Do you know what? In all the years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve never really written a post on our homeschool curriculum before. Want to know why?
In the past, I’ve created my own curriculum, piecing together games, videos, readings, and play. Of course I used some workbooks and premade materials to round out our learning, but those weren’t the focus.
But this year I find myself a bit overwhelmed. Between pregnancy exhaustion, Owen’s severe sleep disorder, and my growing freelance business, I just can’t make my own materials this year.
I know that if the kids were waiting on me to develop their materials, they’d spend a whole lot more time playing instead of actually learning. So this year, I’m turning to some trusted publishers to tackle the production. Then I just have to teach.
We started a few subjects a couple weeks ago, and it’s been going so smoothly! I love it.
So what did I buy? Here are our 2016-2017 Curriculum Picks!
Sydney (Kindergarten Curriculum)
Sydney turns five at the end of November. If she were going to public schools, she’d still have another year to go before starting Kindergarten. But, she’s more than ready and I don’t want to make her wait.
I figure we’ll take it slowly, and if we need a little extra time to finish, we have a whole year of wiggle room.
I keep Kindergarten simple on purpose. We play a lot of literacy and math games, and explore the world around us. That means I don’t want a ton of time devoted to book work.
This year, Sydney will be working on:
The early Explode the Code series (Get Ready for the Code, Get Set for the Code, Go for the Code)
I love how these books break down early reading skills to bite sized chunks. Sydney loves going through a couple of pages each day, and is really strengthening her letter sound knowledge.
Abeka Math (Kindergarten level)
These books are inexpensive, have just enough color to keep it interesting, and have a scope and sequence I appreciate. My kids will be doing Abeka Math through second grade, at which point we’ll switch to Teaching Textbooks.
We were gifted with an older version of this book, and it provides a great introduction to God’s world. Since I am a product of public schools and the science they teach, I’m finding I really enjoy science from a Christian perspective. I’m learning right alongside my kids!
Ellie (1st Grade Curriculum)
Ellie is in first grade this year, and loving her books. She’s currently working on:
Ellie is finishing up Explode the Code 1 from last year. She’s also working on reading with the Abeka Grade 1 readers, phonetic readers that we have around the house, and some targeted games and activities.
She’s also tackling Abeka Language 1 and using a spiral notebook to practice handwriting, spelling, and writing skills.
We may order the next Explode the Code later in the year if she needs some additional practice with phonics.
Ellie’s working on Abeka Arithmetic 1. She likes that she has tests. 😀
Ellie and Jeffrey are working on Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy this year. Ellie got to pick their shared science, and Jeffrey picked their shared history/social studies.
We plan on going through the elementary Apologia over the next several years.
Abeka’s grade 1 history is being used by both Ellie and Jeff. They’re learning about a lot about America, and the world around us.
We will be purchasing the Daily Geography practice to begin after baby arrives, just to get some additional map and geography skills.
Sydney, Jeff, and Ellie are all learning Health together. We’re using the Abeka Grade 1 health book that came with my eBay find for the spine of this curriculum. Then we’re doing lots of active play, targeted stretches, and cooking work.
Ellie loves organizing and helping in the kitchen so it seemed natural to bring Home Ec into her school year. She’s working through the Lessons in Responsibilities for Girls book 1 and enjoying it.
She really wants to sew, and is looking forward to those lessons. I don’t sew, and am not looking forward to them so much!
Jeffrey (2nd Grade)
I can’t believe my little guy will soon be 8. He’s in second grade already, and loving math.
Jeff is working on decoding long vowel words with blends, and really working hard on his reading skills. He really wants to be able to read all of the directions in Paper Mario himself.
He’s working through grade 2 Abeka Readers, and reviewing with some easier phonetic books as well. Like Ellie, he’s finishing up an Explode the Code book from last year (book 2).
His handwriting needs some practice, so he uses a spiral notebook to write daily. He may need a handwriting book–we’ll see what the first part of this year brings.
He’s working through Abeka Language 2, and loves being able to read most of the sentences on his own.
Like his little sisters, Jeff is working on Abeka Arithmetic. He’s on the grade 2 materials. I anticipate him finishing before the year is over, and getting started on Teaching Textbooks. He is really motivated to do math, “like Jayme” so we’ll see if he keeps up this pace.
Jeff is working through Lessons in Responsibilities for Boys, book 1. He’s also helping cook on his day, and taking charge in plenty of areas. He’s certainly growing up!
Jeffrey asked to work on drawing this year, so he’s currently using YouTube videos for instruction. I plan on picking up a new unit from See the Light and he’ll work through that with anyone who wants to join him.
Owen’s disability prevents him from schooling in any traditional way. He eats any papers or books put in front of him. He destroys crayons.
But, I want him to learn alongside of us. That means Owen is typically either in his wheelchair, special stroller, or sitting on our bench next to me. He listens as I read aloud and instruct Jeff.
Owen loves watching videos and using his iPad as well. He’s got several apps that he enjoys. We also integrate video as often as possible–I typically just do a YouTube search for the topic we’re learning about in science or history and see what comes up. We’ve seen some terrible videos, but most have been pretty good.
Many of the goals I have for Owen right now aren’t academic. They’re very much motor skill, life skill, and independence related. So we integrate sensory play into our days, utilize Owen’s therapy sack, tunnel, and swing, and work on walking.
Owen’s OT comes out to the house once a week, and we’ll practice the skills she works on each day.
I’m hoping to trial a communication app this year now that Owen’s behavior is a little better to see if we can get him to use it. I know he has a lot to say, and just can’t get it out!
Where oh where did the time go? Jayme is a freshman this year. I can’t believe it.
Her current plan is to do Running Start her junior and senior years, and earn her AA in graphic design at the community college. While I know it could change, we’re sort of planning courses around that goal.
She tackled WA State History for credit last year, so we’ve already crossed something off the list of requirements. Now to tackle the rest.
Here’s what Jayme is taking, and how her credits will pan out:
I have several books that will be required reading for Jayme throughout high school. She just finished the first one, Alas, Babylon.
After she reads each book, I have her complete a couple weeks worth of activities. She looks up vocabulary words, writes a paper or two, and completes a project.
She’ll continue working through other novels for her freshman year, including:
The War of the Worlds
Romeo and Juliet
The Screwtape Letters
A Tale of Two Cities
In all she’ll be required to study 9 works of literature, though I’m still trying to finalize her final two selections.
Asides from literature, she’ll be working her way through:
Easy Grammar 9
Word Roots Level 3
Writing with Skill Book 2
Editor in Chief Level 3
All of these will be worth 1 English credit.
To earn her math credit, Jayme will be working through Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 this year. I’m going to have to check the state requirements, but I believe she’ll also have to take a state test at the end of the course.
Since she wants to enroll in Running Start, we are making sure she’s meeting the appropriate requirements for graduation, including state testing.
Jayme is using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology this year. Since she prefers working on her computer, we purchased the complete course on CD-Rom. We’ll also be picking up the lab kit (including the dissection kit) to make this her lab science credit.
Jayme will study world history the next two years. She’s going to be using The Mystery of History Vol. 3 this year, and the accompanying companion guide.
She’ll earn a credit of social studies/history for this course.
We’ve tried many Spanish curricula over the past couple years. I’ve finally found one that Jayme is enjoying (and learning from!)
We’re using Lifepac Spanish 1, with the accompanying audio CDs for pronunciation. We like that it integrates culture study into the language (unlike Rosetta Stone and some of the other popular choices.)
This will give Jayme a foreign language credit.
Learning to be proficient with Microsoft Office is essential in today’s world, so Jayme will be learning all about Office and more with the Premium Professor Teaches Office Super Set.
This will be a 1/2 credit in the Career/Tech field.
For fun, Jayme will also be continuing her coding studies.
Jayme will continue to use Crafty courses to improve her drawing and graphic design skills. She’ll be working on putting together a portfolio to showcase her work from this year.
That Wraps Up Our 2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum Choices
If you’re homeschooling this year, I’d love to have you share what you’ll be using.
Here’s to a great year!