It’s true. The longer you homeschool the more picky you become about what your homeschool curriculum keepers are for a year. I find that sometimes I need less and other years I want an abundance.
This year will be the less is more motto. Knowing that we will be moving by the end of August (yikes) from place to place, room to room, country to country and hotel room to hotel room, I tried to narrow down what I was going use this year for Tiny.
One thing I did was to go ahead and bite the bullet and put Mr. Awesome in an online high school program. He will not be doing all online but it helps me to focus on Tiny because I need to take more physical books for him. I have tried to reduce to as many eBooks as I can too, but I don’t want to be floundering around trying to find a printer either when we need a lesson plan.
I will be taking physical books in our suitcases. Here are two things for my minimalist plan so far and I am thinking it may be my only list this year.
My first curriculum keeper is Horizons Math. I linked to one grade level so you can see it.
I have used many different math programs. Here are some that I can remember: Calvert Math, Teaching Textbooks, Rod and Staff math, Modern Curriculum Press math, Key to . . . Series, Saxon, Math U See and Singapore Math. Guess what? I have loved each one of them because they each had a purpose matched with a need for one of my sons.
Horizons is my choice of math medicine for Tiny. It has been a good fit for him. As I have learned, math does not have to have boring black and white pages to be rigorous. Horizons has colorful pages along with detailed boxes that explains each lesson. The lesson explanations in the student workbook are very helpful and the teacher’s manual contains not only the answer but some helpful tips. It is not a comprehensive teacher’s manual though which I don’t need now. I prefer programs to be comprehensive in the student’s book though as they grow older because it promotes more independent learning. Horizons Math does this, which I like because it gives the helpful explanations built into the workbook instead of relying on the teacher’s manual. Because the workbook has good detail along with the worksheets, there is no hard back or large bulky textbook either. It is a 2 book series and soft bound. It has been a delight to teach math with this series and I don’t say that lightly because you know I run from math.
However, my boys love math so I stick around to teach it.
I have used lots of wonderful language arts programs too. Classical writing, Bob Jones, Calvert, Rod and Staff, Write Shop, Five in a Row, Institute for Excellence in Writing, English for the Thoughtful Child, Jump In, Writing With Ease and Learning Language Arts Through Literature are some I can remember. Again, I have loved just about everyone because they each had an option matched to a need at the time.
My next choice for this year, which is Growing with Grammar, I have to thank my close sweet friend Cynthia for a gentle nudge in that direction. I linked to one grade level for you too.
Cynthia is one of my dearest friends and she always understands the way I enjoying teaching and knows what a change it has been as we have been getting ready to move. Sometimes you need a nudge from a friend to get that moment of clarity as to which program will be beneficial at a certain time. Using Growing with Grammar this coming year is a return to one of my previous luvs in my early years of homeschooling.
This past year has been a struggle for us because some days as I was packing, I needed Tiny to be more independent in doing his work. When a lesson plan is all tied together, it’s hard to move ahead on the lesson plan until you have it all done. Most years, I have wanted curriculum that is more tied together or related because it does make sense. We love Bob Jones and it worked good for us up to this time. This past year it was not an advantage for us though because Tiny could not scoot ahead when I needed him to or when he needed to.
Also, learning can come in waves and trickles at time. There is a time when your child spikes in some areas and wants to stay on grade level in other parts of language arts. We had one of those years. Because I need something that he can work on more independently without holding up the whole lesson plan waiting on me and more importantly so he can move on when needed and stay on one level when he needs more review, Growing with Grammar is the answer. It is just a fantastic program anyway.
Growing with Grammar allows you to separate the components of language arts to tailor make your curriculum. So you can pick the grade level of each component.
By the way, Growing with Grammar is secular and I never have a problem with secular curriculum as long as it doesn’t bash the Bible. Growing with Grammar is really just religiously neutral and that is a nice perk if you want to teach your worldview. Again, the most important reasons I have chosen it though are because the lessons are compact, short, straightforward, easy to understand and the writing process is broken down into manageable bites with review at each step. This is what Tiny needs this year.
I know these two key curriculum resources are going with us and I have a few more pieces to squeeze into the suitcase that we have to have. I’ll tell you about them in the next part.
Have you started narrowing down your curriculum choices for this next year?
Hugs and love ya,
**A Tisket, A Tasket, A Back to School Basket Giveaway **