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I get asked all the time about the curriculum I use in my homeschooling. I’m absolutely passionate about teaching my kids, so I’m more than happy to share a bit about what we do.
Here’s the thing to remember – there is no “One-Way” to homeschool! What works for me and for my kids might not work for you. What works for you might not work for me. (And that’s all ok!!!) As I stated in “Finding Your Homeschooling Fit“, you have to do what works for YOU. This is not a choice that can be made based on what anyone else is doing. (I mean it!)
When I first looked into homeschooling, I was frustrated because the way several homeschooling bloggers/families I admired homeschooled in a way that would make me crazy or that didn’t align with my personal teaching philosophy. I had to choose the methodology and materials that worked for my teaching style and my children’s learning styles. I had to find a method that excited me as a teacher, would challenge and engage my kids, and would work with our schedule, lifestyle, and personalities.
This is just what WE do. It works for US. We love it – but it may not be a fit for you. Here’s to finding a suggestion you like, or just having the realization that this method isn’t for you. Find what works, throw yourself into it, and have a GREAT school year!! Happy homeschooling everyone!
This year I’ll be homeschooling a 5th grader, a 3rd grader, a Kindergartner, and a Preschooler. I thought I’d start by breaking down what we do together as a group, and then let you know where instruction is more personalized.
We do one activity together every morning to start our day. This cold be a read-aloud, an art activity, a logic puzzle, a writing activity, a math puzzle, etc. If/when it is a paper-pencil activity, the assignment MAY vary for the older/younger students.
The kids all write to the same prompt each morning. My older kids complete this independently, while my kindergartener draws a picture and writes the sounds he knows/sight words, etc. My preschooler will draw a picture and I’ll take dictation until she’s ready to start using phonetic spelling.
We do a Bible lesson each day together as a group. We also do Prayer Journals once a week, learn a weekly Bible verse, and incorporate our AWANA practice into this time.
We have 15-20 minutes of read-aloud each day. This year, I chose the chapter books based off our science or social studies curriculum. All four kids will listen as I read several chapters aloud each day. (This is one of our favorite times of day! The kids get their blankets and get a nice chance to relax.)
Here are the books we’ll be reading August – January. (I haven’t settled on our Christmas read-aloud yet!)
Silent reading is another favorite activity. Everyone (including me!) picks a book (or books) of their choice and reads quietly for 20-30 minutes. On sunny days we head outside, while we like to snuggle up on rainy days.
I rotate through these subjects in our weekly schedule. We do PE at least 2 days a week, library once a week, and work in art and cooking when it aligns with something we are learning. This year, my husband will be teaching music on Fridays, including giving the kids piano lessons.
Each child will have a 30 minute block of computer time this year. On Mondays, they play Math Games, we have “Typing Tuesday,” etc. They are strictly limited to a number of pre-selected educational sites. On certain days, their computer activity will be chosen for them, as they are working with different pieces of our curriculum, certain skills, etc.
I can’t say enough good things about Apologia. We used it last year and just LOVED it! We will be using Apologia 3: Exploring Creation with Land Animals this year. I supplement the textbook with LOTS of read-alouds, videos, YouTube clips, games, art activities, science experiments, and field trips. Since we are learning about animals, we bought an annual pass to our local zoo, and will be spending time learning about some of the animals from our text book in depth.
Last year, we did 2 units (Westward Expansion and WW2.) This year, we will focus the entire year on the Founding of America. We’ll begin our study in Jamestown, work through the colonization of the East, discuss life in Colonial America, work our way to the Pilgrims, talk about Puritans, Quakers, the Salem Witch Trials, the American Revolution, and meet the founding fathers. We’ll end the year talking about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
I create all of our social studies curriculum. First I decide what I want my kids to know, and then spend A LOT of time researching available resources. I find books, videos, games, worksheets, activities, field trips, computer activities, recipes, experiments, creative projects, etc – and piece together a curriculum. We do A LOT of reading, and I love finding “living books” that bring our social studies topics to life. The older kids do “Assigned Reading” every day, where they read several chapters from a living book about the topic we are currently covering in Social Studies.
This year, the younger kids will sit in with us for social studies, and will take part in as many of the activities as they are able to.
In addition to math instruction, the kids will be doing writing/literacy at their grade level this year.
Math: Saxon 65
I love that Hannah can work above grade level in math, and complete her math work almost independently. She loved Saxon 54 last year, and we’re both excited to watch her continue to progress in her math skills.
Writing: Writers in Residence
This will be a new curriculum for us this year. I felt that my kids needed separate writing curriculums – tailor-made for their grade level and skill set. I love that this curriculum blends grammar, vocabulary, and spelling INTO the lessons – using a whole language approach, rather than teaching those skills in isolation. Hannah will complete multiple writing projects over the course of the year.
Henry completed Saxon 3 last year and wasn’t quite ready to move up to Saxon 54, so we both felt like Intermediate 4 was a great choice. With this curriculum, he can firm up all four of the basic operations, fractions, long division, etc before moving on to the 5th grade curriculum next year.
I designed Henry’s writing curriculum this year – which was REALLY fun to do. I looked through 3rd grade writing expectations (prior to Common Core) and built a scope and sequence around the skills and genres I wanted him to master this year. Together we’ll be working through 14 units, including Persuasive Writing, Story-telling, Informational Writing, etc, as well as skills such as using temporal words, writing hooks, summarizing, using descriptive language, and more! Teaching writing was always my favorite part of classroom instruction, and I’m excited to add this layer to our homeschooling this year.
Math: Saxon 1
Harry is very excited to continue on in Saxon this year. This curriculum will teach him addition, subtraction, time-telling, etc, and build on the skills he learned last year in Saxon Kindergarten.
Harry and I will be doing Guided Writing together this year. Writing at the kindergarten level is SO exciting -and is truly the foundation of a child learning to read! He and I will write together every day, as I build spelling, phonics, sight words, blends, word ending, word families, rhyme, conventions, etc into each day’s lesson. I’ll start with a mini-lesson, do a guided piece together, and then do independent writing. We’ll also play games, read stories (great for teaching writing skills!), and do other hands-on activities during this time.
Math: Saxon Kindergarten
I loved using this with my son last year, and am excited to use it again this year with my daughter. What I love about Saxon Kindergarten is the lack of worksheets. Kids spend the year learning number sense, patterning, reasoning, addition, money, time, ordinal position, and SO much more through play, manipulatives, games, and hands-on activities. Math was my preschool son’s favorite time of day last year, and I know Harper will love it too.
I’m not a huge fan of pencil/paper activities for young learners, so many of our learning activities will be hands-on this year. Harper will learn and practice her upper/lowercase letters, letter sounds, sight words, letter formation, and early reading skills through lots of games, activities, stamps, salt writing, playdough, manipulatives, and more.
We will continue to add to her Book Box (a box of sight word books that she can read independently) this year, working on new books for each letter of the alphabet, new word endings, word families, sight words, etc. She’ll have time to read through these each day. We will also read lots of books together, and she will participate in the morning journaling as well.
One workbook I DO use with my preschoolers is Handwriting Without Tears. Here’s the thing, I HATE (hate hate!) handwriting sticklers, and have never seen anything close the door on creative writing faster than a kid being yelled at about letter formation, BUT, this program is easy, kid-friendly, and not demanding. (And we don’t make that big of a deal of it if their letters are sloppy!)