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Another homeschool year has started, and we are back in the swing of structured learning! As with other years, I like to share what we are using for our curriculum choices this year. We do quite a bit of the classical style of book work, followed by a whole bunch of learning through play and interest-based free learning.
As we’ve done for the past year or two, we split our homeschool day into two main sections. First we have a couple subjects together. We do our Bible time, sing our hymn for the month, and work through memorizing the Bible books. And then we rotate through our other group subjects.
After that, we take a short break to clean up, change a diaper, get a snack, use the bathroom, start the coffeemaker, or any random little thing that needs to be taken care of, and we do one-on-one time. The boys are more independent – I usually go through a couple things with them, and then they take the majority of their work and complete it wherever they want to in the house. The girls still need my help with most of theirs.
Bible Time: the Old Testament section of this free Sunday School curriculum. We’ve used this for several years, alternating back and forth between Old and New Testament. I like that it has various levels for most lessons. We usually do 2 lessons per week, and I supplement with projects and activities from Pinterest.
History: Story of the World Volume 3 (text and activity guide) and Volume 4 (text and activity guide). We had a bit of Volume 3 left from last year, which we’ve finished in our first 2 weeks of half school. From there, we’ll move into Volume 4. It’s going to be a bit heavier this year, with things like the World Wars, the Holocaust, and going up to just before 9/11.
We mainly do the readings, maps, and coloring pages, with occasional other activities from the workbook. There aren’t as many read alouds to go with this volume as the others, because frankly, not as many kids books exist about wars and stuff. Those are geared toward slightly older kids.
Science: Elemental Science: Earth Science and Astronomy. We’ve enjoyed our past couple years with Elemental Science, so we continued this year. I buy the ebook version, because printing 4 copies is cheaper than buying the co-op amount of workbooks (#largefamilyproblems ha!).
I like that this curriculum lays things out with a 2-day or 5-day schedule option, with plenty of additional reading and activity suggestions. They give the basics, and you read from additional books.
This year’s extra books are:
- DK First Space Encyclopedia
- Janice Van Cleave’s Earth Science for Every Kid
- Discover Science Planet Earth
- Discover Science Weather
- Discover Science Rocks and Fossils
- Janice Van Cleave’s Astronomy for Every Kid
- Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations
Citizenship: A bunch of stuff. Citizenship is a Texas required subject that is really vague in its definition. So this year, we are learning a few different civics-related and geographical things. I’m using a few free online unit studies, I put together a few of my own unit studies, and we’ll be checking out lots of books from the library.
- Sonlight Free Elections and Voting Unit Study (10 weeks)
- Branches of Government (3 weeks)
- Historical Documents (4 weeks)
- Federal, State, and Local Government Roles (3 weeks)
- How Laws Are Made (2 weeks)
- U.S. States and Capitals (6 weeks)
I’ve found readings and online materials for these, but I basically put it together on my own. It’s content-heavy at the beginning of the year, and easier at the end, which is nice for my future self…
Jonah and Matthew
The boys are technically in 5th and 4th grade, respectively, but they are on the same level for the majority of their work. I still teach them separately, but it’s a lot of the same stuff.
Math: Saxon Math 65.
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Level C.
Language Arts: First Language Lessons Level 2, Writing with Ease Level 2. My order for reading is this: in preschool, kids learn letters visually. In kindergarten, they learn letter sounds and start The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading. They continue to work through that book, usually finishing in 2nd grade. First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease make good sense following those, but I didn’t discover them until last year, so we’re a little behind on that. But that’s okay. My boys read really well, so this is just solidifying that grammar base.
Reading Comprehension: Novel studies. This is an area we have struggled with a little bit, so I’m putting together novel studies based on free online unit studies that I’m modifying a bit to be the format that I want.
This year we’re reading through:
- Sarah, Plain and Tall
- The Whipping Boy
- The Family Under the Bridge
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- The Sign of the Beaver
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- Number the Stars
- Trumpet of the Swan
- Tuck Everlasting
I’ve read nearly all of these at some point in my life, but I’m planning on rereading them shortly before the boys do so they’re fresh in my mind too.
Hannah is in 2nd grade, and is pretty much continuing with what she did last year.
Spelling: Grade 2 free online.
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Level A.
Reading: The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading. She should finish this right at the end of this year.
Elizabeth is in kindergarten. I usually just focus on math and reading, but she wants “more work and harder work” (her words), so she gets handwriting too, and I might see if I can find additional projects for her.
Math: Saxon Math 1.
Reading: Letter sounds and The Ordinary Parents’ Guide to Teaching Reading.
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Level K.
So there you have it! Another year is all planned out. Now to remember to put my library holds in on time and to actually do the work…