Homeschool Curricula Choices for the New School Year

Be organized for the school year with a list of each child’s course of study. Ours go in my homeschool binder and provide a record of our homeschool program and coursework.

fishmama-homeschool-picks-no-date I got an email from our Latin teacher that class starts next week. Really? Summer went by a little too quickly for my blood. But, instead of telling you once more that I’m in denial — I’ll admit that I’m in the game.

Well, almost. Today I did the last of our school shopping. The last of the books are ordered. My new planner is bound, and I’m slowly getting ready to get to it.

This year will be a doozy, too. With all six kids in formal schooling this year, it promises to be one of the, er, most exciting years to date. I’m thankful that we stuck to math and reading all summer, so the transition shouldn’t be too brutal.

We’re going to “cook frogs” again this year and start with a few subjects each week, adding a few more with each subsequent week until we’re at full speed. We’re also taking a slower weekly schedule approach as well, doing 4-day weeks for the first month or two and then adding the fifth day later.

Slow and steady wins the race, eh?

Homeschool Curricula Choices for the New Year

One of the things that helps me get — and hopefully stay — organized throughout the school year is to prepare a list of each child’s course of study. It goes in my homeschool binder for the year. I not only have a record of the plan for the year, but it also serves to guide subsequent students who come along behind.

For the curious, here’s how school content breaks down for each of my children this year.

(Please note that this post does include affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links below, I may receive a small percentage of the sale in the way of advertising fees. Your price is not affected.)

kindergarten girl with phonics pathways

Kindergarten

My baby starts kindergarten this year. She’s had a blast the last few years doing preschool activities at home. Now, she’s moving up in the world. I bought her a basket for her books and assigned her a color.

Each child has a color for schoolwork. His binders, notebooks, and assignment sheets are all that color. Color-coding makes my life so much easier. FishBaby/FishChick4-almost-5 will be purple. And she is thrilled.

She’s also really looking forward to reading. That copy of Phonics Pathways is about 12 years old. It’s served us well.

Second Grade

This is my big girl. Her reading is coming along nicely; she’s eager to learn; and she’s downright fun to be with. Love her!

school books

Fourth Grade

My baby boy is in 4th grade? How did this happen? He’s a peach, happy go lucky, quick to help, a little squirrelly. He doesn’t think he likes schoolwork, but I’m intent to prove him wrong.

Sixth Grade

My mother-in-law once referred to this child as “a bull in a china shop”. That’s only one side of him. The other side is sweet, quiet, and creative. Math has been a challenge, so we’re playing catch up. He loves to read and is a whiz at spelling. I’m trying a few different things for grammar and writing in the hopes of encouraging affection for the written word.

teaching textbooks

Eighth Grade

When he was three, this child recited the tale of Odysseus in the church nursery. We’ve always called him our absent-minded professor, apt to forget to tie his shoes, but brilliance incarnate. I think he knows a lot more than I think he does which is always a pleasant surprise as a teacher and a mom.

Eleventh Grade

My guinea pig is a junior in high school. I’m shocked and amazed. God has been very gracious to us. The teen years, while far from over, have not been as painful as folks paint them to be. I’m so excited to see the man that is outgrowing the boy.

FishBoy16’s schooling is becoming more and more independent. I really don’t need to do anything but buy the books, chat about the content, and follow-up to make sure there aren’t any snags.

So, there we are. I’m a little woozy looking at all that now. Hold me?

Have you found great curriculum for homeschooling or afterschooling?

Tell us about it in the comments and feel free to share the link to your post if you’ve shared your curricula for the year on your blog.

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Comments

  1. Good choices. I am doing PreK this year and I have a 2 year old. I was a teacher and was always handed the curriculum and didn’t like that I didn’t have a choice, but I’m finding it harder now as I research all the options. I just want to provide them with a well rounded education and prepare them for college and life. I’m excited for this journey to start!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      One thing I wished I had done years ago when I was so antsy to get started was to read more of the stuff I’d be teaching later. I have learned a lot in 13 years, but it would have been nice to have read some of the content sooner. My 16yo has read some stuff I never even read in college! (And I have a master’s degree. LOL)

  2. I am curious…how are you teaching History of the Renaissance World? I am thinking about combining it with Story of the World 3 for my 7th grader…

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      They don’t really combine well at all, as far as I can tell since they are paced so differently. That was the case with the first two in the History series; they didn’t follow the same timeline as the SOTW series. My high schooler has been going through history at his own pace since we started with Susan’s History series for adults. So, I’m not really planning to combine them all that much. But, I’ve not dug in too deeply into the contents of each yet. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, though.

      • Ha! I am not sure I have any thoughts! I am in my second year of homeschool, and I have been and will be using a lot of the same curriculum that you are. I am about to post on my own blog about this years curriculum, and I just finished my homeschool planner post. http://onedollarcottage.com/2013/08/09/homeschool-planning-homeschool-plan-book/

        I am much more comfortable with curriculum that has a structure that makes it easier to plan! When I have to go off grid it makes me uncomfortable! I love Story of the World, but I want a little bit more, but I don’t want to have to buy a bunch of other stuff, or have to get too complicated. I found this site, which has some great suggestions for combining SOTW with other stuff http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/SOTWmenu.htm but it still isn’t quite what I am looking for!

        I admire the heck out of you planning for that many children!!

        Kary

  3. Amy Drorbaugh says:

    I’m curious as to why you switched your older children from Saxon math to Teaching Textbooks. My daughter is going into fifth grade and we have used Saxon from the beginning. :-) Thanks

  4. My kindergartener and yours have a lot in common this year- I just started story of the world Monday and we start Saxon soon. :)

  5. Loved the Exploring Creation with Chemistry! We followed it with the physics a year later.

    For your somewhat reluctant sixth grader in a couple years: Movies as Literature http://www.designastudy.com/products/1891975099.html We used this for a junior year “Oh my goodness, we suddenly need a whole year of literature” package.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Thanks for the tip! He loves to read, just hates to write. Does it address that?

      • It addresses the hating to write via interesting content but not specifically as tasks.

        Back in the middle school years, we had to step back considerably and focus more on writing skills when he moved from a brick & mortar school to homeschooling. We started with The Paragraph Book series though it turns out we didn’t complete it:http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/details.cfm?seriesonly=2671M Once my hating-to-write son had some specific tools to turn to, he felt more confident in his ability to branch out from the rubric-based writing. It was sort of like your “there’s nothing to make for dinner” suggestions only for writers. Not something you’d want everyday, but good enough for one of those days.

  6. Do you need to go in order starting with volume 1 of Story of the World? Would it be alright to skip around depending on which time period you are studying?

  7. Any suggestions on teaching the basics of US History? I have a Grade 6 and 9. We are US citizens but currently living in Canada for the next 2-4+ years, and they are in a middle school I like a lot.

    They will most likely get a smattering in high school, but I’d like them to know more, as we plan to do a DC vacation in the next few years.

    Any suggestions for a once a week or so program would be great.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I am not sure. I will know of one that is smallish, which sounds like what you want. I liked the Joy Hakim series but it’s pretty in depth.

    • We live in Canada and I use A Beka Book History and Geography Program in Christian Perspective – they are from Florida so I switch out the US Texts, which may be what you are looking for: Gr. 3 Our American Heritage Gr. 4 History of Our United States Gr. 8 America: Land I love Gr. 9 American Government and Gr. 11 US History: Heritage of Freedom. I found the Gr. level easy to use and incorporate for all ages and the layout is well done – with great information – I would recommend the other years as well for a well rounded History program.

      Enjoy your time in the True North Strong and Free!

  8. I love your post and wanted to ask more specifically about your French schooling. I am homeschooling a K this year and have most of his curriculum chosen but am not sure on the French. To be honest, I always joke that its the bain of my existence. But, this is because I didn’t learn it until I was an adult and had to for work (I work for the UN as a lawyer and needed it for my work). We are a pretty mobile family and my children were born in Africa and I expect we will move back there within a few years. I know that they really need French and I want to start now. I think I am planning to do Muzzy with them….but I saw that you are doing the Rosetta Stone. I actually own it and considered it but then thought that maybe for a kindergartener (and a Pre-Ker….I have a 4 1/2 and a 5 1/2 year old) it would be boring. So, I was wondering if you are using it with your Kindergartener and how it has worked? I love all your suggestions in your French post about ways to include enthusiasm and culture too. Thank you!

  9. I have 3 in my classroom! My oldest, JJ , he is in High school this year. Eeekkk! lol ;)
    My youngest, Ayden, he will be starting Kindergarten as well, and my mini “me”, Shelby, will be in 5th Grade.

    So, this is our line up for the year:

    JJ:
    He will be taking a Biology class at our local co-op. We have also decided to use an Online curriculum for him this year. It is the new High School courses from Time4Learning.
    ~> http://www.time4learning.com/homeschool/high_school.html
    Foreign Language: Spanish with Rosetta Stone
    P.E : Base Ball
    Music: Piano

    Ayden:
    I am a Big fan of the School Zone books. They are so cheap and colorful and Ayden really loved them for pre-school. So, we will be using them again for Kinder. ~> http://www.schoolzone.com/
    Besides this he will be participating in our local weekly co-op.
    P.E : Weekly park play date with other homeschool children & T-Ball
    Art: Library craft time

    Shelby:
    Language , Math, and Science: Time4Learning, School zone work books, & weekly co-op
    Spelling: http://www.spellingcity.com/
    History: Story of the world
    P.E : Cheerleading & Dance
    Music : Violin

  10. Your curriculum write up is my favorite! This will be my first official year working through curriculum (my guinea pig is a 1st grader). I really appreciate how simply you’ve laid it out and yet how customized it is for each of your children. You speak life into each one of their learning capabilities, point out how they have done excellence in the past and expect it of them in the future! Those are mom characteristics I can look up to! It’s fun to see this perspective as I am just starting. Thinking of my guinea pig as a teenager is exciting after reading what you wrote about God’s graciousness and the mention of your oldest becoming more and more independent! I’ve always thought opposite when people “complain” about “typical” teenagers. I’d like to think it has been your loving guidance (and home school) with your eldest that has him demonstrating good stuff. So even though this layout has you feeling woozy- it encourages me! {Perhaps cause I just have the one guinea pig doing school so far}. Anyway, thank you!!

  11. What are your suggestions for earth science? I am using a lot of Susan Wise Bauer’s curriculum, but I am having trouble finding something for science that is planned out as well as her’s. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Science is the bane of my existence. The first time around we built it from scratch using library books and that worked well for years 1 and 2. Then it was hard. I’ve spent LOTS of money on science curriculum. I’m hoping the Jay Wile Berean Builders series will do what I want.

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