Our curriculum for next year (next year is just a month away!) has arrived and I'm super excited to share that with you. I plan to take lots of pictures of our daily lessons and activities! But before I share my curriculum picks for next year, I want to review what we used this past year.
My kids were four and six this year so we stuck with the two most important subjects at that age: phonics and math. With bookcases full of quality books and videos in our home, I know they are learning plenty about science and social studies, so I didn't purchase any sort of curriculum for those subjects. For phonics, I have been using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading as my guide.
This book is as simple as reading instruction gets. It contains 231 scripted daily lessons that take about 10-15 minutes each day. I don't actually follow the script, and I don't do any of the recommended activities either. I simply use it as a reference guide, so that I know which types of words to introduce next, and so I don't forget to teach any irregular spellings. I also have to change many of the practice sentences because they are weird and make little sense. Take this story, for example:
The van ran in the mist.
It got stuck fast in the mud.
The van had rust on the fan.
A dent is in the tan van.
The van cost a lot.
Fix the van.
It will not just sit in the mud.
Some of the practice sentences are like tongue twisters: "Brent did not drop and drag his big drum on the fast drill up the hill." My kids read these sentences and then look up at me like, Did I read that right? Because I have no idea what I just said. So I write my own sentences on the Magna Doodle for them to read. They like that much better.
There are a few other resources I use in addition to The Ordinary Parent's Guide. One of them is Christian Liberty Press's Adventures in Phonics. I love this book, and it can actually be used as a complete phonics curriculum. For only about $10 I really can't understand why more people don't use this. It's a solid, sequential program. I just prefer the phonetic sequence in The Ordinary Parent's Guide, so I pick and choose worksheets from Adventures in Phonics that correspond to the lesson we are working on in The Ordinary Parent's Guide. One thing I love about Adventures in Phonics is all of the handwriting practice. It has really helped my kids to develop neat handwriting. I also purchased the Christian Liberty Press readers. These are nice little stories that my kids are able to read on their own. And they make sense. :-)
We also use Explode the Code workbooks and Explode the Code Online for extra practice. If you're going to buy Explode the Code Online, buy it through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op because it's almost 50% cheaper than buying it directly from the publisher. What I like about Explode the Code Online is that it tailors assignments to the student, making adjustments to move ahead or review a lesson. I also give credit to Explode the Code Online for helping my kids dissect the different sounds in words, through activities like this one:
For math, I found a couple of kindergarten Harcourt workbooks at a thrift store for just $4 each! They are decent, but most of our math lessons don't come from a workbook. We use an abacus and hundred chart to practice counting and number sense, a clock for telling time, flashcards for number identification, and I have them go to the bank (the coin jar) and get money to buy their food from my restaurant (the kitchen). Oh how I love teaching math at this age...I'm sure I won't be saying that ten years from now!
Well, the 2014-15 school year is over. It's been a good year. I've seen a lot of progress and learned so much about my kids' learning styles. I can't wait to tell you guys about our plans for next year!
How did your homeschool year go? What worked and what didn't?