Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our Home School Curriculum 2009-10

A friend and fellow home school mom recently asked me what I use for curriculum.  I can't believe I haven't blogged this before!

In a nutshell, I'm not using a packaged curriculum.  I picked up a Sonlight 1st grade teacher's guide at a used curriculum sale and tried to use it but it just didn't work for me.

So here's a very eclectic list of what we are using for William's 1st grade curriculum.  Even if you aren't a home schooler I think you will find some of these books beneficial for your kids. 


Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day.  Apologia.

There are a number of things I like about this book: lots of photographs and illustrations, my 1st grader (with advanced reading skills) can read the lessons on his own, questions and activity suggestions in each chapter, a website where you can download 'notebook' pages for free, a website with a dozen or more (for each chapter) recommendations for video and activity websites, NO 'millions of years.'


Saxon Math 1 Kit.

We've only been using this for a month.  It's for 1st grade and I'm pleasantly surprised that Will already knows the material we're covering.  I purchased a second workbook for Ben (who turns 5 in February) and am doing the math lessons with both boys.

So far I like the step-by-step approach in the teacher's manual as well as the workbooks.  I also like the manipulatives.  Both boys are visual learners so having something in their hands helps them pay attention and focus.  Right now they really enjoy our daily 'Math Meeting.'


Mystery of History Vol. 1, Bright Ideas Press.

We are using this curriculum because Will is in a history co-op class.  I'll be honest.  Will has learned a lot from the book and class but it's not one that I'll use again.

I'm just not loving this book.  Part of the problem is that it's a little old for him; he can't read the chapters on his own.  There aren't as many illustrations and photographs as I'd like to see.  And the many of the activities recommended for Will's age have seemed silly and unrelated to the text.

This book is based on the Classical philosophy or method of home schooling which I don't think is a good fit for my family.  Again, Will has learned a lot but it's not a book I recommend.


We are using the One Year Bible as a family.  At night Joel reads the daily passage in the Old Testament then the kids and I read the New Testament passage in the morning.  Because they are still little, we do some skipping, skimming and editing as we read (example: NO reason to read about the rape of Dinah and her brothers' revenge to my 6, 5, 3 year olds!!).

We are also memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 as a family.  We memorize one verse a week.

Our goal is to develop a daily habit of Bible reading, scripture memorization and for the children to learn the basic stories of our faith.

Handwriting and Language Arts/English, are just workbooks I picked up through CBD.  They are cheap and nothing special.

I have no Reading curriculum or even a plan.  We visit our local library often and stock up on picture books, early readers, and easy chapter books.  Will devours books!  He can read a Box Car Children paperback in one day so I'm just trying to keep him stocked with lots of good books.

We also do a lot of reading aloud as a family.  Joel and Will are currently reading through the Chronicles of Narnia and I have started The Little House on the Prairie series with Ellie.

Well, that's what we're using this year for homeschool curriculum.  Do you have any recommendations I should check into for this fall?  Something you love or something you hated?


Amy said...


I've been printing off letter pages and working on calendar skills (allows for counting, number recognition, addition, subtraction, writing #'s, etc.) with Mia as well as scissor skills, etc. It's been fun! We're both enjoying it!

Our family is memorizing from Hebrews 11 and our Bible reading have been in reference to the men/women of faith. I am planning a study on the armor of God this summer...

We recently found 2 books that I thought you guys might enjoy in February. One is on George Washington and the other on Abe Lincoln. Here are the links: http://www.amazon.com/George-Washington-Generals-Step-Into-Reading-Step/dp/0375810153 and http://www.amazon.com/Abes-Honest-Words-Abraham-Lincoln/dp/1423104080. Let me know if the links don't work. I believe both could be found at the library. As always, I suggest you read them first. Abe's book deals with slavery so you would want to be prepared.

Thanks for sharing!

Carrie said...

I'm definitely planning to pick and choose and put together our own curriculum.

That Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day? Oh my word. THat's where we're at NOW. Not sure where we'll be THEN but I'll have to try to remember it in case we stay on this whale and octopus kick for awhile!

Flamingo Mama said...

awesome! your 1st grader sounds like he is reading awesome! my 2nd grader couldn't do that yet:) sha sha is doing saxon math at school...i love it!

ajourneyinmommying said...

I'm so glad to see this post! Thanks! Glad I didn't just miss it somewhere on the site. :) I'm back in decision mode for 2010-2011....sounds early, but I want to purchase between April and July so I'm starting research now. :) I'm wanting something different for Creative Writing and possibly for Language Arts altogether. We used Sonlight. We like it, but we did have to edit..as in with Dinah (wow! I knew Genesis gets graphic, but I REALLY realized that when my 7 year old was beside me!), pick, choose, and draw Sharpie clothes all throughout the Usborne books. :) Horizons for Math. I'm excited about looking for next year!!! :) Let me know what you find and I'll do the same. I have a feeling I'll be mixing and matching more. I was too afraid to this first year, but I'm getting brave. ;)

ajourneyinmommying said...

Oh, Steph! ...and with the passage you're memorizing as a fam...an idea if you like: I was at a friend's house one day and there was a white poster with a big heart on it. Inside the heart there were jigsaw puzzle shapes drawn in, making about 20ish puzzle pieces inside the heart. Then, she had red pieces of construction paper that matched all the puzzle "pieces." (Is this making sense.) They heart was halfway filled with them. There were family verses about love written around the heart on the poster board. I started looking at them and realized there were things written on the red part that had been matched in the puzzle so far. I asked her what it was all about and she told me that she'd noticed during the summer that her children (older than ours) brought some bad attitudes home over the summer. They were not being kind to each other AT ALL. So she started this summer challenge. Basically they were all watching each other and when they caught each other doing something loving, they got to go to the kitchen drawer, get a puzzle piece and write "Emily didn't get mad when I accidentally broke her toy." "Mom helped me...." "Jacob gave me...." Any time they caught someone showing love, they got to write it and put it on the puzzle on their poster with the verses they were learning about love. I LOVED it because it helps them focus...not on how they're wronged, but on how much they're loved by their family!!! Isn't this a great Valentine's Day idea??

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