The number three search term that brought people to this blog in the last few weeks (obviously not new people, but regular readers) is “get along home curriculum”. This is something of a problem, because I haven’t written very much about my curriculum choices. I’m honestly surprised anybody thought to ask!
The few times I’ve mentioned our plans I’ve never really gone into detail. This is mostly because I’m unsure of how useful it will be, but also because I’d much rather write about other things most of the time. Since you asked, though, I’ll do that now. I’m pretty excited about our fourth year of homeschooling!
First, our daily, at-home schedule:
I love having a schedule to keep us on track. This one is very simple, because our lives are simple. The schedule for days we don’t stay home is basically this, minus whatever hours we’re not home. There was a time when I thought that having a schedule sounded like the worst kind of slavery, but then it occurred to me that it’s my schedule, and I’m building it around my ideal day, so it’s not quite the taskmaster I felt it would be. It’s actually turning out to be a pretty great way to manage our time! We don’t always stick to it, but most days, it’s just what we need.
Now, the books and plans. I boasted on my Facebook page (follow me!) that I had only spent around $100 for the first half of this year. That is true, but I’m using a lot of books that we already had, free stuff, things I won, and used books. If a person were to buy all of these things, the cost would be well over that amount.
Bible. (Daily. Hourly, even.) Our Bible curriculum is, um, the Bible. We don’t really need a curriculum to complicate matters, do we? We read a selection and pray every morning. Scripture and worldview is part of everything else, as well. I’m going to start adding in hymns at family worship time. I like to sing, and I don’t want my kids to lose the older songs just because we go to a trendy church that likes to sing Chris Tomlin’s pablum more often than Rock of Ages. Not that I don’t like Chris Tomlin. I do! It’s just a little on the shallow, mono-syllabic side, don’t you think? My husband says I’m a music snob. I say I have standards.
The Story of the World. (2x per week) We only got halfway through the book and activities last year, so we’ll finish Year 2 this year. (I did this with Tapestry of Grace for the first two years, also, and it was a fun, slow-paced way to do lower grammar without neglecting the 3 R’s.)
Home Geography. (2x per week) This is an old, out-of-print book I got in .pdf form, thanks to Homeschool Freebie of the Day. If you haven’t discovered that site yet, now’s a good time to subscribe. A great deal of our fun comes from supplements and books they dig up! The language is a little bit outdated, but I think we can work around that. I’ll take most of these lessons outside and do them at the same time as nature studies.
First Language Lessons. (2x per week) I have about nine weeks’ worth of lessons left in this book. Love the poetry suggestions and the short grammar lessons. After that, I don’t know where I’m going with grammar. Shurley English? What do you guys think?
Math Mammoth. (Daily) I bought Math Mammoth through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op last year at a ridiculous price, so I have all of the elementary levels. I don’t love workbooks for most purposes, but for math, it’s a good approach. Saxon was good for teaching me how to teach math to small children! But Saxon is a) expensive and b) not great for teaching multiple ages. Now we’re using MM workbooks for practice and teaching, while I supplement with other activities as appropriate. Math Mammoth includes some links to websites, games, and hands-on activities to keep math interesting, and the pace is just about perfect. It’s not self-teaching, exactly, but it’s close!
Phonics, the old-fashioned (free) way. (Daily) I’m using the phonics page and DonPotter.net to teach phonics to my five year old. The three year old seems eager to learn, too, so we’ll see what happens with her. I’m going to do at least one more post about how this is all coming together for us, so stay tuned! Will we use 100 Easy Lessons in the future? Who knows? Probably not, but I’ve learned to never say never.
Letter/Number of the Week. (Daily. Sort of.) The three year old insists on doing school, so I guess I’d better have a plan for her, too. Rolling my own lessons for this, as I can’t imagine paying for anything that easy to do.
Exploring Creation with Astronomy. (2x per week) Bought this last year at the Apologia Live Retreat. We did Botany last year, and I’m pretty sure we’ll stick with Apologia Science for years to come. I am thrilled with the ease of using these books! I barely have to prepare for lessons at all, and most of the activities and experiments use things I already have lying around the house. I also love the notebooking approach to learning.
Harmony Fine Arts. (Visual art 2x per week, Music 2x per week.) I shelled out for four years’ worth of lessons at once, because Barbara is just that impressive. Just go buy that. You won’t regret it. Read her blog, too. I’ve learned a lot from it.
Nature studies. (2x per week) Again, I’m putting this together for myself, based on what I already know, and using Audubon guides, notebooks, and good, old-fashioned quiet observation.
Family Time Fitness. (Daily) I won this P.E. curriculum. Twice, actually. Maybe I’ll give away one set to some lucky commenter. Think I’ll email the publisher and ask if that would be ok. My boys don’t focus very well unless there’s some physical activity first, so this is the first thing every day. We’ll do about 15-20 minutes before lessons start.
All About Spelling. (2x per week) My oldest son isn’t a great speller yet, but he does better with this hands-on, rules-based system than with rote memory (which is how I learned to spell). I love this curriculum. The letter tiles are our favorite way to do phonics. There’s an All About Reading program, too, though I haven’t yet tried it. If you ever buy All About Spelling, I hope you’ll come back here and buy through my link! I really do love it.
There you have it! That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! I don’t expect to finish everything, but I’m pretty sure nobody ever does, anyway. Most things are only two or three times a week, and Fridays are very lightly scheduled so we can finish projects or take field trips and library runs.
What are you doing this year?