I am always curious to hear about what curriculum and tools other homeschooling families have chosen to use. Now that there are so many curriculum options, it makes the choice a bit harder. When I was homeschooled as a child there were far fewer choices (although I am sure we all got by just fine). Don’t let this list overwhelm you. It is really just a small stack of books and workbooks and one weekly activity outside the home. We are still deciding if we will do other classes or activities. This mama likes to keep it simple (especially with a new baby).
I really believe in play-based learning and lots of time for creativity. I don’t anticipate spending hours at the table each day, but pockets of time here and there to stay roughly on pace with our books. If they are not enjoying something, we will take a break from it and try something else for a little while. I really want to instill a love for learning in the children and they have years ahead of them. These are very important early years.
I shopped around online and eventually made the trip to Exodus Books in the Portland area. I needed to get my hands on the books to compare the different options. I also really wanted the in-person advise from someone who has seen all the curriculum and knows what they are talking about. It was so valuable. I went home and made my final choices and ordered through their website. They have great shipping rates and you can get an unlimited amount for only $5. The other thing that sold me on buying from them is that they have a huge selection of used books. I was able to scour the internet for lists of books people loved and then go and look for them used on their site. It is hard to find an online resource for cheap used books where you don’t have to pay to have them shipped individually (which no longer makes them cheap or easy to order). Also, supporting a local homeschooling family rocks too. I priced all our books at many sites. Some had a couple of them for lower prices, but with higher shipping it was a wash. I also wanted to order everything from one site and support the family that spent time helping me talk through the options.
Here is our plan for the year…
–We will attend Classical Conversations class again on Tuesdays this year. This will cover a good amount of science, geography, math, english grammar, Bible, timeline, Latin, and fine arts. I will use a tri-fold board with our memory work on it and some songs to help us memorize the new material each week. We will supplement with a bit of additional Science in the form of casual nature studies and nature notebooking. We will also add in our regular math curriculum and continue to do “Family Worship” times (a family devotion) with Daddy at the end of the day for more Bible.
Reading/Phonics– Explode the Code books A, B, and C- We did not get very far through these last year and will continue to use this series. We will move onto books 1, 2, and 3 after we finish these. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
– 70 Basic Phonograms Cards by Wanda Sanseri– These are pretty similar to the phonics in The Writing Road to Reading, but my book (which kinda overwhelms me anyway) was missing the cards. I am just going to follow the basic instructions and information that comes in the pack of cards to teach the sounds. I am hoping this will be what helps the twins gain the tools to learn to read. So far I really like this basic approach. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
-Singapore “Essential Math” Kindergarten books A and B- We started these books awhile back after ordering their books for this school year and we are LOVING them. There are a few different versions of Singapore and this one was obviously the one I choose. It was a bit cheaper and I liked the simple format and the fact that I did not have to buy more than the book “A” and “B” to complete the system. I spent a lot of time choosing a math cirriculm and looked through a good amount of the popular brands. I felt like this was the “middle ground” between the ones I was interested in. It is visually interesting, but it black and white which still allows for a lot of creativity. My daughter LOVES to color the pages after finishing the assignment (which helps my more anxious learner get excited). I am so thankful we choose this one. At the rate they seem to be moving through book A we might need to supplement with something else or move onto the first grade books when they finish both K level books. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
–Life of Fred “Apples” –This is a literary approach to math. It is a story you read and learn from. We are excited to try it out, but not ready to use it as a stand-along curriculum as some have said you can do. Daddy is helping us read through this book. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
Handwriting-A Reason For Handwriting book A- After looking through a few options I choose this for a few reasons. It is visually interesting but not overwhelming. It also follows the same simple style of letter formation that I have been teaching them already (and similar to Explode the Code). It also has them practice and copy Bible verses which I loved. In the back of the book is what they call “Scripture Border Sheets”. They are lined sheets with cute images along the side for the children to color after they write the weekly verse on “Day 5”. This will give them a nice finished product to be proud of each week. This also happens to be the First Grade level. I preferred it over the Kindergarten for a few reasons and will be challenging, but not over their heads. If we continue this book into their first grade year, I am fine with that. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
Art-Draw Write Now Book One- This teaches drawing in a fun step-by-step way. We have tried a similar book and the twins loved following along and creating things they would not be able to create on their own in the same way. It also includes some applicable copy work on each page which you could use for a lot of your handwriting practice if your children have already mastered forming all their letters. (Purchased from Exodus Books)
Other books we will be using:
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms. (Purchased used from Exodus Books)
Pacon brand Primary Journal “Picture Story” (A composition book that is empty on top for a drawing and then has regular and dotted lines on bottom to help young writers.) We will likely use this for our drawing and nature study. (Purchased from Learning Palace)