Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum 2011-2012

Since we officially decided to homeschool, I've been asking every homeschooler I know, begging on Facebook, hitting all the blogs in the 'Not Back to School blog hop', and reading as many reviews as possible to try to decide which curriculum to choose for our first year of homeschooling.

The process has been a little overwhelming since there are so many options out there!
My first thought was since I don't really want to do this, let's make it as easy as possible. I'd pick an 'all-in-one' curriculum or even sign the kids up for an online school of some sort.
After researching things a bit more, we decided that a charter/cyber school was not the route we wanted to take so that was off the list.

Then reading different reviews, we couldn't really find an 'all-in-one' that we thought would hit everything we wanted. My attitude about the idea of homeschooling was changing at this point so I thought maybe we'd do one curriculum for the main subjects and pick and choose our electives.

I still couldn't find anything that we really felt comfortable with (knowing that Tenor is not a sit-down-and-fill-in-workbooks-all-day kind of kid and that I am not a stand-up-front-and-teach or lots-of-reading-out-loud kind of mom.)
So more research, more review reading, more online looking, several placement tests for each kid for various curricula (sorry kids!), we decided to just pick and choose everything. Hey, why not? LOL

This has definitely been a learning process for me so far. I am so not a teacher person. It's not in me whatsoever! Educational methods? Learning styles? Manipulatives? How to spell the word 'curriculum'??
I had no clue!!!

Lots of praying (and more researching) led us to what we finally chose for this year. I'm hoping it will all work out for the full year but in reading other blogs and talking with friends, I'm prepared to shelve something and switch mid-year if we have to.

So here's what's on the table:

Soprano entering 2nd grade
(Yes, I think I'll keep the younglings in a 'grade' while we homeschool. It's just easier to tell people when they ask and for sports/co-op sign-ups, etc.)

MATH - Saxon 2 (with meeting book and manipulatives ---I know what manipulatives are now!)

LANGUAGE ARTS - Christian Light lightunits (It includes grammar, penmanship, creative writing, some reading comprehension, and spelling. It's a Christian curriculum and also has Bible verses and character building throughout.)

READING - Christian Light lightunits (It's more in-depth reading than in the L/A curriculum. It requires 2 readers which are really, really sweet and also include Bible verses and character building along with poetry. Reading is out loud and silent.)

We're also looking into dance (ballet or Irish step), swim lessons, baton twirling, or cheerleading to help fulfill her Phys. Ed. requirement.

Tenor entering 4th grade

MATH - Saxon Math 5/4

LANGUAGE ARTS - Christian Light lightunits (We'll also be using 'On Teaching Writing' to supplement creative writing exercises. Creative writing is recommended and the OTW book is suggested but not included in the actual lightunits.)

READING - Christian Light lightunits (for this level, it will only be 2-3x per week)

HANDWRITING - His handwriting has room for improvement, and it's time to get going with cursive writing, so he'll be using 'A Reason for Handwriting C.' I think the lessons will be short enough that he won't be frustrated with it.

We're also looking into swim lessons or organized sports of some kind for his Phys Ed.

All of our My Father's World ECC books!
Together -
SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY/BIBLE/ART/MUSIC - My Father's World Exploring Countries and cultures (They'll do this together every day each with activities at their own levels. I love how it includes all the different subjects along with living books --I know what those are now, too!-- using a little bit of the Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Study approaches. I also found some awesome printables that correspond with this curriculum at Mama Jenn. She has created copywork and memory verse pages that are free to download!)

HEALTH - I ordered 2 books from (Health, Hygiene, and Nutrition, Grades 1 - 2 and Healthy Choices, Grades 1-3: A Positive Approach to Healthy Living: Self-Management, Diet, Exercise) and am waiting for them to come in. I know that most of what these books cover, we already 'teach' in our daily lives. I'd like to use the books for their worksheets so I can include some substance in our portfolios (without having to make my own.) I think I'll probably schedule something about once a week.

PA HISTORY - I'm totally chintzing out this year but want to have something to include in their portfolios. I decided to start with 'The Positively Pennsylvania Coloring Book.' It was $4.00 at a local educational store and reproducible. Each week, we'll read the informative caption and color the page.

Same but Separate -
SPANISH - They'll both use Switched on Schoolhouse by Alpha Omega for Spanish.

TYPING - Each will get weekly time with Typing Instructor.

Additional MUSIC - I'll probably start Soprano on piano and try to continue piano with Tenor. He's more interested in guitar so I might just go with that instead.

We're looking forward to some fun field trips this year that will correlate with our countries/cultures studies. I think a trip to ZooAmerica in Hershey, the Philadelphia Zoo, possibly the Baltimore Aquarium, Stoudtburg Village in Denver, PA, several local parks/rivers, and some yummy ethnic restaurants. (I'm pretty sure Olive Garden counts, right??? Please?)

So that's all totally doable for a first-time homeschooler, right? I'm feeling more ready to do this but trying to be realistic about how much work it will actually be.

Helpful links:
Homeschool Reviews
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Children's Books (discounted curriculum)
Homeschool Discount Products


  1. What a great line up you have. We used the Christian Light Literature one year too. My son loved the reader. He just lacked the ability to read it himself. He struggles in reading. So we put it aside. We might use it again w/ my daughter in a few years. I wanted to also share one more idea for you. If you have a need for help w/ spelling or even vocabulary you should look into We use it for extra help and when my son wants to "play" on the computer. :^)
    Have a blessed school year.

    Lil' Momma
    Living with a hard working husband, 1 toddler, 1 preschooler and 1 middle schooler who are Five in Training for HIM

  2. I am curious how you like the CLE curriculum. Any feedback would be sincerely appreciated. Thank You!

  3. I am wondering how you like the CLE curriculum. Any feedback would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you!


Your kind comments make me smile!

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