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

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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Record Keeping?

I know a lot of people ask about record keeping for their children. I did a lot of searching for the best way to keep my kids’ records. I found a great website that offers a free grade book. I used it last year and it worked wonders for me. http://fivejs.com/free-homeschool-gradebook-record-keeping-spreadsheet-template/. You can keep track of grades, attendance, book lists, etc. If that one doesn’t work for you, there is also a website that has a list of other record keepers. http://www.iamhomeschooling.com/homeschooling-101/563-record-keeping-for-homeschoolers.

As for keeping track of their worksheets and projects, I use 3 ring binders and manila folders. I label each one with the subject and I put all of their paperwork in them. I keep them in order by date. When the 1st semester is over, I take them all out and keep them in a box labeled with the school year and the kid’s name. That way the folders don’t get too full and you will still be able to find all of their work for their portfolio at the end of the year. Every state has a different law about what you need to keep for each child. I live in SC and I have a tab on my page that has the laws for us.

Random Things

Here is a look at a few of the things we have been working on in class.

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New World Explorers Lapbook

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Number of the Day(advanced)

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Map for our Virtual North American road trip

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Poster on the wall

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Phonics Dry erase board

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Learning how to write sentences in cursive

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Kindergarten Addition

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Our day, date, and weather chart

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Learning how to write

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Learning how to write all uppercase letters.

 

These are just a few things we do. When I say that our curriculum is Ecclectic and is a hodge podge of things that work best for us, I am not overexaggerating. There has been a lot of trial and error and we are still working out some things. It is a learning process for all of us.