Here are our Curriculum Choices for the 2018-2019 Homeschool Year…
Layten Bradleigh – (currently 21 months old; Tot School)
She wants to do everything her big brothers do, including “school” so I decided to start working with her early, and she absolutely LOVES it! Basically it’s just a little planned out, intentional time that I spend with her each day to color and talk about things like letters, sounds, vocabulary development, counting, shapes, colors, etc. I’m not expecting her to master any of this right now, but she does do pretty well with it, even at such a young age.
Our curriculum choice is Tot School Printables, and it was a free, printable download curriculum which I have used with both Lawson and Linkin. I laminated and saved what I knew I could use again with my next kids, and I’m really glad I thought to do that. It seriously takes us about five minutes a day, and it’s very simple, but this curriculum is awesome and covers all the bases. I recommend it for toddlers Layten’s age, and it would even be great for toddlers that are a little older.
Linkin – (age 4; Pre-K 4)
Linkin does NOT really enjoy “school”, and his learning style is very different from his siblings. However, I’m learning to work with him to teach him both in ways that are more his style, and he works with me on learning things that are more my style as his teacher. If I were to classify his preferred style of schooling, it would be “unschooling”. Basically it’s following your child’s lead in whatever they are interested in. This can work really well if they have a particular interest that you can follow their lead in, and I think it may work well for us as he gets older and finds more things that he’s interested in and passionate about. However, right now his interests include Rescue Bots, Transformers, and Paw Patrol. I can make that educational in some ways, but then I begin to draw a blank on what else we can do with it. Actually, the most educational thing I’ve found that falls into one of these categories would be the “transforming letters and numbers sets” we played with at Excel by 5. He REALLY loved those!
The main curriculum I use with Linkin is called Raising Rockstars Preschool. It’s also available as a free, printable download. I love this curriculum because we are still reviewing the alphabet with it, but it takes it to the next level. Each letter has a corresponding Memory Verse and a page of how we can apply that verse to our lives. It’s basically a list of affirmations where he can see who God made him to be and all the things he can do because of that. We are working to write letters a little more this year, but it’s still very basic tracing lines. We do some cutting practice and gluing each week with our Memory verse strips, and each week has a song that goes along with it, which of course he loves. I think his favorite part is the little mini book that is included in each week though. It corresponds with the letter of the week and introduces a new sight word. He can memorize it based on the pictures and “read” it to me all by himself. I think this excites little ones to learn to read and gives them the confidence they need to have in order to learn the skills to do so when it’s time.
Linkin really loves numbers, singing, small objects, and he loves to play. Most of his learning takes place doing these activities, and these are all “unplanned” things actually. After he does his “planned” curriculum with me each day, I let him have time to play freely (when Layten naps usually) with our Math U See blocks or puzzles or something else with small parts. He really enjoys having time to work with these things when he’s not bothered by his little sister, so during her nap time works best.
Bible: Bible Roadtrip Level Preschool/Kindergarten
We just started this curriculum, and I LOVE it! It was exactly what I was looking for in a Bible Curriculum. Giving my children a biblical foundation is one of the main reasons that we homeschool so having a good Bible curriculum is a must for us. I wanted something a little more in depth than a devotional Bible study, but not too much so that they couldn’t understand it. This one is perfect. For Linkin’s level we use the book 365 Great Bible Stories. We read the short stories and discuss them a little bit, and there are weekly crafts and usually an episode of “What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver” that we watch on our Jelly Telly app.
With memory work, I don’t really “test” them in it because I can kind of tell what they know and are still working on. I’m really not too concerned that they memorize EVERYTHING that we work on, but that they get a general knowledge of it. I do test Linkin on his weekly Memory Verse with Raising Rockstars, and I want him to learn all of those verses and have them in his heart. For the other things, I just want him to be present with us (in the same room) and hopefully take in what he can from it. Ideally, he would repeat it with Lawson and answer the catechism questions, but like I’ve already said school is not his favorite thing so he doesn’t always participate. HOWEVER, there was one day that I had him alone and I was shocked to find that he actually has learned a good bit of our memory work and knew them very well (especially for a kid who rarely ever says them aloud with us). So this is why I’m not too concerned with it. Also, I’ve asked him questions in our Bible lessons recently that corresponded with Catechisms we’ve learned, and he correctly answered the questions and knew things I really didn’t even expect him to know at this point. He was able to apply the catechism questions and answers that we’ve memorized in a practical way. That’s how I know it’s working, and I’m a full Memory Work believer for sure!
As I’ve mentioned we are working to learn “A Catechism for Girls and Boys“. We are working through Part One right now which are Questions about God, Man, and Sin. I don’t know how many we’ll get to this year. I’m just kind of taking it as we go and trying to make some progress towards completion… a little more each week.
We are also working to learn Psalm 139 right now, and we just work a little at a time. I add in a few verses each week that we practice, but we always review the entire scripture portion. I’ll slow down adding verses if I see that we aren’t really learning it as fast or becoming more familiar with it. My memory schedule is very relaxed.
We also review things we’ve already learned periodically such as The Lord’s Prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, Simple Mottos to Recite and Live By, our Home Address and Phone Numbers, Manners for Kids, Safety Rules, and previously learned verses and poems.
Knight Training: This is based on the book Knights in Training by Heather Haupt. I heard her speak about this concept on a podcast, and I fell in love with it. We are losing the art of chivalry in our society, and I love that this book helps me to teach it to my boys… things such as obeying those in authority over you, defending the weak, respecting the honor of women, and pursuing excellence in everything they do… just to name a few. I’ll have to do a post solely on this topic, as it’s something that’s become a big part of how we are raising our boys now.
Lawson – (age 6; First Grade)
Lawson and I have been doing “school” together for quite some time. I have always loved homeschooling because of the intentional time that it gives me with each of my children. Lawson has his days like all children, but for the most part he does not mind doing school. He wants to get it all done so he can be free and do his own thing, and he does really well with whatever I give him at this point. He doesn’t seem to have much of a preferred style that he’s voiced other than I noticed him getting bored with Math U See worksheets. so we did make a math curriculum switch this year.
Language Arts & Literature: The Good and the Beautiful Curriculum by Jenny Phillips
This curriculum includes Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Writing, Literature, Grammar and Punctuation, and Art Appreciation. I LOVE that it combines all of these in a very simple and easy way! It includes Easy Reader Books, Phonics Cards, and more. It was actually a free, download curriculum that I had printed and bound at our local print shop.
Math: Master Books – Lessons for a Living Education
This curriculum is simple in the fact that it is just one book and doesn’t include manipulatives. Instead, Lawson actually makes all of the manipulatives that he needs himself, and that’s what makes this “living math”. He has made his own flashcards with silly story pictures on them, his own clock, and his own calendar. This really helps him to apply what he’s learning in a hands-on way, and he really enjoys it. It requires a little more planning and reading ahead on my part than our Math U See curriculum did, but it’s okay because it works so well for us. I flipped through the textbooks at our homeschool convention this Summer and decided to start Lawson in Level 2, because we’d already covered most of the things in Level 1.
Actually for this one now, I actually just make up my own assignments for him. Based on what we are learning in other subjects, right now I give him a portion of scripture from his Memory Work to copy in cursive. Sometimes I have him answer a question for me or give a narration of something else he’s learning. I will write down what he says and then have him write it in cursive for his daily writing assignment.
Bible: Bible Roadtrip Level Lower Elementary
This is the same curriculum I’m using with Linkin as mentioned above, but it’s the 1st-3rd grade Lower Elementary level for Lawson. We are learning the same scriptures and Bible stories at the same time so it really does build on each level. For Lawson’s level, he reads from the ESV Children’s Bible. It’s really cool that he is able to read from the actual Bible all by himself now. This bible does have some pictures, but for the most part it’s columns and words just like any adult bible would be. We also use the books 66 Books, One Story and Window on the World that were highly suggested in the curriculum guide. For Lawson’s level, we do a bit more discussion with the questions listed for each reading assignment. Then we do some notebooking work to apply what we’re reading and studying. We work on memorization a little bit, we pray through the word, and also do bible crafts.
Apologetics: Who is God? by Apologia
Helping our children to establish a Christian worldview is important to us. This curriculum has been amazing to help us to explain why we believe the things we believe and why we do the things we do as a family and as Christians. We began this curriculum last year, and we’ve been slowly working our way through it. It’s a lot of read aloud and activities so we just work at our own pace through it.
Science: Botany by Apologia
I love that this is a Christian science curriculum, and we especially love the hands-on projects that go along with it. We started this curriculum last year as well, and we’re still slowly working through it. Science is considered an “extra” at this age so we don’t do it every day. Like the Apologetics curriculum, this one is also heavy reading and assignments so we can’t always fit it in after we’ve done our main subjects. It will be easier to go through these courses when Lawson is a little older and reading more independently.
Since learning the benefits of reading aloud (even to older students who are already reading on their own), it’s something I’m really wanting to work into our homeschool day. To be honest, I’m not the best at finding time to read aloud. Sure, I read to Layten pretty often, and whenever someone brings me a book, but my children are active and busy, so this doesn’t always happen. It’s one of my homeschooling goals though so I’ll continue to work to get better at it. One area where we’ve seen some success though is on our weekly car rides to the coast to grocery shop… I will turn on Audible and play one of our books that way so we do make some progress there during that longer drive each week. We are currently working through the Read Aloud Revival Reading List. Lawson will also be working through a First Grade Reading List this year.
Our Homeschool Curriculum Wishlist:
Ask any school teacher or homeschool mom, and I’m sure they have a list of some things they would LOVE to have and do for their students, but just can’t right now for whatever reason. Usually it’s budget. Here are a few of ours, and we might possibly add these in this year as well if we find some extra room in the budget to make them happen at some point. 😉
Skill Trek – This is a supplemental curriculum that fills in the gaps of any education. It teaches “Life Skills” such as tying your shoes, using a blender, balancing a checkbook, and changing the oil in a vehicle. It introduces skills based on ages and levels, of course, and it would be such a fun addition to our homeschool that I think my kids would really enjoy and appreciate it.
Kids Cook Real Food – I think this would also be one of those fun, supplemental things my kids would enjoy. They always want to help me in the kitchen, especially when I’m baking or making loaves of bread! I think this would be a fun way for me to intentionally include them in the kitchen, where I normally am a pretty resistant to do so, if I’m being honest.