Is it really already time to be talking homeschool curriculum choices again?
Whew, the days are zooming past us way too fast.
Our family tends to run a pretty relaxed homeschool schedule. Last year was a rough year in our homeschool. After the sudden death of one of our closest family members in the fall, we backed away from the books and gave our kids time to grieve. They took the death pretty hard and needed the downtime to process everything.
In February, we started to add-on to our house, which left us in a mess almost everyday, with lots of interruptions, drywall dust and plenty of loud noises. In the midst of the addition, we lost our homeschool room, resulting in supplies being scattered here and there and everywhere. (If I ever mention another big home improvement, please kick me in the shins and remind me that I should stick to small projects. I’m not cut out for that kind of chaos.)
Thank goodness that’s all behind us and we can look forward to a fresh year.
What Worked, What Didn’t, What We’ll Try Again:
Though we finished our math and language arts curriculum, we never even got started on our history. Our science is almost compete, but we started it early last summer at the kids’ request and were scheduled to be done by Christmas. We only lack a few more chapters but we did manage for finish the entire Wild Kratts series and several other science based shows on Netflix. We also used a lot of monthly subscription boxes last year, learning about everything from nocturnal animals to Brazil to robots to fossils and everything in between.
This year, I had planned on ditching all curriculums and becoming a 100% true unschooler. But then my worries jumped in the way and I started planning out our year. It’s so hard to let go of all control and just trust that your kids won’t fall completely behind.
With Miss Bookworm’s eyes set on becoming a librarian and Miss Manners dreaming of becoming a veterinarian, it looks like they will both be heading to college in the future. While that isn’t my goals for them (at all!), it is what they will need to achieve their (current) dreams, so we’re preparing for a college education.
2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum Choices
This year, we’ll continue with our relaxed approach but it will be more structured than last year. We will continue to learn through hands on activities, unit studies and movies as much as possible.
Miss Manners, 3rd Grade:
Teaching Textbooks: Math 4 CD-ROM Set-We LOVE Teaching Textbooks at our house. It has saved my sanity many times over and for under $50 a year, other curriculums just can’t compete.
Easy Grammar Grade 3 Workbook– The simplicity of this curriculum is what initially drew me in. In just a few minutes a day, the kids can cover the same subjects other Language Arts drill in about an hour a day.
Spelling Power -We’ve never used a formal spelling curriculum but I picked this up at a local curriculum sale and am excited to give it a try.
Spelling Workout 2001/2002 Level C Student Edition– I purchased this for Miss Manners before stumbling on Spelling Power. She really needs to work on her spelling, so we will probably use a bit of both curriculums to ensure she becomes a great speller this year.
Explode the Code, Book 5 (2nd Edition)– We’ve used these books since we first started homeschooling and are almost finished with the series. We will work on completing these and moving away from phonics and into more actual reading.
Miss Bookworm, 7th Grade:
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra Kit, Version 2.0– When we first started homeschooling, we tried several different math curriculums before discovering Teaching Textbooks halfway through the year. We spent the first half of last year finishing up Teaching Textbooks 7 and spent the second half reviewing. We are excited to be starting this year fresh with Pre-Algebra.
Easy Grammar Plus Workbook– We love Easy Grammar and this year will continue to use it. Instead of choosing Easy Grammar 7, I opted for Easy Grammar Plus. Miss Bookworm has always been very advanced at language arts and already knew most of the information in Easy Grammar 6.
Easy Grammar Ultimate Series: 180 Daily Teaching Lessons, Grade 8 Student Workbook– I’m hoping that by jumping up a grade, Easy Grammar will be more challenging for Miss Bookworm. If not, no big deal. We’ll scrap it and call her a genius. 😉
Spelling Power- I already administered the placement test and Miss Bookworm did awesome on it. She only has 2 sections to go, so she should be done by September, at the latest. Then we’ll focus on extra-large vocabulary words. One drawback of having an excellent reader is that it’s hard to find spelling tests that she can’t dominate.
What We’ll Do Together:
Latin: We’re going to try “Getting Started With Latin” again this year. It’s super easy and only takes a few minutes a day. This year, I plan on adding in crafts to help drive home the message. One example would be a 2-Liter boat complete with popsicle men, to help us remember the word nauta.
Road Trip USA: My kids LOVE Road Trip USA and tend to dive into each lesson, adding movies, books and more to each state. While that is great, it’s resulted in the curriculum taking much longer than expected. I had planned on adding in Expedition Earth (which is also from Confessions of a Homeschooler) but we will finish Road Trip first.
Geography: We will be exploring the whole world on our own using one of my new favorite books, Usborne’s Encyclopedia of Geography. I recently discovered Usborne Books and More and I’ve fallen in love. The books are jam-packed with valuable information and the casual style makes textbooks seem tedious. My kids love this book, so we are going to be working our way through it together, one continent at a time.
We currently own several of the Apologia books and I plan to purchase the rest when I find a good deal on them. My plan is to pick one of our Apologia books, complete a chapter or 2 and then move on to another book. I love the Apologia series but my kids get bored studying the same subject for an entire year. This way, we can enjoy all of the books, just not in any particular order.
Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 1
Land Animals of the Sixth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
Exploring Creation with Botany, Textbook
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Textbook
World Religion: Another one of Usborne’s books that I fell in love with was the Encyclopedia of World Religion. I’m excited to introduce my kids to other religions from around the world, while broadening their understanding of other cultures.
Curriculums to Conquer If We’re Feeling Awesome:
Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveler History Study CD-ROM Bundle– I just recently heard of Homeschool in the Woods and it sounds like fun. I haven’t purchased it yet but I’m seriously considering it. I will wait and see how our year goes for a month or so and then decide if I want to add this in.
The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages– I purchased Volume 2 to use last year but it never even made it off the shelf. This year, we may or may not dig into it. But it’s there if we decide we want to.
My goal for the year is to do more child led learning and hands on activities.
My goal with Miss Manners is for her to fall in love with reading and for Miss Bookworm to being reading more mature literature.
In the meantime, I’d like for Bear to be able to recognize his letters and write his name. But for today, I’d be content with him simply not dumping cereal in the floor. However, knowing he’s a rambunctious, yet typical, 3-year-old boy, my hopes are not high for him yet.
We are starting our homeschool on August 1st and will continue with a 4 day school week this year. While we don’t have a set “day off,p[” it always seems that at least one day a week, life happens and school gets pushed to the backburner for the day. Knowing this and planning ahead makes it easier to adjust and roll with the punches when it happens.
It’s hard to believe this will be our 3rd year as homeschoolers but we have loved every minute of it!