21 July 2011

Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2011-2012

It's that time of year! And I am happy to say that I've finally wrapped up my choices for our school curriculum for 2011-2012. It seems like each year that I research for the longest, looking through catalog after catalog, reading reviews and looking at sample pages.

This year we are sticking with some of the same publishers and switching from others. That's the beauty of homeschooling though, right? I love being able to evaluate my own children and choose what would work best for them for their learning styles.

So here's what we'll be using for The Princess {3rd grade} and Mr. B {1st grade}:

Bible/Character Studies:
Last year we began using the Character Sketches from the Institute for Basic Life Principles. There are three volumes and we didn't even make it completely through one, there is a lot of great material in them! We have been studying one character trait a month, with different definitions of that trait each week. Last year we studied only the corresponding Bible story, but this year I want to incorporate both the Bible lesson and the lesson from nature. The kids really enjoyed these and I think they will love adding the nature lessons as well.

Language Arts:

For handwriting we will continue to use Getty-Dubay Italics series. I am still *old school* in that I feel handwriting, even cursive, is very important...no matter how much we use computers:) The kids have done very well with these books, it's a great program and simple to move from printing to cursive.

We are switching things up a bit in the grammar department this year. I have been very frustrated with the program we've used for The Princess' 1st & 2nd grade years~it was just monotonous worksheets on prefixes, suffixes, etc. and they haven't even introduced parts of speech yet. What she knows is what I've talked with her about and what she's learned from Schoolhouse Rock.

So this year I am starting Mr. B with First Language Lessons and I plan to also include The Princess in our discussions to get her familiarized with all of the parts of speech and also as a refresher for her on the ones she already knows.

For reading, Mr. B will be using some readers from both Calvert and Rod & Staff, among other literature books that we will read together as a family.

The Princess will also be using Total Language Plus this year for her literature, writing and even more grammar. I plan for her to do two of these per semester. I love that these unit studies include art, comprehension, enrichment and writing, grammar, spelling and vocabulary. I think my daughter will love digging into these books:


Once again I am switching math curriculum. Last year the program we used was okay, but The Princess was just exhausted with all of the repetition and still grew frustrated. Mr. B was just bored. I am starting him at the beginning of the Singapore math program this year. He is very math bright and I think he will do well with it. I have decided to also try The Princess with it, in the hopes that the shorter lessons will encourage her. Then where she may need some extra practice, we can simply do some extra drills.


We are continuing with the Story of the World. We have loved volume I (and are actually still finishing it) and are looking forward to volume 2. We also love the activity books that correspond with them~last year we had a blast doing so many of the crafts and projects and I know we will again this year. History is a *family subject* for us.


We are once again using Apologia's Young Explorer Series for our science. Last year we started using this and I have been so impressed with it~and the kids LOVE it! We are excited about digging into an in-depth botany study this year. Science is also a *family subject* for us.

Composer & Artist Studies:

We began these studies last year and they were such a hit! Using several books on composers and artists (I've only shown a couple here) as some resources, library books, cd's, plus awesome downloads from Practical Pages and Notebooking Pages and more, I created our own music and art appreciation studies.

Each month we study about one composer and one artist. We listen to the composer's music~often throughout our school day~we read about them, color pictures of them, etc. For our artist we study his/her paintings, color or draw or paint some of those paintings, etc. These studies were definitely a highlight for my children, it was one of their favorite subjects.

You can read about some of our studies from last year here and here.

Physical Education:

This I am still working out. After we complete our move, we are planning to get a family membership to the local Y which will offer many different physical activities for us. Also, we got Vince a 4-bike rack for our car for Father's Day this year~now we can pack up our bikes and take them anywhere for a good biking adventure. Plus there's the Wii Fit for those days at home and my kiddos tend to get a lot of physical activity in just playing in the backyard, climbing trees, etc.


Ahh...it feels great to have all of my choices made for this year! We even have all of our books already, so we are good to go after we get moved and settled in.

We usually start school right after Labor Day and we are on schedule for this year as well. Yea!

This post is linked to Training Children up for Christ,

Hip Homeschool Moms


mysteryhistorymom said...

Great choices! We love Apologia and Total Language Plus, too! We are using a World of Adventure for the first time this year and still contemplating some add-ons even though you truly only need to supplement with Math. Thanks for sharing!:) Lori

joelle said...

Very nice line up. I will have to check your composer and art selection. I have been having a art time including these.
We were using Singapore for the last 2 year but decided to switch at the end of last year to Math on the Level.

April said...

It looks like Mr. B and my oldest daughter will be doing a lot of the same: First Language Lessons, Singapore math to name a few. I'll be glad to follow along with you for support. :) We also have a Y family membership and loooove it. I think I may look into your science curriculum. All I have right now is the Discover & Do Science DVD which is great but I want something a little meatier I think-- something that gives glory to our creator.

Lora @ my blessed life said...

We love Apologia! It's very biblically sound, even incorporating Scripture into the lessons. Last year we used the study for astronomy and I was very pleased~that can be a tricky subject, you know:)

Jennifer said...

I love to see what curriculum other families are using! I am still working on this year's choices, but I have to say that we love Apologia science ... we've done several (astronomy, anatomy, and zoology 2) as part of a co-op and this year are planning to do zoology 1 on our own. Now I just need to get busy and choose everything else!

Kathy said...

thank you for sharing! I'm still putting my plan together but love seeing what others are using! =)

Our Side of the Mountain said...

What a GREAT list of books! Some of our favorites: Apologia, First Language Lessons! Stopping by to wish you and your family a wonderful school year!

Anonymous said...

We're studying botany this year too! My kids are the same ages as yours . . . I think it's going to be a great year. :)

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

We used FLL 1 and 2 and loved them! Also enjoyed SOTW 1. Looks like it will be a great year. :)

Anonymous said...

Great choices! We are doing Singapore Math, too :) Charlotte's Web is always a favorite.

Jessica Stemmerding said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing and Happy Homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

We are starting with Apologia for science this year...can't wait! We also use First Language Lessons and I love it. Looks like a great school year you have planned!

Julie @ enJOYIng life

Sally said...

I popped over here from HOTM's NOT Back to School Blog Hop and it's so exciting to me to see other moms list their aspirations for their homeschool!
We are using Apologia Botany as well, but are holding off until the beginning of October so I can buy the Junior Notebooking Journal for my 2nd grader. I am chomping at the bit to get into it, though! I do hope you'll head over to see what's going on at our homeschool!
Thank you for sharing!

Marsha said...

I can't tell you how much I love First Language Lessons. My children have really nailed down the basics of grammar with it. And it requires almost no prep time, which is a huge plus for me. We're on Level 4 this year. We also use Apologia science. This year is anatomy. I always enjoy seeing what others use and recommend, too. Hope you have a wonderful school year.

Amy said...

Such a great, detailed list! We're only doing school for one child right now. It's fun to see what folks do when they have more than one in school.

Jennifer said...

That Botany book has some fun experiments. My oldest daughter used it several years ago and just dried flowers this month the same way that she learned then.

Stef Layton said...

oh I've never heard of Character Sketches - thanks, we're needing to look into some character training!

Tracy said...

I grew up doing Character Sketches, great stuff! Have a blessed year!

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

We just read Charlotte's Web this summer, as we were gearing up for the county fair. My kids LOVED it!

Tristan said...

Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite read alouds for elementary ages, we had lots of fun with it last year. Looks like you've got great things planned for your year!

jeana said...

LOVE your choices. We do a lot of the same. I can't wait to look into the character sketches you posted!

rowena___. said...

i'm a new reader and so glad to have found your blog (thru HOTM blog hop). the character sketches series is new to me, it sounds really interesting. and i'm going to look for the "paint like a famous artist" kit, i believe my child would love that! congratulations on getting your new year under way, i wish you and your family much joy and success in the journey.

Celly B said...

I think you we really enjoy FLL and SOTW 2. We are on our third year of both of those. Thanks for sharing your choices. I look forward to reading more about your artist/composer monthly study.

Sharla said...

Last year was our first year with Story of the World and we absolutely loved it too! It can be used with kids of a variety of ages all at the same time, which works well in our house and was a lot of fun. I learned as much about History as the kids did!

I am really interested in the Character books you used. I will be checking into those and looking more into Apologia Science as several people have suggested it.

Thanks for sharing your curriculum choices...hope you have a great year!

Amber said...

I am a new reader coming from the HOTM blog hop. Looks like you have some great choices lined up for this school year! This is going to be our first year using Apologia Science. We've heard great things and are very excited about it!

Lynn said...

It's a great feeling when you can find those certain curriculums that work great for your family. Looks like a wonderful plan.


kewkew said...

Looks great.
Thanks for the link to the Character Sketches. I have seen them before and have thought of using them some day, but didn't know what they were called or where to find them.

AnnG said...

You have a great year planned! I am using SOTW vol 1! This will be my first time to use it (even though I have homeschooled for 15 years) and I'm excited!

I Read. Do You? said...

Hello! I'm stopping by from the Heart of the Matter "not" back to school curriculum blog hop. Looks like you have some great stuff planned! We loved the Getty Dubay handwriting series.

The Sierra Home Companion said...

I agree that handwriting is an important skill to teach and practice. Have a blessed year.

LaDonna said...

We did a similar artist/composer series last year and enjoyed it.