A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Illuminations ~ Year One High School (Bright Ideas Press)

This product review cannot possibly be lengthy enough to cover all that is provided in the Bright Idea Press product Illuminations (Year One ~ high school). It is an all-inclusive curriculum based on the Mystery of History and All American History series. Mystery of History serves as the spine for Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) and includes bible, language arts (grammar, writing, vocabulary), literature, science, humanities (poetry, theater, music, art), geography, history, and life skills. Yes, I meant it when I said it is an all-inclusive curriculum! Add some math and you should be ready to go :)

Some curriculum items you will probably need to go with Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) include Winston Grammar (which I absolutely love!), Mystery of History Volume 1, English from the Roots Up, WriteShop 1, the Ultimate Geography & Timeline Guide, Ruth Beechick's "Genesis: Finding Our Roots", A Young Scholar's Guide to the Humanities, Joshua Harris's book "Boy Meets Girl", Precepts: Covenant,"Discovering God's Way of Handling Money" from Crown Financial Ministries, Homer's Iliad, The Phantom Tollbooth, Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter", Plato's "Trial of Socrates", and reading by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Sophocles and Aristotle, and a copy of the Bible. Many of these items can be found used in good condition at places like and for very reasonable prices.

The product I received at no cost for review purposes was the download version of Illuminations (Year One ~ high school). Other products available from Bright Idea Press include:

Illuminations (Year Two ~ High School)
Illuminations (Year Three - High School)
Illuminations (3rd - 8th grade ~ Year One)
Illuminations (3rd - 8th grade ~ Year Two)

The lesson plans include flexible lesson templates that allow "the Mom" to pick the elements of the curriculum to use for her family's unique needs. There are also yahoo groups available so that you can communicate with other Illuminations users. The download version has a contact page with links to the company so that you can contact them quickly and easily with any questions.

The User Guide has a tutorial that explains how to use the curriculum. In the "Quick Start" section you a 5-page introduction, a book and program checklist, instructions, and a literature evaluation form. The "By Subject" section allows the user to find information by subject (Bible, Literature, WriteShop1, English from the Roots Up, Geography, LIFE101, Supplemental, & Graphic Organizers). Under the "By Date" tab information is divided into 36 weekly segments; there are also some Blank Schedule Grids for moms who prefer to adapt the lesson plans to better suit their family's needs. "Contact Info/License" gives the user to license their product, contact the company, or browse through the catalog.

Some of my favorite features include the option to change the lesson plans prior to printing them out. What a blessing for an "eclectic" homeschooling mother like myself! No scratched-out, messy papers; instead, neatly done lesson plans with my additions included. In the "Weekly Schedules" there is a place to put notes - another great option that allows the busy homeschooling mom to keep her notes all in the same place. I also love the fact that I can choose to use 4 or 5 day a week lesson plans. Having Fridays "off", so to speak, allows the students time to catch up and may even give mom a few minutes to relax. Not every subject is taught every day - so breathe a sigh of relief if you felt overwhelmed reading over the curriculum list covered by this product.

The cost of Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) and Illuminations (Year Two ~ high school) are $95 for a complete download, $115 for the cd rom, or $47.50 for a single semester download. The cost of Illuminations (Year Three ~ high school) is $240 for the full year download or $120 for a single semester download. (See the website at to learn more & to see about the high school level products coming out in late January 2011.)

Having said all of the above, I would like to finish this review with a sincere THANK YOU to Bright Ideas Press for allowing me to review this product. It is something I have looked at many times over the years but never quite got around to purchasing - primarily because I was afraid I might not be able to adequately use the curriculum. I was glad to find out that not only is this product easy to use, it's also easy to adapt and makes excellent use of some of my favorite homeschooling products. It has been a delight to use and I look forward to using more of Bright Ideas products in the future. It is everything I hoped it would be and then some.

Happy homeschooling everyone & have a blessed Thanksgiving this week!

Day 56 done :)

Jan L. Burt

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