Friday, August 19, 2011

Homeschooling -- Curriculum Choices

I've been a fan and reader of DeeDee since I first started reading blogs. She is humorous and has great stories from her kids. She is also a homeschooler which in my opinion makes her even more special!

I love to see what other homeschoolers are using for curriculum and I know others do too so I am once again participating in this Curriculum Roundup. I'm basically cutting and pasting from the Heart of the Matter's Curriculum Roundup that I participated in a couple of weeks ago since who really has time to type all this out twice, right? And nothing has changed in those 2 weeks either, ya know?!

So here you have it....a little background to my family, in case you are new to my blog and my curriculum choices for this school year!

I have a recently turned 21 year old son that I homeschooled all the way through high school. He attended a private, Christian University (yes, you can homeschool and then get into a good college!) for 1 1/2 years. He decided that college wasn't for him so he took this past spring off and worked. He has signed up to join the Marines and will be leaving for boot camp sometime in the next 6 weeks or so. Although I am proud of him, it is hard to let my 'baby' grow up and leave for such a huge life changing thing. I know that it will be the best thing for him....but....blah, blah, blah.

I am now homeschooling my 7 year old son, whom I call That Other Kid on the ol' blog. He will be doing a combination of 1st grade and 2nd grade this fall. He has a winter birthday and I pretty much stick to a loose year round school schedule, with the "grade change" happening at the beginning of the calendar year. Seems to work well for now, so I'm sticking with it.

Now...on to the curriculum choices for this year.

I am a very eclectic homeschooler and I live in Texas!! Whoohhooo! Texas has great homeschooling laws and allows me to basically teach what I want, when I want as long as I am teaching math, reading, spelling, grammar, and civics from the time they are 6 till graduation (or 17). The hard part is choosing the right stuff to teach, right?

This year I am trying something new and different for me. I am trying a more "Well Trained Mind" plan with lots of 'living books'. I have pulled alot of books off the Ambleside Online site and I'm hoping to use a lot of the resources that are there for the first and second grade student. My son loves to be read to and is starting to read decently so I'm wanting to do a lot of reading and have him read alot this year, so that takes care of the "reading" requirement!

For Language Arts (grammar) I am using a combination of Critical Thinking, Language Smarts and First Language Lessons-Levels 1 & 2 from the Well Trained Mind Company. I think my son will do well with both of these curriculums as long as I make sure I don't overwhelm him with "the boring stuff".

For Spelling I am using "All About Spelling". I bought it back in February but never got around to actually using it since we were so busy with just the basics of learning to read and phonics. I think he will breeze through the first level since he has a really good grasp of words and letters, thanks to Hooked on Phonics and then we will move on to level 2, hopefully by October or November.

Math is his favorite and by far his best subject. At the age of 4 he could count to 100 by ones, just because. By 5 he could count to 600 by ones, just because. He understands time, money, fractions, addition and subtraction and can do it all in his head - all instictively! I'm shocked daily at his ability to do math! It also scares me! I'm not very good with math so I know that I will definitely be sending him to classes or co-ops for math in a few short years. BUT...for now I am teaching him 2nd grade ABeka math. It is advanced, colorful and easy enough for me to teach (for now)!

We are going to be using Story of the World for history this year. This one is new for me, and honestly I am scared! I know it's going to take time and consistent dedication from me to sit down and do the lessons with him but I love history and so does he so it should be fun as long as I do it!!

For Geography we are doing a mish-mash of Cantering the Country by Geography Matters, and a book The Star-Spangled State Book by Bramley Books and whatever else I pick up along the way! Geography is the funnest subject to play around with and I know we could spend more time with geography than I have allotted for a school day if I let it happen that way!

For Science I will take him to a couple of bi-weekly classes. I'm not a sciencey person and there are classes in the area that are inexpensive and really good at teaching what I don't want to and what he loves to it's a win-win situation for me! Not to mention I get to hang out with friends while he is in class!

For our Fine Arts I have purchased Handle on the Arts and Maestro Classics and I am excited to use both of these this year. My son also loves to draw and create so there will be times this year when I just let him draw and create whatever is in his heart to do. This will be a first for me to use fine arts as part of our regular curriculum, and I regret that I didn't make the decision to do more fine arts study with my older son, so I'm not making that mistake again.

For his PE and socialization (since everyone is always concerned that homeschoolers don't socialize and get enough PE) we go to the park at LEAST once a week from late September to May (even through a lot of winter since it doesn't get that cold in TX usually) and he also takes a karate class that meets twice a week throughout the year. We also get together with friends throughout the school year when the weather is nice out and do field trips and excursions to do and see things that we wouldn't normally do if he was in a traditional school setting.

The only thing that I was wanting to work on this year that I don't think we are going to do is a foreign language. Although I want to do study several foreign languages with him I know that with the schedule we have this year I won't get to it, so I didn't even look at it. that is our curriculum choices for the upcoming year with a brief description of what our year will look like. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you won't be a stranger and will come back. Please leave a comment so I know who stopped by and so I can see your curriculum choices for this year. Homeschooling is an adventure of a lifetime!!

I will quickly add that this fall we will be spending a lot of time WALKING and calling it PE because I am training to partipipate in the Komen 3 Day for the Cure that will be on November 4-6 here in Dallas. I fyou would like to support me as I raise money for breast cancer research I would greatly appreciate it. You can go here to donate to my specific page! Thanks so much!


Fiddledeedee said...

I have heard that Texas is a wonderful state to homeschool in. Florida is very much like that, but there is some current legislation that my really affect us. :(

You sound like you have a wonderful lineup. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the ability to pick and choose different curriculum for the different subjects. Keeps things interesting. Also am a fan of "living" books!

Good job, mamma!!!!

Joanna said...

Michigan is surprisingly a good state to homeschool in as we don't have to check in with anyone.

Ok, you need a post on how to let go of the kids once it's time for them to fly the nest. :)

WendyDarling said...

Hello, fellow Texas homeschooler. :-) I absolutely LOVE the freedom we have to homeschool in Texas. I do not take it for granted, and thank God for our freedoms every day. :-)

THANK YOU, and your son for serving. I am sure it is hard to let them go, much less go into the military. But, I am grateful for everyone willing to serve, and their families. Prayers to y'all.

Thank you for sharing. :-)

Valerie at Home said...

Good to "meet" you! We moved from the east Dallas suburbs to NC a number of years ago and it's always cool to talk to people back home.

I wondered what Cantering the Country was as a former homeschool group is doing it this year as a co-op. And it's always good to hear success stories of graduating homeschoolers. I'm graduating a friend's daughter at Thanksgiving so we'll have our first graduate soon. Good times ;-)

A Complete Thought said...

I have a friend recently moved to TX & she sings the praises of your homeschooling laws. My takeaway from the post is the encouragement about homeschooling a kid through high school & them be ready for college--even if it turns out to not be their choice. I keep needing to hear that as I bite my nails through 8th grade. And I keep saying I'm going to Ambleside Online for living books & then it gets swallowed in the tyranny of my living. Thanks for the reminder to go there today.