Homeschooling: Curriculum review

I know the following post will probably not apply to most of my readers; however, homeschooling is a huge part of my life so I couldn't be quiet about it:) If homeschooling does not apply to you in any way, shape or form please feel free to stop reading this post (or better yet, pass it along to someone you think it might apply to:).

This has been my family's 3rd year "homeschooling." I have absolutely fallen in love with homeschooling. You can read some of the reasons I homeschool in my post Why I Homeschool. I am going to share with you the curriculum we used this year. I have a four year degree in Elementary Education, so it is hard for me to break from tradition. Therefore, our schooling includes many traditional aspects to schooling, including workbooks.

The core curriculum we use is Sonlight. I absolutely love Sonlight; it is a literature based program. We used Core One with Intermediate readers this year. I chose Sonlight because as a former school teacher I did not like story time. The readers our school used were completely boring and I often wanted to fall asleep while the children were reading. Since I was homeschooling I wanted to choose something that was enjoyable for all. Sonlight hit the nail on the head. My son would regularly beg me to allow him to continue reading his chapter book, and I literally would have to say no we will read more tomorrow.

The benefits Sonlight offered us:
  • It has a 4 or 5 day schedule. We went with the 4-day schedule which worked well and allowed for flexibility in our week.
  • It includes History and Geography. I learned more about these subjects this year reading with my kids than I remember learning in all my years in school.
  • It has a hands-on Science curriculum.
  • It has each day scheduled out for you, so there is no pre-planning needed on your part.
  • It is designed to be used with multi-age. Since I have a four year old this was great. She was able to sit in with all of the stories, enjoy them and glean what she could out of it. One of the things she learned this year was the Sphinx when we studied Egypt. This whole year whenever she saw a picture of a Sphinx she would point to it and say, there is the "Phincks."
  • We loved Bible: Leading Little Ones to God. It has a great format that is easy for children to understand, and it answers all those questions that children like to ask about God in a Biblically correct way.
  • Sonlight includes books you read to the children everyday. Out of the whole year, there was only one book that was too boring and so we quit it early. Other than that, we loved them all and the kids still bring up the stories.
A little tip: I mostly use E-bay to purchase my school items. You can save a considerable amount of money, plus you can resell them when you are done and in the end it costs very little to homeschool.
As a teacher, I taught with Abeka. I loved the phonics base of Abeka and so I had to incorporate it into my homeschooling life. This year we used their Language 1, Phonics 1 and Spelling 1. I did purchase the teacher's guide and Handbook for Phonics to go along with it. As a child, I grew up under the Whole Language philosophy and as a result, I am a horrible speller. I learned so much when I began teaching phonics. I think Abeka does an excellent job providing a solid phonics foundation for reading and spelling.
For Math we used Christian Light Publications Grade 1 Math. I don't remember how I found them but I am so glad that I did. They have an astounding math program and it is cheap!!! I highly recommend this program.
Those were the materials that I used this year with my 6 year old son. My daughter who is 4 grew into homeschooling this year. The first half of the year she mainly just listened in during story time and did art while James was doing school. As the year, progressed she began doing workbook pages. I used Rod and Staff's Preschool books with her. She could handle about 2 workbook pages a day. We recently began working on reading using a free Phonics online program called Progressive Phonics. The stories are adorable and enjoyable for all 3 of us. She reads her words and James enjoys reading the rest to her.
I could say so much more!!! If you have any questions about homeschooling feel free to e-mail me and I would be happy to answer them. One site I highly recommended that is devoted to homeschooling is called Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Kris is currently going through a series recommending curriculum for the different grade levels. She also does lots of curriculum reviews throughout the year. This is a great place to get hooked in to homeschooling information.
If you made it this far; thanks for reading!
In Christ,

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