I will admit that when I first started out almost 8 years ago with my first son, I thought I needed to do everything the curriculum called for. This soon led to burnout for both me and my son. He was only doing K-4, but it was taking a lot longer than it should.
The reason I did choose the Abeka curriculum is because I was familiar with it. I attended a private, Christian school from age 3 to 12th grade and Abeka is what the school used. I even went to Pensacola Christian College, the home of Abeka.
After getting through the K-4 year with my son, I decided to take a different approach. I still wanted to use Abeka and knew that it was the best choice for us, but I needed to tweak it to accommodate our needs. It is very easy to do that with a box curriculum. There is a lot of seat work because a box curriculum is designed to be used by schools. First thing I did was to cut out all of the extra seat (busy) work. My son really enjoyed that. He would do much better on the lesson pages knowing he didn't have all of that extra work at the end of the learning time.
As we have gone from year to year, I just take a look at what I think my children need from this curriculum. Do they need to write their spelling words 5 times each every day? Probably not. Do they need to write their multiplication tables 5 times every day? Again, probably not. Adjusting the box curriculum to fit your needs will save your sanity. I may have them write their spelling list every other day, one time a day for the week. Other weeks, I just have them say-spell-say the words for the week. They are still learning. And we don't burn out from all of the busy work.
We have more time to do other things like go on field trips. We have less whining when they don't have so much work to do. It is a win-win situation. I do love homeschooling with Abeka, but I have certainly found some other material that works great from my time on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
That brings us to our current year, well our 2013-2014 year. We are finished up with this year next week. I will still use Abeka for all of our subjects with some reviews from a lot of other great companies thrown in from the crew!