Our 2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum
I’ve been waiting to put this list together because we’re finally settling in (I know. It’s only November…), pairing down, and making some much needed changes.
Here’s the round-up of books that we’re using this year. This doesn’t include the many books that we’re using as supplemental reading from our own stash and from the library.
Golly…this is long. So grab your java and settle in…
The big kids start each morning with math (curriculum listed below) while I read with the preschooler and wrestle the one year old. Once math is finished, we move to our morning meeting, where we sit together and work through some core subjects.
Bible || Dangerous Devotions (we’re in the New Testament now). This is a great devotion/Bible lesson. There are intro questions and then a summary of the Bible in book order. The lessons are brief but very thorough and the discussion questions have prompted great conversations.
Memorization || We keep a running list of verses and classic poems that we are working to commit to memory. If you’re looking for a place to start, here’s a great list of printable verses.
Shakespeare || Teach Your Children Shakespeare I’m looooving this book! I’ve always enjoyed Shakespeare but this makes his writing completely attainable for kids.
Science || We’re using Nature Anatomy and the illustrations are so fantastic. It’s a great spring board and introduction to major nature themes, creatures and ideas, but it isn’t a complete curriculum. For our main lessons, we’re using recommendations from Ambleside and living books. We read our chapters for the day, and then narrate and illustrate the lesson (more on that coming soon!).
History || Mystery of History 2. We use many of their activities, but we also narrate and illustrate the lesson. I love that there are CDs of each lesson to listen to if my voice is giving out, or if we’re out and about and want to keep going with the lesson. We also use a LOT of history supplements and we’re loving Lamplighter books and G.W. Henty right now!
(We rotate days, alternating Science and History)
Geography || Beautiful Feet Geography. This set of living books by Holling C. Holling and the accompanying lesson plans have added a beautiful dimension to our geography studies and makes the lands and people come alive.
Read aloud || On our list this year is Anne of Green Gables, Robin Hood, The Door In The Wall, The Bronze Bow, The Whipping Boy, and many others! Our list is still developing!
Handicrafts || We always love working on either knitting or crocheting, but we’ll be making some homemade gifts for Christmas this year as well. Finding something quiet for my kids to do with their hands while I read has been a LIFE SAVER.
Art || Lives of the Artists. We’re working through this wonderful biography of artists (the illustrations are so fun!) and then viewing large copies of the artists’ paintings. We talk through what we like/don’t like and then use the next week to make a reproduction of one of the pieces.
Music || Story of the Orchestra. We are currently listening to and continuing our study of the orchestra. We’re also listening to various artists and composers during free time and art.
And now on to the grade-specific books:
In preschool, I really only focus on a few things. Because I’m homeschooling multiple children, it’s important (and necessary) that my children learn patience and how to entertain themselves for set amounts of time, especially if I’m working on something with their siblings and they need to wait their turn.
We work on “habits” heavily in the younger years and this becomes their “school”:
Cleaning up/putting away items
The value of developing these skills early in your children is immeasurable!
We also read. And read some more. I love Five In A Row and we’ll do that a little more deliberately next year for Kindergarten. In the mean time, I still follow the FIAR approach of reading the same story for five days in a row so that they can parrot back the story and become very familiar with the characters.
Here are some of the books we’re reading for Pre-School:
Eric Carle books (oh, those illustrations!) We love all of his books, but we’re reading this one, this one and this one.
The Story of Ping (Marjorie Flack)
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Our preschooler is also expected to listen in while we do Bible, our family read-aloud chapter book, our memory verse and our poetry reading. He can play quietly, color or do another activity, but he’s expected to participate as much as possible. Although the list looks long, we actually move through these things rather quickly.
I’ll be doing another post on HOW we teach habits in the younger years, but for now, that’s the bulk of the preschool curriculum.
Phonics || All About Reading
Math || Teaching Textbooks (note: Teaching Textbooks starts at 3rd grade. However, My 2nd grader really enjoys Math, and from K-2nd we use Rod and Staff Math, which I feel is very comprehensive and prepared her to skip a grade in math)
Language Arts + Grammar || Copywork (along with poetry memorization) (and bonus, this copywork set is free!)
Independent Reading || Our 2nd grader is working on readers in phonics, but because of her dyslexia, she does “ear reading”. We use books from audible and librivox to introduce her to unabridged classics and she narrates those back to me.
Grammar + English || Language Lessons Through Literature
Math || Teaching Textbooks
Latin || Getting Started With Latin (I LOVE this program. It was written FOR homeschoolers, and is completely independent. My daughter does one very simple, short lesson each day and keeps a notebook. We use the kindle version but there is the option of a printed book as well.)
Typing || Dance Mat Typing (a fun free program)
Cursive handwriting || A Reason For Handwriting I love the simple and short lessons.
Devotions || The Seeking Heart by Francois Fenelon. We do Bible together each morning, but my older daughter is also working through this book. It’s weighty and is a collection of letters written by Fenelon, all about selfless living, crucifying your own wants and desires, and learning to hear the voice of God. It’s not a “children’s book”, so it doesn’t sugar coat anything, but an absolute must, especially as we move into these pre-teen years (Oh, Lordy…).
Independent Reading || Various. We work through these gradually and most of her reading list comes from our personal collection or the library and I get a lot of ideas from Honey For A Child’s Heart as well as the WONDERFUL book list at Ambleside. I choose books that are challenging for her and she’ll read a select amount and then narrate back to me what she’s read.
Phew! that’s what we’re using, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at how we use some of these items and what each subject looks like in practice. We do more than just read the lesson and write down our answers. I’ve merged art with many of our subjects this year and I’ve seen such a change in my children’s enjoyment of their books this year. But that’s it for now – more to come on that later!
What about you? What books have you fallen in love with this year?