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I love curriculum selection blog posts. I am always so curious as to what other homeschoolers are using with their children. We just graduated our first homeschooler; we went all the way from K-12! We have used a lot of curriculum we have loved along the way that we plan on cycling back through with our elementary child. This year we are getting serious about language arts and have added a couple new resources and some old favorites. We will also have a Teaching Textbooks 3.0 account this year. I cannot wait to share my review with you in August.
Math: Teaching Textbooks
As I shared with you here, we briefly left Teaching Textbooks but came back with no plans to ever leave again. Our oldest daughter just graduated this year. She told me if she had to give me ANY advice on homeschooling our youngest daughter (we have two girls), that she would recommend NEVER switching math curriculum up with her. She explained how doing so (when we left Teaching Textbooks) caused her to have lots of gaps and an endless struggle with math. <–YES there were lots of tears and math tutoring! We love Teaching Textbooks and will be checking out their brand new 3.0 this year. With so many new options and enhancements, my daughter is pretty excited. She is wondering if she can start now. WHAT?!?!
We used this homeschool science living book style curriculum in 3rd grade and my daughter LOVED it! We started with Sassafras Science Zoology, which is the first volume in the series. You don’t really have to go in order, but it is the preferred way. We will be using Volume Two – Anatomy this coming school year. We love notebooking in our homeschool. It literally saved our homeschool when our oldest was in 4th grade. Sassafras Science is a living book science curriculum with a neutral worldview (it is suitable for any type of homeschool) that uses a notebooking journal to accompany it. You can read our review here and discover all of the reasons we love it!
If you haven’t noticed, we love notebooking! The A Living History of Our World series is written just like a living book, making history fascinating and engaging. We have the old series that has just the reader and a notebooking journal, but the new Master Books edition is way more colorful and vivid and the notebooking pages are incorporated with student activity sheets and a lesson plan guide. We have used the first 2 volumes already and plan to finish our American History studies this year in fourth grade and then move on to use The Mystery of History (our absolute FAVORITE history curriculum!)
Geography: Geo Matters State Notebook Set
We have dabbled in the study of the United States in the past. We used to play a game where I would put a chocolate covered sunflower seed on each of the 50 states. When my daughter correctly identified the state, she was allowed to eat the sunflower seed. That was 4 years ago when she was in Kindergarten. In co-op 2 years ago we used the Holling’s books for living geography and she was learning the states again. This year we plan to really dive deep and study each of the 50 states in depth using Geo Matters US Activity Bundle. I figured since we are wrapping up our American history studies this year, we will study the states thoroughly one last time until upper grades.
This US Activity Bundle is based on a notebooking journal (LOVE). You get all of your answers using the Desk Atlas of the United States instead of having to get online to search for the answers. The notebooking journal is perfect for our homeschool and includes an activity page for each of the 50 states with space to put important facts and information about each state. It also has a set of peel-off stickers for every state’s official flower, tree, and bird.
Language Arts Grammar: Easy Grammar
We LOVE Easy Grammar at our house. I started using it when my oldest was in 5th grade. She used it every year afterwards until she graduated. Prior to 5th grade she struggled with grammar and always scored lower than I was comfortable with when she completed the Brigance test at the end of the year. The teacher who does our homeschool evaluations recommended Easy Grammar and we have never gone back. At the end of her 5th grade year she jumped 3 grade levels in her grammar abilities. What I absolutely LOVE about Easy Grammar (other than it being easy to teach and learn) is that there is no sentence diagramming, however my daughter can dissect a sentence like a pro!
We haven’t used Easy Grammar yet with our youngest because we were using a gentle approach to language arts in grades K-3. This coming year she will be using it and continue with it all the way until graduation. You can find placement tests here. You can learn more about Easy Grammar here and view the scope and sequence here.
Language Arts Vocabulary: Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary Volume I
Daily Skill Building: Vocabulary is a complete, 36-week vocabulary curriculum. This simple, straight-forward approach to vocabulary building is easy to use and encourages independent study.
With busy homeschooling moms in mind, this curriculum was created as an “open and go” resource (without the need for a teacher’s guide.) The 36-week format is designed to be flexible — meaning you can assign more than one word a day if you wish to complete it sooner.
Language Arts Writing: Winning with Writing Level 4 by JacKris Publishing
Since my daughter loves to write and create stories, I really need something that focuses more on mechanics and structure so she can organize her thoughts. I do NOT do well with teacher guides though, and have looked for something mostly independent. I decided to use Winning with Writing Level 4. There are 8 levels (grades 1-8) and it is created to be more independent than many other homeschool writing curriculum. Of course, I will have to read and correct her writing assignments, but there are answer keys included in the complete set that is priced low at $26.99 for a full year.
Sarah has also decided to use Winning With Writing this year. Read her post here to find out why she decided to use it with her 6th grade daughter.
Language Arts Spelling: Phonetic Zoo
Phonetic Zoo is a phonics-based program uses auditory input to ensure that the correct spelling of each word is absorbed by the brain. The audio allows students to work independently much of the time, while allowing for the repetition needed for mastery. My oldest used Phonetic Zoo with much success. I like that is is independent and encourages mastery and does not require Internet. I can put her to work on my laptop without having to worry about our sketchy wifi.
Character Study: Proverbs People Volume 1
I cannot stress to you how much we love the character studies that Character Concepts publishes. My oldest’s favorite one was Words Of Wisdom. We are using Proverbs People Volume 1 this year with our fourth grader. Here is the description from the website:
The scorner, the wise man, the sluggard, the righteous and more all make appearances in the book of Proverbs, teaching us and our children the right way in which to walk. Each chapter features fill-in-the-blank and short-answer questions that can be answered by looking up different verses. Each chapter is also illustrated with a story highlighting the merits or evil certain character traits can bring, and also includes a “fun quiz”, coloring pages and application questions. Designed to help kids live out the message of Proverbs, the uncluttered layout makes Scripture the primary focus.
STEM and Art – by KiwiCrate
My daughter is really into art and technology and creates things like crazy. Since I am not a hands-on kind of mom and I am not crafty, I decided to sign her up for two monthly KiwiCrates: Doodle Crate & Tinker Crate. They have 5 different monthly crates for babies – 16 years old. Learn more here.
She received her first Doodle Crate this month and has worked on two Tinker Crates so far. To say she is thrilled is an understatement. She has made a mechanical bird and a motorized spin-art device (mostly all on her own following the instructions) and also made what she is calling a purse (but is really a “leather” portfolio carrier). Any of the KiwiCrates would make a fabulous gift for a young creator.
Morning Basket Resources:
Here are some of the other books and resources we will be using. I am planning on putting together a morning basket with some of these enrichment resources:
Looking for more curriculum options? Check out these posts: