Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Not" Back to School Curriculum 2014-2015

What you can see in this picture:
Those are some mainstays of our curriculum choices. To see which specific books we're using this year, read on:
This post will include Amazon Affiliate links just because these links help support our family and homeschool. However, I know that homeschool families have to pinch those pennies (See my 11 Tips for Homeschooling Without Breaking the Budget) and I recommend shopping used curriculum sales, eBay, reputable homeschool bargain vendors at conventions, and other such options before paying retail. 

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Polly (13 in December, working at 8th grade level) is working through this book:

because it was handed down to us.

The other children will memorize poems and scripture chosen by me.

Sweet Pea (7, working at 1st-2nd grade level) is still working through this book:

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Vol. Levels 1 & 2) (First Language Lessons)

I've used this with both her older sisters (and since I'm reusing, I haven't purchased the newer edition)

We also have this CD:

so Sweet Pea can listen to the stories & poems whenever she likes. (Picked this up at a used curriculum sale and it's been a great addition since she's not a confident reader yet and I can't always be with her during our school days.)

She's also still working through this book:

The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
She's almost finished. We've noticed her reading skills have greatly improved over the summer, even though we weren't "working" on them. Just another case of the student being ready at her own pace. She's definitely our latest "bloomer" as far as reading but we have resisted pushing her and I think that is paying off now.

We've also started through the book (AGAIN) with Miss Lili (4 in September). She's learned the short vowel sounds and the first few consonants, but slacked off in June & July and we're going slow in August to be sure she really knows them. (Side benefit: the review has been good for Sweet Pea.)

Tigger (almost 10, working at mostly 5th grade level) is working through:

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4

Polly is working through this series, as a review:

Editor in Chief® A1

New for us this year. We've turned to our old friends at Peace Hill Press. I've used Writing Strands in the past but it just didn't quite work for us. We started these books at the end of last school year and we're already loving them:

The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook for Writing with Ease (The Complete Writer)
I started Tigger with Level 2 because she's a proficient reader and writer but she's never done a formal writing program and I thought this would ease her transition to studying writing as a subject. So far, so good.

Polly, who has worked through several Writing Strands books (among other things I've cobbled together), is really appreciating the format of this series.

Writing With Skill, Level 1: Student Workbook (The Complete Writer)

Each girl does copywork with their writing & grammar curriculum. I also have a manuscript workbook for Sweet Pea and a cursive book for Tigger from Essential Learning Products:

Tigger loves to write but she does not particularly love cursive, so she's finishing up this book:

Polly has a cursive workbook from Pentime, since that's one of the few I could find for 8th grade. Her handwriting has always been a problem (mostly due to being a leftie, I think) but it's greatly improved in the last two years and I didn't want her to give it up yet. I don't think cursive has to be a subject at the 8th grade level, especially with her other copywork and writing tasks, but for her it's a good idea.

We've used Saxon since Polly's Kindergarten days. I do not use all the scripted dialogue. We skip ahead, or review some old lessons, as needed. In other words, we make it work for us.

Saxon Math 3 Homeschool: Complete Kit 1st Edition
I use the text & worksheets as more of a guide for what Sweet Pea needs to cover. Sometimes I give her the worksheet and sometimes we just use manipulatives. She actually likes to "do math" but right now I don't want her to get too frustrated with the reading & writing aspect of a worksheet.

Saxon Math 6/5: Homeschool, 3rd Edition
Tigger is doing 5th grade Math. Her report so far: "This is all easy and I learned it last year." I have her do the time sheets but I do not time them (Tigger and timers have a difficult relationship). Yesterday she finished her math easily. "There. Done in less than an hour!" She announced as she put away her timesheet (100 addition problems). It was nowhere near an hour, but maybe that's what it feels like to her sometimes.

Algebra 1: An Incremental Development - Homeschool Packet, 3rd Edition
Yes, I have a child in Algebra 1. We also have the DIVE CD to go along with our Saxon textbook.

We're finishing our second cycle through History. Our spine is:

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR
We use the activity book (maps, outlines, recommended reading), and coloring pages I've found (for my younger students who don't outline yet. The previous 3 activity books include coloring pages but this one does not)

The Story of the World Activity Book Four: The Modern Age: From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR

Polly also reads and outlines from

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
History is a favorite around here, although it's mostly reading. (I basically skip all the activities in the Activity book, although the girls can do some on their own if they wish.)

We also use notebooking pages from Notebooking Pages:

We've used explorer pages, composer pages, and a generic biography page (these are good for the kids when they're reading & then narrating about a historical person. You could print out a picture for the page, but my girls usually prefer to add their own "portraits" based on whatever book they're reading).
This is the first year the three girls haven't been together the middle two are doing:

Exploring Creation With Botany -- Young Explorer Series
including the notebooking journals:

You can do Apologia without the purchased notebooking journals, but I think they are worth the money.
We'll also be doing other Science experiments from our Chemistry & Physics book (spine for last year).
Polly is doing:

Exploring Creation with Physical Science
including the notebooking journal:

There are also some great resources available at Donna Young. I printed the schedule bookmarks out for Polly, even though she's following the schedule in her physical science notebook. Having the vocabulary for each chapter handy is a big help.

She'll also be taking a hands-on Science class at our homeschool co-op, once a week.


First Form Latin Set
Polly and Tigger will both be working through this set. We also have the DVDs. I expect Sweet Pea will be listening in, since she tends to be wherever Tigger is. I had thought about working through Prima Latina with her, but I think I'll just let her tag along on this, without requiring any book work.

I'm excited about bringing Shakespeare back into our homeschool routine! We'll be following the suggestions in this book (see my review):

As well as reading from Lamb's, Nesbit's, and Coville's adaptations. We plan to see a play in the park this month, too. It will be our first live Shakespeare experience and I'm excited about that.

For the older girls we have this, handed down from my parents:

And for the younger girls we have this (a gift from a few years back):

(Latin is our main language priority. French is just a bonus because the girls and I enjoy it and because it's related to Latin.)

Our state also requires Health and First Aid to be taught, but I don't use a specific curriculum for those subjects.

For phys-ed this year, we'll be returning to Tae Kwon Do, which is offered at our co-op. Another elective that co-op is helping with will be Art. We do study art (via picture studies and personal creations) at home but I think the kids will enjoy taking a special class too.

For Bible we have family time at supper, with a devotional reading and Baptist catechism. (Which our kids call "Questions".)

I think that about sums up our formal curriculum. I'm always adding things or putting things aside for awhile. This is the first year we haven't been having a baby or moving since somewhere around 2009, so we're excited to see what we can accomplish!

Do you have your curriculum planned out? What are you using this year?
Linking up with:
Living and Learning at Home
Ben and Me Homemaking with Heart


Karen @ Simply said...

I'll be using First Language Lessons 1 with my first grader this year. I didn't know there was a CD of the stories and poems from the book! How neat! And we are also using the Story of the World series with my first grader. We will be using Volume 1 this year, along with the study guide.

My oldest will be using the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia along with her Great Books study for modern history. She has also been working through the Writing with Skill series and loves the format.

Feel free to stop by my blog to see the rest of our curriculum choices. It would make for a really long comment to post it all here. :)

Karen said...

It definitely makes for a long post to try to describe everything we use for a homeschool year. :)

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