It’s that time of year when all homeschooling families are making decisions about the curriculum they will use this coming up school year. We look over everything we used the previous year and figure out what worked and what didn’t work. We analyze each subject according to each child as well. Something might work wonderfully for one child and completely and utterly fail for another. That is the beauty of homeschooling. We get to choose and use what works best for our families and children.
I customize the curriculum that my children use. I have bought big boxed curriculum sets in the past that have all the lessons laid out and planned for the entire year. That did not work for me or my children. We felt that it was a lot of pressure to complete the lessons in a year. We are a very laid back family. So, a couple of years ago I started buying each subject separately and it has worked beautifully for my children and I.
Below, I will go through each subject and give you links to the products that I use with my children. I will also let you know why we like it. I hope this encourages you in your homeschool journey. I learned the hard way what works and spent a ton of money on wasted curricula. I am thankful that I have some of the subjects completely sorted out. As you will see, some of the subjects we are still ironing out and it is still an adventure finding out when something works for us.
This has been a tough one for me because I am not very good at math. But, after much consideration and talking to others, we have found a math program that works wonderfully for my children. They love it because of the quick and colorful lessons. They feel like they can accomplish a lot more and they do more than one lesson at a time because they are confident. The company we use is Horizons. Horizons has given my children confidence and self-assurance. They really struggled in math and now they are ahead of the game with Horizons Math Program. We are using Horizons Math Grade 1 and Horizons Math Grade 2 this year.
I found Queen Homeschool Supply a few years ago and have been using their science books ever since. It is a Charlotte Mason style of science curriculum and focuses a lot of nature study. Having all boys, this is such an awesome idea. The lessons are easy and fun. There are coloring pages included as well as stories and charts. It is truly an amazing choice for us. This year we are using All Nature Sings (Discovering Nature Series). My children will be learning about plants, animals, dinosaurs, and Noah’s Ark. It is a Christian based company so that is definitely a plus for me.
I am trying something new this year. We will be using Story of the World Vol. 1 Ancient Times. I am super excited about this because I have never used a formal History program before. I am involved in a co-op that does history as memory work (which is amazing, but I want to dig deeper). I have heard amazing things about this curriculum and am hopeful that it will inspire my boys to want to know more about the history of the world.
I have to be honest. I have tried many things for this subject and have found nothing that really works. I actually have my MIL tutor my children in reading and phonics and she sends them home with homework (and gives me detailed directions on how to teach them at home). We see her about once a week and she has been amazing. She is a retired Reading Specialist and was a Title 1 teacher as well. I don’t know what I would do without her. I have seriously tried a ton of different approaches and having her tutor my children in this area has been such a blessing.
In our homeschool, this is the most important subject we will study. Our Bible time consists of reading from our Jesus Storybook Bible and listening to some old hymns on CD. It is enough for my children and they have learned a great amount about God, Jesus, the Bible, and love singing the old hymns.
Extras (Art, Crafts, Music, etc.)
We study composers and artists. The Stories of Great Composers Book and CD is a great resource for composer study. Since the set includes a CD with the actual music performed by the composers it makes it easy to use. For our artist study we are using Discovering Great Artists. I love this book so much. It gives a detailed description of each artist throughout history and some examples of their work. And, for arts and crafts, we just color in coloring books and draw pictures. We also try to do examples of the artists that we study. Our co-op does an art project each week as well as a science project. The children have also learned how to play the tin whistle.
That is our homeschool curriculum in a nutshell. Well, a little more than a nutshell. I hope it gives you some guidance as you plan your year. Remember, sometimes things don’t work at all and you just have to scrap it and start with something new. Everyone does this so don’t stress over it. Take a breath and try something different.