My Curriculum Choices, Part 2

I’m finishing my overview of the subjects we teach and how I choose my curriculum.  This is part 2, so if you missed the first post, read it too.

Somehow, I like Science much better as a homeschool mom/teacher than I did as a student.  I  use several different methods here.  We read from science books and play games or do simple experiments for elementary school.  No splitting atoms or building nuclear reactors.  I like Abeka here, too.  (I do NOT get any kind of compensation for linking to Abeka.  It’s strictly a convenience link for my readers).  But I throw in a few readers for fun, like Usborne, What’s in Your Body.  For junior high, I use Apologia.  We have liked all the series, so far.  Anatomy, AstronomyFlying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and Physical Science.  There are more.  These are just the ones we have. My 9th grader will be using Apologia Biology and is doing experiments with a friend and her son once a week.  Pretty pumped that I don’t have to do much here except make sure she keeps up the lessons so my friend doesn’t pull out her hair.  (This is an affiliate link with Amazon.  I will be compensated if you purchase one of these books from Amazon after clicking on a link).

King Tut doesn't go anywhere without his guardian Anubis.

King Tut doesn’t go anywhere without his guardian Anubis.

History is probably my personal favorite subject.  I’m geeky like that.  In very young elementary school, we read historical fiction, like the American Girls, or watch shows, like Liberty’s Kids(This is an affiliate link with Amazon. I will be compensated if you purchase one of these books from Amazon after clicking on a link). No wall-mounted timelines.  I mean they can’t tell breakfast from dinner some days, so why confuse them with this whole spatial timeline thing.  As they get older, we continue to relate to history through a literature perspective. Biographies, historical fiction, period pieces.  They begin to place certain cultures and events within period context, like ancient history or middle ages.  We often visit exhibits or museums which puts some tangible pieces in place.  Like when we went to the King Tut exhibit in Houston.  Or the Dead Sea Scrolls in Fort Worth.  Or the Vicksburg Civil War Park. These are things we had read about, and I was able to very easily remind them of how this story took place in that model.  For instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit has a large photograph of the area around the Dead Sea, including Masada, a Jewish stronghold that was captured by the Romans in the first century.  We had read the very sad account of how almost a thousand Jews committed suicide rather than be captured by the Romans again.  We looked at that picture and felt the overwhelming sadness of how desperate those people must have been.

Another controversial subject is Handwriting.  There are all sorts of nonsensical arguments that handwriting is outdated.  All kids do is text, anyway.  Well, call me granny panties, but people still write, and it’s very convenient to be able to read it.  This isn’t a long lesson or exact science.  Until about fourth grade, each child practices letters and writing verses, first in print, then in cursive.  I use A Reason for Handwriting.  It’s very simple and easy to use.  I like that. (This is an affiliate link with Amazon. I will be compensated if you purchase one of these books from Amazon after clicking on a link).

Geography shows up every few years.  Around third grade, I like to use Rand McNally’s Schoolhouse Beginner Geography.  They also have an intermediate version, but I think it’s out of print.  It’s explains directions, maps, and introduces the continents.  When we study states, I have an information sheet for the student to complete, like date of statehood, abbreviation, capital, state flower, historical events, and famous people.  They also trace the state and find it on a US map and color it in.  At the end of the year, we compile a list of all the states and learn the capitals. (This is an affiliate link with Amazon. I will be compensated if you purchase one of these books from Amazon after clicking on a link).

High school, of course, adds a whole new dimension to our homeschool journey.  I was in complete denial about this for a long time.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  But I took a deep breath and plunged in.  We are adding literature, using Excellence in Literature.  I can’t make any recommendations here nor do I have any words of experience.  It’s a whole new frontier for us.  I picked something that was reasonably priced and seemed to have a good selection of literature, as well as having a decent parent’s guide to help lead the student. (This is an affiliate link with Amazon. I will be compensated if you purchase one of these books from Amazon after clicking on a link).

Emma's swan song. She hated the recital with a passion.

Emma’s swan song. She hated the recital with a passion.

Finally, we throw in a little of this and a little of that according to interests, opportunities, and finances.  My three older girls have taken ballet/tap lessons for years, but we are taking a hiatus this year.  They take piano, and my 9th grader will be including some music theory in her school. We are blessed enough to be part of a co-op with some very talented moms and dads.  My girls have taken art, theatre, sign language, sewing, and lots of other electives.  We are also excited to add French this year.  A friend is starting an online French class, that I can’t wait to see.  We’re already a week behind, but I expect to get caught up this weekend.  We’ve just had a few hiccups this week.  But all hiccups go away, eventually…right after you think your diaphragm is going to permanently contract and you’ll never breathe again.

Isabel and Olivia, on the other hand love dance, as does Alyssa, not pictured.

Isabel and Olivia, on the other hand love dance, as does Alyssa, not pictured.

Homeschool looks different for different families for many different reasons.  No one needs to hyperventilate over doing it just like someone else or crack a whip to get 8.2 hours of study in a day.  I’ll be sharing how I do school three days a week soon.  So, check back for more details.

Tell me your favorite curriculums or how you pick subjects.  I love to chat.

Georganne

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3 thoughts on “My Curriculum Choices, Part 2

  1. We used Apologia Zoology 3 ; Land Animals last year. We LOVED it! This year though, I did not see a text specifically for 5th grade.

    • I don’t think Apologia recommends certain texts for specific grade levels. I’ve used them interchangeably depending on child. However, a friend did recommend doing General Science as a baseline before the other sciences, like Physical Science. Depends on the interest and maturity of the child, I think. But you can even adjust it up or down with appropriate activities and experiments. They are a fun series, for sure.