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We’ve been homeschooling for 8 years now I guess — if you consider that we are homeschooling our kids from when they are first born! Over the years I’ve tried various curriculum – some I’ve stuck with, some I’ve shelved. This coming year I’ll have one in 3rd grade, one in 1st grade, and a preschooler. I’d like to say I’ve got this all figured out, but I’m far from it!
Since I know a lot of people will be homeschooling in the fall and are in a conundrum about what curriculums to use, I thought I’d do a roundup of what we’ll be using this coming year. The beauty of homeschooling of course, is if I decide something isn’t for us, we can just change it. But I hope this is what we will stick with for the year!
We use Classical Conversations as our base curriculum (to guide what we learn with science, geography, history, music, fine arts and memory work). This year will be Cycle 3 which focuses on American History/geography, chemistry, and the human body. We’ll be using lots of read-alouds and hopefully going on lots of field trips (one of the best parts of living in Virginia is there is US history *everywhere*!). The curriculum we use for language arts and math are mostly secular, whereas I tend to use Christian based curriculum for other things.
This is the easy one. She will just go with the flow. Workbooks, playdough, magnatiles, lego, play food, play cash register… Whatever keeps her occupied is what she’ll be doing. Since her big brother and sister do school though, she does usually insist she needs to do school too, so I’ll be using the following with her:
- Right Start Math Level A (1-3 lessons per week)
- Leapfrog Letter Factory videos (on Netflix)
- The Good and the Beautiful handwriting level K
- Sing, Spell, Read & Write level PK (I have had this a few years and never really used it but figured I’d use it with my youngest since I already have it and she LOVES the workbook pages. I was able to get an older version of this one on eBay.).
- All About Reading Level 1 (I’ll probably start this half way through the year if I feel she’s ready for it. They do make a pre-reader version but since she’s my last kid, I don’t really want to buy another thing for this age group! I do have Letter of the Week, which I bought for my eldest and hardly used (I have learned that if things require a lot of printing/prep, I am less likely to actually use them), so I may dig that out if we need extra activities for her.
First Grade Curriculum
This will be my first time teaching first grade, since my eldest did first grade in public school. My son is very good at anything related to math and engineering and will happily spend all day playing with Lego. During the winter, he did a Lego robotics class at our local homeschool co-op and it was the highlight of his week. During the covid-19 pandemic, he’s been attending an online Lego STEM class through Nova Labs (a community maker space – my husband is a member).
NOTE: if choosing these math and language arts programs, be sure to do the placement tests on each website first, as every child will be at a different level and these levels don’t necessarily correlate to their grade level.
- RightStart Math Level B (5 lessons per week – Since we plan to continue math through the summer, I think he’ll finish level B in September or October and then move onto level C)
- All About Reading Level 2 (1 lesson with 5 x 20 min reading sessions per week)
- All About Spelling Level 1 (1 lesson with 5 x 20 min sessions per week)
- Writing with Ease Level 1 (this will be our first time using this curriculum but it seems pretty low-key and easy to implement).
- First Language Lessons Level 1 (as above!)
- The Good and the Beautiful handwriting level 1
Third Grade Curriculum
We’re going to be trying some new things with my eldest this year. She’s a very reluctant writer but since fourth grade will have a ton of writing, I want to really work on those skills this year in preparation.
- RightStart Math Level C (5 lessons per week – she should finish C by September or October and then move onto Level D)
- All About Spelling Level 3 (1 lesson per week with 3-5 x 20 minute sessions. I’ve also recently discovered a crossword and word search building tool where I can plug in her spelling words and then she can do the puzzles. It’s a huge hit and is helping her retain her words and love spelling!)
- Writing With Ease Level 3 (first time using this but I’m told it’s easy to use! )
- First Language Lessons Level 3 (as above!)
- The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Level 4 (we also have the Cursive Logic Books – one of them is all about American History, so I’ll have her use that once she’s finished the G&B pages. My daughter is obsessed with anything arty, and the G&B pages all have things to color and draw, so I think it’s going to work better for her than the various ones we’ve been using. Another one I’ve been looking at is from Hundred Acre Wood.).
- Veritas Press Self Paced History – Explorers to 1850. This is a Christian, online program that my daughter has been using lately – with the pandemic, they offered a free 2 month trial. She’s LOVED it. A few years ago I went on a field trip to James Madison’s Montpelier with another family, and their 1st grader had been eavesdropping on his big sisters’ Veritas classes. Whenever the docent asked questions about American History, such as, “can anyone tell me about the Federalist Papers?” he would quickly raise his hand and spout off all the facts. It was really quite incredible! Use coupon code SIMPLE to get $100 OFF any Self Paced course until August 24, 2020.
- Song School Latin – I initially bought just the book and card game for this program, but I highly recommend getting the video for it too. I finally bought the streaming option this spring and now we actually DO Latin! My kids adore it.
- God’s Design for Science – I have picked these up second hand over the years but since they are designed for grades 3-8, I haven’t really used them yet. We’ll see how we go with them this year. If it’s a bust, I may look at The Good and the Beautiful for this too (we’re doing their free Marine Biology unit study over the summer so I’ll evaluate that and decide!).
The last thing I need to work out is WHICH PLANNER TO USE???! I’m a master at letting things fall off the bandwagon, so I’m in research mode for that right now!!
Anyone else homeschooling this year? Things you’ve used and loved? I’d particularly love to hear what things you have your kids do by themselves, because a lot of what we do requires me to teach it and I would like them to have some more things they can work on while I teach their siblings! I do intend to spend more time this summer prepping worksheets that tie in with what I teach so they can at least work on those by themselves. Very glad I bought a brand new printer the weekend our quarantine started!!
Are you looking for a math curriculum you can use with your whole family? We’ve loved using RightStart Mathematics. You can learn more by checking out the rest of my blog posts on this curriculum, or visiting the RightStart website to get started!
*I am a RightStart Mathematics Affiliate, and am committed to writing a monthly blog post about our journey with this curriculum. Any purchases you make using my affiliate links will earn me a small commission (this will not affect the cost to you!).