Wisdom to Live By

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2013-2014 Curriculum Recap, Our Homeschool Journey This Year

We've now been homeschooling for about six years now and by no means am I an expert or am I ever going to be one.  It is by God's grace and guidance that we have made this decision every year.  One of the things that I never thought to do was recap what curriculum we've used over the year, what worked and what didn't work for us.  Well, after several questions from different friends and family about curriculum and homeschooling in general (they have been considering the same), I thought I would share what we used this year and maybe what worked for us and what didn't.  Ok, quick disclaimer, what works for one family WILL not work for every family.  I have developed a schedule for our house that works for us.  My first couple of years I scoured the internet for MY schedule.  Yea right.  A lot of wonderful, experienced ladies had wonderful schedules and ideas, but in the end, I couldn't keep that schedule.  Ok, enough of my rant.  (By the way, I am a sit down and chat in person kind of girl, sometimes it's very difficult to put this in writing) ;P.  Our lessons and curriculum choices for the past year were:

Bible: Foundations 2 by Anne Elliott
Last year we used Foundations 1, Foundations 2 is followed by Foundations 3 and is intended to be used over and over again beginning again at Foundations 1, there are lots of great ideas and resources for use with all ages.
Journal: For about 15 minutes everyday we have a free writing time.  I give a topic of the day and they write to their hearts content (which may be very short for your little ones that strongly dislike writing).  It is not graded or corrected.  This is to encourage their thinking process.  I can post a number of websites where I get my ideas if you would like. :)
Science: Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
This curriculum is from Apologia Science and is a creation-based science curriculum.  This is a fantastic curriculum, but, yes but, I have used the Exploring Creation series from Apologia before and I feel when you have younger children I felt more comfortable highlighting and reading and supplementing with lots of other resources.  The Young Explorer Series is for K-6, but I think with younger children, there is more pre-planning involved.
History/Geography: The Mystery of History Volume 1 Creation to the Resurrection
I love, love, love this curriculum.  It gives you the ability to teach many different ages, which is what we like to do.  History and Geography is usually after Bible time for us and is a group lesson.
Foreign Language: Elementary Greek Year One Koine for Beginners
We started this, but I have decided to take longer than the one school year or 30 week course to finish it to really let Bryson learn it well.  He has mastered so much already so we will take it slow on this one.
Penmanship: Horizons Penmanship Cursive Grade 4
The language arts curriculum does a fairly decent job with penmanship skills up until the 4th grade book.  I really felt like it was lacking.  Bryson is writing, quite well, in cursive now.
Language Arts: (Bryson) Learning Language Arts Through Literature The Orange Book Grade 4
                           (Gavin) Learning Language Arts Through Literature The Red Book Grade 2
We have been using this Language Arts Curriculum for about 4 years now.  We liked it except for ( to me) it was lacking in the area of spelling and penmanship.  We loved the readers and the stories and everything was Biblically based which is quite important to us.
Math: (Bryson) Horizons Math Grade 4
            (Gavin) Horizons Math Grade 2
I know a lot of people swear by a lot of math curriculums, but I have used this from the beginning and probably will never change.  I love this.  I love the way it flows.  As they master skills, I usually cross out some of the problems as needed.  I actually have already purchased my Horizons math for next year :).
Physical Education and Health:  Homeschooling P.E. by Anne Elliot and Horizons Health Grade 4
I use some of the resources, games and exercises for kids from the P.E. curriculum or they just work out with me on some days :).  I only buy one health book and we do it as a group lesson.  I adjust according to age.
Art: Artistic Pursuits
This was a fairly good curriculum and I learned a lot myself.  I'm not sure if I will be purchasing this one again.  It does have lots of neat projects.

Ava was in "Pre-K" this year and I NEVER buy pre-k curriculum.  I use several different free websites and some of my own ideas.  Since she is the 3rd child I am homeschooling, I have acquired quite the Pre-K binder.  Hubby says I should sit down and write my own Pre-K curriculum ;P.  The one thing I have used for all of my children and will continue to use is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.  I love this book.  It has really expanded my kiddos reading ability.  I only bring it out when I think they're ready.  Ava is flying through the BOB books now.  Obviously, there are still words she needs help with, but she is so proud of herself.  I also loved letting her watch Letter Factory, Word Factory, and Storybook Factory when she was really small.  We love starting flash cards fairly early on and when I teach the alphabet, I usually teach the sounds first then the name.  This helps with reading.  This is what works and has worked for us.  I feel like I'm missing something.  I will posting soon about our curriculum for the upcoming school year and possibly a weekly Homeschool Musings post.  Thanks for reading :).  All for now.