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

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 🙂

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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Postcard exchange

I have recently joined a postcard exchange. I thought it would be an awesome way for kids to learn about other places people live. I think it would great if we could get more people to join from all over the country and the world.

 

If you want to learn more about it, visit these blogs:

http://mathairfiona.wordpress.com

http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com

 

If you would like to join, please feel free to contact me, or the two listed above. It’s a fun way to learn about Geography 🙂

 

It has been awhile….

It has been awhile since I updated my blog. We have been busy finishing out the school year and trying to decide what to do next school year. Do we continue to homeschool? Do we send our kids to public school? Or do we compromise and register for online public school? All of these options needed to be considered before we moved on.

After weighing out all of our options, we decided the best thing we could do was homeschool our son and sign our daughter up for online public school. The next big decision was which curriculum to choose that will best benefit our son who struggles with school. We researched curriculums, read reviews, and priced out different curriculums. We decided we were going to use a few different levels of Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool (www.allinonehomeschool.com). It is an all free curriculum and you can pick and choose different levels for your child so that you can tailor it to fit each individual student.

For our daughter, we decided it was best to sign her up for online public school. There were a few different options for her too. We decided the right fit for her was South Carolina Connections Academy (www.connectionsacademy.com/south-carolina-virtual-school).

Now that those two big decisions are made, it is time to start getting ready for the school year. I purchased a 180 day planner, plus planners for each of the kids. I have organized my planner for my son according to the Easy Peasy curriculum. I have also supplemented with Singapore Math (textbook and workbook) and Spectrum Spelling (workbook). For my daughter, I will be able to start her planner as soon as Connections Academy releases her weekly planners. The will have her curriculum planned out, and I will decide then if we need to supplement in any areas.

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Homeschool or School at Home?

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between homeschooling your child and doing school at home. We started this school year out doing school at home. Let me explain what that is. This is where you attend public school online at home. We went through a program called K12. They created the curriculum, sent all materials needed for the school year, and also provided a teacher that you can always communicate with when you had a question. It was a good program, but our son was struggling because the years of him being pushed through public school have taken a huge toll on his eduction. We decided that this program was not going to work for him.

My husband and I sat down and weighed out all of our options, what it would look like to homeschool our children, and if we thought that we would be able to do it. We decided that it was what was best for the kids that mattered. I immediately got online and started Googling everything and anything I could think of to help us figure out where to start.

So what is the difference between homeschool and school at home? Here it is: You must do everything, including planning the day, choosing curriculum, providing the materials, and you have no teacher support. We seriously contemplated buying the expensive curriculums that many places offer. In the end, we decided we were going to make our own curriculum so that we could tailor it to fit our son, since he struggles in some classes more than others. We found used textbooks online through and website called Alibri’s. www.alibris.com  We also got on Ebay and found workbooks that we are using for math and language. As for our math manipulatives, we make most of them out of everyday items we have laying around the house. I used this website for inspiration. http://heartofthematteronline.com/15-homemade-math-manipulatives-2/. I also use Pinterest for alot of creative ideas to use for teaching tools.

It is absolutely amazing how much help you can find online. I think what helped me the most was finding other parents’ blogs. They share a lot of experiences and can tell you some things to avoid, some things that work, etc. So before you throw in the towel or feel extremely overwhelmed, hop on the internet and use Google. You will be surprised at how many other parents have the same questions and problems you do, and how many other parents have the answers you are looking for.