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Even though we’re well into the school year, I still want to take the chance to share what we’re using this year. I always enjoy looking back at these posts to see how things have shifted, so if for no one else, this post is for me.
This year I have four homeschool students. Jonah is 10 and in 4th grade. Matthew is 8 and in 3rd grade. Hannah is 6 and in 1st grade. Elizabeth just turned 5 and is in preschool. It’s hard to believe, but this is actually my 6th year homeschooling!
Bible Time. We are going through the New Testament lessons of this free Sunday School curriculum. We’ve used this for a few years now, alternating between Old and New Testament, and I generally like the lessons. There are also usually several levels for each lesson, so I can find activity pages for all the kids. We supplement this with a worksheet or activity from Pinterest, usually spending 2 days per story.
Science. We are using Biology for the Grammar Stage from Elemental Science. The kids are really enjoying this so far, with 20 weeks focused on animals, 10 weeks on the human body, and 6 weeks on plants. Each week we’ve been studying a few animals in detail, adding them to our habitat charts on the wall, doing a demonstration to learn about something animal-related, and reading lots of good books. We’ve also been taking advantage of our Curiosity Stream membership, and watching lots of videos about the specific animals for the week.
History. We are still using Story of the World. This year we are on Volume 3. I have to say, I’m not enjoying this year as much as the first 2 volumes. The writing seems a little more dry, and sometimes it’s a struggle to get through. Overall I do like the curriculum as a whole, so we’re sticking with it for now.
Citizenship. This is a Texas requirement, although the actual stiplulations are really vague. Basically you can interpret it to mean whatever you want for your family. So this year we are focusing on global citizenship, and doing lots of read alouds based on different regions of the world, using Jamie Martin’s Give Your Child the World as our guide. She also offers some Book Club resources to supplement the book, like maps and short youtube videos and things to go with each chapter, so we’ve been doing some of those as well. (I wrote a review of this book here, if you want to know more.)
Those subjects we do all together, with different activities for the different grade levels, but all learning the same thing. Bible time is every day, and we rotate through the other subjects. After that, we sing a hymn and pray the Lord’s Prayer, and split off into “alone time”.
Jonah and Matthew
Even though they are at different age levels, the boys are doing most of their work at the same level. However, I teach them each separately to avoid competition and frustration since they work at different paces on different things.
- Math. Saxon Math 54 and Saxon Math 65. They’re almost done with Math 54 and ready to move into Math 65. I’ve been a fan of Saxon Math the whole time we’ve been homeschooling and I don’t see that changing.
- Language Arts. First Language Lessons 1 and First Language Lessons 2, Writing With Ease Level 1. I didn’t love last year’s grammar with Jonah, so we switched things up this year. We started First Language Lessons 1, even though it’s meant for 1st grade. We are fast-tracking through it, so the plan is to do levels 1 and 2 this year, and 3 and 4 next year. I don’t love it, but I like it better than what we were using, and the boys are both understanding the concepts, which is better than before.
- Spelling. K12 Reader Online Spelling Curriculum Grade 4 and Grade 3. I was looking for free online grade-specific spelling lists and I found this site, which has those, along with activity sheets for each week.
- Handwriting. A Reason for Handwriting Level T. The boys are really excited to start cursive this year. This curriculum offers a couple different orders of how to teach cursive, so we went with the one that does printing for the first part of the year, and then shifts into cursive after that.
- Math. Saxon Math 1 and Saxon Math 2. Hannah is just a few lessons away from finishing Math 1, and then she’ll be ready for Math 2. Since she can’t quite read everything yet, I’m still walking her through all of these problem by problem, but I think we’re both excited for when she can tackle her worksheets on her own.
- Language Arts. The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading. We’re on our third kid learning to read through this book, and it’s mostly going well. I usually do 2-3 lessons per week from the book and then a couple activities from Pinterest to go along with them.
- Spelling. K12 Reader Online Spelling Curriculum Grade 1. Spelling is a mix of sight words and words she can sound out, which is sometimes a struggle for her, but it’s a good struggle.
- Handwriting. A Reason for Handwriting Level K. This is the same level she did last year, but she needs a little more practice so we’re doing it again, before we move on to Level A, which has sentences (this level just focuses on one letter at a time).
For us, preschool is focused on letter recognition and simple math concepts. That’s it!
- Math. I have a list of math concepts, and we focus on one per week. I find worksheets and activities on Pinterest to go with each concept.
- Letter of the Week. We do a mix of worksheets, activities, and projects focused around one letter each week. We also read picture books with that letter, using the letter lists from The Measured Mom and This Reading Mama.
So that’s our homeschool life in a nutshell! We are almost to the point where our school day is outgrowing the morning hours. Occasionally it spills over into the afternoon, but I try really hard to have everything done by lunch time, because that’s when my kids learn better, and it’s when I’m more patient and focused to be a better teacher for them. And then they go to their rooms for a quiet rest time and I enjoy my coffee!
What does homeschool look like for you this year?