It's almost September, the Back-To-School sales are winding down, and I've seen school buses in my neighborhood. Just like reading recap posts of other people's years, I love seeing what other families choose for their homeschool curriculum. So, today I'm sharing mine with you!
Overall, I'm trying to embrace the flexibility that homeschooling gives us as a family, which is why I use such a variety of options (and some unconventional) for our schooling. I'm trying to pick what works best for each kid as well as things that I will enjoy doing with them so that I can use my time to best work on building relationships with my kids.
I have a 2 year old, 4 year old (so, this is his last year before Kindergarten), and a 6 year old (first grade) and we start our official school year in about a week.
So, here's a breakdown of what I have planned for the year! I started writing a lot about theory including why we homeschool in general, why we don't use very much "Christian" curriculum, and even how I usually say "I can't do this anymore" at least once a month, but I think all of that deserves it's own post!
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Church History and Theology/Catechism
We're going to start September and October with learning about the Reformation as we approach the 500th anniversary this October! We're going to use Reformation ABC's as our backbone. I love this book. I think it's so well done and really fun.
After I made our Weekly Bible Verse hallway spot (which I showed in this post), we're still sticking with having one memory verse a week we pick (usually) from Susan Hunt's My ABC Bible Verses or My ABC Bible Verses from the Psalms.
I don't really consider our Family Bible/Devotional Time to be part of our homeschooling because my husband usually leads that time so I don't plan it but we usually do that in the morning before our school time starts.
I've been happy with Singapore the past two years for my daughter, so we're sticking with that! I think they do a good job of introducing new skills in a logical order, don't have unnecessary busy work, and are very visual to help understanding of early math concepts.
My pre-schooler will start Singapore Kindergarten either in January or next September (when he actually starts Kindergarten). In the meantime, this year we're using a workbook for Pre-Kindergarten that covers a variety of subjects since it has over 450 pages. I got this at Costco and couldn't find the exact one online but there are lots of other similar workbooks available.
A little bit of a side note (but it goes with the pre-school workbooks): I don't see the point in over-doing pre-school when little boys should really still be playing a lot and enjoying school so we just do these workbooks as it fits in and he wants to "do school" like his older sister. I hope most of his learning this year comes from one-on-one time with me working on learning to read and then having fun and joining us for the other subjects.
We started The Wand from Brave Writer last year with my daughter, and I really loved it. We had tried three different phonics programs for her and they just weren't a great fit. I think because we all lean towards unit studies, I love that The Wand is based on reading actual books and then incorporated phonics, spelling, word origin, grammar, copy work, and vocabulary.
I would highly recommend trying out the free sample of The Wand if you want to try something different and teaching phonics is something you dread as part of your homeschool day. This will change that! Only my daughter does this even though my preschooler will listen to the stories and sometimes do a few of the activities.
We will all do two other Brave Writer programs this year - Jot it Down (creative writing projects) and Poetry Teatime (which we've done all summer so it's becoming a tradition). My preschooler loves Poetry Teatime so he'll do our Jot It Down projects with us too.
Here are some pictures of past Poetry Teatimes -snacks, fun drinks, and lots of poetry!
For my preschooler, we are working through The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons slowly. Since I had tried so many other (more complicated) programs with my daughter, I decided to stay simple with my second and so far I like it.
In addition to those curriculum items, I am going to intentionally try to read aloud to all the kids more often. We are going to start our school year with The Green Ember! I haven't read it yet, but I have a feeling we will all love it.
I also supplement with other workbooks for when we will hop in the car or just want to do something different - again (just like math) we use Star Wars books or Fun Schooling journals (I really like this spelling one in the picture below and we also have two others).
We will be doing Story of the World Volume 1 together. I'm excited to learn along with my kids here!
For adding some fun, I also bought Famous Figures of Ancient Times: Movable Paper Figures to Cut, Color, and Assemble, which everyone says lines up well with Story of the World (but we'll be skipping making a paper figure of Jesus... you can insert your own emoji here for that).
I really struggled with finding a Science curriculum that would be something my kids would enjoy and learn from, wouldn't be ridiculously complicated for me, but was still more than just books and worksheets. I had a hard time looking at first grade level programs while envisioning how I would incorporate my four year too. He absolutely loved every science experiment we did last year so I knew science this year had to work for both of my older kids.
After looking at a ton of options, I found a plan based on The Magic School Bus episodes and we're going to try it out! It's basically all unit studies, which I think work really well for younger kids. It's easier to remember interesting facts when it's so concentrated and woven together through fun activites, games, fiction books, non-fiction books, and experiments.
As I planned out each week, I ended up making lots of changes and skipping things on the plan I linked above to make it work for us. Basically, we will watch one video per two week period and then learn as much as we can in those two weeks about the topic.
Our first two weeks is on Ants. So we'll watch the episode on Ants. I bought an ant farm, we got a lot of books on ants from the library (some non-fiction and some fiction like Hey, Little Ant), and have some other extension activities I got from Teachers Pay Teachers.
I'm looking forward to this semester and my kids got really excited when our box from Rainbow Resource came filled with lots of stuff like a Mini Desertscape Glass Terrarium, the Somebody Board Game, and The Magic School Bus: The World of Germs kit. I also stocked up on some Usborne science books to check out each unit too (here, here, and here).
Next year (when my kids are a bit older) I will probably buckle down and have them both do Apologia.
Other Fun Stuff
In general, I'm going to try to get out of the house a lot more this year. I realized it's better for my well-being if we leave the house, even if it's just a park for some fun unstructured play. Now that my two year old is able to play for a bit at a park by himself, it's much more enjoyable (now, shopping with him is a different story...)
My six year old also has a subscription to Kiwi Crate for some independent science and art time.
She also has a gymnasitcs lesson once or twice a week (depending on the season and how busy we are) at a local gym.
Both my 6 year old and 4 year old have a 30 minute tennis lesson once a week.
I know I want one more thing for my four year old, but can't decide yet what that will be. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.
I also want to pencil in some "Just Because We Can" days for intentional fun memory making with my kids on a few of our "school" days. If you haven't heard of these before and especially if you find yourself occassionally questioning your choice to homeschool (like I often do), go check that out here.
For another fun educational activities (and staying busy when mom is doing something else), currently all three of my kids absolutely love Magformers. While I wish they weren't so expensive, toys that are easy to clean up (magnets!) and that everyone loves are amazing.
While I hope you've found this list useful, I pray that you give yourself grace this year in your homeschooling to use your time with your kids to show them God's love and grace in both the fun activities and in your hardest moments! I seriously believe that every homeschool mom on the Internet looks way more put together than she actually is (maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it). Who knows what you might actually see if you come to my house on a Wednesday morning!
I'd love to hear from you - have you used any of the same options as me? Or what are you doing this year?