Curriculum. I think about new curriculum frequently, mostly because the grass always looks greener to me on the other side. That is, until I look really close and find that there’s always something I’m going to wish was just a *tad* bit different. I have found that no curriculum in and of itself is perfect, and it’s really just about finding what can easily be adapted to meet my children’s needs. I would love to hear what you are using, especially for Science, and why.
Before I list what we’re currently using, I’ll start with saying the kids and I really have no set routine. In my daydream world, our day would flow seamlessly and follow an outlined schedule of planned lessons and activities perfectly. As any homeschooling family can tell you, that is not a common occurrence and is almost laughable. Why? Because you are educating your children as they live life with you. And life happens all the time, 24/7.
I have a paying job that I do from home and allows me some flexibility, much greater flexibility than if I had to report to an office away from home each day. However, the work can be pretty unpredictable at times and life happens. This means book work takes a back seat on those days, and we accept it as a benefit of homeschooling. My kids are using these days to become independent learners and to make responsible time-management decisions.
Since my work can be unpredictable, we focus on a variety of curriculum that allows my children to work without needing me there during every minute of their studies. This does not mean that they can or should do their learning without me, but I can give them direction and then be confident that they have the tools to work independently, asking questions when needed.
Language Arts: Time4Learning.com – This is where my children are the most independent. Curriculum is online and there are printouts to go along with lessons. I’m finding, so far, that there are fewer printouts as the grades progress, but there is still written work to be done and much required reading, encouraging the use of our local public library.
Spelling: Sequential Spelling – “Seven-level spelling program for the teaching of the patterns of English spelling within seven normal public school years… The sequences are not based on grade level curriculum. The sequences are based on building from easy words to advanced words as from all, tall, stall, install, installment, installation.”
Math: Math U See – I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum. When I thought all hope was lost for ever being able to teach math, someone told me to look into Math U See and we were rescued! The girls and I watch the videos together and then we walk through the directions on the worksheets together before they begin. Just the word “math” used to cause my oldest daughter to tear up. Now she enjoys it and is gaining understanding and confidence in the subject.
Science: Apologia. When we were meeting with another homeschooling family for Science, we chose the Apologia curriculum. They moved away, and I have found that it’s hard for me to do this on my own. Since then, Science has not been following a formal curriculum and has been mostly discussion/hands-on based on what is going on around our home. I am really looking for some good ideas and insight here, whether they apply to Apologia or another curriculum.
History: Spirit of America, Our Presidents. I found these books in our local public library when I decided to “un-school” History. I thought we could focus on learning the presidents in order, though I figured we would need another separate curriculum to go with them eventually. How wrong I was. There is so much historical information packed into this set about how our country was formed, and my girls love them!
Social Studies – currently, life.
Art – we mix in with the other subjects
PE – swimming lessons, outdoor activities
Music – we don’t have a formal music class, but we try learning a few songs here and there.
Bible – AWANA club.