Tomorrow we will be starting our second full year of homeschooling. People are constantly asking me what curriculum I use for my kids, so I thought I’d share it here.
I’ve been up to my eyes in books the past few weeks…see, my office is a disaster…but an organized disaster. 😉
Last year, was my first full year of homeschooling. I had a 2-month-old baby and 4-year-old twins that needed entertained and taken care of while their older brothers were in school.
So, I needed something that already had lesson plans made. I needed something that would encourage my kids to teach themselves, but also something that challenged them. I needed something that would include a Teacher’s Manual so I could refer to it if I needed help teaching them. So we used a lot of work books. This was great for me because it simplified my life, but I also found that too many workbooks, did not make school fun. I need the pre-made lessons all set up, because, with 4 kids in homeschool and a 13-month-old to keep entertained, homeschool can be a challenge so simplification is a must!
So, here is what we are doing this year, and why it works for us.
MATH & LANGUAGE ARTS
For my 5th and 4th grader we are using the Math and Language Arts curriculum from Christian Light. When you first look at it, you think it is plain and possibly boring but my kids love it. Each grade level has 10 Light Units and each unit has 16 lessons. This takes us about a month to complete since we do 4 day school weeks.
Here’s why we love it:
*Spiral Teaching- They learn one new concept per lesson and only do a few problems about that new concept. Then the rest of the lessons have a “We Remember” section that goes over previous lessons. My kids are constantly reviewing what they’ve learned and I’ve seen that it helps them retain what they are learning more. Plus, if they are frustrated because they aren’t grasping the lesson very well, they like that they don’t have to do 3 pages of the same type of work. They can move onto workd they do understand and review this concept over the next few days/weeks and gradually master it.
The Math also starts out with a story at the beginning. For example, one section was about Australia, so the rest of the book was filled with REAL facts about the ocean, animals, or the culture of Austrailia. These facts are used in their word problems, sentences, etc. I love that they are doing real math problems that they can apply to their life.
*Since it is broken up into smaller Light Units, my kids see/feel that they are accomplishing more work, more quickly. Whereas a huge math book made them feel like they were never going to get done with school.
These small packs make it super easy and convenient to carry around. When we need to do school in the car, due to traveling, they are bringing a few small books with them instead of big heavy ones.
*It’s self-taught. The kids read the lesson at the beginning and then if they need any help or clarification, I can step in and guide them. They love being able to just sit down and get to work, without having to listen to a long lesson.
Now, my kids did not really enjoy the creative writing assignments they had to do as part of their Language Arts curriculum. So I found something I think they will love.
These books have so many awesome guides and prompts as they teach my kids how to write their own chapters and ultimately create an entire book. I’m super excited to see what they create.
My twins are in Kindergarten and this is probably the most stressful part of homeschooling for me this year…. I am responsible for teaching them how to read. I could sit down with my older boys each day and read to them, but I knew someone was working with them at school, teaching them along with me. So, I’ve been nervous about this aspect of homeschool. I researched soooo many different types of curriculum for Kindergarten I ultimately ended up choosing Christian Light for them as well.
They have KII books, that my kids started back in April, just to keep busy, while their brothers worked. They are about halfway done with these workbooks, so once those are complete, we will move onto their Learning to Read and Math Level 100 .
Plus Pinterest has given me so many neat ideas on how to teach reading, spelling, and math in fun and engaging ways.
For History/Geography, we are using Expedition Earth from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
This is the part of homeschooling that I am THE MOST EXCITED about! I love learning about history and the world and this curriculum makes it so fun! If you ask my kids, this is what they are the most excited for too!
Expedition Earth covers 31 countries, and I want to dig deep into each one, so I’m planning on just covering 15 of them this year and the remaining 16 next year. (Then I’m hoping she’ll create another curriculum by then that includes more…but I really don’t know if she is…that’s just my hope.)
I asked my boys which continents/countries they wanted to do this year, so we are starting off in Oceania, then moving onto Africa and finishing up with Europe! Gah!!! I’m so excited!
At the beginning of the year, I asked all of them what they wanted to learn. My twin boy said, “Old Armies” and my twin girl said, “Animals.”
I wondered how I’d fit this in and I was excited to learn that this curriculum covers it!
We will learn about animals from each region and the history of each region, (so this is where armies will come in to play).
It also comes with really fun art activities for each country. I love this because then I’m not trying to figure out what to do for art time. We are going to make a paper mache globe, clay necklaces like they wear in Kenya, soap from France, and a boomerang from Austrailia…plus so much more!
PLUS it comes with meals from each country too! I’m going to have my kids help me learn how to cook a meal and we’ll get to try out food that we would have never tried otherwise. Isn’t that cool?!
My kids also get a neat little passport that we will “stamp” when we’re heading to that country and we’ll mark that spot on the map and see all the places we’ve “traveled” to.
Plus, they will learn how to say, hello, goodbye and count to 10, in multiple languages.
There is a Christmas Around the World part, so they’ll learn what Christmas traditions other countries have as well.
Seriously, doesn’t’ this curriculum sound awesome!?
As a supplement, just for fun, I found these books to read together to learn a bit more. I’ve found myself really enjoying these three books in the top photo. I love history, but I never thought I loved it until I became an adult. Now, I’m constantly trying to soak up information about the world and these books are a great resource for adults and children alike.
My 5-year-old son that wanted to learn about “old armies” is so excited about the “Warrior Sticker Book” I found. It covers warriors from multiples countries and era’s and teaches them how they fought, what they wore and a few more cool facts.
This year, my kids really wanted to learn more about the Solar System. So I searched high and low for one that I thought they would have fun with, and still learn from as well. I finally chose Apologia. (P.S. My kids looked at their other choices for science and have already said whaty they want to learn next year! They are so excited for this curriculum)
I’ve never used this curriculum before, but I chose it because it is set up for K-6th grades and that’s exactly where my kids fall. We get one manual, that we learn from as a group and then they each have a spiral bound journal. One for K-2nd grade and another for 3-6th grade. The journals are filled with fun activities and hands on experiments.
When you first look at it, you may think it is a little much for Kindergarteners, they definitely can’t do it alone. However, my twins, really want to learn about the Solar System, right along with their brothers, so I will just have them do what they can and help them with the rest.
I also stumbled upon these fun games that I’m excited to use for “Fun Friday.” Friday is typically our day off of school since we do a 4 day school week, so on this day, each week will have a Jeopardy type of game for about an hour, that will help us review what we’ve been learning. The BrainBox games are a perfect way to use this and add some fun to our week.
In our home, math, language arts and spelling are worked on daily and are taught independently, since those are grade focused assignments. For history/geography and science, we work on each one, twice a week and together as a group, since they are filled with fun experiments and crafts.
We start our school day off with a prayer and then a short individual scripture study for my older two kids. This year I am going to try out this Boof Of Mormon Study Guide for Young Readers and see how my kids do with it.
While my older kids are reading, I use the Ites book and cards with my twins. These cards and books, give a brief description and story about everyone in the Bible or Book of Mormon. Then it includes object lesson and a question to ponder, based off of what that specific person’s story was.
I love these options because it gives all of my children a quick spiritual lesson each day. Nothing too long and in depth, to where they feel like it’s another Sunday School lesson. Just some simple reminders and object lessons to remind them of the values they’ve been taught and ways to grow their own testimony.
So, there you have it. This is how we will be homeschooling and teaching our kids this year. They’ll definitely be learning a lot, and so will I. I am so grateful to the amazing people who have created all of the various curriculum options we have. Without all of their planning and hard work, I wouldn’t be able to do near this much amazing “stuff” with my kids
Tomorrow we start school. I’m excited and nervous, all at the same time. So, if you don’t mind, say a little prayer for us as we embark on another year, and while you’re at it, pray for ALL teachers, everywhere. Teachers have quite a challenging job and we will take all the help we can get.
Do you homeschool? If so, what curriculum do you use? I’d love to hear what you’ve found and why you love it.