Sunday, March 22, 2015

Notes On Next Year

After sharing my thoughts (and fears) on our next school year, I promised to talk curriculum.  I'm in the very beginning stages of planning.  It's barely beyond the thinking stage, though some subjects are easy.  We'll simply move onto the next chronological time period or grade level.  Also, I'm only mentioning the Big Four here-- history, math, science, and English. (We incorporate Bible, music, art, health, typing, and P.E. into our days, too, though not everything in every season.)  

As a frame of reference, I will have five kids in school next year, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. 


We'll more than likely continue reading though Genevieve Foster's books.  We'll start with George Washington's Worldand continue on to this one, too. We'll supplement with applicable literature or explore some topics in more depth.  Since we discovered that Owen (currently eight and in third grade) learns better visually,  he will delve into the same time period with a selection of books on his reading level.  We especially enjoy the series by the d'Aulaires.


Our kids start Saxon Math at the 5th grade level (Saxon  54).  Even my math-hating kids say they hate math a little less with Saxon.  My three oldest kids are in varying levels of Saxon and will continue next year. For elementary math, I've had tremendous success with cheap grocery store workbooks so Ben (currently six and in first grade) will probably use Second Grade Big Workbook. 


I'm not a science person so when I was reviewing what we had done for science this year,  I was surprised to discover that we had done a lot.  So much that we could quit science today and have more than enough credit for the year.  Between a forensics class the kids took over the summer, our nature study text, a series of at-home chemistry science experiments Gavin organized throughout the fall (and explained and demonstrated for his brothers and sisters), a long list of books we read for health, the Wild Kratts TV show (!), and at least a book a week someone brings home from the library about animals (or planets or rocks, etc.), we have science covered.

I think next year we'll continue to let science happen as it did this year and supplement with a reproducible workbook from McDonald Publishing, both to widen our science base and to give the older kids practice in expository writing.


I generally pull together an eclectic collection of resources for English. The three oldest kids currently use Daily Grams or something comparable. (One of them actually uses a book I found at a used curriculum sale in the same format but different publisher. We like it just as well.)  We'll continue with that short, daily practice and add in writing prompts, penpal letters, pleasure reading, copywork, or poetry as the urge strikes. We go in phases and we do not study it all at the same time or even the same year!

I think Alaine (currently four-and-a-half) will soon have interest in learning to read so it's about time for me to borrow Alpha-Phonics again.  Ben  loves Explode the Code  so he'll continue moving through the series and also reading lots of library books aloud to me. (It's our special one-on-one time in the evening.)

What about you?  Want to join the curriculum talk? Have you started planning for next year?


  1. I haven't starting planning very much for next year but I know we will continue with Explode the Code for Reading and we'll start an overview of world history with Augustus Caesar's World. We'll also continue with the second grade math workbook we're beginning next month (Your Total Connection for Math). For Science we'll be piecing together a few units but I'm not sure what they'll be yet.

    1. Just a warning! We loved Augustus Caesar's World, but there are a lot of names and places. Sometimes it can be overwhelming! The format is great because it encompasses so much of the world and lets you know what was happening in many locations at the same time. BUT that same format can be hard to follow (for some of my kids). We had an even harder time with The World of Columbus and Sons. We got extremely bogged down with all the kings and queens and who married who. (In fact, we ended up skipping large sections of the book at the end.) We're reading The World of Captain John Smith now and whether it is because we have grown used to the format or because we already have a good base knowledge, it is so much more enjoyable!

  2. This is great! I must not have gotten the notification from your previous blog post either b/c I just read that today too. Weird. Let me first say, I deal with a great amount of, "am I doing enough??", "are my kids learning enough??", "would they be better off in public school???". I've found that I have to keep coming back to why we homeschool. I have to remember that God has called me to this and that he'll equip me for it. I have two that really have struggled to read. Still struggle. On a daily basis. I had them in tutoring last summer and the tutor said that I would never be able to give them what they needed and that they should absolutely be put in public school. Let me say also that this tutor homeschooled her own kids. I felt my confidence vanish. Tim had to remind me why we homeschool.
    I'll only still have the 4 in school next year b/c Garrett is a September birthday and he'll continue with preschool. He's very very immature still too so even if he were turning 5 in August I think I'd hold off on official school for him!! BUT, wow, 5!!!
    I'm considering continuing with the unit study approach. My kids seem to really learn that way and they love it. I know we'll stick with Bob Jones math for Kylie and Teaching Textbooks for the rest of them. I think we might use Bob Jones for grammar too. Other than that I haven't really made an official decisions!


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