Thursday, August 5, 2010

Curriculm 2010-2011

Over the past 7 years I have learned some valuable pieces of wisdom about school planning and choosing curriculum.
  • Be flexible and be willing to explore all the choices.
  • Just because you like a text book doesn't mean it is the best text for the way your child learns.
  • Just because something worked great with one child doesn't necessarily mean it will work great with the next kid.
  • Even though something worked great last year doesn’t mean that it will still fit that same child the next year.
This year has proven to be the most challenging year so far when it comes to choosing curriculum. Normally, I have it pretty figured out and there are just a few minor tweaks and changes from the past year. As of today, I still only have a vague idea of what we are doing this year. And, the crazy thing is that we started school on Monday.
After some serious struggles and groans from the kids last year, I knew it was time to research some of the curriculum choices I had just passed on by in previous years. A blogging friend of mine wrote a great book Called Learning Curve. I have read this book twice and keep going through it for some direction of where to go this year. It is short and to the point with just enough information in it to start going in the right direction with choosing curriculum that fits your child's learning style. I plan on doing a book review soon.
Here are my thoughts as of today, but these will probably change by next week. Sorry, it’s just where I am at this year.

A Beka has been a great resource for us and so we are going to continue to use it this year. We use it for health, science and history mostly. A Beka focuses on US history for the first 4 years and I love that. I also love A Beka readers. I love that the stories in their readers have substance and are usually about some historical figure. I also love that they are God centered. (I don’t use A Beka to teach the kids how to read, I just use it after they learn.)

Language is changing for us this year too. Princess K is still going to use Learning Language Arts Through Literature. LLATL seems to be working for her. It is slow and steady but it is progress none the less. We are still trying to hammer that one down for sure with the others. A Beka's program is really good and we might stick with that for the rest of the kids. For grammar however, I really love Winston Grammar and I am sure that it will benefit the kids. So bringing that in the second semester is something I am thinking about.
For Science we are going to continue doing unit studies and lapbooks. The kids love lapbooks and they really work. A Beka is what we do in between the unit studies. And I usually let the kids choose what they want to study. It gives them ownership and they really pay attention to what is being taught.

Saxon has been our go to math since the beginning. It really works at the primary levels of teaching for us. I love how hands-on it is and the manipulatives are great for my tactile learners. However, I have a visual learner who thinks in pictures and needs a different way of learning. So I have been looking into Math U See and Singapore Math. Math U See seems to be very similar to Saxon overall in the way manipulatives are used. And MUS is fairly expensive. I really don't want to invest in another costly math program. Saxon isn't that cheap when you buy the teacher manuals, the manipulatives, the meeting books and the workbooks. In fact we don't even use the meeting books. So I just get the workbooks for the kids each year. Singapore seems to be less expensive, still use some manipulatives and from the samples I have seen, it is more colorful and has more pictures. Saxon also reviews material a lot. Little Man really doesn't like that. He loved Saxon through book 3 and then decided he didn't like it any more. I think he would like Singapore because it doesn't do as much review. I’m still deciding. Any input about math programs and how they teach would be great at this point.

We are starting preschool with Little G this year. She really wants to do school like the big kids so I got her a couple of workbooks that focus on letters, numbers and fine motor skills. I am going to add those to her day along with rotating the playdough, felt board, folder games and other learning tools we have.

Over the next few weeks I will probably post more on each subject as I get all the pieces to the puzzle figured out but for now, they are all still in the box waiting for me to fit them together.

This post is linked to the Not Back to School Blog Hop - Week 1 is curriculum week. To see my post from last year click here. I was so much more put together last year.


  1. Thanks for posting! I love reading/hearing about what other moms are doing!

    I've been meaning to post what we're doing on my blog. I think I'll write about it today! :)

  2. I love this line: "Here are my thoughts as of today, but these will probably change by next week." I am very much the same way -- I've stopped apologizing for it. *LOL!*

  3. I'm with the comment above! Go with it, that's part of the beauty of homeschooling. Being flexible is so important! I have known people who stuck with something because that was their plan, only to find outt they wasted their time because it wasn't working for their child and/or their specific family circumstances. I will have to look into the Learning Curves book. Have a great year!

  4. This made me laugh: "As of today, I still only have a vague idea of what we are doing this year. And, the crazy thing is that we started school on Monday."

    Perhaps I should have went with this method. I started planning too far in advance which made it difficult to guess just where DD would be at the start of the year.

  5. After 13 years of homeschooling the one thing I've learned is that every year is different and flexibility is the key to survival :)

    I came over from the Not Back to School hop.


  6. I change things a little bit every year too! Just when I think I get it the way I want it, something changes and I have to reevaluate! Guess that's the life of a homeschooling family! Thanks for commenting on my blog! I am now a follower of your blog so I look forward to getting to know you!

  7. Thanks for all of the encouraging words! :)
    Yes, flexibility is absolutely key to successful homeschooling. Learning Curve is by Valerie Watne and can be bought through her website
    I forgot to put the link in my post and this site is so full of resources I need to share.


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