First some snapshots from the past couple weeks…
{Photos: Via Appia, Wild Raspberries,~fresh and free, Me & my walkin’ buddy, Getting the Homeschool area re-organized, Our garden oasis, Fresh-picked produce, At Mingo with friends, My little Roman soldier, Baby turtle~found and released, Our “big” beet harvest, Creek Walking, & Pebble-tasting.}


The Journey Continues…

Ah, summer break!  
Well, in between the days spent soaking up golden sunshine–gardening, swimming, hiking, berry-picking and creek-walking, plus just lots of uninterrupted lounging and playing, I’ve been whittling away at my house and my plan for next school year.   
Boxes of books are slowly but surely rollin’ in as we make our selections.  It’s like Christmastime each time another one comes, and I’m more excited than the kids to see all those brand new supplies and books…it’s like I’m peeking into the future at all the adventures and possibilities that lie ahead.  🙂

Yes, I know it’s summer vacation.  And I admit I am a total nerd who enjoys this school stuff waaaay too much.  I.just.can’t.help.it.  Hopeless teacher here.  (My poor kids.  Wait.  My poor husband!).
It’s true: while I am THRILLED to have a break from our formal, daily teaching routine right now,  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excitedly anticipating another rigorous, yet adventurous year of learning together with my kids.  
SO without further ado, here’s the direction we’re headed this year…warning: longest post EVER. And yes, I’m aware I say that every time. {sorry!} One day I really do hope to learn the art of short and sweet blog writing.  

The Foundation:


Bible
One of my biggest goals this year?  Begin each day with reading the Bible to the children.  Besides bedtime reading and a little here and there, it’s not something I’ve done very consistently the past 2 years, and all the reasons I didn’t are to do with having 4 kids under age 7 and major sleep deprivation and lots of hectic, unstructured mornings.
But now, with a 1 year old, 3 1/2 yr old, a 5 and 7 year old, I know we’re entering a different stage, and the 3 older ones LOVE hearing the Word read aloud. 
There is simply NOTHING that compares to the Word of God, and it has the power to transform the hearts and minds of all who read it, children included!  

SO with that said, I’ve chosen the Bible Study Guide to supplement our Bible reading.
Here is a sample of the primary student page, which is what we’ll be using, even though they do have a Pre-K – Kinder. version available as well…


My kids really go for this kind of stuff.  I read, they listen, then they answer some questions from the story using this visual aid.  Guess what?  They were so excited seeing it when it came in, we’ve already started it as part of our morning routine.  I only ordered a workbook set for the 5 and 7 year old since my 3 year old just isn’t quite ready for that type of thing, but is happy to listen along.
Speaking of listening, I also purchased their (somewhat annoying yet highly effective) audio CD to supplement our lessons.  So far, we can all sing you the names of the “12 sons of Jacob” as well as the story of Joseph, and the writers of the New Testament.  Songs are so great to help with memorization!

The lesson packs come in groups of 25 for about $5.  If we don’t end up loving it, I won’t feel bad switching to something else, but for now, the kids seem to really enjoy it.

I’ve also heard The Dig is a great Bible study tool for kids–I’ve actually been wanting to get it for a while, but I’m not sure my kids would like it as much as this yet (no pictures or “sunday schoolish” work with The Dig).  Still if you have a little bit older elementary students, I have heard it’s wonderful.
And while we’re on the subject, I can’t NOT recommend my most favorite children’s Bible ever–The Jesus Storybook Bible.  It is BELOVED by all my kids, and we continue to read through it again and again.

The Basics / Daily Practice 
{a.k.a. “Morning Mental Gymnastics}



Grammar


This summer, I picked up a used (but unwritten in) Daily Guided Teaching & Review for Grade 2 Grammar by Wanda Phillips, the author of the much-loved Daily Grams, which don’t begin until grade 3.  As the name states, this book is obviously more of a guided practice, but it’s set up like the Daily Grams are, and frankly, I am getting it for the accountability, so I remember to be more deliberate with doing Grammar Practice with my daughter, a bit each day.  See in the picture above how each lesson is numbered at the top (where I’m pointing)?  I love that. There are 4 problems per page, and 180 lessons in all–one short lesson for each school day.  This will be part of my DAILY routine.
Also, it’s something that my daughter will eventually do on her own.  Building independence is a major goal for this coming school year!

Phonics Practice


I’m using the ol’ Spectrum books for Phonics practice this year–you know, the ones you can find at almost any store that sells coloring books and easy reader books?  Yup.  Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.  Just something tried and true (albeit a bit easy?) to give my 2nd grade gal some daily practice sounding out words.  I also use Spectrum “readiness” workbooks for my little boys when they want to do “school work” like their sister.  🙂  


Spelling & Copywork
I lump these together because we are using more of a Charlotte Mason model where Spelling is taught informally until 3rd grade, within the context of reading, writing and copy work.  And most of our copy work is done during our Science journaling because the notebooks provide a verse each week which we use for copy work purposes.  That means one less workbook which is awesome. 




Math

For Math the past 2 years, we have literally been all over the place, searching for the best fit.  I began with Saxon in Kindergarten, then went to Life of Fred and Math-U-See this past year.  Because we’ve tried 3 different curriculums, I’ve been able to see what I love about each and what I hate (or rather, what does not work for my kids).  
My daughter does not love math.  Things haven’t “clicked” that I feel should have by now.  I failed to work with her enough on a daily basis last year, then switched around between different curriculums so much, it’s no wonder the poor thing is a bit behind.

Before I tell you what direction we’re going now, here is what I love about the curriculum I used last year:

Life of Fred
JUST.PLAIN.FUN.
What kid would not love LOF?  It’s funny and light and reads like a story.  But be ready to supplement with additional practice because each lesson only gives you about 7 problems to work through!  If you have a child who is resistant to math, I suggest you introduce them to LOF and watch them beg you to do math FIRST each day (and maybe even have it read before bed!)  🙂  I will be using LOF again this year, but supplementing with a practice page each day from Abeka’s student workbook (more on that below) which my daughter will work through independently.

Math-U-See
Side note/Rant: Anyone else get annoyed with the “U” in Math-U-See?  So weird.  I’m always thinking– I know you’re a MATH company, and Language Arts obviously isn’t your thing, but couldn’t you at least spell out the word YOU in your brand name?  What’s next? EZ Readerz? 😉

Anyway, MUS has something awesome going on with their hands-on manipulatives.  They’re just the best.  My kids all love them, and they are just such a great tangible visual aid when teaching addition and subtraction, fact families, etc.

 

Another way they’ve really connected with kids is in their giant Place Value poster.    


My kids love, and I mean LOVE putting the numbers into their respective apartments/houses/castles on “Decimal Street” and reading the number they made.  We use ours fairly often, but this year, I’m gonna kick it up a notch and make one just like this mom did:

You can “build” numbers and your kids can read them to you…example the blocks above show the number 122.
How cool is that??


The other BRILLIANT thing that MUS does is that they use a hundred’s chart that looks like this:

 

As opposed to one that looks like this:

See the difference?
They actually allow 0 to “hold a place,” and then they show that the switch happens AFTER the 9…notice all the 10s are along the left side…because 9 is the limit–the max before you have to trade for a group a 10.  
You can search images online and print a hundred’s chart like this to use with your kids or hang on your wall, and I really recommend that you do.  It definitely makes more sense, don’t you think?

These are the thing I love about Math-U-See, and will continue to utilize moving forward…but, MUS was not a great fit for my daughter as a primary math curriculum.  I reeeeally thought I would love the mastery approach of teaching only addition concepts the first year, followed by subtraction, then multiplication, then division…but as it turns out, we did not enjoy doing addition problems and ONLY addition problems day after day after day. 
But I WILL continue using their hands-on manipulatives and charts.

Abeka
Ok.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be adding in daily math practice using Abeka’s student workbook (and speed drills).  Now for all those classical peeps who poo-poo colorful “distracting” student math workbooks such as this, let me tell you first: I used to say the same thing.  Then I went through a year of Black&White Saxon workbooks in K, and a year of Black&White MUS mixed with Black&White LOF workbooks this past year. 
But when I purchased this $20 obnoxiously colorful workbook to use as summer reinforcement with my daughter, the child actually squealed when we opened it. 


 I’m just realizing more and more that each child is SO different, and what may distract one child may actually motivate another.  My girl LOVES color.  She is a visual learner, very art-oriented, and spends a BIG part of her life coloring and drawing.  So is it really any wonder that she went nuts over this workbook?  
We’ve been at it for about 2 weeks, doing a practice lesson each day, and a speed drill every few days.  
She is also very motivated to reach a goal, or win a prize, even if the prize is a checkmark or a sticker.
She loves the timed speed drills (she is painfully slow at this point, but improving! lol)
Here is an example of one of the speed drills in her practice book:

See how there are 4 similar blocks of problems?
The intention is to do one speed drill every day, or every other day.  I started out setting the timer for 2 minutes, and within a month or so, my daughter was able to complete her block in well under a minute.  Once she is done, she flips the paper over and works on the coloring on the back side–doing a bit each day until the picture is complete.  There is also a place there to write in her score for each speed drill that week.

Again, she’s an artsy soul, so coloring the picture is pretty much the highlight of her lesson. 😉

On the days we don’t do a speed drill, I have her go through her stack of addition and subtraction fact cards to practice independently by saying the answer, then checking the back of the card… (she puts the ones she misses in a separate stack for extra practice).  

It’s been said that Abeka moves sorta fast and was designed to be used in a school setting where kids need lots of “seat work” to keep them busy…I think this is actually a fairly good assessment, but any homeschool parent could still use it to their advantage as they need it.  

For example, I purchased the 1st grade practice book (shown below) because as she is preparing to enter 2nd grade, my daughter is a bit behind in  math, and  for now, I feel this first grade level workbook (we began about 1/3 of the way into the book) will provide a good, solid, daily practice routine for her.  I did not buy any teacher’s manuals or anything–just the practice books.  Remember, I am using LOF for our lesson, and this workbook is simply providing daily math practice in a variety of concepts.


When I find there are too many problems per page, I simply eliminate some.  

But so far I am pleased with using Abeka as a skill&drill supplement to give my child the extra (mostly independent) practice she needs each day.  

As for my 5 year old son, who is just coming into Kindergarten, he absolutely LOVES his Math-U-See Primer book, and has been working on and off in it since he was 4.  He often asks me to do math, and he loves working with the MUS math blocks so much, that for now, I will be sticking with Math-U-See and supplement here and there with Abeka Kindergarten workbook or even Spectrum workbooks. 

Latin
Oh boy.  Deep breath. Yup, we’re starting Latin this year!  Actually, I really enjoy language study, so I am excited to learn along with my daughter.  So is my husband, and I have a feeling it will end up becoming a family affair since we’ll be using the family (and all-age) appropriate Getting Started With Latin by Willaim E. Linney.  

I will also be using the Cycle 2 memorization cds from Classical Conversations (we are not a part of a Classical Conversations group, but I am hoping this audio cd will be a useful tool for us–not only for Latin work, but also for history timeline, math, grammar, etc, etc.).  Love that I can pop these in while we drive or anytime at home throughout the day.

 

Science
We have so enjoyed our first year’s experiences with Apologia Exploring Creation Series that we’re going to stick with it for next year.  

This coming year, we will be doing Flying Creatures of the 5th Day for the first half of the year, and Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day for the second half.  We are so excited and we’ve already been peeking through the beautiful journals as we look forward to fall.

I’ve written here before about Apologia, but if you’re a new reader, or new to this curriculum, let me break it down for you: we love Apologia for many, many reasons.  

First, we love their in-depth approach.  It’s proven to be more effective than just teaching a little of this and a little of that in science.  As a busy mom, it’s also a relief to park somewhere for a good long while–to study one thing, and study it well.  To really soak into it, and watch real, meaningful, and memorable learning take place (for your kids AND yourself!) is pretty cool.  Don’t be surprised if your pre-schoolers and grade-schoolers finish the semester knowing more about the subject you’ve studied than most adults do. 
Within the in-depth approach, Apologia offers two options: the half-year of study, or full-year of study.  This is the second year I’ll be doing the faster-paced 1/2 year of study for each text.  Last year we did Apologia Astronomy the first half of the year, and their Botany for the second half, and it was really great~I truly felt that 5 months was enough time for an in-depth study in one area.  However, if you are not planning on doing Science everyday, or for at least 4 hours a week, I would not recommend the 1/2 year pacing.  Many parents do prefer spending an entire year in one text/area, and that’s fine too–do what works for you!  While I LOVE the in-depth approach, at this level, I just don’t think my kids’ (or my!) interest would hold if we stayed in one book for the WHOLE school year (Ex: flying insects and birds for my daughter’s entire second grade year??!  Maybe as they get older, but for now, the faster pace works better for us).  If you do go with the faster pace, realize it’s OKAY to skip things in the text as well as the workbook, ESPECIALLY if you have younger elementary students.  Also, remember that you can do some scribing for your beginner writers.  Let them narrate what they remember/learned after you do your reading, and don’t feel bad about doing the writing part mostly for them.  Let them do a bit a time to build their writing skills, even if it’s just one sentence or even one or two words initially.  

Second, I love that the text is written TO the child.  It’s engaging and interesting and challenging at their level.  It’s also surprisingly adaptable to multiple ages.  Only one text is needed for all of your kids.  How cool is that?  And if a section is too detailed for a younger learner, you can summarize it, skip it, or skim over it.  Need more for a more advanced learner?  Just add in a few more of the suggested activities.
Third, I love how Creation is presented as fact (and is supported with evidence throughout all their texts).  With evolution now presented and taught as mainstream in nearly all school science texts, Apologia’s curriculum is a breath of fresh, Biblical air!  
Next, What I probably appreciate more than anything is the narration and journaling focus within this curriculum.  Between the oral narration and the journal activities (including a beautiful, full-color mini-book for each chapter), the children are able to retain so much and have a beautiful record of all their hard work.  They offer a regular journal as well as a junior version.  I really loved that I was able to purchase the junior version for my daughter who is a beginner-writer.  


My gal absolutely LOVES Science, as do her younger brothers, and I really feel that the journals are a big reason why–both her Astronomy and her Botany Journals have become precious keepsakes and valuable records of all her hard work and learning in first grade.

Finally, we think it’s pretty cool how the books are written in order of creation…while you don’t HAVE to do them in that order, it’s seems to build best if you do.  Can you follow the order of creation in their elementary texts?
Astronomy
Botany
Zoology 1 (Flying Creatures of the 5th Day)
Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day)
Zoology 3 (Land Animals of the 6th Day)
Human Anatomy and Physiology

Pretty neat if you ask me!
Love this curriculum so much. =]

History



History is our “spine” and we have been very pleased with Story of the World.  We spent a year in the Ancient World and weren’t sure we were ready to move on yet, it’s been so much fun.  I am relieved that we’ll loop back around in a few years and return again to the great ancient kingdoms of Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome, amongst many others.
This coming school year, we’ll be diving into the Middle Ages, and oh my, this mama has MUCH to learn alongside my kids!  Thumbing through the text, I can see it’s going to be a VERY full year of learning, and I’ve already been gathering what I’ll need for some of the additional learning activities I want to do with the kids.  I’ve been working my way through the activity book, doggy-earing things I want to do, and taking notes based on their suggestions…which, if you’re not familiar with SOTW, they offer SO much in their activity book.  Reading suggestions, art projects, activities, plus all their coloring sheets, map work,  puzzles, etc at the back of the book in the student pages.  The even  have memorization cards for each lesson that you can cut out and laminate for extra practice.

Story of the World is just one of those tried-and-true Classical history curriculums.  Many parents appreciate…
1) that the text is written to the student, and in an engaging manner
2) that narration exercises are included (with prompts and answers for parents to use after reading)
3) that history is presented chronologically, from Ancient to Modern Times
4) that one text can be used with multiple ages/grades (hmmm, sounding familiar yet?)
5) that mapwork and additional (simple and practical) ideas are suggested to enhance learning, and
6) that the text is offered as a spring-board from which the parent & student can dive into “living books” from the library or other book sources.

Probably the #1 way I use our local library is to supplement with history books.  Whatever empire, people or character we are studying, you can be sure to find a pile of similarly themed library books sitting around the house to make our learning come alive.  This is what Charlotte Mason was referring to when she wrote of “living books.”  We also own 3 encyclopedia texts that we use as a backbone/springboard.  

These are:

* Usborne World History Encyclopedia
* The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World 
(we have the older edition)
* The Usborne Book of World History 

Sometimes, when life gets a LITTLE nutso, and I barely have time for History, I fall back to at least reading the short chapter in the SOTW text, and using our encyclopedias for some additional visual reinforcement.  Not every day or week can have hands-on projects and perfectly-chosen library books.  That’s when you just fall back on your main texts.

I was also able to snag several (“used” but unmarked) Dover coloring books from Amazon’s used book section for between$2-$5 each   Dover coloring books are some of the best!  My daughter is pretty much obsessed with coloring, and I noticed last year, my boys always asked to color her history pictures (no doubt attracted to the various warriors or mythical character and exciting scenes of the Ancient world). So I am thinking these coloring books will be a big hit for all of them…


One thing I’m super excited about is the  “Project Passport” Resource CD of the Middle Ages I bought this summer from the *amazing*  Homeschool in the Woods website.  Can’t wait to print and do many of the activities they put together in this cool kit.  If you’re not familiar with Homeschool in the Woods, you’ve GOT to check them out.   They provide resources that seriously make history come ALIVE.  They are also the reigning lap book kings.


Finally, this year we’ll be building up our History Through the Ages Record of Time Book {also from Homeschool in the Woods}.  The timeline comes blank, and you have to purchase the Timeline figures separately on a CD (seen above, on left).  These can then be printed (we printed right onto Avery Label paper) and as we need them, we’ll color them with pencils, cut them out and place the “stickers” on the timeline.  This timeline will be used and added to for the next several  years.  
I think it’s pretty awesome that one day, each of my kids will have their very own Record of Time book that was completed over the course of their elementary and middle school years.  

A sample of a completed timeline page
Several beautiful old-world style maps are included at the back of the Record of Time book.


Families like us who use Story of the World or another chronological study of history tend to follow a repeating schedule that (ideally) looks something like this:
Grade 1 Ancient Times
Grade 2 The Middle Ages
Grade 3 Early Modern Times
Grade 4 The Modern Age
Grade 5 Ancient Times
Grade 6 The Middle Ages
Grade 7 Early Modern Times
Grade 8 The Modern Age
Grade 9 Ancient Times
Grade 10 The Middle Ages
Grade 11 Early Modern Times
Grade 12 The Modern Age

It’s a bit of a relief knowing that what was missed when you studied The Middle Ages in 2nd grade can be caught, re-taught or taught in greater depth in grades 6 and 10.  It also means your kids will be exposed to an era of history multiple times, and from an early age, so there will be a greater tendency to remember and retain the information studied.  And, as natural areas of interest develop, you can structure your learning around them (ex: some make American History their focus during their study of Early Modern Times).
Again, I just love that what may be missed in grades 1 or 2 for our history timeline can be “filled in” when we loop around again.  
I enjoy teaching history in chronological order, and I think it really makes the most sense to tell a story from its beginning, don’t you?


The Arts

Music
Not totally sure on this one yet…while I play the guitar, my daughter is more interested at this time in trying piano, so we’re weighing options with that.  We plan on attending at least one symphony at the PLO this year, and since we’re in the Middle Ages, we’ll be listening to compositions from that period, including the beautiful works of Francesco Landini.   (and no, I had no clue who he was until I began researching, but gorgeous music, and I’ve been listening to it every couple days when I sit to work at my computer).  A very natural way to bring in listening to classical music is while you do art together.  The two just go hand-in-hand, don’t you think?

Formal Art Education
We do oodles of arts and crafts on a regular basis because I love it, as do my kids.  But Art and Artist Appreciation?  Well…not so much.  So this year, since we’ll be in the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, we’ll be studying 3 Medieval or Renaissance artists, their lives and famous works.  The three Middle Ages-Renaissance artists I’ve chosen are~ Giotto di Bondone, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  For Giotto and Michelangelo, I purchased picture study kits from Simply Charlotte Mason that provide background information, artist’s life story, full-color, durable replications of several art pieces, as well as Charlotte Mason’s recommendations for doing picture studies with children.  


We’ll use library resources for Da Vinci, and we’ll end the year studying his incredible life and numerous contributions in art, science, and math.  I plan to spend 8-12 weeks on each artist with the children, doing picture studies here and there as we have time.  
The Simply Charlotte Mason picture study sets are nice and simple, and I do love that they provide the background story for each artist, which is meant to be read aloud to your children at the start of the study.  As I’ve prepared and planned ahead, I have personally enjoyed reading about these artists, and learning new and interesting things about their beautiful artwork–makes me excited to teach it to my kids!  I hope we can incorporate some of our own “in the style of…” art pieces this year as we learn about each of these amazing masters.

In addition to these 3, within our Zoology {Flying Creatures} studies this fall, we’ll be reading the life story of John James Audubon, whose beautiful work is valued by scientists and artists alike.  I think my nature-loving children will find him particularly interesting since he began his “career” as a very young boy who just happened to be immensely interested in observing and sketching birds in his nature journals.  I LOVE mixing Science, Literature and Art, and Audubon’s work fits the bill perfectly to do just that.  We’ll read this one aloud…


And oh my, I can’t wait to share this lovely picture book with them, and do some of our own bird art this fall…The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon  by Jacqueline Davies, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.


 Now I know the artist in focus here is Audubon, but Melissa Sweet’s illustrations and art collages in this beautiful children’s book are nothing short of eye candy, and are totally my style!  So inspirational I have to share a couple…

Lovely, huh?  I found this book at our library but loved it so much, I bought a copy to keep (ahem… on my bookshelf, that is!)
 
Well that’s it for curriculum purchases for this year, but before I sign off, I wanted to say a few words about the whole issue of buying curriculum and managing homeschooling COSTS…
 
One thing I hear from time to time is that homeschooling is a rather expensive endeavor.  
This can be true…sometimes
I’ve had friends who have come right into homeschooling from public schools and felt overwhelmed at having to spend so much on materials.  To them, homeschooling was a rather expensive alternative!
 
But then I’ve also had friends who brought their kids home after having them in private school for at time, and they were totally relieved at what they could now save!  
To them, homeschooling was a much cheaper alternative.  
So again, I guess it’s all a matter of where you’re coming from.
 
Just remember:
1.  You don’t NEED to go buy a pile of materials for every single subject~or any subjects!
 
Best-selling author and homeschool-mom-of-six, Ann Voskamp believes that a curious mother and a library card can offer a child a stellar education.  I thinks she’s right on.
 
Even if you never bought a single text or workbook, just utilizing local, free resources like the library, and the abundance of free material available online, you could have almost limit-less, appropriate and interesting material at your fingertips. You just have to be willing to dig and research and find it.
 
So why even buy all this stuff at all, some wonder?
Well…most of us, if we really think about it, use/buy curriculum for the sheer convenience of it.
 
A good, ready-packaged curriculum makes our jobs a bit (or a lot) easier, and since most of us are busy juggling relationships, little ones, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and a myriad of other household tasks, it’s nice to fall back on something as a guide. 
 
2.  Remember that if you have multiple children that you’ll be schooling at home, you will use certain materials over and over again.  With this knowledge, you begin to look at curriculum choices like Life of Fred Math books and Apologia Science texts as a one-time investment that will be used again and again with your other kids.  This is another reason why it’s great to use curricula that is able to span ages/grades like Story of the World.  Since we are using a 4-year repeating cycle in history and a 6-year cycle in Science, I am thrilled that by the time my third child is school-age, I will already own ALL of our History texts, ALL of our Science texts, plus many, many teacher’s manuals, textbooks, teaching aids, cds, dvds, and books.
 
Finally, some parents are not aware of this, but as homeschoolers, we are entitled to go to our local district and bring home the curriculum they’re using for our child’s grade-level, “free” of cost {as residents, we still pay them our tax dollars}.  Some homeschool families like to be able to pick and choose from their local district’s curriculum.  
Just know there ARE options, and you can personalize your home-school to fit your family’s needs, learning styles, interests, and budget.
 
As for me, I am a teacher in my heart of hearts.  
I kind of live for this stuff. 
That also means I love books and curriculum, and usually end up with more than I can possibly use.
Not everyone is like me, and not only is that OK, but it’s very, very good.  😉
 
As you consider what’s best for your family, check half-priced books, check ebay, check Amazon’s used book section, thumb through curriculum at your local homeschool fair before buying, go to used book sales, borrow materials from homeschooling friends, and check out online homeschooling buy-sell-borrow resources like vegsource.com
 
If you’re patient and willing to search, you can usually find what you need / want for far less than full price.
 
 
Now guess what?  If you made it to the end of this post, you may be as big of a nerd as I am! 
 
Above: spending the week mapping things out at the kitchen table…
Happy Planning and Curriculum Choosing, and remember there is no one “best” curriculum out there, and it takes time, and trial-and-error to find what will be a good fit for you and your children. 
 
UPDATE: 
To find out what we’re using now, Go HERE.
 
 
 
 

9 thoughts on “Homeschool Curriculum Choices & Recommendations 2013-2014

  1. Ashley

    Thank you SO MUCH for this blog post 😉 I’ve used a “boxed” curriculum set the past two years and am SO ready to branch out and try something new… I LOVE Apologia’s science, and your review totally made me even MORE excited about it 🙂 Thanks for such an informative (and encouraging) post 🙂

  2. Crystal Freeman

    I found your site through Pinterest and I am so glad that I did! I am just now dipping my toes into the thoughts of homeschooling my boys. They will be in 3rd grade this year. I have no idea where to start! I love your curriculum choices and your detailed explanations of them. You showed me that there are so many different ways to teach them..not just having to purchase a whole structured set of curriculum (abeka) that will be too hard for them. They have leaning disabilities and I love learning about the Math U See and Life of fred. I also love your science curriculum. You have given me so many ideas and you make homeschooling sound fun and exciting and not as overwhelming as I thought! Thank you! I am also going to copy your bookshelf organization from your other post for our storage ;-). Thanks again!

    crystal @ faithgracemotherhood.com

  3. Jodi

    Just found your blog through Pinterest. It’s been fun to click through~ we’ve got a lot in common! I homeschool my 5 kids- aged 9, 7, 5, 3, and 8 months. Well, they aren’t all homeschooled… yet. 🙂 I also use a classical/charlotte mason approach to our schooling.

    I’d like to recommend an art book to you. I just recently came across and was thrilled!

    It has a little information about an artist, and then a craft to go with it to learn more about their style. It’s also listed by time period. Lots of fun, and lots of great ideas right at your finger tips! 🙂

    http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-Great-Artists-Hands–Children/dp/0935607099/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373918366&sr=1-1&keywords=discovering+great+artists

    ~Jodi

  4. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Hi Stacie, and thanks so much 🙂
    I totally understand the overwhelming feeling of picking and choosing for each subject…so much so that one of these years I may just end up doing an AIO box curriculum myself, ha! Yes, love Story of the World so much as well. Happy summer break–we have a few weeks left before we get back into things around here. Blessings to you, Joanna

  5. Stacie Henderson

    First off, I like to just say how precious your children are 🙂 Secondly, Great Post! I can tell you put a lot of thought and effort in to your homeschooling. I love the annual Curriculum choice posts. I just like to see what everyone is using.So, far the only thing I am using identical to yours, is the Story of the World books. Love these books! Honestly, I am more of an AIO curriculum girl ( to overwhelming for me). Currently, we are doing Time4Learning as our core, but I do add some extra stuff sometimes. I guess that is why I like reading curriculum choice posts. Living Vicariously I suppose lol 🙂

  6. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Hi Emily! Thank you so much, and sorry for the late reply–we were on vacation this past week. I can definitely understand your current “clueless” feelings–I felt the same way when I first began (I always say I was shakin’ in my boots!) But with your little one just beginning preschool, you’ll find all those worries just melting away as you read, read, read with her and to her, watch her learn through play, and take advantage of the many teachable moments around you. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.
    Warm blessings,
    Joanna

  7. Emily Rooney

    I’m just getting started on our homeschool journey (my daughter’s about to start preschool) so I feel clueless about curriculum at this point, but I’ll definitely be checking some of these out. Also, your garden is amazing! I’m excited to have found you. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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