Welcome to the third day of the NOT Back to School Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew. All week, seasoned homeschool moms are sharing their expertise. Today’s topic is on curriculum.
I am really excited about today’s subject. When I began homeschooling over ten years ago, I couldn’t find anyone willing to talk to me about homeschool curriculum. With a lot of trial and error, I have learned a great deal.
Before deciding on curriculums, it’s a good idea to consider your homeschooling style:
Traditional – Many new homeschoolers begin with this method. Some home educators refer to it as the ‘school-at-home’ approach as it most resembles a traditional classroom. As most of us attended school, this is often where home educators begin. It is not necessarily the best method, but what we are familiar with.
Classical – Classical Education is a method that teaches a student to learn how to learn in a disciplined manner. This is done through the trivium, a set of three learning levels consisting of the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages.
Charlotte Mason Method – Charlotte Mason believed in gentle learning as a way of life. Often considered a more gentle approach to classical education, the method uses living books, good habits, nature studies, narration, dictation, and more. Short lessons encourage busy children to pay full attention during class instruction while extending learning into other interests and activities. The method is designed to develop a child’s attention span as they grow and mature.
Relaxed/Eclectic – This method often utilizes various techniques of other homeschooling philosophies by picking and choosing what is liked from each. The approach is relaxed and often promotes interest-based learning.
These are the four main homeschooling methods. When I began, I set up a traditional-looking classroom with second-hand desks. As I began to identify our homeschooling style as Charlotte Mason/ Eclectic, life became our classroom.
Many of the curriculums I am sharing can fall into each of the methods above. If you recognize your teaching method, I encourage you to learn more about it to help you make the best curriculum decisions. I am sharing a number of links. Only a few are affiliate links. You can see my disclosure.
The only curriculum I purchased during the early years was preschool workbooks from Rod & Staff. The books provide structured activities and introduce young learners to some scheduled lessons.
There are many online resources for free or low-cost learning activities. Sites like Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, and 2 Teaching Mommies. Most materials can be printed, laminated, and put into a bag. Busy bags are a great way to stay organized, and you can easily rotate activities. Each bag contains a different activity, so encourage your young learner to put all the pieces back into a bag before moving to a new task. These activities are especially useful if you’re homeschooling older children. Use the activities only during “school” time to keep your little learner interested.
All of my kids learned to read with a phonic method. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is the book I successfully used with each of my kids. I used I Can Read It! and Bob Books for early readers.
Quality literature is the foundation of our homeschool. Once a child learns to read, the world of learning is endless. Independent reading and read-aloud books are a constant in our home. During the school year, our book choices usually coincide with our curriculum.
Math U See is a K-12 program designed for homeschool or small groups. It is mastery-based and does not follow traditional grade levels.
Calculadder is a great tool to practice math drills.
Times Tales is a mnemonic-based program to help kids have fun while they memorize their times tables.
TeachingTextbooks is an online math course. It offers the student detailed instruction with fun graphics. It grades the student’s work and has a separate parent account to monitor progress.
Masterbooks Math Lessons for a Living Education blends stories and hands-on experiences to reinforce concepts.
Apologia Science is the best K-6 science program I’ve seen. It’s written in an engaging conversational style while providing textbook information. Workbook activities and experiments reinforce what is being learned. We have used some of the middle and high school levels and remain loyal students of this science program. I always check Christianbook.com before I order, as they often have these books a little cheaper.
Every mom has that one kid that is nothing like them. You know, they are total science nerds like their dad. That kid in my family really enjoys extra science courses. Last year he loved grossing me out with random science facts from Masterbooks Applied Engineering.
Language Arts, Spelling, and Writing
A Reason For Spelling combines reading, writing, and language arts.
Spelling U See uses copy work and dictation. I did not care for how some spelling rules were taught, but it worked for my struggling speller.
Spelling Wisdom – This is a Charlotte Mason style of prepared dictation.
Handwriting Without Tears has a classroom program as well as homeschool options. We mostly used the activity books and teacher’s guide. The name says it all as my kids were in tears over handwriting before we changed to this program.
Writing Strands is a middle and high school composition series. This is the first program my reluctant writer is actually completing. Not with a joyful attitude, but we’re getting through it.
History and Geography
Beautiful Feet is a wonderful literature-based program that can be used with multiple ages.
Galloping the Globe is a literature-based curriculum for K-4th. Students complete a notebook while studying countries around the globe. There is a lot of flexibility to add fun activities.
Cantering the Country is a notebook-style curriculum for K-5th. It can be extended to teach science and language arts as lessons canter the studies from state to state. Each lesson includes a list of suggested quality children’s literature. Many titles can be found at a local library.
Multi-Subject and Electives
Schoolhouseteachers.com is a complete curriculum for PreK-high school. It provides online materials to download and print, streaming videos, and many resources. It can be used as a full curriculum, or pick and choose the subjects you need.
Sonlight is sometimes referred to as a curriculum in a box. A full subject package will include everything you need. I used it in my first year and found it helped me begin to understand what homeschooling could look like. It was not within my family’s budget to continue the full program, but I do use them as a source for individual subjects.
Artistic Pursuit has a wonderful art program for the student that enjoys hands-on projects.
Drawing with Children is a beautiful book for an art study. It encourages children and adult beginners with an easy to use method.
There are a lot of homeschool curriculum options available. This is my list of favorites that we have used. There are times we’ve needed to change curriculum because a program was no longer working, or it worked for one child but not the other. We’ve also experienced programs that did not work for us at all, and they did not make this list. I’m thankful to have the flexibility to adjust our studies to meet the needs of each of my kids.
Find more ideas on homeschool curriculum through this blog hop. Click on the banner or the links below to find encouragement from fellow Homeschool Review Crew members.
Be sure to read yesterday’s posts where crew members shared about homeschool resources.
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses shares My Must Have Homeschool Resources.
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach shares Homeschooling Must Have Resources and Supplies in Our Home.
Annette @ A Net in Time shares Nature Study Bring Alongs.
Jessica @ My Homeschool with a View shares My Top 5 Homeschool Supplies.
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag shares Must Have Supplies … For Mom.
Vicki B @ Tumbleweed News shares Homeschool Must Have Resources / Supplies.
Yvonne @ The Life We Build shares her Top 5 Favorite Homeschool Supplies and Resources.
Lori @ At Home: Where Life Happens shares Homeschool Supplies… Squirrel.
Yvie @ Homeschool on the Range shares Every Homeschooling Teen Needs…. .