Yes! I know that it’s December and I’m just now talking about what we are using as our chosen curricula. I’m guilty of being busy and sidetracked. I started this post long before now, but I wasn’t able to get back to complete it until now. Please pardon me. LOL!
Well, if you don’t know, our family has schooled year-round since my oldest was two years old. I have especially appreciated this in times of illness, pregnancy, and other emergencies such as burnout! So when I am looking for what we are going to use as our text, there are a few things that go into my selecting our kids’ curricula each year:
- Cost. Some may feel that this should not be a major factor, but my family is on a budget. I set a limit for the total to be spent for all of the kids’ supplies, books, classes, and software. So when I’m out hunting, I search many sites, stores, and even the library. (Btw, the library sometimes has textbooks.)
- Standard. By this, I mean what does the publisher stand for? Does the material correlate morally with our belief and what we are teaching to our children? Can I do away with what doesn’t meet our standards or does it permeate the books, software, etc.?
- Learning Styles. I have paid close attention to each of the kids and have seen their learning strengths. This does not mean that I necessarily go and purchase a different book for each child, but it means that I look for programs that accommodate multiple styles.
- Teaching Style. So this is something that I recently discovered. I have always known how critical it is to know what your own teaching strengths and weaknesses are in particular subjects. What I didn’t realize is how whether or not a text matching your style of teaching can create or reduce the amount of stress you and your student have. I am an old-school, one-room schoolhouse type of teacher. The instructions need to be simple and laid out in a way that my children can even have some self-teaching moments.
Unlike some, we don’t strictly go along with what is considered to be the appropriate grade level for a particular age, because of this I have two kids that are using some of the same books according to how fast or slow they are moving. So I will introduce the books by subject rather than grade.
Mathematics: Math Mammoth 1A and B, also 2A and B. I like how the worktext is set up so that the student gets a visual example of what they will be doing, it is simply designed and is worded directly at the student. My goal is for my children to be self learners and I feel that this program will help in that endeavor. The units aren’t too long, and if they don’t do well on the review we simply go back over the material using some of the printable worksheets. As for my 4 year old, he is using the Earlybird Kindergarten Math from Singapore Math, Inc. He has been adamant that he is going to have a text to work from like the older two siblings and so we work on his counting, number order, and shapes with this program. He didn’t fully understand some of the questions at the beginning of the book, so we skipped over it for now. All of the kids have successfully used this book, but it relies heavily on parent-teacher direction and less independence.
Reading: My 7 year old is using Pathway Readers and the correlating workbooks. He is currently on the second set of the 1st grade readers. He is labeled a second grader, but I felt that the Pathway Readers are further ahead than the comparable grade level in his last year’s readers. Which brings me to my 6 year old, who started reading the same program as her borther, All About Reading 1st grade primers by Marie Rippel. We have the entire first grade program, but the workbook was just busy work to her, as opposed to her brother. So she flew through and completed all three books before the our required half-year progress report. She has now began the first set of the Pathway 1st grade readers. Pathway Readers remind me of the old Dick and Jane books. New words are introduced in the beginning of a story and kind of repeat. “Look at Bess. Look at Bess run and jump.” type of repetition. The kids feel very accomplished when they complete a story and sometimes want to read more to find out what else is going to happen with the kids featured in these books. My 4 year old is learning his letters from a workbook from Pathway Publishers and some workbooks we purchased from Dollar Tree. I use the “Letters” workbook and another one that by Sesame Street that is a trace and erase book. I find that they are great for developing fine motor skills as well as letter comprehension.
Language Arts: Climbing to Good English Level 1 is being used by both the 6 and 7 year olds. It has a simple layout, and not only helps with their English comprehension, but helps with their handwriting as well. The only warning I have is that this series of workbooks are geared toward the Amish/Mennonite communities. Some of the pictures that they use are not recognizable to those that aren’t familiar with farm life or equipment. My husband didn’t even know what the picture of the dust ruffle was (I don’t use one on our bed) and was rather confused when the kids asked him to identify it for them.
Spelling: I created their current curriculum. I wrote about it in a previous post, and you can read about how I came up with it and how it’s going there.
We have other subjects like history, science, art, nutrition, and more that we either have an outside class that we attend or I use supplemented resources like Amazon Prime Video or library books. When they get to be in more advanced grade levels I’ll require written reports about the these subjects, but right now it’s more of a listen and discuss topics thing.
So…that’s it! I try not to over think things, or to load on too much material. Did you find this information helpful? Interesting? Did it tickle a fancy? Do you homeschool? Have you used any of these text? What did you think about them? Let me know in the comments and until next time…
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