Wednesday, May 12, 2010


As you know, we started homeschooling Bean this past year.  We're loving (almost) every minute of it!  There are, of course, the occasional days when motivation is sorely lacking on the part of my cherub.  But, for the most part, she has been an enthusiastic participant in learning.

I know there are many homeschool philosophies out there: unschooling, classical, Goddard, Montessorie, etc.  It's worthwhile for anyone who is serious about homeschooling to take some time evaluating each philosphy to find out which is the best fit for his/her own life view and his/her child's unique personality and learning style.  Classical education turned out to be the best fit for us.  It relies heavily on the written word, uses original texts rather than scholars' interpretations of those texts, and accentuates the fine arts.  Using The Well-Trained Mind as a guide, we are coming to the close of our first homeschooling year.

While our particular school district requires enrollment by August 1, we choose to have school year-round.  I don't like the idea of summer undoing everything I have worked so hard to teach, and I don't want to spend the first month or so of every year reviewing last years concepts.  So, we start our school year in June, and Cakes will be joining Bean at the kitchen table for her studies.  Since we're almost halfway through May, I'm scouring the internet for my curriculum and getting that high that comes from sniffing pencil shavings and new binders.

For those who are interested, here is a list of the curriculum I will be using this upcoming year:

For Cakes, we will be covering the basics (sort of a pre-school level education).  For math, we will be using Saxon Math Homeschool for Kindergarten, complete with the K-3 manipulatives kit.  Bean enjoyed it immensely, and my little Cakes is a very hands-on kind of kid.

For reading, we will be using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  It is a phonics-based approach that makes teaching reading unbelievably easy.

For handwriting, we will be using the Handwriting Without Tears book Letters and Numbers for Me.  We originally tried the Zaner-Bloser curriculum, but Bean's fine motor skills were better advanced with the Handwriting Without Tears program.

Class for the first year usually only takes 45 to 90 minutes per day, and was a great way to ease Bean into her state-mandated four-hour school days.

Bean, having mastered the basics, will begin to branch out beyond just the three R's.

We will continue to work through the remainder of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, but we will supplement her reading education with The Bob Books, Dr. Suess, and any other simple children's books that I think she can work her way through with relative ease.

We will also start grammar lessons with First Language Lessons, and spelling lessons with Spelling Workout A and B.

We will move on to Saxon Math's Grade 1 homeschool kit, which builds directly on what was learned in the Kindergarten kit.  Fortunately, the manipulatives kit is good through third grade, so there's no extra purchase required.

We will also start learning history and geography, beginning at the beginning with the Ancients.  We will use The Story of the World Volume I with its accompanying workbook.  Supplemental materials include Blackline Maps of World History, the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, and the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History.

Science will begin with the study of plants, animals, and people, and it will be very hands-on and experiment-oriented.  The curriculum we will use includes Green Thumbs, the Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia,and the Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia.

Bean will be introduced to the fine arts with a study of classical music and its composers, a study of various artists, piano lessons using John Thompson's Teaching Little Fingers to Play, and art lessons using Drawing with Children.

Both girls will continue with dance lessons and community soccer for physical education.

What do you other homeschooling parents use for your curriculum?


Anonymous said...

I have also been using the well-trained mind for my five year old and we will be starting the history part of the curriculum this summer. Please post more about what you are doing for homeschooling and how you keep everything organized. Thank you!

Tanya (In the Dailies) said...

You're so organized! This is exactly why I could never (unless absolutely necessary!) homeschool. You know me and my resistance to routine. You're amazing. I, meanwhile, am relatively undisciplined. :)