When I was new to homeschooling I was almost obsessive about what other families were doing. Now I hesitate to post ours because I would never want you to feel that this is the way to homeschool. Each family is unique and so should your schedule be. With that said here’s my schedule for twin daughters that will be Freshman this year…………..
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The Three R’s
This is the subject most new homeschooling moms are nervous about. Look at it this way. Up to this point you’ve taught them everything they know! And that is no small accomplishment. They know how to eat, use the bathroom, act in a mannerly way (mostly), dress themselves and how to speak our language. Pat yourself on the back and take a deep breath. Reading is like riding a bike. Your child will catch on when he/she is ready. I’ve been exposed to a lot of reading curriculum over the years, but my personal favorite is Alpha-Phonics. It’s simple to use and doesn’t require anything other than time. All my kids used this program after I found it. Some went through the entire book and some took off after a few lessons. Read, read, read to your children and let the process unfold when they are ready. I talked to a Dad today who taught his daughter to read with the comics from the newspaper. After reading proficiency we have the kids read good literature throughout the school year. There are many lists online for suggestions according to age.
Our family has wandered around the writing aspect of homeschooling. We have used Easy Grammar, Easy Grammar Plus, and like them both for teaching basics. For several years we used a program called Understanding Writing. It is an awesome curriculum for actual writing projects that are not contrived. My kids wrote lots of letters and such when we used this program. It works well for multiple ages too. If you have kids who love to write I highly recommend Simple Grammar. It covers the basics and they can write to their little hearts content. These students don’t need “assignments” to write, because they are writing in their spare time.
My most frustrating subject, bar none! We have had more struggles with Math than everything else combined. My oldest was a whiz at math, but it went downhill after that. We tried Saxon, which I hated (and several of my kids) and for quite a few years used Making Math Meaningful. I do believe my kids have another name for it. Are you sensing a pattern? With one daughter we used the Key To program. Highly recommend this one, because it covers the basics nicely. We also used Miquon Math for several years. It’s a great program to get the concepts down. Fast forward to my youngest two and we found RightStart Math. Love, love, love this curriculum for younger students. Once they were in Jr. High not so much. It was confusing and difficult even for the parents. This coming year we will be using Life of Fred for the second time. I personally LOVE this series, but the twins need more reinforcement and seem to get bored with the story and want to just “get to the problems”. We will also be reading Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.
All the Rest
We have bible study every day and are copying the New Testament. This is not original with me, but I liked the idea. Three of my older four completed this before they graduated. Last year I began copying alongside the twins. They should easily finish before the end of their senior year.
We have used the Apologia Series for years and totally loved them till we got to Physical Science. It was extremely boring for my two, but we were in a co-op situation and the teacher chose to skip most of the experiments. They enjoyed it and understood it more when I took the time at home to do the experiments with them. We will be using the Apologia Biology as a textbook this year, but filling in with Biology coloring books by Dover, and autobiographies from the library. We have also used a science program called “Developing Critical Thinking through Science”. We loved this one also! Actually we’ve loved everything we’ve tried through Critical Thinking Press.
Finally! My favorite! I love history and yes I’m the one who has to read all the blurbs at museums, zoos and any rest stop. Historical markers? Yes! It made the most sense to me to start at the beginning of all history. So we started in Genesis 1:1 and read till Egypt was mentioned and took a year to study ancient Egypt. For many years we used Greenleaf Press, in fact we still use them! They can get a little dry, but overall I highly recommend their curriculum. This year we will be studying the Renaissance and Reformation. I try hard to connect the dots by including good literature from the time period we are studying.
For years we have used Cornerstone Curriculum’s Art and Music program and I plan to continue that this year also. They do a great job of exposing students to different worldviews. These are curriculum I have used for more that 10 years. The titles are “Adventures in Art” and “Music and Moments with the Masters”. We did invest in the pictures to go with the Art program, but I’ve gotten my moneys worth over so many years. 🙂 We’ve also used and loved two books called Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers and The Gift of Music. My two youngest love Shakespeare and I will continue to feed that this coming year. We started with Tales from Shakespeare and The Children’s Shakespeare and this year we will be listening to several plays in audio format.
Being partial to a semi classical approach has colored my choices as have the works of Charlotte Mason. My most used resource when planning each school year is Amblesideonline.org . There is a wealth of information here and my starting point for creating a schedule. I don’t follow it exactly, but do use it as a springboard for direction. You’ll notice I left out a couple of things, like Poetry and Nature. For those I will use notebooks and sketchbooks. We will be creating our own books. We will probably use Ambleside for poet suggestions, and poetry books I have on hand. Don’t be intimidated by mine or anyone else’s schedule. Remember this is a result of homeschooling for over 25 years. And it may change next year! Relax, enjoy your children and this journey called homeschooling.