Curriculum 2020-2021


I want to say a couple things before I share what we are doing this year.


  1. I am not sharing our curriculum because I am an affiliate (I do receive some of our curriculum as an affiliate but I NEVER agree to until I have actually purchased and used it myself first).

  2. Just because a curriculum works for my kids and I, does not mean it will be a great fit for your family. I don't say this to be discouraging but people prefer different curriculum methods, schedules, religious/secular, and have various amounts of time to implement curriculum. I also have a strong teaching background which may make my choices different than yours.

  3. There is no WRONG curriculum choice. Every curriculum has "gaps." Every curriculum has its pluses and minuses. Sometimes something seems like a great fit, until you are knee deep and realize it is not working (for any number of reasons). This has happened to me in the classroom as a teacher and as a homeschool mom. Do not be afraid to change things if they are not working.

  4. There are buy/sell groups on Facebook and always eBay as options. Check out used if you can! It can save a lot!

  5. I have curriculum ADD. No really. I love all things curriculum (it’s the teacher in me). You don’t need fancy curriculum to be successful. You also don’t need all the things I use. I like to integrate curriculums because it’s what I did as a teacher. I make life “harder” by doing this but I love it. This keeps us going, it may drive someone else up a wall!

Okay, on to what we are doing this year!

MATH

We started out with Singapore (Dimensions) math. I love all things Singapore. It is hands-on, critical thinking, models, and does align (and exceed) with most state standards.


Guess what? My oldest is NOT a fan (he was last year - not so much now). Cue the tears from mom. He wanted more space to write (I do agree here- the boxes are tiny and there is a lot crammed on each page) and the visuals (that I LOVED) were too distracting for him. So, we tested out two others that were on the top of my list: Math Mammoth and Math Lessons for Living Education. I had him try a few test pages of each (on separate days). We ended up going with Math Mammoth.


He liked: the ability to write and draw, the layout of the pages, and that there were pictures but it wasn't overwhelming. It is similar to Singapore in the way it uses visuals, encourages hands-on learning, and technically aligns with common-core overall. It is less teacher intensive (yay for me). He is happy and so am I! Math Lessons for a Living Education is also a great program but please remember their levels do not align with grade levels. I have heard many people say it is behind, but what most don't realize the levels are separate. So level one is not necessarily first grade, it is just their level one. It is also a great program but didn't provide enough practice for my one child.


We are also using Prodigy math online as a fun supplement (additional practice once a week on average) and we play a TON of math games. Any time we can be hands-on with math, that is the goal! Mother Goose Time (Experience Curriculum) is one we use to reinforce math skills for my oldest and continue to build number sense with my younger children. While it is a preschool program, they all enjoy the activities!


Language Arts



Our main program for both children is Logic of English Foundations. It does such a terrific job clearly covering phonics. It also incorporates writing and spelling. We do not use their handwriting component. I added their Game Book this year and absolutely love it! It makes language arts even more fun and engaging. The program is hands-on in nature and also has a workbook component (but the work is engaging and minimal).




Logic of English Foundations
Logic of English Foundations




Spelling Connections from Zaner-Bloser
Spelling Connections from Zaner-Bloser

In addition to Logic of English we are using Spelling Connections from Zaner-Bloser. For me it is habit forming and reinforces what we are learning in LOE. This gives my first grader a weekly spelling list and my kindergartner additional phonics/writing practice. We only spend 5 - 10 minutes four days a week on this program. It is somewhat independent. There is a QR code reader, which my first grader loves. It reads the words in a sentence and can also spell the words for them. This can make their spelling quiz independent!



Spelling Connections Zaner-Bloser
Spelling Connections Zaner-Bloser

Spelling Connections Zaner-Bloser
Spelling Connections Zaner-Bloser



For handwriting and writing in general we use Handwriting Without Tears and Learning Without Tears. My kindergartner uses their wood pieces to reinforce handwriting and the kindergarten practice workbooks. For my first grader, we use Building Writers (level B and we will move to C later). This really focuses on sentence structure, writing both fiction and nonfiction, and of course handwriting. We will move to cursive in the winter.

Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears

Building Writers Learning Without Tears
Building Writers Learning Without Tears

Building Writers Learning Without Tears
Building Writers Learning Without Tears

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we complete lessons as a group using First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind and Jacob's Ladder. These programs incorporate oral speaking, memorization, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and promote great discussions. We also play lots of games! We conduct research reports and book reports. We practice oral speaking often through poetry, rhymes, and Bible verses. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the co-op days, so they look slightly different and are jam-packed.



Science and Health


God's Design for Life & Health, Safety, and Manners
God's Design for Life & Health, Safety, and Manners

I have two base programs, that you truly don't need to add to but I like to dig deeper and am able to with my time (and teaching background). I am using Abeka's Health and Safety this year. We do this in short stints. In other words, we do a mini health unit a few times throughout the year.


My base science is Life for Beginners. We are focusing on animals, plants, and the human body. I wanted to dig deeper (and did not plan on using this upcoming curriculum originally) and took on some units from Gather Round. I have to say I love it. So we are using our Life for Beginners as our base but we are diving deep using Gather Round: Northern American Birds, Human Body, and Oceans. All units include geography and some language arts, which I love. The kids thoroughly enjoy experiments and hands-on crafts, so we will incorporate those as well. Lots of our crafts come from our preschool Mother Goose Time (Experience Curriculum) subscription. My older children love those units just as much as my toddler, so we complete them together two days a week. *Note: Gather Round, Abeka, and Master Books are Christian curriculums.*

Gather Round Northern American Birds
Gather Round Northern American Birds

Social Studies


Gather Round Homeschool
Gather Round Homeschool

Our first social studies unit will be through Gather Round. We are completing their United States Government unit. We only "do" social studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so this will take us to the election. I am SO excited about this unit. It is rock solid and unbiased. We are incorporating a lot of read aloud books and projects as well.


Read Aloud US Government & Elections
Read Aloud US Government & Elections

After our government unit, we will explore cultures of the world. We will do this first through Christmas Celebrations around the world (something I curated). In January we will study cultures around the world using our Mother Goose Time Experience Curriculum and other resources I pull. Later in the year, we will conduct a United States regions mini unit. We will study all regions in the United States and make food local to each. Throughout the year we will study and use maps in all of our social studies and science units.


Everything Else


That pretty much covers it, but we are incorporating typing, Spanish, and our American Sign Language on a limited basis throughout the week. My toddler uses Mother Goose Time, Experience Curriculum, but we ALL really use it. It is quick and fun! The crafts correlate with most of our content areas, so it makes it easy to include everyone. I do blog for them, so you see a lot of their crafts and activities.

The older kids are supposed to still do soccer, Lego Robotics and an art class- we will see what happens this fall. I’m not holding my breath but let’s hope it pans out!

PS- My preschooler does Mother Goose time and loves it! the whole house has imaginative play time, quiet time, and independent play time too.

IT IS GREAT


The great thing about homeschool- we can rotate subjects and units. We can dive deep into science or social studies for a few weeks and switch gears. We can overlap (integrate) subject areas. We can learn in our school room, in the backyard, on a field trip, or read on the couch. If something isn't clicking or working, we can switch it up.


I am SO excited about this year. We are only four weeks in but I know it will be great!