I am deep in the planning our homeschool curriculum for our 2018-2019 school year, our 5th year of homeschooling. But before I can make plans for the future its a good idea to take a look back and see what curriculum we used last year and how it worked for us. Remembering how things worked out last year will help me plan better for our upcoming year.
The biggest change we made last year was using Sonlight and following their morning time model of together subjects and independent subjects. Sonlight calls these “Couchtime” and “Tabletime”. I have found this format freeing as we are able to keep it simple and still find time to cover some electives without stressing out.
Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2017-2018
- History/Literature: Sonlight Core A
- Art: Usborne Art Activity Book
- Science: Exploring the 4 seasons including a Nature Studies Class at Co-op
- Reading: All About Reading level 1
- Writing: Handwriting Without Tears Get Set for School My First School Book
- Math: Usborne Sticker Books, left over worksheets.
- Reading: Sonlight Readers 3rd Grade
- Writing Handwriting Without Tears 1st Grade (My Printing Book)
- Spelling: All About Spelling Level 1, Level 2
- Math: Mammoth Math
Lynn- 3rd Grade
- Reading: Readers in Residence
- Writing: Writers in Residence
- Math: Mammoth Math
- Spelling: All About Spelling Level 2
What we LOVED
I loved having a portion of our school day together. It took us half the year to learn to do it first instead of pulling everyone back after other work was done but it was amazing to have that time together and have everyone learning the same thing. Being on the same page led to other discussions and connections throughout the day as well. We did History and Poetry from Sonlight along with Art and Science together as a family. And we gave Daddy the the Sonlight Read-A-Loud books to read for bedtime stories throughout the year. Shortening our morning load and helping Daddy with coming up with his reading list was a win for everyone!
What DIDN’T Work
I have a pattern of purchasing curriculum above their current level. And this year I did it for AJ. I purchased All About Reading Level 1 and he just wasn’t ready to put the sounds together even though he knew all his letter sounds. I pulled out something I had collected and never used for Lynn and it was perfect. We used I Can Read Word Families from 1+1+1=1. We did a Word Family a week and it started clicking for him. He was ready to move on before finishing all the word families but that was OK by me, in March we jumped back to All About Reading and started from the beginning and he is ready to read!
CUBS- 2nd Grade
Being wired different I never know how things will work for him. Mammoth Math was going well initially but it was easy to see that the density of the text on each page was overwhelming to him. We switched to Khan Academy because I had heard good things about differently wired kids doing well with online learning. It worked for awhile but it was missing the writing component which Cubs needed. On a “Hail Mary” we borrowed a DVD and tried Math U See when we hit a roadblock on a specific concept and Cubs loves it. Its methodical and easy to understand. Also Math U See is a mastery based program so the whole book covers less topics more in depth instead of switching each chapter like Mammoth Math which he likes.
LYNN- 3rd Grade
She loves to write and I knew it was time to start helping her grow as a writer. I was excited by the Apologia Writer in Residence and Readers in Residence programs when I saw them at a homeschool curriculum display at convention in the spring. They look great and I feel like they bring up a lot of the softer Language Arts topics we hadn’t specifically covered yet. The work-textbook themselves were overwhelming at 2 inches thick! We gave up on them pretty quickly because of the size and amount of text to read each day. Around the same time we had an opportunity to meet one of the IEW teachers from Skrafty and Lynn joined an online class for writing. Being able to delegate her writing to another teacher was a great benefit to her. The structure taught in IEW has been great for her despite my initial reservations about their emphasis on formal writing over narrative writing. We replaced Readers in Residence with the 4/5 grade Sonlight Readers to give variety to her daily reading.
I only planned the basics for our homeschool curriculum this year. And as the year went on and we got comfortable we were able to add in other things like field trips with our co-op, additional reading, and science topics. We also were able to participate in Swim Lessons Soccer, and youth theater. The simple structure also helped the kids take control as they had an idea most days of what they needed to do independently and would get started on their own.
We have found less is more when planning our homeschool curriculum, what is your favorite things to use? Have you used the same things we have, what was your experience?