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Our {2013-2014} Curriculum Choices

It's that time of the year again~time to talk homeschool curriculum choices!  And I love this time of the year.  All of the planning, reading, preparing, praying, thinking, list-making's exciting each year to think of all the possibilities that the new school year holds for our family.  It's so much fun to talk with other homeschool moms (and read their blogs!) about what their curriculum choices are.  There are so many choices out there and getting first-hand recommendations is such a good thing.

After much prayer and thought (and sometimes much frustration with something that wasn't working) I think I have made all of our final choices for our homeschool this year.

It's hard to believe that I will have a 5th grader (The Princess) and a 3rd grader (Mr. B) this year!

Bible and character training

We will be using several resources in this area: Character Sketches, The Bible Story books, and We Choose Virtues parenting cards.  These three resources will be used together by our whole family.  On an individual basis The Princess will also be using God's Great Covenant New Testament 1 (The Gospels) while Mr. B will be using Grapevine Studies ("stick figuring through the Bible").


Mr. B will be continuing with Singapore this year.  This will be his 3rd year to use Singapore and he has done very well with it.  The shorter lessons with new concepts introduced fairly quickly have worked well for him thus far.  We are making a switch within the Singapore curriculum though.  In the past we have used the Primary Mathematics for homeschoolers, but this year we'll be using their Math in Focus curriculum.  The reason being that a teacher friend of mine was kind enough to bless me with both of the textbooks and several supplemental books and I only needed to add the workbooks to complete it.  

We are making a switch with The Princess this year though.  She, too, has used Singapore for the past couple of years and did well most of that time.  Toward the end of last year, however, it became clear that as some newer (and tougher) concepts were being introduced that she needed to have a bit more time learning and practicing those concepts.  This year we are moving her to Teaching Textbooks.  It is a slower-paced program that I hope she will thrive in.  I am excited to see how she does with this computer-based program and it's teaching style.  We're hoping for a less-stressful year in math!  


We are continuing with The Story of the World for our history.  We're actually still finishing Volume III and will be starting Volume IV sometime during this school year.  We so enjoy this history curriculum and the activity books that go along with the readers.  


This is our fourth year to use Apologia's Young Explorer Series.  We really love it!  You can read more about our thoughts on Apologia here.

This year we're using Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.  The kiddos chose this one as our next study and we are all looking forward to it.  We have opted not to use the corresponding journal this year.  Last year the kids got pretty tired of it and it sort of just became "busy work" and often we would forgo doing some of the other projects in order to get our journal work completed.  This year I want to focus more on the special projects throughout the textbook.  I've also purchased a book on drawing sea creatures that I think will be a fun supplement with this.  

Language Arts

Mr. B will continue with First Language Lessons this year.  I've been so pleased with how well he's learned with the 1 & 2 levels and I plan to continue this program for as long as I can with him.  I have lamented the fact more than once that I didn't know about this program when The Princess was in 1st and 2nd grades--she would have had a much better grammatical foundation if she had.  She has done well in grammar activities, but could really use more reinforcement in this area.  So this year she will be doing First Language Lessons as well.  She'll be using Level 4 (which is for up through 5th grade).  

We are also going to begin using Writing With Ease for both kiddos in the corresponding levels of their FLL books.  The Princess has had quite a bit of writing assignments in the past, but this is going to be a stretch for Mr. B.  He does not enjoy writing, neither the physical aspect of is nor the creative aspect of it.  But I feel as though he needs to be pushed just a little to encourage him to grow.  I don't want to push him so much that he gets frustrated, but just enough to help him along.  

Mr. B will also be starting to use Sequential Spelling this year.  Spelling is not a subject that we have always had in our curriculum line-up.  The Princess just didn't require a separate subject for this; however, Mr. B needs a bit more practice.  I have heard good things about this program from friends who have used it and am hoping that it will work well for us.  

We will continue with the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series for each of the kiddos.  The Princess is now on Book F and Mr. B is on Book D.  I am still very pleased with this program and highly recommend it.

For reading I will be creating my own lists for each of my kiddos.  The Princess will be required to chose one book a month for a book report as well and Mr. B will also begin to learn the basics of writing book reports.  I'll share more about those reading lists when I finish creating them (they're still in the works).


This year I'm planning to add more from Galloping the Globe again.  We've used this book in the past, but only sporadically.  This year I want to use it more.  

Art/Music Appreciation

We'll use lots of different books for our art and music appreciation studies.  We'll be getting back into our monthly artist and composer studies.  We always enjoy these and I'm busy making plans for which ones we'll be studying this year.  

Foreign Language

While I have grand ideas for this, I hope and pray I can pull them off.  So far I have been a total fail when it comes to incorporating a foreign language into our studies.  My plan, once again, is to get back into Spanish using R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish and learning conversational Spanish.  


We're also getting back in the groove with our keyboarding skills.  The Princess has some keyboarding skills, but Mr. B is sorely lacking in this area.  Keyboarding for the Christian School is a very good and easy-to-use program.  

And there you have it...our core curriculum!  I have lots of other supplemental activities and books that I'll be adding to this list and sharing about later, but this is the bulk of it.  

I'd love to hear about what you're using in your homeschool and if you've used any of the above books and how they worked for you.  Let me know in the comments!

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Dawn said…
Your plans look great. We love Story of the World and Teaching Textbooks.
Blessings, Dawn
Lisa C. said…
Awesome, Lora! Thanks for sharing! Looks like a fun year for you all!
Christy said…
Great looking plans! I debated Story of the World for a long time, but finally ended up with Mystery of History. I'm still wondering if we would prefer Story of the World.

Have a great year!
Joyful Mama said…
Looks like it will be a great year! You will love the Character Sketches books, they are meaty but good!

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