The end of our school year is quickly approaching. As I start planning our next school year, I wanted to first share a curriculum recap. You might remember my posts from last summer where I shared the homeschool resources we were hoping to use this school year. Looking back, I can say we used most of it…. but definitely not all! I also found a few new things to try along the way and a couple things we didn’t touch. I thought it might be helpful to circle back around and share what curriculum survived the year.
Morning Time (9am) is still our favorite time of the day. I keep our morning basket of materials in our dining room. We all sit down for breakfast or a snack (aka second breakfast) and coffee and enjoy each other’s company before we start our school day. Morning Time is a time of day where I lay a rich “feast” of beautiful ideas to enrich our day and bring joy to our homeschool. We loop through different subjects during this hour about three mornings a week. We study and discuss music, art, poems, grammar, Latin, the Bible, and Hymns. Some subjects are pretty light and some subjects can lead to intense discussion. Who knew four year olds felt so passionate about bible study?! I also make sure to choose very “open and go” materials with little to no prep work for morning time since I’m still consuming cold coffee during this hour. 😉
We used Simply Charlotte Mason’s composer and artist studies. If you haven’t seen these, take a peek! We love them! We ended up studying just two artists (Rembrandt and Constable) and two composers (Bach and Beethoven) versus three like I originally planned. So we are moving Chopin and Gainsborough to next year. I also found this fun book called Spot the Differences. The kids study the different art works and find how the “fake” is different from the original. We also only studied one poet (Stevenson) versus two and will do Longfellow next year. I used A Child’s Garden of Verses and Sing a Song of Seasons for poetry. We continued to use The Ology for bible study and we added The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series for my oldest to start reading. We recently added First Language Lessons Level 1 workbook and it’s audio companion for reading comprehension and grammar practice. This has been a fun and quick lesson to do with all three of my kids! I did not end up finding a Spanish program to use so we added Song School’s Latin 1 program instead. It comes with a workbook, flash cards, cd, and dvd. The DVD is our favorite! We have been enjoying Happy Hymnody for our Hymn study. I liked the idea of adding a new hymn every month and they provide copy work for extra hymn practice! We also added a cute Q&A book to our morning basket that asks kids a new question each day. Sometimes dad fills in the days we miss by asking the questions over dinner. Our kids love being asked random, fun questions!
Math (10am): We ended up swapping out our math resources about a month into our school year. The curriculum was either not challenging enough or was requiring too much of my time that needed to be spent with my preschooler. So we switched the 7 year old from TGATB level K math to Abeka level 1 math. I loved TGATB level K math and plan to use it with my preschooler in the future. It was just slightly too easy for my 7 year old and she was getting bored. My preschooler (age four) admired his big sister’s new math workbook so I bought him an Abeka level K workbook to start. Both of them love to write to learn so workbooks seem to fit their learning style best. We also switched my 8/9 year old from RightStart Math to Teaching Textbooks Level 3 and 4. I realized my oldest is very strong in math and needed less hand holding. He has worked great independently with the Teaching Textbooks program. We will keep some of the RightStart materials to use when we need further help grasping a new concept. We recently added TGATB Musical Multiplication to our morning basket and all three of my kids (ages 4-9) love it!
English (11am): We kept all our Language Arts resources throughout the year. Whew! One thing I got right. 😉 My 8/9 year old son used TGATB Language Arts Level 2 program. Their LA program is known for being an advanced curriculum so I usually go down a level with them. His reading level is probably more at a level 3 or 4 but I wanted him to get the grammar and spelling practice before bumping him up. I wish my middle child could use TGATB LA too but the small font is not a good fit for her reading struggles. Their program has been a great fit for him though. I love that there is not too much writing. He struggles with fine motor skills and would get very frustrated if there was a lot of written work. I find its better to practice his writing with separate, fun activities he enjoys. We did not have much time for typing so we will move that to next year.
My 7 year old daughter did level Foundations A and B with Logic of English. Which was amazing for her! Her reading has improved a lot this year! My 4 year old used several resources for preschool. He enjoyed practicing his writing and phonics with the TGATB preschool program. He struggles with some letter recognition so I’m not quite sure if he is ready for their Primer program next year. We will see. We also added in some fun activities from Peaceful Preschool and Habitat SchoolHouse.
Science and History (2pm): We ended up alternating science and history this year. We started the school year with Arthropods during the warmer months, then American history during the winter, and are now finishing the school year with Marine Biology in the spring. We used TGATB (The Good and The Beautiful) for both history and science. We used Beautiful Feet Books as history read alouds as well. We also had mini history lessons sprinkled throughout the year via Playful Pioneers. We only read three of the five books from the Little House Series during our “Lit Lunches” (12-2pm). It took a little longer than expected with a four year old in the group. We hope to continue the series over the summer.
Sadly we did not do as much Nature and Art or Handcrafts as I had hoped. My daughter attended a nature school for the first half of the year and then all three kids attended a nature class in the Spring. They were able to do many nature/art themed activities during those times so I don’t feel quite as bad. I need to find better ways to sneak art and nature into our everyday routine next year so it doesn’t slip through the cracks again. We will definitely have fun with these subjects throughout the summer!
The areas I felt like got pushed aside the most, I’m going to add to a new Loop Schedule like we use during Morning Time. I hope that will help create a more well rounded homeschool for our kids that is not so heavy on the core subjects. I hope this post helps if you are currently planning your next school year. Feel free to email me if you have more questions on curriculum!
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