Our Homeschooling Curriculum Favorites

All my lovely “first day” plans kind of went out the window, with last week’s bout of Poison Sumac–ick! You’ll all be glad to know that I’m so much better, in fact, well enough to go camping with friends this past Saturday/Sunday! I doubt I’ll take normal life and good health for granted for a long time to come!

Anyway, as I was saying, I’d planned on last Thursday being our first day of school…complete with our treasure hunt kick-off and craft day. Problem was, I didn’t have all my supplies together for either the craft OR the treasure hunt, so we’re jumping into school books anyhow and plan to work the other stuff in on a special day TO BE ANNOUNCED. Thankfully, my girls cut me some slack this year! We did, however, get to break in my middle daughter’s pottery wheel…and oh boy, was that a blast!

So everyone always asks me what curriculum I use, and the truth is, I’m eclectic…always using a hodge podge of whatever comes highest recommended to me by trusted family and friends. There is SO much out there to choose from…so many top notch resources, so much that I’d love to do if we could afford it…so each year I add something new, and continue using what I loved from years prior.

Here’s a quick list of what we’re using this year, and links to the websites so you can check them out if you so desire! You’ll notice I like to combine subjects with my girls…they’re in different grades (3rd and 5th) for math and language arts, but this year we’ll be tackling the other subjects together! Last year we did different histories and sciences, etc, so I’m really psyched about this approach. There are always ways to make it more intensive for my older daughter…so I feel certain this is the way to go…for us!

One last thing–I praise God for the freedom to hand pick my daughters’ educational resources. To have endless options as far as Christian curriculums go…you can’t ask for much more than that. What a huge blessing!

  • Mystery of History Volume 1, Creation to Christ–I’m super excited about this series, because it covers world history in ancient times, such as what was going on in China when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and what famous Bible figure was living when the Trojan horse was being built…I joined the yahoo group for this volume of MofH, and have already printed off timeline figures, map helps, additional book lists, book report blanks, etc. Plus, the pictures people have posted there of their completed projects are hugely motivational!
  • Historical Biographies– the What Really Happened series will be a wonderful read-aloud complement to our history program!
  • A Child’s Geography this is so highly recommended by EVERYONE who has ever used it, and we are loving the author’s kid-friendly style and enthusiastic approach to earth study! This textbook came with a CD-Rom full of helps, and there is also a yahoo group in support of it, full of files and resources that I’ve been taking FULL advantage of! I’m impressed by the “Reaching Out to His World” and “Further Exploration” book list sections at the end of each chapter. This is more than a textbook, it’s a revolution to get our kids thinking beyond their own self-focused backyard and across the world by encouraging a mission field type of outlook. Powerful.
  • The Star-Spangled State Book and Workbook we’ll tackle this once we’ve finished up the Child’s Geography. I’m super addicted to the Geo quizzes in this book, can’t wait to teach it to the girlies!
  • Apologia science, their elementary Botany program so excited about this, as I just discovered that creationsensation.com has Apologia lab kits for each subject all packed up and ready to go, with experiment items listed according to chapter projects…this will save me HOURS of planning and shopping! There’s also, yes–you know what’s coming, a yahoo support group for Apologia elementary sciences, with so many resources in their files…from games to vocabulary lists to scheduling guidelines…My girls are anxious to get a Venus Fly Trap in the mail–woo-hoo! Botany, here we come!
  • Professor B Math common sense math, taught and mastered in far less time than conventional math programs. I LOVE it! We have the CD-Rom, which is scripted, so my older daughter can sit with my 3rd grader and walk her through it if need be, and gain review in the process. Me likes that!
  • Spell to Write and Read by Wanda Sanseri this program is the best all around multi-age language arts program, imo, for teaching phonograms and for making sense of the English Language! I love the spelling lists that stretch from preschool to college level, and that each week’s words are accompanied by several spelling enrichment activities. Plus, each year, my girls make their own spelling book, featuring spelling rule pages that outline each of our language’s twenty-something spelling rules. Fantastic program. I’ve blogged about it here beforemany times! A curriculum you can buy once, use for all your children, each year. Very cost efficient!
  • Sonlight’s Grammar Ace with School House Rock what a fun way to reinforce grammar rules! This is a super fun, user-friendly program that my whole family enjoys. Hubby and I really get a kick out of reviewing the School House Rock DVD songs…Conjunction Junction, and Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here…and what’s even better, this program comes with ALL the School House Rock videos that were ever made! Not just the grammar ones…these jingles really stick in your head, my last year’s second grader particularly liked “3 is a Magic Number“–to which she learned her 3 times tables!

Of course, we’re still doing Mavis Beacon typing, and Music Ace, God’s World News and Bible…and all our handwriting will be covered by copywork out of our geography, history and Spell to Write and Read curriculums. The girls love to read and read aloud and be read to, so no need to assign extra reading…

Yes, I’m super happy with what we use, can’t you tell (?), but that doesn’t mean it’s the only good stuff out there, of course! Just sharing *my* favorites…the tip of the iceberg of all the goodies available to homeschoolers! If you are raising preschoolers, do your homework. You could start researching now, and be way ahead of the game…

I’ll leave you with an article I really enjoyed, 5 Essential Ingredients to Homeschooling Success by Terri Johnson. It outlines many of the things I love about being able to live this lifestyle…

How was your child’s first day of school? And if you happen to home educate, or have a favorite curriculum, please share it in comments!