I can’t believe it’s August already. The summer is going by so quickly. In just 3 1/2 weeks time, my high school age kids will begin their new homeschool year, although my younger kids have all been at it for close to a month already.
One of the best things about homeschooling is our freedom to choose the curriculum our kids will use. In fact, some choose to not even use a curriculum at all! And while this is a huge benefit to us, let’s admit that sometimes this choice is difficult. There is such a vast array of curriculum out there that sometimes it can seem overwhelming.
Today I’m going to share with you our final curriculum purchases in the hopes that, if you’re stuck, you may get some ideas from us. Please remember, though, that there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum, and what works for one family may not work for yours. With that disclaimer taken care of, here we go!
Our Elementary and Middle School Choices
*Since some of our kids will be using the same curriculum, I’ll be putting the grades of the kids who will be using it in parentheses.*
Konos Vol. 2 (4, 5, 7)
This is the unit study I use with my 4th, 5th, and 7th graders. This is hands-down my all-time favorite curriculum EVER. It’s chock full of wonderful living book suggestions, hands-on activities, writing assignments, and it comes with lesson plans (which I do not use but are excellent for those who prefer to have them). This curriculum is advertised as being usable for Kindergarten through 8th grade, however, I think that most of the suggested activities are better for kids who are reading and writing mostly on their own.
Five in a Row (Preschool, K, 1, 3)
This is a literature-based unit study that I use with my younger kids. Incidentally, this was the very first curriculum I used when I started homeschooling because a friend loaned it to me. I had to give it back to her a few years ago, so several months ago I began to feel nostalgic about it, and bought one of my own. The kids and I have been having so much fun with it. Even my older kids often sit and listen to the stories and do the activities with us.
My 8 yr old has been having a bit of a tough time learning to read. This book has been phenomenal at helping him to understand how to blend letter sounds. I’ve also started using it with my girls this year. We’ll see how it goes!
Adventures in Phonics (K, 1, 3)
Although we like Teach Your Child to Read… best for learning how to read, these books do offer more writing and spelling practice than the kids would get if they just used the other book by itself. We usually alternate days with these- I never make them do both in one day. They make a nice combination.
Life of Fred Elementary Series (3, 4, 5)
This series has been a big hit at our house. It’s a literature-based math curriculum that has a cute storyline and beautifully illustrates how mathematical concepts are incorporated into the real world. My kids like it not only for the story, but also because there is no drill and kill in this series. There are just a few problems at the end of each chapter.
Same basic principles but getting a little more difficult. 🙂
Since my 9th grader will be finishing up this series shortly, and my 7th grader will be starting it shortly, I’ve listed both of those grade levels here. There are five books in this series, so it does take some time to get through.
Spectrum Math (3, 4, 5, 7)
I use these as a supplement with Life of Fred because sometimes I think a little extra practice is needed.
Liberty Mathematics (K, 1)
These are excellent for younger kids, and we’ve used them for years. Keep in mind that the pictures and links don’t necessarily go to the exact level book we’re using. I’m just picking one level and using it to make writing this post easier. 🙂
Building Spelling Skills (4, 5, 7)
This is another curriculum that has stood the test of time in our house. It completely surpasses any public school spelling curriculum I’ve ever seen, and it is solidly grounded in God’s Word.
Our High School Choices
Daily Grams Junior/Senior High (7, 11, 12)
I realize that 7th grade is not high school, but since this book covers all of those grades, this is where I put it. We really like this curriculum because it literally takes 5-10 minutes a day. That’s it.
My daughter requested a book that would prepare her for writing formats that are required in college. This was an excellent alternative to a full-out writing curriculum.
My 14 yr old daughter prefers living books to any other type of learning, so htis curriculum was better suited to her style. Please note: for some reason the link calls this a middle school series, but if you go on the actual LOF website, it shows you that it is actually for high school.
This is a literature-based algebra book. Whoever thought that was even possible, right?
No-Nonsense Algebra (11)
My son doesn’t enjoy reading very much, and he much prefers to get his work done ASAP, so when I came across this, I was ecstatic. Not only does it present the concepts in a straightforward manner, but it comes with free online tutorials for every single lesson. Yay!
I think every teenager should have to complete a course in consumer math before graduating. It’s far more useful for most people than trig or calculus ever will be.
Exploring the World Around You (9, 11)
Although both my older son and my second oldest daughter will be using this book, they will be using it very differently. My daughter will most likely be notebooking through it, while my son will use it in conjunction with frequent nature studies and field work.
I like this book because it teaches chemistry in a way that is understandable to students who have no interest in the subject, like my daughter who is only taking it because of needing it for college.
If you know me at all, I am not one to waste time homeschooling subjects that are never going to be retained. My daughter and I chose this book because, again, it presents physics in layman’s terms. I’m simply not willing to force my daughter to go deeply into a subject she has no interest in.
And now you see why my daughter wanted to learn the basics of physics in the first place. This is what she is interested in, but don’t ask her to delve into the mathematical concepts! That’s why we chose this specific book- it stays away from the math.
My daughter actually used this book last year but still has to finish the last few chapters. After this book is completed, we’ll be using library books on specific mental illnesses because that’s her favorite part of psychology. It’s her third year studying this subject, and I’m running out of ideas!
This will be my daughter’s second year of Japanese, and she absolutely loves it. This is the only foreign language curriculum I will ever buy.
So there you have it! Remember that since we do integrate lots of learning activities into our routine that you aren’t really getting the complete picture of what we do in this particular post. For example, some of you may have noticed our lack of history curriculum. If you’re interested in a more detailed account of how we learn, you can find out about our high schoolers here and everyone else here.
I wish you all a wonderful new homeschool year, and remember- your curriculum is a tool. Don’t let preconceived notions of what homeschool is supposed to look like get in the way of what your children need the most- you!