Thursday, February 19, 2009

"What Curriculum Do You Use?"

A couple of friends recently asked what home school curriculum we use. I thought that I would take some time to answer that question.

When we started homeschooling in 2005 we read Teaching The Trivium and The Well-Trained Mind and we were convinced that we wanted to use the classical approach to educating our children. Thus we began the journey. We had a friend that used Veritas Press and we were sold since it was a classical approach to homeschooling. We used it for 3 years and loved it. Then we had our 5th child and life was suddenly busy! We needed to step back and re-evaluate or I would be spending way too much time in book study alone. I love books and teaching, but there needs to be a balance with the other responsibilities and with the little ones who are still not in school. When we had our first child, I spent hours and hours sitting on the floor reading to him. I love to read and I felt as if I was not even getting to read to my others because I was so busy teaching my older children. Thus we changed to a curriculum that was more home school friendly so that I could just sit and read to my other children at various times in the day. The difference it has made has been amazing and we still use the classical approach, just not as rigorous as before. It usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day to teach my children. You may be asking, "what do you use?"

Science- Moody Science Videos and books from the library about Space, Planets, and Stars. We have a four year plan to study Human body, Plants, Space, and Chemistry.
History- Veritas Press History cards and music. We buy the recommended resource books on the back of the cards. The kids love them. This takes a 5 year approach. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece/Rome, Middle Ages, Reformation Period, and 1865- Present.
Art- Calvert School Discoveries in Art 32 Lessons on DVD and How To Teach Art To Children by Evan-Moor Grades 1-6
Music- from 2nd grade on our children take Piano lessons and practice daily. Before then we use Calvert School Melody Lane 32 Lessons on DVD and we listen to Classical Kids. Plus, we memorize and sing one hymn a week during our family worship daily.
Spelling- Spelling Power
Grammar- First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington. So far she has written level 1,2, and 3. She is hopefully writing more now. If not, then we will re-evaluate when the time comes (which will be next year) and choose something else from 4th grade on.
Writing- Writing With Ease also by Jessie Wise (Peace Hill Publications). Love it!!!!! This is a program that takes about 15 minutes 4 times a week and teaches children how to write. It includes narration, copy work, and dictation. So far, we have level 1-4. When they are older we possibly plan on using Excellence in Writing.
Handwriting- A Reason for Handwriting
Phonics- The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Susan Bauer.
Latin- Latin For Children. Love it!!! Your don't have to know Latin to teach your children Latin.
Oral Reading- So far this year we have read Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.
Private Reading- At the beginning of the year I had a nice plan I was following of the books my children would be reading all year that would follow along with all the other learning that was taking place at the time, but we have not stuck with it. My children LOVE to read and they get finished early. The plan now is to just expose them to as much classical and living books as possible. I have found Veritas Press an excellent guide to helping me to choose books. We have also used Honey For a Child's Heart as a guide and Vision Forum as a guide.
Testing- My husband is a certified test administrator through Bob Jones. We use the IOWA standardized test through BJU Press. This is a test that we will be giving every year that meets the state requirements for home schooling in all states.
Field Trips- This year we went to the State Museum at Albany and The Saratoga Children's Museum. Last year we went to Niagra Falls and The Creation Museum.

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