Homeschooling Curriculum 2011-2012

I have been promising to update you all on my curriculum choices and I finally got it all ordered.  I had to wait until after we moved so I wouldn’t miss anything.

Disclaimer:  I haven’t tried any of this.  It’s merely a product of my months of research.  Later in the school year, I will post individual reviews after we have tried it for a few months.

Math:  Singapore Math Level 1A & B and Level 2A & B  Plus, I bought the Home Instructor’s Teaching Manual and the first set of tests.  I’m unsure if I will use the tests but wanted to have them on-hand in case I do.

Grammar:  Shurley Grammar Homeschool Level 1 & 2

Writing:  Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Teacher/Student Combo Pack Level A

Writing with Ease: Strong Fundamentals by Susan Wise Bauer

Handwriting:  Getty-Dubai Italic Handwriting Book B, C, & D

Spelling:  The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Writing Teacher’s Edition Level II

This is put out by the Riggs Institute (a little company out of South Dakota) and I love them!  I love everything about their program.  I did Level I with my oldest and my youngest will be doing Level I this year but everything they do is superb in my opinion.  I credit them with my kids’ ability to spell and read so well.

History:  Story of the World Volume 1:  Ancient Times and the accompanying Activity Workbook by Susan Wise Bauer.  I skipped the Test book and will in the future as I feel my kids should be tested on more important subjects such as math and grammar. Plus, I intend to have my kids do memory work from History, which will be test enough.

Science:  Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) K-2

Of all my orders, this is the one I’m taking the biggest chance on. I’m not sure how it will work but we’re going to give it a try.

We are also doing a Nature and Weather Journal this year.

Foreign Language:  Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Homeschool Edition

Song School Latin

Song School Greek

Bible/Religious Studies:  Foundations 1:  Preparation for Christ by Anne Elliott

Art:  Artistic Pursuits

Music:  The Gift of Music by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson

Guitar Lessons

Memory Work:  Select Poems and Historical References

Supplemental Material:

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

I love this book.  This is the book I first bought when I was considering homeschooling.  This book does a great job of laying the case of Classical Education.  What I don’t like about it is now that my kids are in 1st and 2nd grade, I think Susan underestimates the capabilities and abilities of students.  I read about what kids their age used to have to do in the mid-1800’s and this is peanuts in comparison.

I just finished perusing Susan’s Writing with Ease: Strong Fundaments, which I bought as I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do for writing.  I like the idea of narration, copy work, and dictation but I think it’s unnecessary to do that alone.  I think you need to do this in addition to something else (hence why I bought IEW).  Further, I think she spends way too many weeks on doing it.  All my opinion, of course.

Map Trek: The Complete Collection by Terri Johnson

What Your Third Grader Needs to Know by E D Hirsch, Jr.

This is the Core Knowledge Sequence, which I’m a fan of.  It’s a good reference book for where your child should be. It has great history sections (although not in Chronological Order.  It’s all covered.  It just jumps around–something I’m not a fan of).  I also have the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade Editions of these which I used a lot in my previous homeschool year.

Student Atlas:  I ordered a student Atlas but it was cancelled by Amazon (couldn’t get it).  I have a globe and I think I will be doing enough as it.  I think the historical maps but the study of a continent a month will be sufficient for now.

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock

Keeping a Nature Journal by  Clare Walker Leslie

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia

The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World

Final Advice About Choosing Curriculum:  It’s funny because I went into this having an idea of what I wanted to use and then once I started delving into it, I changed virtually all of my orders/decisions.

It’s hard ordering curriculum sight unseen but “you do your best and forget the rest” as Tony Horton says.

Due to the increase in competition in homeschool curriculum, I would say there are a lot of good choices out there.  I would first choose your overall philosophy (classical, biblically-based, unschooling, unit studies, etc) and then go from there.  I think you will find there are amazing choices out there and choosing which one is the hardest part!

Good luck and happy schooling!

2 thoughts on “Homeschooling Curriculum 2011-2012

  1. I absolutely do not want to comment on any of your choices because I remember those days. At one point, I was a co-president of an extremely large Christian home school organization in my county. I spent entirely too much time on the phone with new homeschoolers who wanted me to tell them what to do, tell them what to order, where to order, what was out there, what I thought about it, and hours and hours of how they came to their decision to pull children from public or private school! I know I sound snippy even twenty years later but it was too much. I’m normally super sweet and super easygoing and helpful but it drove me mad! I had done ALL of my own research and it was so frustrating to have all these people want my time and my children’s time for FREE while I was neglecting my own family. Every family, especially the mother, has to make her own choices. Some will be spot on and some will be, let’s be honest, abject failures! Your kids will live and so will you. It’s not like the public and private school systems have a monopoly on perfection. My next door neighbor is going to homeschool her little guys this year and she went to the state convention and made the decision to use all ABeka. I’m one of those weird people who HATED Saxon Math and LOVED ABeka Math. Other people do what you do and have a whole array of curriculum from many different sources which is what I did. I highly recommend attending the state convention next year if you can afford it. It’s really wonderful to get your hands ON those different series and see in person if you think it’s a good fit for your precious children. For instance, I love Rod & Staff Building Christian English series. Most people think, “Oh, it’s black and white and so old fashioned.” I did use other series in addition to that every year. But I loved knowing my children were learning basic, old fashioned, never goes out of style grammar. Yes, we read literature and did workbooks and did fancy projects. But that grammar series for us…was important. AARGH. I said I wasn’t going to talk about Latin and literature and penmanship and grammar and….LOL

    Good for you. It’s going to be a magical year with a lot of highs and lows but you will learn as much, if not more, than your children. And always remember, it’s just one year and one day at a time!

    I hope you can attend a BSF evening class for women. A lot of us will miss you if you don’t!

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