Our Curriculum 2009-2010

Our Curriculum for 2009-2010

Let me preface this with the fact that I did start the year out doing more than I should have.  Sometimes it takes a few weeks or so to determine if a child is ready for something.  I will only list the things that we ended up doing the entire year.  Also, these are the things that we like and that work for our family.  Every child is different, what works for one person or family may not work for another.  There are many different and good kinds of curriculum out there to choose from.  FYI - this year we did a four day school week, allowing Friday to be a "catch up" day if we needed it.  That was a great experiment!  Click on the words in Bold for more information.

Bible - Explorer's Bible Study - Beginnings 2 , Jesus My Shepherd - This was a great Bible curriculum for my kids.  We did a younger version last year and they loved it.  The concepts are easy to understand, the stories are interesting, there are simple vocab words and a quiz with each lesson.  A good reader can do this independently.  I chose to read it during breakfast and then test the younger ones verbally, while my oldest would take her quiz independently.

Language Arts - Explode the Code and Beyond the Code - These are great - the kids all enjoy them. We use them for the four younger kids.  I have found that they coordinate really well with Hooked on Phonics - which we also used.  

Hooked on Phonics - I have to put in a testimonial for Hooked on Phonics.  Maraya and Carter have only been in the country for a year and a half - thanks to Hooked on Phonics, they were able to start reading within six months of being with us.  Keep in mind that when they came they were four and six years old and only knew five English words.  Now each of my five children are either at or well exceeding what their reading level should be according to their age.

Wordly Wise - My oldest uses Wordly Wise - it is filled with great activities to help her learn her vocabulary.  She particularly enjoys the stories at the end of each lesson.  We go through one lesson a week and test at the end of the week. She went through one and a half books this year.

Building Spelling Skills - Two of my kids used this.  The words start out pretty easy - but do get progressively harder.  Again - we would do one lesson a week and test at the end.  I did something though that I enjoyed as a child.  We would do a "pretest" at the beginning of each lesson - if the child got all the words correct, we would skip that lesson, otherwise, they would do the practice activities in the lesson, but only test on the words they missed at the end of the week.  Anything they still missed would get added to their spelling pretest on the next week's lesson.

Easy Grammar - I really like this program.  I like that the older children can do it independently, and that it does not take long at all.  I think the repetition of the concepts are helpful in planting the rules in their mind and is therefore helpful in other subjects.

First Language Lessons - My oldest did level three of this curriculum.  I like it - it spells everything out for me, the teacher, and makes it very simple to teach.  It does not take long to do and it works well for my daughter.

Writing with Ease - This was a good program that I tried with all of my children.  It works really well with First Language Lessons. Some did it all the way through - some did not.  I found that some of my kids had a hard time with it (as English was their second language), so we will move to something else next year, that I will hopefully do with all the kids.

Math - Horizon's - I used this with all of my kids.  It is a little more advanced than some curriculums, but we really like it.  The first few pages of the books are always review to a certain degree - so don't think that it won't be challenging.  I like that it is so independent, but also so easy to help them through a problem if they need the help.

Key To - My oldest did the Key to Fractions and Key to Decimals this year, along with the Horizon's, for a little more practice in these areas.  These are easy, cheap, written in an appealing way and have information re math history or the use for math in the beginning of each book - which was interesting.

Hooked on Math - We did this occasionally with all the children on an as needed basis to help supplement and give extra practice where it was needed.  The activities are very appealing to kids - but it is not, in my opinion, a stand alone curriculum for math.

Science - Apologia - The first semester we did Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  This took about eight months to go through.  It was a blast!  We used the lapbook cd along with it, the kids loved the hands on project that this provided.  The second semester, we began Botany - we will continue to do the next year.  It too has been fun.  We were able to dissect a flower and look at the eggs of the flower under a microscope - something that I, myself, had not seen before - Fun learning for everyone!

History - Story of the World - This was what we did the first semester.  We did the first book in the series. The kids really enjoyed the stories.  They were informative, exciting, entertaining, and not too lengthy (although my children always wanted me to read more).  We enjoyed the activity book very much - we didn't do every activity, but we did enjoy the ones we did.  I also used the tests on my two oldest.  The only negative thing I would say about this book is that it does have quite a bit of Greek Mythology in it - some is fine by me, but we ended up skipping a few things.  The great thing about this book and homeschooling is you can do that if you want to.

Beautiful Feet - The second semester we started Early American History.  This is a wonderful curriculum.  It really engages the children with the story books.  Some of the suggested readings are a bit much for my children's ages, so I picked through a little bit.  I really like how it uses the Bible as an actual text book and refers to the character of the people you are reading about and compares it to good Christian character.  Certainly the kinds of values I want to instill in our children.