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
We have used three programs so far:

-biggest issue I had was the inconsistency in the spines for each quarter. 1st quarter was farm and every day i would read several pages of Farmer Boy to my 3 and 5 yos while they ate lunch. Honestly, as polite as my kids are, I think they got little to nothing out of the very advanced text. 2nd quarter is Pond, and here you are only reading 4 pages a week, ridiculous flip. Plus if you started in the fall, you now are in winter and cannot do any pond activities at a real makes the whole quarter frustratingly theoretical. 3rd quarter is zoo. The zoo adventure book looks great, then we actually started reading it. I could not read it comfortably aloud to my kids becuase they simply would not understand it. Instead of giving facts about each animal you read, there are strange theological discussions that are simply lost on preschoolers.
-Bible portion takes 5 minutes a week, very minimal and book is IMO not very high quality literature
- pre-reading phonics gets very redundant, and I found we skip a lot of the more tedious activities and did mostly All About Reading PreK instead.
- math ideas were mostly good, fun, original and spot on for my 3 yo.
- arts and crafts were hit and miss. too many paper crafts that end up in the trash.
-most of the recommend web links were no longer functional.
- we are heavy readers and I found the schedule reading too light but most of the reading very enjoyable. BFIAR and FIAR had some books that tied in nicely to some of the weekly themes so we supplemented. Also reading Sonlight P3/4.
+ schedule and guidebook are clear and well written week to week.
+my daughters loved the plastic trinket box. It was different, neat for tactile learning and can provoke creative expression/story telling.
- I am uncertain at this stage if we will use this again for future children.

+weekly guidebook well organized.
+observation journal is a ton of fun and well thought out.
+this program has great flexibility in that the environments you are studying are broken into units of a ~4 weeks or so, so you can do ocean creatures with your beach vacation, or desert with your family trip to the grand canyon, etc, and rearranging is sort of key if you are trying to do all the practical activities/observations.
-the Bible devotions section takes about 2 minutes a week and is pretty limited if you were looking for character development built in.
- the reading can be heavy. My 4yo loves chapter books, but I had to edit A LOT on the fly with Born Free which discusses lion mating, a drunk scene involving fire arms and a few other weighty subjects. Also, Tarantulas in My Purse is a read you might want to drop. jean craighead George's personal life jumps all over in this book and any adult reading the book will not be surprised to discover her husband abandons ship at some point. We did too. :)
-arts and crafts involved way too many paper plate or brown bag animals. A reAl waste of supplies and basically just busy work.
-buy a different dot to dot book. There are so many great ones out there, this one is tiny and not usable.
–we will do this program again with next daughter, but really pick and choose stuff and do it as a science supplement to sonlight's p4/5 next year. The observations are great. Read ahead so you can plan accordingly.

I bought this to supplement my daughter's Sonlight core A. It didnt really work for us, and I don't ever foresee using these resources again. Why?
- usborne spine is too light weight. It has very little information and only a few pictures for each country studied, so you are pulling out a big book once a week to basically look at one or two pages with very little on them. Conversely, the WP exclusive Children of Many Lands can go into some monotonous details with few pictures, but some of the cultural info is helpful.
-we simply skipped too much, the progrm is written for multiple levels with a lot of repetitive reports for third grade up, etc. there just isn't much for younger kids to do except color pages.
-the stickers and travel journal were a neat idea, but the stickers are not precut and difficult to use, and the journal pages are redundant and not anything you couldn't make yourself or have your child design on their own. This was the first time I really felt the guidebook came with a lot of excessive papers we have not used.
- we chose to do some country celebrations, but mAny of the activities require a large group of kids. The celebrations are very labor intensive. Even if this was our only curriculum, I could not see doing one every week.
- the "adventure reading" chapter books don't really line up in any way with the countries, and if you are trying to reschedule this curriculum to accommodate your life or family vacations, it can be a little messy just because you may miss the continent introduction and the chapter books will be scattered. Plus, many of the books picked are used in many other popular curriculums at all different levels (like island of the blue dolphins). Missionary stories from around the world I simply found too rough for young kid
-no Israel. Not sure how you can do the middle east with no Israel.
-next go around with Sonlight Core A we will use Evan Moore Beginner geography pockets. This is better for younger kids and simpler. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers of this program. I don't think I could enjoy it as a stand-alone even when the kids are older. It just was too redundant and not as inspiring as I had hoped.


  • Reviewed on Friday, November 11, 2011
  • Grades Used: Preschool
  • Dates used: 2011
I ordered the I'm Ready to Learn preschool program last June. When it finally came - 5 weeks after ordering it and in several shipments - I was so excited and so were my 3 year old and 4 year old.

I am sad to say IT WAS A HUGE DISAPOINTMENT. There were way too many crafts, and although I had been warned of such, the amount still came as a surprise. To omit them would be to omit over half the program. The Make A Letter Hands On Pack was filled with cheap items and the instructors notes on it were laughably simplistic. Farmer Boy, the science book for the first unit was WAY over a preschoolers head at 12-13 pages a day and no pictures.

It was all over the place in skill level. It had the kids free drawing animals or items in their daily lives, which was just "ok" for my older but way above my younger, who has no desire to color or draw. Some of the activities did not fit the units theme... like drawing what happened in their daily life from wake-up to bed-time in 6 boxes and making that into a crown. They unit was FARMS.

I think it would be a perfect fit for a 4-5 year old who loves crafts, has no idea how to count, doesn't know his letters, but can draw decently, glue well, fold perfectly, doesn't like picture books, can sit still for 30 minutes of a chapter book, and has a ton of patience.... so really, no child!


  • Reviewed on Thursday, July 29, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1-3
  • Dates used: 2008-2013
I've used several programs from WP: Habitats, Hollows, & Homes; The World Around Me; and American Story 1 & 2. I was a little intimidated by the price. However, once I got started I understood they have lots of great books and activities well worth the price. There is a wide range of topics covered. The reading level varied so some were rather easy and others challenging for my son. Most were just right and my kids stayed up nights reading "just one more chapter".

I was glad for all the coordination between resources WinterPromise put together. I don't like textbooks but doubt I'd be able to pull together a program like these on my own. Overall, it gave a good perspective on US history for elementary school students. Even my young daughter enjoyed listening to many of the read-alouds.

THE WORLD AROUND ME is a basic, introductory science program. I bought it before I realized my son is gifted in science. He went through the entire thing very quickly (less than a month) in first grade. It didn't have enough depth for him. When my daughter did it for third grade, she really enjoyed it (especially the Kid Science book). However, she was easily able to do an entire week in one or two days. So this would be a good frame for adding onto, but it is very light as a stand-alone science curriculum.

HABITATS, HOLLOWS, AND HOMES (now called Animal Habitats) I bought as a summer reading enrichment for my son, so we didn't follow the schedule. He really enjoyed all the books.

The AMERICAN STORY programs are similar to Sonlight Core 3 and 4 history. The main difference is Sonlight has more writing/narration whereas WinterPromise has more activities. My son is a hands-on learner so we went with WP. I definitely made the right choice. However, there are a few things I don't like about them.

First, your order arrives in several shipments. During the busy season July-Sept many books were back-ordered. I had to wait to start AS1 until late October because I was waiting on one of the books used first even though the order began arriving in August. There weren't as many back-ordered books for AS2. A few of the backordered books arrived direct from Amazon at not extra cost to me. Still, you should place your order well in advance to help insure having all the items on time.

AS1 had a Native American focus which I didn't use. In fact I thought it focused too much on what the Natives were doing even without doing the obviously Native activities. I wish you had the option of leaving off much of the Native items. While learning about Natives is important, this went overboard. Still, we had a lot of fun with the readings and activities. Both my kids enjoyed the 3D maps and journal prompts.

AS2 has the African American focus optional. I did not order it. You still learn about the Underground Railroad, George Washington Carver, and the civil rights movement. It was a good balanced perspective.

I thought AS2 covered a lot of war compared to peace time. They were supposed to do paper dolls of Civil War soldiers and re-create battles. There was a rather graphic book about WW1. I left both of these out and substituted 2 books about conscientious objectors during these periods. Other than that, the book selections were good.

I found the schedules jerky with the workload not very well spread out. After the middle of AS1, I modified it to do history 2 days/week. I mainly used to to coordinate the activities with the proper books for AS2.