This past year was the first year I really dove into learning about all of the homeschool curriculum that are out there. By “all”, I think I may mean that literally!
I’m pretty sure I spent the majority of my days this year from February until August researching almost every single curriculum I could find.
My Homeschool Curriculum Choices (2015-2016)
I used to try to find that “perfect curriculum” that my kids would love and would take zero lesson planning on my part (because I really hate to lesson plan). I also wanted to find one curriculum for all subjects.
Unfortunately, finding this “perfect” curriculum was impossible. Instead, I’ve decided to piece our curriculum together using different resources for each subject.
Here’s the breakdown of what we’ve decided to try for the 2015-2016 school year with my 2nd and 3rd graders.
When I first started homeschooling my oldest, we were on an extremely tight budget. Like, as free as we could get it, tight. Over the years we’ve been able to add a little more here and there to our budget, but during those beginning years this one single book was my saving grace!
Honestly, the more I look at other curriculum, the more I realize how much I love this book! The pages are colorful and fun for the kids, and each worksheet has a short explanation to teach the lesson. This has made independent learning much easier in our homeschool.
The BEST part of this curriculum is the price! You can buy one massive all-in-one-workbook or split them up by subjects.
The subjects included in this book include:
- Language Arts
- Test Prep
For a couple years we bought the big book, but this year we decided to try a different Language Arts program (more on that soon) so we’re splitting it up and only using individual subjects.
We will be using the Reading books [rotating days between this book and classic novel read alouds], spelling, and math [while supplementing with other resources].
Science In the Beginning by Dr. Jay Wile
I first learned about Dr. Wile at this years homeschool convention, and after a brief conversation with Dr. Wile himself, the hubsterdude and I were completely sold on this curriculum. I discuss why in my review post here.
Every lesson has a small hands on experiment using items you probably already have at home. There’s also a little bit of scripture to relate to the lesson, but isn’t completely overbearing with religion either. The lessons are very in depth yet explained in a way that my elementary kids can understand.
I can also use this curriculum with both girls despite being in different grades because there are different levels of questions at the end of each lesson for younger, older, and oldest students.
Essentials in Writing
This is another new curriculum choice this year that I’m really excited about starting. I also learned about this curriculum at the recent homeschool convention.
The creator of the curriculum, Matthew Stevens, was an excellent speaker, and everything he had to say made sense. He explained that the whole reason we learn grammar is so that we can become better writers, which is something I never really thought of before.
His theory is this: why teach the grammar, and then turn around and re-teach it while writing? Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on how to be a good writer, and slip the grammar into writing lessons, rather than beating a dead horse and teaching them separately?
The best part of this writing curriculum is that he teaches the short lessons on a DVD. This will make it easier for independent learning as well.
Road Trip USA
One of my daughter’s co-op teachers recommended this curriculum by Erika from Confessions of a Homeschooler, called Road Trip USA. I’m so excited to use it as our geography curriculum this year.
The curriculum is broken down into 5 US regions, with two lessons per state. Each lesson is complete with a little bit of history about each state, as well as some other famous people and places that come from each state. There are also craft projects and recipes mixed in with the lessons.
We’re also trying to collect a postcard from every state during the year for an added fun activity and we’re already off to a good start so far.
You can learn more about Road Trip USA here. She also has a world geography curriculum as well that we hope to start when we finish this one!
How to Teach Art To Children
I bought this book to use last year, but honestly I really slacked in the art department, and it collected dust on my bookshelf all year. I decided that this year I was going to make it a point to do at least 1 lesson a week out of this book.
This book is great because it’s got easy lessons and inexpensive art projects that teach the basics of art. Some of these basics include:
If you are looking for a simple and structured way to teach beginning art to elementary kids, I highly recommend this book.
So there you have it! This is the bulk of what we plan to use this year in our homeschool. What are your choices of curriculum this year? I’d love for you to share your choices in a comment below.