Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

I have had a lot of fun planning our school year this year.  In fact, I spent most of my summer planning.  My main reason for all the extra planning was to be as organized and prepared as possible.  You see this year I am going from having only 2 kids officially in school to 4!  I now have an 8th grader, 7th grader, Kindergartner, and a Pre-K student.

Here is what my children will be using this school year.

For my 7th and 8th grader

Bible


The past couple years I have pretty much neglected Bible time in my homeschool.  I am realizing more and more the importance of putting God first in everything and this includes our homeschool day!  I have now vamped our schedule so morning devotions and prayer are first.  I really like this devotional.  It is simple, yet powerful and geared towards older children.  Along with our daily devotion, my children will also be memorizing a different scripture verse each week.

Math


This is our 5th year using Teaching Textbooks. I can't say enough good things about it!  My kids love it, they learn a lot and I don't have to do much.  What more can you ask for, right?


Language Arts

Grammar
I have been on the look out for a simple, yet effective grammar curriculum.  I was so excited when a friend told me about Queen Homeschool's Language Lessons.  These books are based off the Charlotte Mason method of learning and cover all the basics without being overly repetitive and time consuming.  I am hoping these books will be the answer to our language arts frustration.  So far so good! 

Spelling

We started the Phonetic Zoo program at the end of  last school year and I am so pleased with it.  I had researched which curriculum was best for older kids and read numerous good reviews of this program. It is yet another simple but effective curriculum and only takes minutes to complete each day!

Writing


A family member passed on her Write Shop 1 curriculum to me and I am so excited to try it out.  Both my older children have struggled in their writing.  So far it has been simple to use and seems very thorough.

History & Geography 


Last year I used Abeka's Science curriculum for my older children and was quite pleased with it.  This year I decided to give Abeka's History a try.  I visited one of Abeka's curriculum displays this spring and got to take a good look at this before I bought it.  I think my children are going to enjoy it.  Covers history from creation all the way to the early 21st century.

Science


Again, I really enjoyed Abeka's Science last year and decided to continue with it.  It is simple to teach, covers a wide variety of topics and includes fun experiments for the kids to try. 

Music

Piano Lessons and Meet The Composers 2

Piano-  My kids are on their 5th or 6th year of piano lessons and will continue lessons throughout this year.
Composers- We started this curriculum last year but did not finish it.  This is the 2nd book in this series.  My children finished up the first volume early last year and are eager to get through this second book.  Very interesting, easy lessons and these books each come with a musical cd with a sampling of the composer's works.

Home Economics


Each Wednesday afternoon I will be teaching my daughter a home economics lesson.  To start we will be going through a Proverbs 31 Bible study and then putting together the "Ruby Doll" kit (above left).  This will take several weeks to complete as the study is quite in depth.  Next, we will move on to the "Goldie Doll" kit which has a doll to sew as well as another in depth study on inner beauty.  Then we will also be going through the book Personal Help For Girls put out by Pearables.  Lastly, I will teach my daughter how to sew using a pattern.  I will probably have her sew a simple dress or nightgown for the project.

Extra Curricular

This year for our extra curricular activities we will continue with out homeschool coop every Tuesday afternoon.  This semester my oldest son will take a comics class and a cooking class.  My daughter will take a rag quilt making class as well as an American Girl history class.  I will be teaching a preschool class using my favorite preschool curriculum, Mother Goose Time.  My little boys will be in my class as well as a Lego building class.  Busy, Busy!

For my Pre-K and Kindergartner


Last spring I started researching Kindergarten curriculum and the pros and cons of each.  Along the way the learned so much about the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.  If you are unfamiliar with this method click on the link above to learn more.  I realized with having boys my schooling for them needed to be as hands on as possible.  Boys are natural explorers and Charlotte Mason's method is all about nature studies, art, and using living books as learning aids instead of boring textbooks.  I have heard nothing but good things about My Father's World curriculum which is also CM based.  I decided MFW would be my choice for E & J this year.  It contains 26 unit studies over the course of the school year, each teaching a different letter of the alphabet.  It also integrates math concepts, history, science, and of course language arts!  This curriculum also utilizes many fun children's books to go along with each lesson.  I am going to do my best to blog our school year using this curriculum, so stay tuned!


Years ago I taught my daughter to write using the Handwriting Without Tears program and LOVED it!  Naturally this was my first choice for teaching my little boys to write as well.  Although My Father's World covers handwriting, I wanted to supplement with this.  You see, HWOT not only teaches handwriting but also teaches the steps of properly forming each letter.  They use several hands on methods that are fun for children and really get the steps into their little brains!  It is easy to use and doesn't take a lot of time to teach. This year I am using the Pre-K book for J Bug and the Kindergarten book for Little E and both boys are using the slates, wood pieces and mats.


Once again, yes, My Father's World covers phonics, but for Little E I wanted more.  He is an older Kindergartner (turned 6 last April) and already knows all his letters and sounds.  My Father's World only touches on reading and I really felt my son needed something more aggressive.  I used the entire Hooked on Phonics program from Preschool to 3rd grade with my older children.  It worked great with them and I have had no complaints.  The books are interesting, colorful and fun and the kids loved all the games and sticker charts that came with it.  This year I am using the Kindergarten program with Little E and he already read his first story page yesterday on his first day of school!  He was so proud of himself and was beaming all day about it.


For music I am teaching my boys using KinderBach, a dvd curriculum.  My older two kids used this when they were younger.  Super fun dvd lessons teach note reading and simple piano songs to the young child. Here is a sampling of one of the lessons.



Extras


Character Badges

For discipline and behavior (good and bad) I chose to use Character Badges for my boys.  With Character Badges you have charts to track both good and bad behaviors.  Kids can earn badges for good behavior as well as prizes. They also learn some awesome character qualities along the way and scripture verses that back up those qualities.  I am excited to use this! 

Some of the extra curriculum I am using for Kindergarten this year are Rod and Staff preschool/kindergarten workbooks, Mother Goose Time leftovers (I used their curriculum all last year for preschool), Pattern Blocks, Hot Dots, Bedtime Learning Books and lots of beginning readers.

It will be a very busy, but fun filled school year for my children!  I am looking forward to it.  

Want to see how I incorporate all this into the school week while also managing a toddler?  Stay tuned as I will be blogging our school schedule soon.

*Links within this post are not affiliate links. I am not trying to sell any products.  Links are posted simply to direct you to the curriculum should you have interest.* 
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