We are not even finished with our current homeschool year, but I have been planning and researching out next year’s curriculum. One reason I am planning right now is that we are attending our homeschool conference next month and so I have been checking out the vendors and deciding what I need to buy while at the conference.
I prefer to stick with familiar curriculum, but I am planning to change a couple of things this school year. Specifically for my younger kids. Below is my long list of curriculum for our large homeschool family.
We have 7 children and this school year they will be starting grades 7th, special needs 5th (click here to read more about how we do special needs homeschooling), 3rd, 2nd, Kindergarten (K5), K4, and preschool. I am sharing my curriculum choices for 7th, 3rd, 2nd, K5, K4 grades.
We are very eclectic. We do a mix of Charlotte Mason, Classical, a lifestyle of learning, and traditional textbook styles depending on the subject, so I mix and match curriculum to get what I want for each year. I absolutely love researching curriculum and talking about curriculum and finding new curriculum… not sure if that’s a good thing, but it is what it is.
The following are my plans (and wishlist) and not every single item will be used extensively. Language arts (phonics, spelling, reading, grammar) and math will be the top priority with everything else purchased in parts as our budget allows.
We were blessed this year with a homeschool scholarship from Rush Revere (Rush and Kathryn Limbaugh), so we will be using it to purchase some of the extra resources we’ve been wanting! We love Rush Revere books, check them out if you haven’t yet!
Large Family Homeschool Mix And Match Curriculum (7th, 3rd, 2nd, K5)
History – Tapestry of Grace Year 3. I read most of the books to my kids, but there are a few that I let my oldest read to himself. I love reading the history books with them and I like to pre-screen books, so I am kind of picky about which ones I skip and hand over to my oldest! I also add other living history books to our shelves whenever possible.
We do ToG on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Science – Christian Liberty Nature Readers (continued from the previous year).
Farm Anatomy, Nature Anatomy, and Food Anatomy (completely new to us, but looks great for us considering we hope to buy our little homestead farm next year).
Since my children love to research and look up scientific facts, the above books are going to be available for my children to read to themselves when they are interested, in addition to me reading to them on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Math – We are going to do another year of Math Lessons For A Living Education.
I am also (at this point) planning to have my oldest move on to Principles of Mathematics Book 1.
I’m still eyeballing Life of Fred and wondering if we should have the sets on hand as extra resources, but not sure we will take the plunge this year or not. Editing to add: I ended up buying Life Of Fred Math today because of the awesome deal I found! I compared prices and it’s cheaper than Educents, Amazon, and z-twists… Plus free shipping! Yay!! Get the deal here for a limited time!
I want to add in some Thinking Tree Journals for math, too. We own a couple of their journals for other subjects and like them.
We do math Monday – Thursday.
Language Arts: Phonics & Spelling & Reading & Grammar – Fix-it! Grammar and Easy Grammar Plus for my 7th grader are both continuations of previous years. We love them (my oldest doesn’t complain, so that’s a win), so no reason to switch. I don’t focus as much on grammar until upper elementary years.
I am considering Language Lessons for the Very Young Volume 1 from Queen Homeschool for my 3rd grader. I think it, combined with the resources below, will be sufficient for her language arts studies.
I am still not 100% sure exactly which curriculum I will be using with my younger children (as you’ll see below), but I am quite sure that we will switch from Abeka back to a classical (I use the term classical loosely here) Orton-Gillingham / Spalding approach. I know there is some conflict between those two methods, but I like parts of them both and they both agree on the 70+ phonograms and teaching the truly phonetic way of learning to spell and read (it is the order and way in which they teach, that differs).
I am buying a few resources to use for my 3rd & 2nd graders (they both read quite fluently already) and my K5er (I will begin teaching her to read). Basically, I love the extensive and in-depth phonics programs for teaching spelling and reading, so I am mostly using them to educate myself and then applying what I’ve learned to teach my children.
I am hoping to either go back to The Phonics Road To Spelling & Reading (I own levels 1, 2, & 3 so this would be the most budget-friendly) -or- try Spell to Write and Read (which may be a step down from The Phonics Road and does not incorporate any Latin, but is cheaper and is meant to be used with cheap notebooks instead of purchasing student binders) as my core and then read some of the books from my Language Arts Resource List For Homeschool Moms to educate myself.
Haha, don’t freak out. I know that list looks like a huge amount of reading and research, but I am probably not going to read all of them – at least not in one year. And remember that I use these as a tool and reference guide in our homeschool, not as a master.
The methods and teaching styles discussed are similar to The Phonics Road program that I used for 3+ years with my older kids. I completely loved it except the time it took to watch the DVDs every week — the DVDs are basically invaluable but are time-consuming so I had to take a break from it this last year and just use open & go textbooks from Abeka because of how overwhelmed I was feeling dealing with multiple kids’ medical and special needs. Abeka teaches a different style and I ended up using what I learned in The Phonics Road to adjust or modify their textbooks anyway, so I really shouldn’t bother buying them.
I seriously wish that The Phonics Road would produce a set of DVDs for the teacher to learn the method with just a few examples and exclude the long weekly student instruction (although, I am not sure skipping the lengthy training is possible). I would buy them and watch for my own education because – like I said above – the teacher training DVDs are invaluable for those of us who were taught very little phonics ourselves.
I also plan to continue using copywork and journaling for my younger children (things we added for the first time last year), as well as using the books in this series by Denise Eide (Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book Of Sounds, Whistling Whales: Beyond the Sounds of ABC, and Knitting Knights: Beyond the Sounds of ABC) and these awesome printables I found that line up with the methods used in the programs I mentioned above. I can use these for my upcoming reader and for my older children to reinforce spelling skills.
Because I would like to find an open and go curriculum with pre-made textbooks that line up with my preferred method, I have looked into All About Reading/Spelling and Foundations from Logic Of English since I heard they are similar but haven’t been able to determine if they would work for us. I need to check them out in person.
I will probably get Abeka’s K4 ABC-123 textbook for my 4-year-old just to give him something to do in addition to drawing and using his Usborne doodling books during school time. I will casually and gently introduce phonics with him as we work through the textbook.
Whew! I am sorry for the long explanations, but like I said: I love researching and discussing curriculum and as you can see, I am the most passionate about language arts!
We do language arts Monday – Thursday. We do (our version of a) spelling test on Friday for the older kids.
We do our formal art lessons on Friday.
Music – Our 3rd and 7th graders are doing music lessons with their dad for both guitar and piano. The other kids are still in the ‘music appreciation’ stage, so I simply let them enjoy listening to music (hymns, classical, country, rock, etc.).
My husband does lessons with the older kids 3-5 times per week.
Foreign Language – We still take a very relaxed approach to foreign language, but I try to include informal Latin and Spanish lessons often. Resources from Compass Classroom, Memoria Press, and others are used in our home.
So, there you have it. Our huge list of learning resources for our large family. I’d love to hear what you are using this year!
Continue Reading… Language Arts Resource List For Homeschool Moms