Terry in response to what you said about teachers unions, I totally understand and agree. That is the reason my father-in-law "retired" from teaching. He wouldn't join the union and his contract wasn't renewed, I think about 11 years ago. He's the kind of teacher you would love to have, full of knowledgeable, fun, funny, and interesting. My husband has been blessed with some of his gifts and can explain anything, so anyone can understand it. That helps when I can't.
As for curriculum it may not be the New England Primer and it's just for English, but Victoria's current English book is from around 1900. It's called Primary Language Lessons. I've been more impressed with the selections that come from my curriculum provider, then any others I've looked at. It uses a lot of real books and some of them are pretty old. It's good stuff.