Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015 School Year

The most asked questions I get about homeschooling is “Do you buy curriculum”  and “how do you know what to teach every day?”  I think that when we think what it is involved in homeschooling our children we often are overwhelmed of where to start.  I remember wondering if I had to create everything that I taught my children.  Thankfully that answer was no.  But there is a lot of research that goes into picking the curriculum that you are going to use with your children. 

We have been using the same curriculum for reading and phonics since kindergarten.  Mickey is now in 3rd grade.  At the end of the 2nd grade year I was realizing that it just wasn’t working for us anymore.  I knew that I needed a history program that was more than what I have been doing. So this began my journey to figure out what was going to work for 3rd grade. 


3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

  We are using Trail Guide for Learning, Paths of Exploration.  This is a history based curriculum but also includes science, reading, language and art.  It is unit based on explorers.  There are six units – Christopher Columbus, Jamestown, Pilgrims, Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark and Trails West.  Each unit is 6 weeks long. Each week has lessons for Day 1-4 with day 5 being a catch up day and a deeper exploration.  I love that there are real books that we read together and that she reads on her own.  My daughter loves stories about real people, so this is right up her alley. 

We are almost at the end of our 3rd week of using this curriculum and I am happy to report that so far it has been a success. Mickey is enjoying reading her Christopher Columbus book.  One of the best things that I have found is that she loves history and doesn’t realize that she is also getting reading, geography, language, writing and penmanship.  She is excited to do school everyday.  There are plenty of hands on projects to keep her busy. 

We are using Spelling You See for spelling.  Trail Guide for Learning incorporates spelling into their program but I had already looked into this and thought it was a good fit for Mickey.  One of the things that Mickey struggles with are tests.  She panics and fears the worst.  This program does not put the emphasis on what she does wrong but what she is doing right.  So far this  has been a good fit for her. 

  We switched to Math U See last year. It was a good switch for us.  We don’t move on until there is mastery at each lesson.  We started at Alpha last fall and ended with Beta at the end of 2nd grade.  So we are picking up with Beta, which focuses on addition and subtraction.  We will then move to Gamma which focuses on multiplication.  I am so happy that we found Math U See last year.  It works great for Mickey. 


Preschool Choices

I am not buying any specific curriculum to use for preschool.  We are being more intentional in our preschool time this year.  I am thankful for Homeschool Creations.  She has activities for helping little ones learning their letters.  We are focusing on one letter a week.  We are building a notebook with all the alphabet crafts that we make.  Nate is already loving making the crafts.  We are learning the sounds and the shapes.  We start each day with a book that we all read together.  I am trying to keep the books we read to the letter of the week.  We will be using our ABC puzzles and magnets. 

We are also working on numbers and playing with counting bears.  I am also finding poems and songs that we are learning.  We are learning as we go and finding different activities that we can do every day.  Lots of coloring, cutting, gluing and puzzles.  I see a great year ahead of us! 


I am linking this post up with iHomeschool Network.  Go take a look at what other families are tacking this year. 


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