The homeschool blogs are buzzing this week as we all gather up our supplies, make final decisions on our curriculum, and organize our homeschool rooms! With so many options out there, sometimes it is hard to choose the curriculum that is right for you, especially if this is your first year!
So here is what we settled on this year and why!
Math - A Beka
I have used A Beka math every year with my Princess. I love it. It is challenging, but presents the concepts in a variety of different ways to help the kids get it one way or another. When talking with other parents, I sometimes hear that you or your child must be good at math for this curriculum, but so far, it has never given us a problem!
Phonics (K) - A Beka
A Beka's phonics program worked great for my Princess, so I am now using it for my kindergartner. There are little readers that go along with it that the kids enjoy, as well as colorful daily worksheets. Both of my kids have been early readers, so this helps make any phonics program a little easier.
I also supplement the readers with other phonics readers. This year, we have Biscuit, Thomas the Engine, and Go, Diego, Go! on the schedule!
Reading (2) - Sonlight
Early on, I decided to do my own reading with my kids and to take a classical approach. I have lined out many classical novels and pieces of literature to span our years of education. My Little Princess, however, has excelled in reading and is above her reading level. This has put a hitch in my planning for this year. Why? Because she went ahead and did the 2nd grade reading last year. Why not let her go ahead? She is six years old. Many of the themes in the literature that I have chosen for the third grade level is intended for a bit more mature of an audience. She could read it, but the concepts would be a bit out of her grasp. Therefore, plan B was Sonlight.
Sonlight's literature is wonderful. They use a combination of Award Winning fiction, biographies and historical novels to round out a year that will teach your child more about the world around him/her. If it weren't quite so expensive, it could quite possibly be a first choice for me. So, for this interim-year, we have decided to do Sonlight's third grade readers.
Language (2) - A Beka
Once again, I turn to the quality education of A Beka. I just don't know of any other curriculum that does as great a job on presenting the material! One should note, however, that A Beka is a more workbook-based curriculum and may not be the best choice for more active, hands-on learners.
History (K & 2) - A Beka
At this level, Social Studies and History are very basic. I like that A Beka offers introduction to American History with a Christian perspective, rather than a more Social Studies focus. I am also familiar with A Beka's history at the upper (High School) levels and know that I will most likely use them, therefore a groundwork in that same curriculum should be a plus for my kiddos. I am thinking about using Mystery of History during a few of our Middle School years, but I will let you know at that point in time!
Science (K & 2) - Unit Studies
Choosing science this year was difficult for me. I like A Beka's science curriculum beginning at 3rd grade. We are not there yet. Up until this point, I have used Christian Liberty Press Science, however, I was not intrigued by what was offered for this next level. Therefore, I decided to try Unit Studies and do both kids together. I have heard many people talk about unit studies, but as of yet, I have not done them myself. I purchased several science unit books from Usborne that I think my kids will enjoy. I have planned out several field trips to go along with these units and found many fun worksheets and ideas online (for free!). We plan to make some of our first lapbooks this year too! (If you are in the dark about lapbooks, as I was, google it!) My favorite site that I have found to find lapbook printouts (for free!) and other worksheets is www.homeschoolshare.com. What started out as a frustration not knowing what we were going to do, has ended up with me being tremendously excited about this year's science!
There is all sorts of things that you can do for fine arts! The sky is the limit! This year I found a really neat Art book called "The Usborne First Book of Art." I think it is really neat because it takes famous paintings, critically looks at them (at a child's level) and then offers a project to do based on that style or technique using regular "homeschool" art supplies!
We are also doing piano and guitar this year. We will see how that goes (this mama is not musically talented). Good thing my husband has a gift in music!
One of the hardest subjects for homeschoolers can be physical education. It is difficult to stay in shape when you are not running around a gym for an hour with 30 other children. My number one solution: Community sports. Get your kids involved in sports and it will give them many wonderful pay-outs. In addition I found this book this year: "The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book." What is so great about this book is that it offers a variety of sports with rules tailored to as few as 2-3 kids. I can't wait to start putting this one to use!
That just about covers what we are tackling for this upcoming school year. The kids and I are all really excited to begin - in just a few short weeks! I look forward to sharing our experiences with you as we get ready to start what I hope will be the best homeschool year ever. Any questions?
So, what are you using?