I did what I think no other homeschool blogger has ever done- I failed to write a “curriculum pick” post for last year. Eeek. Honestly, in hindsight, I’m thankful. I was full excited about a few programs over last summer, but when it came down to it, they weren’t a good fit and we swapped to new programs after a few weeks.
I’m thankful for the experience, as it was an incredible learning opportunity to me. It also shows that no matter how amazing a program seems, once you get into it, it just might not be a good fit! Suffice it to say, that after an initial “fail” of one program in the fall, we found our way to a program that I now am certain we will use for many years (as certain as an easily distracted homeschool mama can be!).
So, what are our choices for this year? Many of them are simply a continuation of last year. If you’d like a one-page pdf rundown of what we are doing, feel free to CLICK HERE and download it (no log-in required). However, I’ll go into a bit more detail for each program below.
For the 2019-2020 school year, my oldest daughter will be 15 this July and a high school sophomore. My second daughter (who has dyslexia), turns 13 in September, will be in the 7th grade. My oldest son turns 4 September 1, and my baby boy will turn 3 in December.
I’m thankful for this gap in ages. While I have plans to continue to gently work with my sons as they exhibit both readiness and eagerness, there’s also zero pressure. Academically, I can completely focus on my girls, while just keeping my boys entertained and enriched- so keep that in mind here.
Do I have PLANS for my toddlers? Yes. Do I hold them very loosely at these ages? YES. Everything is truly fun, exploration, and enjoyment with them for the next few years (Praise, God!).
Let’s get to it! Here is the plan for my high school sophomore:
Complete Algebra 1/Begin Geometry (Jacob’s for both)- She is, at the current moment, still working through her Algebra 1 text (Jacob’s Elementary Algebra). Let’s just say that math is no one’s strong suit around here. My husband is a human calculator, but no teacher, bless it- so my girls are left with me. They also kind of inherited my math-dense genes. So, we learned years ago to just always keep moving forward. We school year round, especially math. And when we finish Algebra 1, we will immediately roll into Geometry. I’m perfectly comfortable giving her more than one year to finish her Algebra 1, because when she’s done, she will KNOW IT. I’m thankful for homeschool freedom!
Biblical Worldview- Tapestry of Grace Yr 2- After a rough start last fall with a different Ancient History program (which is a perfectly fine program and had a great selection, but it felt insufficient to me), we switched over to Tapestry of Grace. I won’t go into much detail here as my friend, Hayley, has written a detailed blog post HERE, and she and I recorded an hour-long podcast all about TOG HERE. Suffice it to say, I LOVE Tapestry- and it’s truly a beautiful tapestry. It equips me to teach her Biblical discernment as she is receiving a very different education than I received. In the earlier program (that shall remain nameless), the books were quality, but I had to read them too OR trust her to kind of draw her own conclusions. Neither were acceptable to me. Tapestry assigns the best, equips me to discuss them, and centers everything we read and do on the Word.
History- Tapestry of Grace Yr 2- (same as above)
Literature- TOG Yr 2; Grammar- Our Mother Tongue; Writing- The Power in Your Hands- We will also use Tapestry for Literature, and it’s an extremely thorough program. I think she’s learning things now that I never got to in college. It’s extremely rigorous! However, we don’t use the TOG writing program. We began The Power in Your Hands by Sharon Walsh last year. She completely about 1/3 of it (as we also do frequent written narrations), so we will just continue forward. She really enjoys the process, and I enjoy the fruit of it. Win. Win. For grammar, she needs a refresher as we learn grammar thoroughly in the middle grades then just refresh as needed. I’ll be instituting a 10 min grammar portion of our Morning Basket this year for both girls. Short and sweet. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or not, but when you click the link to Our Mother Tongue and scroll to the bottom to view a “sample,” the PDF download is for all 242 pages. So…. freebie ;)
Biology- The Riot and the Dance- In all honesty, this is Biology on repeat for us. We chose Sabbath Mood Biology last year, feeling like it was a good fit for my lit-loving child. She greatly enjoyed it. I supplemented with a few cell-focused Outschool.com classes and added a generous share of botany study as well, because I would definitely consider it “light.” However, after discussing what the program held with a rep from Canon Press, he said what I was already thinking- it just wasn’t meaty enough to be a true college prep biology. So we chose this new’ish program from Canon. I’m excited about the format and will share more when we’ve used it. However, while I won’t consider Sabbath Mood a sufficient college-prep biology for our family, I am using it plus all the plant collection and identification she did as a botany credit.
Latin- Latin Alive- For foreign languages last year, we began with Memoria Press Greek with a planned online class. They canceled the class. (grr) So then we switched to Athenaze Greek with another online class- and it just wasn’t a good fit. The students were all from Greek Orthodox families and were WAY Ahead of her. The content was intense and took over our entire school week. We finally parted ways after two months of stress. At this point, she was burned out on Greek, so we switched over to Latin Alive. We very slowly moved through a good portion of it, and plan to pick up right where we left off. She earned a half credit of Classical Languages between the two languages last year, so the completion of Latin Alive this year will give us another half credit.
Logic- Introductory Logic- This kiddo loves Logic and really enjoys learning all of the fallacies. I’d purchased Introductory Logic from Canon last year, but it honestly fell off the radar. At the Great Homeschool Convention this year, I saw that they had created a book as an off-shoot of this program: The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies along with the Adorable Fallacy Flashcards. I felt like this took the program from overwhelming and unattainable to something that I could do and enjoy with both girls. I’m excited to spend time with them on this program this next year.
Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens- If you saw my emails following the Build Your Bundle Sale this year, you saw that I purchased this premium course for 50% off the normal price. SCORE! I’m so excited about this. As my daughter is getting older, she has a desire to earn her own income. But, she’s still not old enough to drive and we aren’t very close to… anything. So, what better way for her to use her talents, earn high school credit, and earn some income to buy her own car in a few years?!? This will be an elective. What she does, how well she does it, and how “all in” she goes, will determine whether this is a half or whole credit and how I label it on her transcript.
Now for 7th grade:
Science- Still pending! We had planned to participate in a co-op and had a change of heart, last minute. I’m still thinking and researching for her. I’d love to either do an overall survey that covers several areas of science or do a collection of unit studies. I need something that’s relatively independent and accommodates for dyslexia. Science terms can be super hard for us.
Math- Rightstart E- So, for several years, we have used Math-U-See. My sweet girl has as much dyscalculia as she does dyslexia. We finally really moved past some of her main hurdles in dyslexia and she reads superbly- but math. Sheesh. Bless it. But that’s OK- she’s a force to be reckoned with, can entertain a crowd, has a heart of gold, and is a talented artist! So, with all that said, we tend to run a smidgen (or two) “behind” in math, and we are trying something different this year. Math-U-See is good, thorough, and hands-on. But he uses much mathematical terminology (like you would fully expect him to!) and verbally explains many things without necessarily demonstrating them thoroughly. Terms like “quotient, subtraction, integer, divisor, coefficient” just trip her up. You have to do much more pointing and saying, “Do this with this.” It’s not pretty, but it’s what’s necessary. I’m excited to give Rightstart a thorough try this year!
Biblical Worldview, History, and Literature- Tapestry of Grace Yr 2- All the same as above. Yes- we use a book-heavy, literature rich primary curriculum. She reads most of her it herself, and listens to a few things on audiobook as needed- followed by verbal and written narrations. I’m so proud of her!
Grammar- Our Mother Tongue- Same as sister above.
Writing- Written Narration- Easy peasy. And people do often fret about leaving writing instruction to this. We’ve found that it deepens their understanding, and allows their readings to shape their style. Both of my girls are developing into excellent writers. I’ve now added something additional (minimally) in high school for my older daughter because she’s interested in writing professionally.
Latin- Latin for Children A- We’ve been working on this level for going on 3 years. Haha! That’s ok though. Latin is definitely no race as I consider it a “bonus.” It helps develop spelling, vocabulary, and grammar skills as well as just increasing verbal attentiveness and an appreciation for language. So we just continue moving forward! I grabbed these PRECIOUS booklets of Beatrix Potter in Latin from Canon Press (I may have gotten obsessed with them at GHC).
Logic- Introductory Logic- Same as above with sister!
K4 (and tag-along K3/2):
Poetry, Art, Literature, Memory Work, Bible- The Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2 (sub Level 1 for little brother)- This may include a mild duh from you ;). I’m writing this program for them, so it makes sense I would use it with them. My actual plan is to use it very loosely and casually for my 4 year old’s “K4” year, then use it more intently his Kindergarten year, when his brother is older and can participate more as well. For this year, I’ll substitute Level 1 statements for my little one, where I feel like the Level 2 Memory Statements are too much. You can click here to learn all about both programs. There’s now a FULL 13-Page Preview of Level 2 available in the Member Resource Library!
Nature Study/Science- Gentle + Classical Nature- Same as above. I created this program for my boys! My younger daughter has also enjoyed Term 1 using the Upper Grammar Expansion Pack. We will continue to slowly work through the Attainments and Nature Explorations over the K4 year. When we are done, we will turn right around and walk back through it again.
Reading- All About Reading, Pre-Reading- I’ve shared some reviews for other programs on my blog and fully stand behind them. However, as I was trying to make my “big decision” for our official phonics program, I couldn’t turn my back on this favorite. For me, it’s PROVEN. It works- even when you don’t learn to read easily. It’s super easy and very affordable for the extreme quality you receive. They’ve also upped their game with color readers. But ALSO, we used to use Bob books for supplemental readers, but now I’ve found Dash into Reading! THESE are GORGEOUS! I’m so excited to use them alongside AAR once I’m confident Daxton is truly ready AND eager to begin reading. (Look for a giveaway in June with Dash into Reading!)
Math- Rightstart Level A- All of my points list above for my older daughter echo here as well. And since we already OWN the manipulative set, it only makes sense to use RS here as well. I love how hands-on and Montessori based it is for this age. Once we have our bearings on it and use it for a while, I plan to share a thorough review.
Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears PreK- Since my daughter struggled with handwriting as she did with reading, I set out to find a thorough, proven handwriting program for her. We use 5 levels of Handwriting Without Tears, and it was super helpful for her and EASY for me. Since it worked before, we will be using it again. The BIG Pre-K manipulative set has been a wishlist item for me for some time. I just used the app and a dry erase board with my daughter (and the workbooks/terminology), and that definitely worked well. But I also REALLY wanted the wet/dry/try tools and the other super-hands-on manipulatives that are important to the program for my boys. While you CAN use it without this set, I just got it and am SO EXCITED about how helpful it’s going to be!
That’s IT, my friend! Maybe I overshared? You can let me know! I hope that some of you will find it helpful. In my next post, I’ll detail our planned schedule, why I create a very detailed schedule, and why I hold to it very loosely.