I have been asked multiple times about what curriculum I use. If you’re familiar with the homeschool terms, you may understand when I say we’re what I like to call “eclectic.” If you’re not a homeschooler, I see the blank stare and I get it. It basically means I piece together different curriculum for each subject.
This is our fourth year to homeschool and I’ve figured out what we really enjoy. Our first year, we went with a full box curriculum, which was a blessing to a new homeschool family. That company supplied all we needed for every subject and additional electives. But since then, we’ve figured out what we like and what we don’t.
Guys, what we do is simple. I don’t see a reason to over complicate things. More than anything, I want the boys to develop godly character and to love learning! We keep a solid foundation for group work and then I throw in random electives throughout the year.
A normal day starts with group work until about lunch time, lunch break for an hour or so, then independent work. We don’t really start school until somewhere between 9 and 10. The first couple years we started by 8 or 9 and were able to get everything done by lunch. For this year, right now, I like having more morning time to myself before we get going. THIS is the beauty of homeschooling…we can adapt our schedule to whatever fits our family in the season we’re in!
Group work starts with our memory cards. From there, we go into history or science, then language arts and writing. History and science is not done on the same day. I usually alternate weeks for these. I’m going to list what we use for each subject and how we use it.
History: Mystery of History. LOVE this curriculum. It intertwines the world history we learned in school with bible history we learned at church, so you’re learning both together on the same timeline chronologically. I read our lesson aloud and the boys take notes in their history folders. We reference other history book we have on hand when we’re learning about something one (or all) of us is interested in.
Science: We’ve always used Apologia and like it, but this year I bought this amazing microscope at a homeschool conference. We have LOVED using this and we are currently wrapping up a “fingerprint study” that I bought through the same company that sold the microscope. We have four other studies we’ll do like this one, then we’ll simply reference science books.
Writing: Brave Writer. Oh My. This is new this year and DUDE!! I wish I knew of it earlier. The boys are actually enjoying writing and they don’t even realize it’s writing! I mean, how many boys (or kids even) enjoy writing? Brave Writer is a Charlotte Mason approach to writing so it’s very book-based and hands on. We’re using Partnership Writing this year and the majority of their writing projects are just that-projects. This one is a home run!
Language Arts: The Arrow by Brave Writer. This uses classic literature to teach the mechanics of writing. Again, Charlotte Mason approach, which is heavy in book use, which I am an advocate for.
Art Study: Simply Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study Portfolios by Emily Kiser (blurry in the background of the top photo of this post). These are so well done. We are finishing our study on Da Vinci. The Portfolio comes with a booklet containing a story on the artist, eight large, beautifully printed photos of the artist’s most famous pieces, and a guide to help you study the unit. I cannot say enough great things about these. I will probably do a review of these in a separate post.
History Elective: Draw and Write Through History. I use a Waldorf approach for this made up subject. By doing this, we get art, history, and copywork all in one. The boys ask all week long for this part of our day, and honestly, it’s one of my favorites too!
After group work, we break for lunch. When we return to school, I usually start with a read aloud, then it’s independent work time! Our read aloud is from our Arrow language arts book for the month.
This year, Broox is in 5th grade and Bexley is in 6th…middle school!! Whoa. That just kind of snuck up on me.
They each have a notepad that I write their daily assignments in with a check box next to each one. Once they finish an assignment, they simply check it off. They use the same curriculums for everything except math.
Grammar: Easy Grammar. This is new for this year. Last year we used IEW’s Fix It! Grammar and we all love it. I really don’t know why I changed this year. I was at a used curriculum sale and saw these teacher’s manuals and thought I’d give it a try, but the boys aren’t doing as well with it and I really don’t care for the worksheets either. As I’m writing this, I’m making a note to order IEW tomorrow…HA!
Math: Broox uses Life of Fred and Bexley uses Math U See. I love both curriculums. I’ll tell you this on LOF. The first year we learned of LOF, we used it as a supplement. The next year, I was curious to how well it would do as a sole math curriculum, so we just went for it. That year, Broox finished 3rd grade. His test scores at the end of the year in math were at a 6th grade level. I was sold. It’s FUN, simple, and very out of the box for a math curriculum! I urge you to check it out.
Readers: We adore Usborne books, so the boys usually have one of their book as a reader. I also use Sonlight’s reader picks as a reference, and I’ll buy those at the used book store or grab them at the library.
Cursive: Christian Light Publications. I don’t require the boys to write in cursive but I want them to know how to write it and be able to read it.
That’s pretty much the bulk of it all. I’ll throw in random things throughout the year, but what you see pictured is pretty constant for the school year.
I’d love to hear what you use in your homeschool! There are SO many wonderful curriculum companies out there! ( I probably have a little something from each one…I’m a curriculum junkie) 😉
Growing with you,