Our Current Homeschool Curriculum

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For the curious, here is what we use with our girls. When we started, we moved out of a private Classical Christian school and were generally pleased with the state of the academics there, so we continued to use several of the same resources, especially since Emma had started with them and was familiar with them. Our style is primarily Classical with some Charlotte Mason leanings.

Emma, 9 years old, Grade 4ish-

Saxon Math 5/4– We are half-way through this. I like how Saxon teaches math incrementally and reviews previous material often. I think by the time Emma finishes covering something, she has a firm grasp of it. I like the focus on mental math and fact drilling as well since those things can be easily lost if not exercised often. My only complaint has been that towards the end of the year, they introduce several difficult new topics all at once which can be exhausting/confusing. However, since we school year round, directly after that we hit the review section on the new curriculum which provides a much-needed respite.

Shurley English 4– We do not always use the writing section of this curriculum, although it is fairly comprehensive, but the rest of it has given Emma a really solid background of the English language. She understands parts of speech, a/an concepts, homophones, point of view, capitalization, and a lot of punctuation (although I do not think that many adults, myself included, ever fully grasp correct comma usage 🙂 ). They use jingles to teach things about parts of speech which is fun and helpful.

Institute for Excellence in Writing– We use this, currently using the Folk and Fairy Tales book that goes along with it, as our writing curriculum. I think Pudewa’s videos make learning about writing more fun. Also, he is more relaxed about students figuring out what to write. He generally gives a solid format so that instead of worrying about what to write, Emma can simply write. I want to encourage Emma to journal more this next year to give her freedom to write what she would like, allowing for creative expression, but at this point when we used Shurley English writing, I would spend so much of her writing time helping her figure out what to write that it was defeating the purpose. So, we like this better.

Reading- I have not made Emma a reading list for this year yet, but I like to scour resources like Sonlight, Veritas Press, My Father’s World, Ambleside Online, and the book Read for the Heart. Last year she read books like Caddie Woodlawn, Charlotte’s Web, The Bronze Bow, Heidi, A Little Princess, Wind in the Willows, and many others.

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor– This has been very customizable for us so that Emma can focus on practicing what is important. Of course, by the time she graduates, everything will probably be done on a touchpad, but typing is still an important skill. We break this up with the practical task of typing emails to grandparents 🙂

Spelling- Since Emma has a pretty solid grasp on spelling, I do some dictation with her, and I also watch for spelling errors in her writing. I have her practice these words and we test those. This past week, we worked on the “ies” “ys” plurals because I noticed she had been mixing these up, but we don’t use formal lists because she wasn’t gaining a lot of benefit from them. It was a lot of busy-work “learning” words that she already knew how to spell.

Latin Primer– We will be moving on to the second Latin Primer this year, we are taking a small break from Latin right now to learn some Spanish, however. Latin is the hardest subject for me to teach since I am not familar with it from previous learning, but I think it’s important to do hard things, so we press on 🙂 This curriculum can be ordered with a CD, flashcards, and other helps which is wonderful for those who are learning along with their children.

Hannah, 5 almost 6 years, Grade 1ish-

Saxon Math 2– Hannah moved through K and 1 levels last year, so we are moving on to 2 with her. So far, it is not too difficult for her. If it becomes too challenging, we’ll slow down for a while, but she enjoys math.

Saxon Phonics 1/2– We’ll be finishing Saxon Phonics 1 this fall sometime and moving on to 2. Saxon does a decent job of meeting different learning styles. I like the visual aspect of the word coding that they do. I think that “hands on” effort has helped Hannah break apart words more successfully. They also review each year. They also provide spelling lists that correspond with previously learned phonics rules which helps give a strong basis for spelling. Hannah also likes the little readers that go along with the lessons. We do not do everything that is in the lessons because it is A LOT of work, but we do enough work that we understand the concepts and are able to read the words. Hannah’s reading has really exploded this last year, probably due to developmental factors as well as phonics instruction, and she can be found reading a lot of the time which is a joy to my heart as a reader myself.

Beyond the readers they provide, I try to surround Hannah with some classic picture books and early readers like Frog and Toad, Amelia Bedelia, Dr. Suess, Little Bear, Curious George, etc.

Shurley English 1– Hannah is doing well with this. She enjoys the jingles and is doing well with coding sentences. We are ready to move into our first challenge however, with the dreaded 2-point paragraph. We will see after next week how ready she was for this challenge. I hope I’m up to it as a teacher 🙂 If it proves to be too difficult however, we’ll just scrap the writing instruction until 3rd grade or so when I can start her on IEW.

Handwriting- I just make her write stuff like spelling words and sentence-long journal entries. Plus, sometimes I’ll have her copy sentences out of books. She dislikes this practice very much, so maybe I need to find her a fancy practice book for this year 🙂 If anyone has any suggestions for the D’Nealian method, I would be happy to check them out.

Prima Latina– We’ll be starting this with Hannah after we finish the Spanish curriculum.

Both-

Bible- I have both of the girls spend time reading the Bible, or listening to it on their own. We do Bible Quizzing for memory work, and we have a time for family devotions in the evening.

Apologia Astronomy– A friend got us started with Apologia science and we like it quite a bit. I hope to add a little bit of weather supplementation this year as they do not cover that in Apologia. I may pick up the chemistry and physics book from Answers in Genesis after we finish the biology books from Apologia as well. We notebook with this, and I’ll write a better post about how we do that later.

Story of the World History– We are on Volume 2 this year. This has been very interesting. The girls both love the books, Emma often wants to read ahead without us just to learn more. I picked up some Mystery of History books from a friend that I may supplement with, and we also make good use of the library suggestions from the activity book.

La Clase Divertida– This is what we are using for Spanish. It is a fairly easy early instruction in Spanish which has given us a nice break from the rigors of Latin. The girls are enjoying it, and I hope it will give them a good beginning for if they choose to study Spanish in later levels.

For musical instruction, both of our girls take piano. Emma is also in choir. Hannah was in last year, but this year the younger kids’ choir filled up too fast, and she is going to have to wait until next year. I think this will be a great opportunity for some special Mommy/Hannah time, though.

Physical Education- We try to either play outside, use the Nikelodeon Fit kids game on the Wii, take a walk, or do something else active each day.

I also spend some time reading aloud to the girls each day. We’ve read through Little House in the Big Woods, A Wrinkle in Time, Little House on the Prairie, A Door in the Wall, Owls in the Family, and several others. We are currently reading The Hobbit.

We will also be doing a co-op this year again with friends from church. I think we will focus on geography using some of the Galloping the Globe curriculum. I have an older version of this, sans cd-rom.

Finally, just a note, I have linked you to the publisher websites for these curriculum. I rarely purchase through the publisher, however. We have bought through used book sales, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and Rainbow Resources. I have generally been pleased with the service of all these sellers, although I really enjoyed our experience with Rainbow Resources last time. All of the links I have provided are just links. I am not an affiliate of any of these companies. I just like their stuff is all 🙂

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