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Curriculum Round-up, 2011

I can scarcely believe that I’ve been homeschooling my children for 7 years.  And further, I still wallow in disbelief that I’ve taught two of them how to read.  Plus a whole bunch of other stuff like how to diagram sentences and reduce a fraction to its lowest term.

Because that little ability COMES IN HANDY.


I officially have a 6th, 4th, and 1st grader under my tutelage this year.  Adding that 3rd student (especially since it’s JENSEN) has really stretched my patience and teaching abilities to the limit.  It is a good thing that he came last in the lineup, otherwise they would all be in military school.  In a harsh climate.

I love being able to share what our school year looks like, as well as get an insight into what other harried homeschool moms are doing as well.  Over the years I’ve used a number of different curriculum, finally in this last year landing on a combination that works well for our family.  This school year will not look all that different than last year.  Except that the teacher is a good deal more twitchy.

We are still loosely using a year round schedule.  This will be our 3rd year doing this and I absolutely love it.  Basically, we start school in the middle of July when it’s too hot to make it to the mailbox and back without danger of heat stroke.  We work for 9 weeks, take 2 weeks off in the Fall, and then go another 9 weeks.  This puts us at the doorstep of December, wherein we take the entire month off.

We start our 3rd quarter right after New Years, work 9 weeks, take 2 weeks off for Spring Break, and then work another 9 to 10 weeks, depending on if we need a buffer.  We end our school year at about the end of May.  Then we have about 6 weeks off during the summer.

Which is just enough time to limit the inevitable event of all the useful information learned the prior year from leaking out of every orifice.  Like a sieve.

One difference this year is that we’re having to work a full 5 day school week, instead of 4, because I don’t want everyone to be rushed trying to get everything accomplished.  And as my oldest student would tell you, SIXTH GRADE IS HARD.


Last year was my first year to use My Father’s World, and we studied Exploring Countries and Cultures.  I am now a My Father’s World convert.  My sister-in-law, Trish, used Adventures in My Father’s World last year, and in an effort to save money, we simply switched curriculum this year.

Adventures in MFW is a basic study of U.S. History geared to 2nd graders.  But since I already have amassed a wonderful library on U.S. History, I knew that I could use Adventures in MFW as a guideline and will add on as needed to make it challenging enough for Emme and Cailey.

I love doing a unit study approach for geography, history and science.  It’s a great opportunity to bring all my little students together to learn.  While keeping the bickering to a dull roar.

Bible Study

Speaking of roar (because I am all about the seg-way), we’re using ROAR, which is a Christian family guide to studying the Chronicles of Narnia.  I’m reading a chapter per day (starting with The Magician’s Nephew) and we go in depth to discover all of the wonderful nuances that Lewis intended when he wrote the Chronicles.  There are plenty of scripture references to delve into as well as real life practical applications to discuss.  ROAR is authored by Heather and David Kopp.  I found mine used online at Amazon.com.

We’re also starting Awana again this year, and will be working within our Awana books to memorize scripture.

Math/English/Word Building (Spelling)

This is our 3rd year using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum for these 3 subjects.  There are no teacher manuals, as everything is explained within the workbooks.  Each subject has 12 workbooks to cover the span of a year.  We work at a rate of about one workbook every 3 weeks.  This curriculum has really helped to develop independent study habits for the girls.

I’m able to use Big IQ Kids to reinforce spelling as I can modify the lessons to include their weekly spelling list.  I also use the Big IQ Kids math program to help drill the dreaded multiplication tables into their heads.  They actually look forward to review work.  Go figure.  And don’t forget the Big IQ Kids giveaway going on here.

Jensen – the first grader

I have to keep things loosey goosey with my son.  I never know with his skin issues if he’s going to be able to sit still and concentrate.  I have a variety of activities and worksheets available on the fly.  I’m using A Reason for Handwriting, A Reason for Spelling, Spectrum Math, and an Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  When he’s especially wiggly, I let him trace (awesome for eye/hand motor coordination) and draw freehand to his hearts content.  And of course he joins in when we’re doing our Bible Study and family reading time.  Although he’s usually standing on his head.

Extracurricular Activities

We are involved in a whole bunch of extra stuff outside the house to make sure that mommy stays socialized.  🙂  The girls are in swim team technique lessons, swim team practice, Awana, American Heritage Girls (Christian scouting), Friday park day with our homeschool group, and Homeschool P.E. & Art Classes.

I still use the workbox system with all 3 kids to help keep their work organized.  This has been so helpful because they know what is expected of them each day, and they can easily access what they need to be working on.

Also, I have a homeschool page set up especially for awesome resources.

We’re off to a great start this year and are just finishing up week 5, with our first 2 week break in sight.  And so far, no one is in therapy.  Which, really, is more than I could have hoped for.

Your turn.  If you have a blog, you can post your own curriculum round-up post, and link that post up below.  Be sure and include a link pointing here within your own post, because the more the merrier.

If you don’t have a blog or post, just tell us what you’re doing this year in the comments section.

Have a stress-free year, everyone!  (Which is easy for me to say since Fiddledaddy just found me hovering over a leftover can of coconut pecan frosting, sprinkled with Hershey’s Chocolate drops.  That’s the kind of day I’ve had…)




10 Responses to Curriculum Round-up, 2011

  • We just joined Classical Conversations, and I am madly in love with it. Boy is 7th grade now, and I am his Challenge A tutor–lots of hard work = lots of fun in this case. Boy is off to bed now with some light reading–in Latin. For fun. All of his work is CC’s standard curriculum for Challenge A, with the substitution of Singapore New Elementary Math 1 instead of Saxon, and the addition of Daily Grams and a little bit of diagramming each day. If anyone knows of a good program similar to Daily Grams for diagramming just a few sentences a day, I would love to hear about it. Right now I am just making it up.

    Girl is reading well now, so I have dropped the “reading” lessons and she is doing Spectrum spelling and phonics (because I got it free or really cheap) and Singapore Math 1B. Hopefully we will get to 2A and B this year, too. She got “stuck” at addition and subtraction, so we dropped math for about 4 months, except for addition and subtraction drills with princesses and computer games. Now she is flying again. She also does some work each day from First Language Lessons. And sometimes an oral drill from an old spelling book. Her science and history will mostly be done in her CC memory work, but I also have the God’s Design biology book which we might use to do a little co-op with cousins who will be homeschooling nearby this year instead of on the other side of the globe where they usually are. And a book of stories about American Christian leaders to read and color some pictures.

    Baby is 4, and is finally “getting it” with the reading with Teach your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons. I love how her eyes light up when she figures out a word. I also have a Spectrum Math K book for her, and a Christian phonics book. She does a little bit of copy work each day, also–a couple of illegible sentences that she delights in doing.

    For Bible, we are reading Storytime with Uncle Arthur–which isn’t exactly Bible, but has Biblical concepts in it. And we have our AWANA memory work and our Master’s Club memory work to do.

  • You are going to have a great year! The fact that you have made it through 5 weeks already just go to prove that one! Thanks for hosting this!

  • You can do it! I’ve made it this far and haven’t hurt anyone. The chocolate industry can truly say they’ve seen an increase in their sales thanks to me as that is my preferred method of coping. Better than running around the room clucking like a chicken. Which, sad to say, has happened more than once. 😉

  • Thank you for hosting the round up. I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed just having typed it out. 🙂 Have a very blessed school year.

  • Thank you so much for doing this. I have really enjoyed following your journey the past few years. We started using MFW at your suggestion and LOVE it! Here’s to a new school year and the beautiful cups of coffee and bottles of wine that are here to get us through it!

  • I’m biting my nails this year as I mess around with getting my older two ready for high school. I hope some of the linkies will be moms already there so I can mooch off of their wisdom. Thanks for hosting!

  • Hope it was okay, i wrote about this a month or so ago for Simple Homeschool. I just linked to that post. Will put up a quick post about your round-up on my blog in a sec.

  • Pingback: In Which We Perform Feats of Strength | Vitafamiliae
  • We just moved our oldest son (18) into his COLLEGE DORM last weekend(!), so I am down by one student this year. Oh my goodness; am I really old enough to have one in college?!?

    My 16 year-old son is doing most of Sonlight’s Core 400, Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calculus, Apologia Physics, Write at Home Composition 2, Research Paper Workshop, and Essay 2 Workshop, a computer course through Landry Academy online, and SAT prep this semester.

    My 14 year old son has Sonlight’s Core 100, TT Algebra 2, Apologia Biology, Write at Home Composition 1, Rosetta Stone Spanish 1, and piano.

    11 year old daughter is doing Sonlight’s Core G, Singapore Math, Jump In writing and Wordly Wise, a mixture of science books and materials, some from Sonlight’s Science 6, piano, art, and typing (Typing Instructor Deluxe).

    22 month old daughter is keeping us busy and smiling! 😀

    Our extras are baseball and youth group for the boys, and gymnastics for older daughter.

  • We are also using Adventures this year. We just completed week 2 and can already tell this is going to be a fun year! After K and 1st I was sold on MFW. Last year we used Five in a Row with both kids so the 5 year old could finish 1st and they could both get on the same core program this year. It was very good, but I’ve been dying to get back to MFW!
    Both are using Singapore Math on their own level and Primary Language Lessons. Rod & Staff Spelling 2 for the 6 year old and Spelling Power for the 8 year old. Lessons in Responsibility for Bible Study and Health. Swimming, bowling, baseball, lots of outside play, and music opportunities at our church’s Christian school round it out.
    Oh, and lots and lots of library books. My son is suddenly a voracious reader.
    We also go year-round, taking time off as we need it, as well as the entire month of July.
    Have you heard of Carol Barnier? If not you should look her up. She KNOWS Jensen, and her insights have really helped me with my kids. Heard her at convention a few year ago and have one of her books. She’s Hilarious! (www dot sizzlebop dot com).
    Sounds like you’re in for a great year!