My inbox has been filling up with questions about homeschooling lately, so it must be that time of year to start thinking about curriculum for the fall!
Just Starting Out?
If you are thinking about homeschooling or just getting your feet wet, I highly recommend two lovely books:
Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us by Rebecca Frech
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
And now for…
Our Curriculum Plans for 2015
Our homeschooling method is VERY laid back. We’re of the opinion that young children love to learn and our job is to nurture and guide their natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. So we do very little structured school time at this point because “school” is woven into the rest of our lives.
We go to the library once a week to get new books and read them aloud. We leave them out for perusing all over the house–so I guess that’s technically “school” but our kids don’t know that. They just think it’s cool to go to the library.
As our kids get older, I know the structured school time will increase so I want to enjoy these days when school feels a lot like play, but we have added a little curriculum in.
Singapore Math (1A and 1B)
This is the first year we’ve done any math curriculum. Benjamin is a rising first grader, so it seemed like a good time to start some basic concepts. A couple of months ago I ordered the first grade math textbook and workbook (1A) from Singapore math. I’m a fan. Benjamin is more than halfway through so we’ll probably order the 1B workbook soon. I found the textbook to be really unnecessary since it’s primarily addition and subtraction and although I’m not the world’s best mathematician, I got that covered.
And we supplement the Singapore with Life of Fred.
The main order of business is to read aloud ALL THE TIME. I really love the Catholic preschool curriculum Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven by Sarah Park because the picture book lists in it are worth the price of purchase. I go to this book first when I’m ordering books from the library.
I don’t think anyone’s ever too old for GOOD picture books, but a couple of years ago we added chapter books to the mix, particularly for bedtime reads.
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- Redwall by Brian Jacques
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
If you’re interested, you can read about our favorite authors and favorite picture books.
In addition to reading to the kids, we have our rising 1st grader read aloud to us and to his sisters. He loves to do this without being asked which is a blessing. To teach him to read we used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann.
Send letters for handwriting and spelling practice. Like other six-year-old boys, Benjamin isn’t a huge fan of sitting down and practicing his writing skills. But he does like sending letters to pen pals because mailboxes are apparently magic. So instead of pushing it, I’m just letting him write out grocery lists, letters, and cards and assisting him when he needs help spelling something. Eventually, we’ll do handwriting practice but I don’t care to fight that battle….yet.
Story of the World audiobooks — We listened to Ancient World this year and we’ll tackle Medieval next year. You can also get Story of the World as a print book. We’re actually listening to Ancient world AGAIN because the kids loved it so much and we’ll probably tackle medieval world this summer. Other Catholic families gave me a heads up that there’s a few points in the medieval book that misrepresent Catholicism and will probably require a pause and explanation so…passing that heads up to you. I’m a little hesitant to begin medieval because I LOVE the Middle Ages so much (that’s what I studied in college) and I get nervous that people will mess it up. So, fingers crossed.
Speaking of audiobooks, I am a huge fan of listening to audiobooks whenever we’re in the car. The library has a great selection and then I feel like we’re doing something lovely when we’re in the car (and there’s less sibling bickering when there’s something great to listen to). Lately we’ve enjoyed the Tale of Despereaux.
We’re planning to take a road trip this summer and camp at some National Parks (more on that another day) so we’ll study some American geography over the summer.
We’re moving to a farm for a year so I kinda think we’ll have science covered.
Building a Culture of Life:
We also got started with Life is Precious: A Culture of Life Unit Study for Elementary Students. It’s a a four-week unit study which instructs children (in grades K-2) about the beauty of every human life from creation forward, while still respecting their innocence created by the American Life League. And it incorporates some of our favorite picture books like Angel in the Waters and Horton Hears a Who.
I thought it might also be helpful to share what I didn’t end up loving. I tried to use Five in a Row by Jane Lambert but it stressed me out and just felt kind of…..forced. I’d rather just read picture books with my kids and have organic conversations with them about what we’re reading. I can see certain personalities really digging it and most homeschooling families I know love it, but it wasn’t for me.
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