Monday, March 2, 2009

It's That Time of the Year Again!

It's around this time of the year that I start to get the itch. The itch for what? Well, to check out curriculum of course. This will be two years in a row that for various reasons we can not attend a Homeschool Conference Near Us :0). I'm thinking that next year I'm going to really need to go. Even if I only go for the curriculum fair. We need to change a few things up -- if not for the kids, than for the mommy.

I'll start with what works for us first:

Morning reading time. I read Hero Tales each day to them. Currently we are also working through The Book of Virtues, but we will eventually get to reading some novels that are in between the oldest and the youngest's ages.

Journalling. The kids entries can sometimes be a real hoot.

Penmanship. I love the A Reason for Handwriting series.

Mathematics. I am very glad we discovered the Math-U-See vendor at our first ever homeschool conference. It has made math bearable for me -- even though I still am not always able to answer the children's questions.

Grammar: Easy Grammar is excellent!! Yes, I do marking in it everyday, but it is worth it since it gives all the kids the confidence they need to write with proper grammar and punctuation.

Now for what isn't:

Geography, History, and Science. Can you say, "just way too much marking for Mom?"

Actually, geography right now is kinda cool, but I am only able to truly gear it to the oldest two. I need a curriculum in these three subjects that I can use for at least the oldest three, if not all four of them.

I am thinking I will use Considering God's Creation for science next year. I won't be able to do it with Squirt, but I do have a science curriculum that I can use with her that is very simple with minimal marking. We used the CGC curriculum two years ago and the two oldest loved it! I can do it again, but bring up the level of work for Bub. ie. some researching and paper writing.

It is in geography and history that I have no idea where to go. I am thinking maybe Sonlight? I am comfortable with taking a year off of studying about Canada -- especially since I think it is very important that we learn about other countries too. We can still learn about Canada through Canadian novels and other interesting books in our morning reading time.

I desperately want a new Bible curriculum too. I do like the one we have, but I cannot use it with all four children and therefore someone somewhere is getting missed. It's either too hard or too easy. This one is going to take me awhile to find something because for me doctrine is important too and not all Bible curriculums have the same doctrine.

I guess I'll be spending a little time online researching for a few weeks since I can't go to a curriculum fair :0(. Feel free to make suggestions!


  1. You are the second person to mention Easy Grammar recently. I have a question ... does it cover areas such as writing letters, compare/contrast essays, study and reference skills, writing book reviews, writing a research paper, writing poetry, and writing a play?

    I haven't been to our huge state convention in 4 years. They always have a wonderful vendor hall, but the cost is what is keeping me away. You still have to pay the convention fee just to go to the cendor hall (I think last year it was about $80 plus parking fees in an off-site lot). A smaller curriculum fair is held near us the end of each Feb. (it's free!), but so few vendors attend that we really accomplish nothing by attending. I had intended to go this year, but we ended up skipping it.

  2. It does cover writing letters, but aside from understanding prepositional phrases and all things grammatical as well as punctuation, it does not cover the other aspects of writing.

    For writing I use with the youngers, a series of books called Writing Strands and Bub uses a book called Write Shop. Unfortunately, neither of those curriculums deal with writing poetry or plays :0(. I still haven't found a good way to teach them about poetry...

  3. have you looked at Beautiful Feet for history ( it is a literature based history too. They have some 1st-6th items. Most of it is American history...but it might be worth looking at? We use the high school level stuff and are in Medieval/Renaissance right now.

    My Father's World ( is another to look at for youngers. and so is The Mystery of History ( We tried this one but I was trying to merge it with Beautiful Feet and dd didn't like that. She chose BF instead. But *I* really liked TMOH personally. Some of the theology I didn't totally agree with but it wasn't a deal breaker, we just talked about what *we* thought. Another great one to look at for multi-age kids is KONOS ( We tried it too but the timing wasn't right for dd. It is another one I LOVED but wish I had started dd when she was in grammar school (we weren't HSing then).
    Maybe this will give you some places to jump off from! HTH :-)

  4. We've been using Story of the World for history, and using Sonlight's book list to supplement the reading. Story of the World is written by an American :0)... we're only in Year Two and I don't know how much of an American 'bias' it may or may not have in Y3 or Y4.

    I like the "sequential-ness" of it. You jump all over the world, from week to week, but it's (mostly) chronological, which appeals to my linear brain.

    There's very little Bible/Christian/church history written into it, but we add that as we go... coming up on the Reformation now :0) And while it is not what I would call a Christian curriculum, it is not anti-Christian, so I don't have to edit much out.

    Her spine books (SOTW) are directed at grades 1-4, so you have to supplement for the older kiddos. You also need a couple of reference books that you'll use for all four years of the sequence, so there's a bit of cost up front, but not so much as you go along. And while she has rigorous writing expectations (explained in "The Well-Trained Mind"), there are hands-on projects, supplemental reading suggestions, and often recipes that appeal across the ages :0) AND, while not a comprehensive Geography program, we do mapwork every week.

    This year for Science we've been using the "Wonders of Creation" series, with the study guides. This one is aimed more at MS level, thus a bit above 2 of my 3 so we are skimming some. The content is GREAT, but lacks the hands-on activities... so we supplement those. Even if you don't use it as curriculum, the books are great to have as references. We have Geology, Oceans, Fossils, Weather, and Astronomy, and they've apparently added a Cave book. I know you can find them through Rainbow Resources, but I think we got ours through Answers in Genesis.

    I'm curious about your daily schedule. How much time to you allocate to the different subjects? And for journalling, do the kids write about whatever they want, or do you give them writing prompts?

    What kind of Bible Curriculum are you interested in? I have a couple book suggestions, but not sure what you're looking for.



Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love to hear from my readers!

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