Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Current and Planned Homeschool Program

It's that time of year - kids are wrapping up their current school years (however they are schooled) and parents are asking each other, "What's your plan for next year?"

Most folks have already enrolled if they are switching schools, and there's a lot of discussion about schools, programs, curricula, etc.

My plan is to keep homeschooling the kids next year.  We're pretty happy with what we're doing, but I am looking at adding a couple new programs.  Although I think we do just fine designing our own program as we go and using the library as our main resource, on the other hand a standard packaged curriculum is a lot easier on me when I'm busy.

So our plan is to seek balance between Child-Led Learning Time, Organized-Parent-Led Learning Time, and Standard Curriculum.

And the curricula we plan to use:

Math-U-See is working well for us for math, and so we'll continue it.  I like that the concepts are all explained visually, but there is also a bit of drill to memorize facts.  I see it as a very holistic approach, and it has made good sense to the kids so far.  Carbon is currently 1/2 way through the Beta level and Hypatia is just beginning the Alpha level.

Language Lessons is also working for us, and I plan to continue it.  The lessons are short, sweet, and gentle.  With a blend of copywork, narration, creative expression, picture study, poetry appreciation, and grammar the children get a whole language program in short sweet bites.

For more standard, phonics-based, reading instruction we also use Explode the Code, which both kids enjoy as well.  The books are easy for them, and have never presented any stress to do, but at the same time there is something about the whimsical drawings that both kids enjoy and they have never complained it's boring either.  A good simple thing for them to do with minimal help and supervision from me.

We had been doing Story of the World so far in our homeschool life, and it's worked well for us.  But this year I began to feel that the kids needed to get some more American History now - there were just enough times that they didn't know something that applies to our everyday life.  So we will still get back to the Middle Ages and SOTW at a later date, but we've taken a break and broken with the chronology in order to spend some time on the Americas.  We're reading Before Columbus and A Young People's History of the United States  , and we'll add in some activities and field trips as we think of them.

For Art we have enjoyed MaryAnn F Kohl's Storybook Art very much.  When we have finished with that book, I plan to go on to her other titles: Great American Artists for Kids and Discovering Great Artists.

And, finally, I'm looking to use REAL Science Odyssey next year.  A friend has used it and says it's great, and so although we enjoy our own rambling explorations, a program would be nice and simplify my life a bit.

What's missing?

Literature - we'll read books.  I don't know what books, but I'm sure we'll have fun choosing as we go.

Music - I need to get Carbon lessons in the instrument of his choice.  Hypatia will still be fine doing piano lessons with me, as I've done with Carbon.  And then we listen to lots of music, of course.

Nature Study - seasonally appropriate study of what is actually surrounding us.  We'll go outside, we'll see things, it will be interesting.

Spanish - I wish I could find a good program for spanish that wasn't so much work for me, but I'm still cobbling together several resources and making it up as I go along.

And of course all the other learning that will happen through living.

That's our plan!


  1. I have always wanted to homeschool my kids. I wish so much I could have gotten Husband to agree! Sounds like you have a great plan for the year!

  2. Sounds like a great plan to me, and I like that you added, "all the other learning that will happen through living." I think that's the hardest part to explain to family and friends, but it's such a wonder to observe.

    Thanks for sharing your plan. I love to know what others are up to in their homeschool. :)

  3. I need to start planning too. It's usually my favorite part, but I think I'm dragging a bit this year because we've used so much of what's on our shelves, so this might be one of those years that I need to buy more than I'd like. I know there are a lot of free resources out there, but then I war with the lack of time to utilize such resources. However, there is part of me that loves buying new school things. Not much as fun as a package being delivered! REAL Science Odyssey looks like the kind of thing I'm looking for. I put them on my list of curricula to check out. :)