21 July 2010

Our Homeschool Curriculum for This Fall

I am so excited about all of our curriculum choices this year that I can hardly wait to start school again.

Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed our summer break as much as the kids have. At this point in our homeschooling career~the early, very hands-on years~I cannot imagine schooling year-round. Mama needs a break just as much as the kiddos do! At least this mama does!

Ever since our first year of homeschooling (2007), which was really a K4 year for The Princess, I feel as if I have been in perpetual research mode concerning curriculum. There is just so much out there and I want to choose just the right things for my kids~it can be overwhelming! I probably drive the other moms in my homeschool group nuts asking them questions about the curriculum they use, but so many of them are SO much more experienced than I am that I value their input. Other moms can be one of your greatest resources! Plus there is always new stuff coming out~not that it's always the best, but I like to look into it. That's why I so enjoyed attending my first homeschool convention this past May. It was incredibly helpful for me to browse the vendor tables and really look at their books and materials and even talk with some of them.

So after hours pouring over catalogs, a weekend at a convention and more hours browsing websites, here are our curriculum choices for this year:

Bible:We are going to do a character study each month using the Character Sketches books from the Institute in Basic Life Principles as a one of our guides. My hubby is going to be working up these studies, focusing on a different character trait for each month. Maybe I can talk him into creating some worksheets that I can share here, if anyone is interested.

The Princess {2nd grade} will be using Horizons. This is our second year to use their curriculum for this subject. I don't know how many years we will use it, but I have been pleased with it for these early years.
Mr. B {K5} will be using my very own Calvert 1st grade readers (I was homeschooled for 1st and 2nd grades and still have my readers & they're wonderful). Along with them I will be using some workbooks from the local teachers' store for short & long vowels. This is the system I used to teach The Princess to read and it worked beautifully.


We will continue using the Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting series. The Princess is now on book *D* and Mr. B will start with book *A* this year. I have been very pleased with this program.

This is a new subject for us, since last year I didn't have an official spelling curriculum for The Princess. I found A Reason For Spelling at the homeschool convention. It looks good and I hope we will like it. It is a Scripture-based program and I like that a lot. This will be a subject just for The Princess.

We are making a switch this year in our math curriculum. I have used Math-U-See for the past two years with The Princess and have been very pleased with it. However, she is just not a math girl (I see myself in her in that regard) and really dreads math. Math-U-See is wonderful and solid, but the pages are kind of monotonous and colorless, so I'm trying the Horizons program this year with both of the kiddos (since Mr. B is very visually oriented as well). The Horizons workbooks are very colorful and varied in exercises. I'm really hoping that this will stimulate The Princess' interest in learning math.


I am very excited about starting Apologia's Exploring Creation series this year. I wish I had known about it last year. We will be starting with Exploring Creation with Astronomy and will be doing it together as a family. We will also be using the Notebooking Journal that corresponds with the book.

This will be another family subject. We are starting The Story of the World series this year, beginning with Ancient Times. We will also be using the Activity Book. I'm very excited about this new choice for us as well (I am a total history buff!!).


Yet another family subject, we used Galloping the Globe last year some and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to digging deeper with it this year and coordinating it with our history lessons. Homeschool Creations has some free downloadable worksheets to go along with this book that we will be using again this year, too.


We will focus on a different composer each month, using Great Composers as a guide. I will also be using free downloadable worksheets from Practical Pages to help us as we learn about each composer.

I am still deciding what to do about continuing piano lessons for The Princess. They are just not in our budget right now, but I really would like for her to continue learning. My sister gave her beginning lessons last year, but has really gone as far as she can. I am considering doing it myself, with the right curriculum. If you have tried something like that and it has worked well for you, please tell me all about it!


We will focus on a different artist each month, also using worksheets from Practical Pages along with these art books as well as a few others that I've been rounding up. Used book stores are a wonderful resource for these types of books, although I did pay top dollar for the Can You Find It? book just because I thought it was so good.

We will have various hands-on activities and crafts to correspond with each artist, along with various arts and crafts projects with each season.

This will be another subject that my hubby will lead in. This will include such things as family bike rides, outdoor games, hiking as well as other opportunities that may come.


I plan to post about homeschooling more regularly as the year goes on. I want to be as much of an encouragement to others as I can be. And I always love reading about others' homeschool plans and ideas~that is a continual source of encouragement to me. If you are homeschooling, I'd love to hear more about it in the comments!



Kathy said...

Hi Lora ... I've been following your blog for a long time now and I know I don't comment much but I DO read every post. I love your stuff about homeschooling and doing stuff with your family. I feel like you and I are a lot alike in those areas! =)

We are also going to start the Apologia Astronomy this year and we're VERY excited to do it together! Would love to keep in touch about what you're doing, how you're liking it, etc ...

I am also very interested in your stuff about music and the composers and such - this is an area where I'm totally lacking in our school day. I feel so overwhelmed over where to start and what to do. I appreciate you posting what you plan to use and will def check back to see how you like it.

Sorry this has turned into a book! hahaha

Many blessings! ~Kathy

Lora said...

Thanks for your comment! It's always good to hear from you:) I can't find the link to your blog anymore, are you blogging somewhere else now?

I will definitely be posting more about our music and art studies. I don't have a curriculum for art, but the downloads + the art books I think are going to be great. The composers study book is one I just happened onto at a used book sale, but it's also available at christianbook.com. It comes w/a cd, too.
It's always great to connect with like-minded souls, isn't it?!

Carry said...

Well, I'm totally lacking in our school day. I feel so overwhelmed over where to start and what to do. Anyways, Nice share!

Nadene said...

You have a wonderful year laid out. I'm excited for you!
Thanks for your links to my blog and I hope you enjoy the pages!

Lora said...

Thanks for dropping by! I know your downloadable pages are going to be great for us~so glad you offer those!

Rebecca (me!) said...

LOVE your lineup. We used the Spelling Curriculum you chose over the summer time...it really worked out well. Hope you enjoy it!

Hen Jen said...

looks like a really exciting year! We use and love the Story of the World books in our homeschool. I would love to try the Aplogia books, they look wonderful! Have a great homeschool year!

Jodi said...

Hi Lora! Thanks for stopping by to comment. Looks like you've got a great year planned as well! We're also fans of Horizons Math, and we used SOTW and Apologia Astronomy in the past. Both are great books! Enjoy the rest of your summer break, and have an excellent school year! Stop by again sometime!

Carrie said...

What a cute blog!! ... and your children are adorable!

This looks like you've got a great year of learning lined up! I love reading your art and composer ideas ... I'm planning on being more intentional with those subjects this year.

We did SOTW 1 last year and also Apologia Astronomy ... we had a great time with both!

Blessings to you as you prepare to begin a new year!

Tara B. said...

It all looks SO good! I really liked and appreciated your art resources and link to PRactical Pages. There is lots there I can use!

I've been wanting to try Character Sketches too, maybe we can get it for Christmas this year.

I really enjoyed your blog, it is great!

My Family My Forever said...

You have an awesome curriculum lined up! We use Apologia too, and really enjoy it.

Thanks for sharing the art links and your Spelling link as well!

Anonymous said...

You're will love Apologia's Astronomy! My boys learned so much a few years ago when we used it. Your school looks so fun. I wanna come over!

Jessica @ Mother of Action said...

Thank you so much for giving us the helpful links in your Music section (great composers guide)! I was looking for something similar and it's a free download to boot! Happy Homeschooling!!

Sheri said...

Looks like some neat CMish curriculum here-I think you have a great mix and hope you enjoy your year dear. I will have to check out those Character Sketches...thanks for sharing!

Daddy's Chick's said...

Thank you for sharing you plans for this year. I love that you are using Character Sketches. Have a blessed school year.

Robin E. said...

We did Apologia Astronomy a few years back and LOVED it. I hope you have as good as time with it as we did.

Thanks for sharing on the NOT Back-to-School blog hop.

Grace Wheeler said...

I was homeschooled as a kiddo and my mom used the "Character Sketches" too! I STILL love those books! They are so full of Truth and great facts that I can still recall today!

Thanks for sharing!

Leslie said...

Wow, you have so many great things in your curriculum! I really want to get Galloping the Globe! So many people say they like it! God bless your school year!

Spesamor Academy said...

Thanks for the links to Practical Pages. Those look awesome!!!

Beloved's Bride Carmen said...

Came in from the "hop" and was delighted to see that a good bit of our curriculum is the same! What isn't I am going to check out! Thanks for the links!
Have a great year!

Pathfinder Mom said...

Hi there! I came in from the blog hop. Thanks for sharing the links to the composer pages. My son has shown a definite interest in classical music and I can't wait to look this over.

Anonymous said...

Your line up looks great and your blog is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

What a great list! It looks like you're in for a wonderful homeschool year.

I'm so glad that you joined the Hip Homeschool Hop today. :)

The Homeschool Chick

Meghan said...

Thanks for joining in Hip Homeschool Hop. I'm excited to get to know you better!


Joey said...

Looks like you have a great year planned out! I am going to have to check out those ideas for art and composer study.

Christina said...

Hi! I'm late getting to posting comments from the Hip Homeschool Hop (due to comp trouble yesterday after linking up) but I still wanted to come by and say hi! I like your blog and look forward to reading more of it! God bless!

Connie Jean said...

Awesome stuff here! Thanks also for sharing the info on the composers and the art. I will have to take a look at all of that! I found your blog via the HOTM school hop and have marked it. Look forward to reading your blog more! God bless

Carrie said...

Hi! I just had to comment because we almost have the same aged kids! My little girl is is second grade this year and my little guy is a young first grader, just turned 6. It looks like you have an incredibly fun year planned!

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

I think you're going to love the Horizons! My 7yo is about 1/4 of the way through it and we both like it a lot.

We're also using the Apologia Astronomy this year (first time with Apologia) and I'm excited to get to it.

Here's looking forward to an exciting new year. =) (I'm here through the Not Back to School blog hop. I'll be back!)

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Hello from the blog hop. I love seeing everyone's choices! It looks like you have a great year ahead!

Corrie said...

We have loved Story of the World so much that we are all now history buffs! We also started with Math U See, got a great foundation in facts and are moving on to Horizons. I love how Math U See focuses on mastery and it encourages me to expect more of my smart students, to challenge them a bit more.
Hope you have a great year! I'll be following you from now on!

Amy said...

I spend a lot of time researching curriculum too! A lot of your choices are things I have looked into.
We are 3 or 4 lessons into 'Music in Me.' I would recommend definitely getting the Theory & Technique and the Creativity books in addition to the Lesson book, to really reinforce the lesson. The only downside I see so far to the books is there is no teacher's guide, but as a do-it-yourselfer on most other things, I don't really mind. As long as you are at least comfortable on piano yourself, it shouldn't be a problem.

Susan Evans said...

We use a lot of the same curriculum. I like Horizon math for my younger kids because it's so colorful. Story of the World is good, except for the 4th one, which is a bit disjointed. The astronomy is a blast. My kids absolutely loved that!