If you are new to homeschooling I’d like to bet that picking out the right curriculum is by far the hardest part. I know because that was me last year and this year!
Last year, I was only homeschooling my 7th grader as my 2nd grader was still attending public school. We decided about half way through the year that we would 100% be pulling the youngest and homeschooling them both this year.
So as I shuffled through all of the different options we have as homeschoolers, I immediately became overwhelmed! Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard this would be? I didn’t find it as hard with just one child to think of but when you are looking at options for multiple children it really starts to get daunting. Then we had the bright idea to go to a homeschool convention! Haha! Boy, that sure sent my mind spinning.
Anyway, let’s talk about my requirements for curriculum.
- Strong Christian foundation without leaving out information
- Curriculum geared towards multiple children in different grades
- Nicely laid out and appealing to the eyes
- Something that interests the girls
- Language Arts
Now, when you look at this list is really doesn’t seem that complicated. The problem is, there are a ton of great options! I could sit here and list all of them but instead I will just tell you what we chose and why.
For math we really struggled. This was the last curriculum that we finally nailed down. The issues we found was that a lot of math curriculum ends at the 6th grade level or they don’t go all the way through to High School and if it did it was terribly dry. We had previously used MCP math and while it wasn’t as dry as say Saxon I felt like it could have used a little more parental instructions. We also looked at Teaching Textbooks. It looks like a solid program but I do believe the grade levels are a little behind. However, a lot of people love Teaching Textbooks! For us though, we really try to keep the girls off of the computer because they are both easily distracted and lets be real…I can see them surfing youtube more than doing math lol.
In the end we decided to go with Math-U-See. This program goes all the way up to Calculus, so we don’t have to worry about switching curriculum ever! This was huge for us because we have a child who will be doing High School next year. On top of that, the girls are actually understanding it! A little background, our middle daughter has been a struggling learner since she began kindergarten. In fact this is our second go around with homeschooling because after two years in public school and summer school she still couldn’t read. Anyways, I say that to say she is able to grasp the concepts with Math-U-See to the point that she is able to “teach” me what she’s learned! Thats huge!
Now lets talk about Language Arts and History.
Language Arts is a hard one and most families end up using several different curriculums because you need to have at least reading, spelling, grammar and writing. I really didn’t want to do
four separate curriculums. I mean I’d like to stay sane y’all! I will spare you the searching I did and tell you that I was very fortunate to find a language Arts program called The Good and The Beautiful by Jenny Phillips. Her Language Arts program consists of 8 components reading, writing, literature, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, geography, and art all in one! I mean could I have gotten any luckier? I love the way her program is put together and it’s also extremely affordable which is really important to a lot of families. Jenny Phillips also has a History curriculum which I am in love with! It has a four year plan that covers grades 1-12 and my favorite part is it is set up family style which means the girls and I can do it together. It should defiantly be on your curriculum radar!
For Science we are actually using two different curriculums. We are using Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics by Apologia which we like because again we can do this together. I bought the student journals which they have for older children and a junior for younger children. This curriculum is meant for k-6 which is a little behind where Lynn should be but I wasn’t concerned about that because we are also using God’s Design for Chemistry & Ecology by Answers in Genesis with our Co-Op group. So I don’t feel like she will be missing out on anything. We actually enjoy both curriculums and the experiments in both are super fun!
I strongly believe that being successful homeschoolers has a lot to do with allowing the children to explore their interests. So when we decided to add a foreign language I let the girls pick what they wanted to do. They both picked Spanish and ASL. Since they wanted to do both I wanted to keep it fun so they wouldn’t feel overwhelmed with a ton of extra text. We went with Foreign Language for kids by kids for Spanish which we viewed at the homeschool convention and we chose Language Tree’s American Sign Language for kids. Both of these are DVDs so the girls feel like they are just getting a break when they are really learning something new! Win!
In the end, what works for us might not work for you and that’s okay! That is the greatest part of homeschooling, it isn’t cookie cutter. I hope this post was helpful. Until next time!