For the first time, since I began homeschooling, I missed our state’s annual homeschool convention. During the past year I’ve learned much about the “flexibility” homeschooling allows as our family faced temporary housing, moving twice in 5 1/2 months, and a construction nightmare. Usually about this time I’m busy planning and prepping for the next school year with curriculum carefully chosen from the vendor hall and fresh enthusiasm and ideas garnered from the lecture hall. While I don’t want anyone to host a pity party for me, I am going into this school year from an entirely different direction and perspective.
First of all, our summer break will be about 45 minutes this year. The time we lost, while flexible, still has to be made up. I just know I’m going to laugh about that one day, right?
Secondly, there was no vendor hall to inspect curriculum. No lines to wait in while chatting with other homeschooling moms (I learn so much in those lines). No 3 day getaway planning session in a hotel by myself. This year I had to do my research entirely by catalog and online forums. My husband was so sweet. He pointed out that even if I purchased a few duds it was still less than gas, hotel, hotel food, and babysitters would have been if I’d gone away for 4 days. While he wasn’t in any way begrudging the annual homeschool convention trip, he was trying to let me see that I shouldn’t feel intimidated about making a purchase for fear I wouldn’t like it when it arrived.
There is one annual homeschooling tradition I am excited that I didn’t get to miss: The Not Back to School Blog Hop hosted by Heart of the Matter Online. I just love seeing what others are using in their homeschooling. If I see a favorite blogger is using a curriculum we are using I like to connect with them via email or add their blog to my reader. It can be a great way to share ideas or ask questions from someone who has used the curriculum before. So, if you had a year like mine, or even if all your years seem like they’ve been like mine, I hope this might be a good alternative and encouragement for you in making your own curriculum choices this year.
Writing with Ease Level 1
Handwriting withoutTears Can do Cursive
Handwriting without Tears Cursive Success
Explode the Code 8
Wordly Wise 3
First Language Lessons 1-2
Easy Grammar 3
I am so excited to begin teaching cursive using the Handwriting without Tears curriculum. I have used this curriculum since the beginning with our children (and attended the teacher 2-day workshops) and I just LOVE this handwriting curriculum!
We are revisiting First Language Lessons as I must confess, it became easier for us to dive into Easy Grammar, which we are continuing to use as I do believe it is a solid program and my “safety net”. My children do this every day (7 days per week) because it doesn’t take much time to do each exercise. I do think that Easy Grammar will prove to be a good supplement to First Language Lessons and I am looking forward to spending more time with my older children on this curriculum instead of just checking their workbooks at the end of each day.
I must confess Spelling Power didn’t get opened at all last year. Instead we used Spelling Workout Level A. Although the boys didn’t mind doing it, I didn’t feel their spelling was progressing. Perhaps I should have had a spelling test on our own after each lesson? I certainly could have. However I think I want to move forward with Spelling Power as I really like the philosophy behind that program. Now that the dust has settled, we’re back in our home and we’ve adjusted to our new addition (#5!) I cannot wait to begin this program. Do not let the price shock you. It is the ONLY spelling program you will need through high school for all of your children.
I am a huge fan of the Explode the Code series. So much so, that even though the boys have probably outgrown the need for this series, I am going to have them complete Explode the Code 8 before they officially say good-bye to the series. I really feel this series helped strengthen their reading skills (and writing).
Singapore Math Primary Math 3A, 3B
Singapore Math 70-must know Word Problems (level 3)
Singapore Mental Math Grade 3
R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Life
R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Earth & Space
Young Naturalists Guide study (see our other blog and join in)
Science is my favorite subject to teach. As such I like to write my own curriculum and incorporate quite a bit of hands-on learning labs. So its difficult for me to pin down our science as I create quite a bit of our curriculum or piece together parts from various resources which I will blog about our science and share resources on each individual study/lab as we go. With that said, I absolutely am excited about using the R.E.A.L science series. I love the student notebooking pages and the opportunity to really expand on the program yourself and incorporate a lot of hands-on learning (in addition to the great ones listed in the book). There are even kits for each study that you can preorder to help ensure all your materials are in one place!
American Story I from Winterpromise
Daily Geography 2 and Daily Geography 3
We started American Story I and were unable to finish it due to all the moving we endured. Our plan is to continue using this study and then move into our next study regardless of how it falls within the school terms. I am currently trying to decide between Story of the World: Volume 1: Ancient Times or Mystery of History I. Feed-back and suggestions are appreciated.
We are using Daily Geography for the first time this year. I’m not sure which level is the best for the boys, so I bought them both and plan on deciding if I will start with level 2 or skim level 2 and move on to level 3.
Art- with Private instructor
Martial Arts- TBD
Golf- private instructor
We use so many different resources. I will have to share them as we go and see what we are lead to using. Bible Study Guide for All Ages is ready to go as a core study though. We keep holding onto it waiting for the right moment. Perhaps this is the year? We shall see. Daddy wants to do this study with us and his travel makes it a little bit tougher to commit.
When Pumpkin began reading was she was scared for some reason. So, I couldn’t use the methods or resources that I found success with when I taught our twin boys to read. A friend told me about Reading Reflex and I decided to give it a try. For some reason, while Pumpkin didn’t want to learn to read, she did want to learn how to spell. Although that is not what Reading Reflex promotes the lessons seemed more like spelling and a game to her. Now that she is comfortably progressing we are going to continue mixing resources (so she doesn’t get bored) and incorporate Phonics Pathways (which I’ve used and loved before) along with Bob Books and Explode the code.
New to her this year will be Language Lessons for Little ones which is so gentle and colorful that I’m sure she will love it, as well as the time we will get together.
Gymnastics (group instruction)
Art (private instruction)
Preschool is such a fun time that I don’t really use a curriculum as much as I use resources. I have so many resources swimming around. I will post about our preschool selections at another time.
Are you using any of the curriculum, studies or resources I am? If so, I’d love to connect with you throughout the year! Please leave a comment or email me.
Your blog is CUTE!
My husband tells me to just buy what I want instead of going to conventions because it's cheaper in the long run. 🙂 I guess it's more about the solo time to think in peace.
I feel the same way about Spelling Workout, like it's not enough and there's not actual progression going on with my kids. I'd love to hear how Spelling Power compares!
We're doing R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Earth and Space here too, and I've found that I really need a good science encyclopedia to make up for the "lack" of lesson with them. Thought I'd pass the opinion on. 🙂 I'll have to stop by again and see how you implement the program yourself.
Happy NOT Back to School!
Sneaker Teacher says
Ok, I cannot believe the boys are old enough to be THIRD graders! Wow!
I found a cute app with Bob's Books for the iPad. They are animated and in color with sound effects! Pumpkin might like that…
I'm so sorry you won't get a Summer break. I hope you are able to catch up, so that you can have a nice break next Summer!
Your list looks great. We also like Explode The Code.
Leila- All Meant To Shine says
You mentioned so many things/resources that I have never heard of! I cannot wait to read more about them. Thanks for sharing! Sorry about your summer 🙁 It's overrated anyways 😉 Have a great school year! Oh and I am now following your from the NB2S blog hop!
Sounds like you have a lot of fun choices planned for the year! I would love to hear about what resources you are using for preschool! We are homeschooling for the first time this year.. its our test run (preschool)! 🙂
A Complete Thought says
My oldest used Singapore Math 4th thru 6th grades. He loved it. Now he is using Life of Fred and I think his skill with math was greatly pushed ahead by the Singapore method. Hope you have a great year after so many challenges.
I missed our homeschool book fair this year. I've heard about the "big conventions" that last for a few days. There is one in Houston I have been dying to go to. Maybe one day I'll get there. 🙂
Your curriculum choices sound great.
Have a blessed school year. 🙂