I thought I’d take some time to write out, as best as I can, our homeschool flow. What resources we use, what methods are working for our family, and my thoughts on education. I get asked often, “What curriculum are you using?”, and it’s difficult for me to answer that in short, so I am going to try my best to explain 🙂
First, I have to say I’m not a fan of boxed curriculum, or workbook/worksheet heavy schooling. I love a holistic approach including hands on activities, acting out stories, narration, illustrating, exploring, and interest led discovery.
This will all apply to younger children as Cadence is in 1st grade, and Zion is in Kindergarten.
We school four days a week, and generally spend about three-four hours a day on school. This includes various breaks to find the kittens, visit the chickens, or scooter down the driveway 🙂 We will school in the summer (of course a lot more flexible) so that it gives us room to skip days, or cut some days short.
First, here is a list of the actual curriculum/resources we use regularly. And then I’ll explain my planning methods and all of the extra resources we use.
- “The Good and The Beautiful”
- “Mammoth Math”
- Various devotionals. Some of our favorites: “The Ology”, “Wonder Works”, “Indescribable”, “Kids Read Truth” “I Am”.
- Memory verse memorization, and character trait lessons within “A Year of Tales” unit study. “Books of the Bible” song on repeat 🙂
- “Kiwi Crate” monthly subscription
- “Exploring Nature with Children” seasonal guide
- Occasionally we choose a lesson from “God’s Design for Life” by MasterBooks that goes along with what we are already studying.
As you can see, we only technically use two official workbook style curriculums. For language arts I like “The Good and The Beautiful” as our base because it is an open and go, academically strong, and Christ centered curriculum. We do one lesson a day, and it covers grammar, sentence structure, spelling, sight words, reading and more. For math, “Mammoth Math” works for us because it is straight forward, and gets right to the actual assignment, rather than giving a lengthy build up. I tend to not like long, wordy scripts to read. This is mainly because we do so many other learning activities regularly that encompass these subjects, so I need the curriculum portion to move quickly, you know, so we can get to the fun stuff.
That is a list of the resources we use on a regular basis, but we don’t limit ourselves to solely those. So, I should admit I am a unit/theme fanatic. When I sit down to plan, I look at the next six months on our calendar. I make a list of all the holidays, when each season officially starts, and any trips we have planned. This helps me think through what type of things we can study that will flow most naturally.
Because the kids and I are nature lovers, I use the “Exploring Nature with Children” as a base to help me plan according to the season.
For example, in the winter season we study things that are naturally happening in winter or that fit the seasonal theme. We study things like polar bears, snow, birth of Jesus, legend of Santa Clause, evergreens, etc. In February we cover topics such as Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, and Groundhog Day. Seasons and holidays play a big role within planning the year.
By making note of everything I’d like to study per season, I am able to then build a unit around each topic. Building a unit just means I make a bullet point list of books we will read, videos we will watch, and activities we will do around this theme.
Some units are more like mini units that only take a few days and some last a week or two. I like to spend more time on things that the kids are excited about, as they are more prone to learning/retaining what they have interest in.
Each unit we study typically includes touches of geography, science, history, grammar, reading, art and more, which is why I love units so much. They truly help to keep us excited about homeschool.
Also, I think it’s the kindergarten teacher in me, but I love creating center-type activities. I typically find resources through Pinterest or TeacherPayTeachers to create a fun activity for subjects that need regular review. For their current grade level these are addition and subtraction, place value, CVC words, money, continents, states, and such. Some examples of activities are coin sorting chart, coin bingo, state bingo, roll dice and add/subtract, subtraction race board games, play dough continent cards, sight word bingo, and clock review games. These are activities I print, laminate, and keep in a file to pull out as a review consistently.
And lastly, there are two methods that are consistent for us. One would be role playing. We particularly do this for Bible. After every Bible story we read, I then have the kids act out the story. The next day they repeat their skit as review. We spend two mornings on one Bible story so that they truly retain. The other method we stick with is notebooking. After each lesson we cover, the children illustrate and write about what they learn. This serves as another form of practicing reading, grammar, and spelling. Each entry is laminated when complete. The binder then serves as their year long portfolio reminding us of all of the beautiful things we discovered over the year. I leave the binders out, so that they can look over and review previous lessons, or show visitors. They are so proud of their work. Zion asked me the other day if I could put his book in the local library. :
I know that was a lot, but I really hope it was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions! I linked all resources as well!
On another note, who else is beyond excited for spring to start?