Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices (2012-2013 School Year)

Today I’d like to share our curriculum plans for the upcoming year. We have used most of these resources in the past, and as they are working well for our family, we’re using them again. Please keep in mind, however, that each family is different, so what works well for us may not necessarily be the best choice for your family. Every family is different in many ways:

  • Children have different learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.)
  • Parents have different teaching preferences (classical, Charlotte Mason, unit studies, textbooks, etc.)
  • Parents have differing amounts of time to spend doing the teaching. (Are you teaching one child or four? Are there other demands such as working from home, or caring for an aging parent?)
  • Every family has a different budget to work with in buying curriculum. And yes, there are options for everyone, even free! (Check out these educationally rich resources: whole year-by-year curriculum plans from Ambleside Online and An Old-Fashioned Education, free resources linked from Large Family Mothering, free printables and other resources from Donna Young, free reading lists from 1000 Good Books, which you can use to check books out from your local library.)

When choosing curriculum, it is very important to consider these things in order to find what will work best for YOUR family. I highly recommend Cathy Duffy’s book, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, as an absolutely wonderful (perhaps even essential) resource, to help you find resources that are likely to work for you and your children. This is an updated version of Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, which is just as good. I only link to the new version because the older edition appears to be only available electronically. That might work for you, but I really prefer this particular book as a physical book. Our local library has this book, and perhaps yours does too. Be sure to check it out!

That said, here are our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year.

Writer, 9th Grade

Bible, History, Language Arts: Ancient History and Literature (My Father’s World)
Science: Apologia Biology
Math: Teaching Textbooks (Algebra 1)
Music: Piano lessons
Electives: Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 2

Handyman, 7th Grade

Bible, Geography, Read-alouds: Exploring Countries and Cultures (My Father’s World)
7th/8th grade supplement to MFW
Literature: Two Progeny Press Guides (Anne of Green Gables, Swiss Family Robinson)
Science: Apologia General Science
Math: Teaching Textbooks (finish Pre-Algebra, begin Algebra 1)
English: Easy Grammar
Composition: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Cowgirl, 5th Grade

Bible, Geography, Science, Read-alouds: Exploring Countries and Cultures (My Father’s World)
Language Arts: Language Lessons for the Secondary Child
Composition: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Spelling: Spelling Workout Level E
Math: Math U See (finish Delta, begin Epsilon)
Math Supplement: Daily Word Problems 5

Happy, 3rd Grade

Bible, Geography, Science, Read-alouds: Exploring Countries and Cultures (My Father’s World)
Language Arts: Language Lessons for the Very Young 2
Handwriting: Cursive Connections
Spelling: Spelling Workout Level C
Math: Math U See (Beta)
Math Supplement: Daily Word Problems 3

Strawberry, 1st Grade

Join in all activities and readings with the Little Guys (see below)
Reading: Finish Alpha Phonics
Reading Supplement: Bob Books
Language Arts: Language Lessons for Little Ones
Handwriting: Review Handwriting Without Tears
Math Concepts: Daily Word Problems 1, Number Balance
Math Facts: Addition and Subtraction Wrap Ups, One Hundred Sheep (Skip Counting CD)

The Little Guys: Conductor, Sonshine, and Handsome

Stories and Unit Study: Five In A Row (Vol. 1 and 2)
Character Development: A Child’s Book of Character Building, Vol. 1 and 2
Bible Study: Leading Little Ones to God
Various activities for learning through play

As I mentioned yesterday, I am so very thankful that we have homeschooled from the beginning. There are many reasons for this, obviously, but practicality isn’t to be taken lightly! Not only is planning easier when we add in just one child at a time, but it’s easier on the pocketbook as well. We had already owned a lot of these resources, and are re-using them with younger children. Our purchases this year were still significant, but not even close to what we would need to buy if we were starting from scratch.

Of course, it would still be worth it. Every hour of planning. Every dollar spent. Every hour teaching. It isn’t always easy, but it is important, and it is a joy. The blessing of educating our own children is worth everything. God bless you who are venturing to take on the adventure of teaching your children.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9



Comments

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices (2012-2013 School Year) — 17 Comments

    • Thank you, Esther! We used IEW through part of last year, and I was very impressed with it. The kids loved it too and showed tremendous improvement. We weren’t disappointed!

      • I find these posts of yours at the beginning of every school year so helpful…thank you, Michelle! Are you planning to use IEW exclusively from now on, instead of Writing Strands?

        • Hi Joli, thanks for your comment! Yes, we have made a switch to IEW instead of Writing Strands. It gives an excellent foundation, and is so engaging for both the kids and me as the teacher! The downside is cost, but as we can re-use it many times with our big family, it was a bit easier to make the investment. It also helped me to become much more skillful in teaching my children to write and in giving them helpful feedback to make improvements in their writing.

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. We are planning to homeschool next year and hope to use MFW. I love to read how people use the program and their thoughts (how they tweak it for their families). I found your blog several months ago and have been enjoying perusing through your old posts. Have a blessed school year!

  2. Oh yay! I look forward to your posts every year! ;) How exciting to be starting the cycle on year one again. And a highschooler! Oh my! How do you like TT? Im considering it for next year as my oldest will finish up Zeta this year! Wow! And IEW!? Im considering that as well for next year. This year the money is spent. LOL.

    • Hi Vicki, Our older two have used TT for a while now and are doing great with it! Their only “complaint” is that they miss Mr. Demme. :-) He’s been their math teacher since the 3rd grade! TT is a huge help to me as well, since I don’t need to grade their tests or anything. The software grades all their work and keeps records of their scores.

      I do feel IEW is well worth then investment. We thought about it a few years before taking the plunge, but it is really helping them to become stronger writers. It’s also helping me to be a better writing teacher to them.

    • Esther, my oldest daughter is doing Spanish II, but for the time being we are taking a break from it. We probably will add in French or Spanish 1 for the younger kids at some point during the school year.

        • Hi Kirsten, So sorry for the confusion! I was actually addressing Esther, who had commented with a question about Rosetta Stone. As a grammar lover, I should have realized it would look like a participle! :-)

  3. So glad I found your site. We are just finishing up our first year of homeschooling. I have one going into K, 4th, and 6th. We are switching to MFW next year. We tried the traditional approach, but did not like it. I took them out of public school for several reasons, one of which was not liking the “kill and drill” of it. Now that I feel more confident I think it will be a good move for us. Your info has great attention to detail. After reading your homeschooling choices, I have decided to add Easy Grammar for my older 2. While checking around I found it cheaper on Christianbook.com. I can’t wait to see your selections for the 2013-2014 school yr.

  4. Hello Michelle, I really like your site. I also like the curriculum plans you have posted. My little guy is two years old,he’s our only child currently so this is our first run. I’m a bit confused on the curriculum layout you have posted. I read in the blog that you follow mfw curriculum but I noticed that you use other books for some subjects. Mfw does cover all subjects right? Just curious to know why you use other books for those subjects?

    • Hi Denise,

      Welcome! In the MFW curriculum for grades 2-8, the main teacher’s guide and accompanying books cover everything you would need to teach Bible, Social Studies, Science, Art, and Music. Those are basically all the subjects that are done together as a family. MFW also makes recommendations for Math and Language Arts, which they have available for purchase; however, those subjects are not sold as part of the core package. This gives parents the flexibility to use another publisher if they prefer, and to use the years that coordinate with their children’s levels.

      Some other subjects that aren’t included in the core packages are electives (foreign language, logic, etc.) and some items that need to be added on to beef it up for 7th and 8th graders. The science is not quite challenging enough for 7th/8th grade, so they need their own separate science. This age group also needs study guides for literature and a few other items. MFW makes recommendations for all of those as well, and has them available to purchase.

      Some years I’ve used MFW’s Language Arts recommendations, and others I’ve not. For Math, I’ve consistently used Math U See for my elementary kids because it works well for us, and now Teaching Textbooks for Algebra and beyond. For my children younger than 2nd grade, I have always pieced together my selections. I have done this since before I ever heard of MFW, and I’ve been happy with my choices, so I’ve never tried MFW’s K or 1st grade programs. I think the K and 1st programs might actually cover everything, but I don’t know for sure. Hope this helps!

      God Bless,
      Michelle

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