The Curriculum Search

Uggghhhh. The never ending search for “just the right” curriculum has begun. There are so many options, so many choices, so much mind changing. It becomes a frustration. So how do you find just the right curriculum for your kid? Here is what works for us: Don’t buy a complete curriculum from one company. There are many options for all of the subjects you need to study. Not every kid likes every style of learning in every subject. Maybe your child likes to work hands-on for Math but likes to read for Science. If you put together a list of the different companies that offer curriculum for these subjects and then check to see which subjects offer hands-on or not, it could keep you from becoming frustrated half way through the year when your child struggles with a certain subject.

We have learned from our children that not all subjects are created equal. Our son likes Science and History. He hates Reading, Writing, and Math. So we are researching all different kinds of ways to teach him that will keep him from becoming frustrated. It is also hard when your child is at different levels in different subjects. It would make it hard to buy a complete curriculum from one company because you aren’t sure which level to choose.

So far, this is our curriculum for the 2014-2015 school year:

History- The Complete Book of US History, The Complete Book of Presidents and States, and Interactive 3d Maps

Science-(We are learning about Astronomy)- Youtube videos, hands-on experiments, worksheets, and a plethora of astronomy websites.

Math- We are still undecided here. Torn between Math U See, Life of Fred, and Math Mammoth. Leaning more towards Math Mammoth. We are also using XtraMath for fact practice everyday and Khan Academy for extra practice on things we are struggling with.

Reading- (this is our biggest struggle with our son)- We are using Reading Eggs to help with the struggles, we are using Magic Treehouse books for read aloud time, also using books on the Kindle to help build confidence in his reading. (For our daughter we are using Reading Eggs and Starfall (she will be 6))

Writing- We also have a bit of struggle with this, so we are creating a writing center, where they will get to choose what they want to write about, have different writing activities, etc. (we found most of our ideas for this on Pinterest.)

Spelling- We are using the spelling word lists from k12reader and using a worksheet called Get to 30 for their weekly work. I downloaded this worksheet for free from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Grammar- We are still trying to figure this one out.

 

As far as my planner, we have found the most amazing, all in one website that has totally blown my mind. It keeps track of attendance, grades, lesson plans that you can insert links, pictures, and videos into, keeps their portfolios, and generates report cards. Also, if you want to pay $7 a month for the upgrade, it gives your children a student portal log in and they can pull up all of their assignments and also turn them into you right from their lesson plan page. It is amazing. You need to check it out! It’s called Boxadoo.

So as you can see, we have built a huge selection of eclectic materials to fit our children’s needs. Sometimes it is better to think “outside the box” rather than being stuck in one box of curriculum. It might just make your school year a lot easier. Good luck on your journey to finding what works for you and your children.

Be sure to check out pictures and other ideas on my homeschool Facebook page and also on Pinterest

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2 days in….

We are two days into our new school curriculum and it is going great! When I say that our curriculum is eclectic, it is not an exaggeration. We have put together a curriculum that looks chaotic, but instead it works very well for us. And our kids are loving it! They are actually having fun, which is a huge step for us, especially our oldest, who absolutely hates school. Here is a sample of our daily schedule:

9am- breakfast/chores

10am- Math (www.allinonehomeschool.com) We use 1st grade math for our 5 year old and Pre Algebra for our 13 year old.

10:30- Vocabulary for our 13 year old. We are using materials from http://www.TampaReads.com. Our 5 year old plays learning games on http://www.abcya.com

11:00- snack/break

11:15- History (www.allinonehomeschool.com) We do this subject together. We are studying Geography

11:45- Science (www.allinonehomeschool.com) We also do this subject together. We are studying Zoology

12:15- Spelling (www.spellingcity.com) They each work on their spelling words independently

12:30- Lunch

1:30- Phys Ed (either Yoga or Zumba together as a group)We pick videos from Youtube.

2:00- Reading. 13 year old is really struggling in this class so we spend 15 minutes each day with him reading me a story. While he is reading to me, 5 year old plays on http://www.starfall.com. The last 15 minutes of class, our 13yo plays on http://www.learn4good.com while our 5yo reads to me from (www.allinonehomeschool.com) We use Getting Ready 2, but only for the reading.

This is just our starting off point. I am sure along the way, we will find other things to add/delete or change. In the meantime, we our having fun learning 🙂

New year, New Semester, New School

As I was looking back through my blog, I noticed something that made me a bit sad. Last school year, we worked on so many cool things, took field trips, ect. I posted many pictures of the kids learning in all kinds of different ways. And the kids looked happy! Then I scroll through a few more posts, and no projects, no field trips, nothing fun at all.

We switched from homeschooling to online public school because we thought that structure would be good for our children. We soon learned that was not the case at all. I was stressed out, and the kids were not happy. We have not done any projects or fun learning activities and not taken any field trips. Now, as the new year starts, we have decided to go back to those fun times. Our kids deserve to learn without being bored or stressed out. They deserve to have fun learning.

Sometimes, looking back on things you used to do with change your perspective on what you are doing now. I now realize that what I have done to our children is not fair. I thought that switching to online public school would relieve some of my stress, but instead it transferred that stress to my children and that was very selfish of me.

So as of today, I am putting together a fun, exciting homeschool plan for my children. More projects, more creative learning, and more field trips. I will post some of the fun stuff we will be doing.

Thoughts on Online Public School

We decided to switch from homeschooling to online public school to see if it was a better fit for our family. Here is what I have found:

  1.  You do not get the resources needed in order to complete and help your child with all assignments
  2. You do not get to personalize your child’s learning plan like they all say that you can
  3. The kids can definitely not learn at their own pace.

We have 2 children on 2 different ends of the learning spectrum. Our oldest struggles a lot with school, and our youngest is breezing right through school. Our youngest was being hindered by going to online public school. She was very bored with her schoolwork and was not able to move ahead at her own pace. She got her first semester of school work done very early and instead of letting her move on, she just didn’t have class.

Our oldest struggled through every class. He had a hard time keeping up and our school days took 8 hours or more. We had to get all of the work done that was assigned each day or he would fall behind. That is not children learning at their own pace. It is forcing them to spend hours doing schoolwork that frustrates them.

Needless to say, we will be starting the 2nd semester of school in our homeschool environment. We are saying goodbye to online public school for good. I know my children better than a teacher that has never even seen them. I know their learning styles and I know their strengths and weaknesses. I feel like I will be better able to keep them interested in school than any public school can.

 

A Virtual Road Trip

My kids started a virtual road trip across America blog for Geography class. They seem to be liking it so far. It is a fun way to learn about North America without being stuck reading a textbook all school year. Our whole family is doing it. We each have our own tab on the blog’s home page that keeps track of our trip. There is also rules for the game. We will be working on it once a week. http://namericanvirtualtrip.wordpress.com/

Our Curriculum 2013-2014

Our 12 Year OId Son:

Spelling- Spectrum Spelling workbook http://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?subject=8&category=1877

Spanish- Mango language through the local library website http://www.mangolanguages.com/

History/Bible/Reading/Writing/Science- www.allinonehomeschool.com

Math- Singapore Math textbook and workbook http://www.singaporemath.com/

We may add something for art, but haven’t found anything good yet. For geography, we are doing a virtual road trip across North America. I got the idea from http://3kidsinnorthamerica.blogspot.com/. I will be setting up a blog like hers.

As far as organization, I have set up his worksheets/printables in folders by week.(pictured below). Inside each week’s folder, each day’s assignments are paper clipped together so that all of his things are neatly organized and he can just grab the packet and go.

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