New to Homeschooling series #2: Curriculum.

This post is a continuation of the “New to homeschooling” series and today I will be talking about curriculum.

If you haven’t read the first article you can read it here. In it, I share how you can give the leap of faith (so to speak) and do the things that God has call you to do. It is is full of info if you are considering the idea of homeschooling.

Today, it’s all about our curriculum choices.

With so many options out there, it is hard to feel overwhelmed right from the start. That’s why I suggest taking some time to ask yourself these questions:

What is your child’s learning style?

What is the reason you decided to homeschool your children?

What beliefs are a priority in your family?

What do you want your kids to learn?

After I thought about these questions, I made a list of our priorities and discussed them with my husband. We then had a “family meeting” to get the children on board and hear any comments they had.

Without farther ado, here are our curriculum choices and the reason behind them.

4th Grade curriculum choices.

We the Second Edition for the teachers manual but there is a newer version. This one has worked just fine though.
This is how the newest edition looks like. Photo courtesy of www.mfwbooks.com

Geography/History:

We chose Exploring Countries and Cultures as our main curriculum for many reasons. ever since I heard of it it sounded beautiful and just very practical. It is a Christian homeschooling curriculum that combines the best of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, classical education, and unit studies with a biblical worldview and global focus. We had lots of fun with it because it’s pretty much open and go and we can always be creative with it. They provide an excellent book selection that you can get from the library.

Some of the things that we have enjoyed the most have been:

  • Cooking recipes from all over the world
  • Enjoy learning about their cultures and the way kids live in other countries
  • We have enjoyed making of fun crafts
Some of these books are recommended in ECC but the three on the far left are all books I found and the kids have really enjoyed them!

Supplemental books for ECC:

Sticker dolly dressing around the World : my kids love to dress the figures with their authentic outfits!

Usborne Big Picture Atlas : The illustrations in this book are big, colorful and fun! full of interesting information from all over the world too!

This is How We Do It: One day in the lives of seven kids from around the world. An absolute favorite around here!

My Father’s World Kids passport: We bought a book of passport stamps and every time we “go” to a different country the kids look forward to a stamp in their passports!

Science and Nature studies:

  • We Love the Usborne Living encyclopedia. A great book rich in information with wonderful illustrations
  • Properties of Ecosystems I personally love the application activities this books includes in each lesson.
  • Exploring Nature with Children : Now this one is by far one of our favorite nature study books. It is the curriculum that we sued on our Wild+Free Nature Gatherings! ( I totally recommend joining a W+F group. ENWC encourage us to study, explore, investigate, analyze and spend lost of time outdoors with friends! We pair it with a nature journal notebook which we just got at craft store. I recommend a mixed media one for thick sturdy pages so kids can use watercolors, paint, etc. We do a lot of fun art projects inspired in our outdoor adventures! You can find more info about Wild+Free here.
The binder is full of resources that I have found through the wonderful Instagram Homeschooling Community. I love to support entrepreneur mamas that not only work hard educating and raising their children but also take the time to create wonderful educational resources for children.

Math

Math has been a little challenging to figure out for our children. This is our third year of doing school at home and we have finally found the right curriculum for our children.

We chose Bob Jones Math enjoy, that it includes a fun and practical STEM activity at the beginning of each chapter, the pages are fun and colorful and it includes a LOT of practice sheets. We certainly don’t do them all every time but they are nice to have for when a subject is challenging and the kids might need a little extra practice to get it down. You can buy the teachers manual which it includes the answers to all the worksheets all in one and a neat thing about Bob Jones is that they also offer tests in case that you want to check your kids skills every once in a while.

Handwriting, Spelling and Social studies:

For these three subjects I also went with Bob Jones. Their books are just beautiful, organized and most importantly they all are faith based. For these three subjects, I ordered a teachers manual for the Spelling and the Social Studies books because because there is a lot of history, dates, etc. that I may not remember at the top of my mind and because spelling is very important at our house and I like to teach each lesson before the kids go onto practicing the newly learned content.

Cursive writing is a dying art and I am determined to preserve it. In my opinion Bob Jones handwriting books are just fantastic

Faith and Bible Studies:

We recently just started this new program. It is called The Gospel Project. We heard from it from our former church back in Columbus, OH. It is a program used by many churches for Sunday school and after looking into it and comparing it to other options, I felt like it was exactly what I was looking for. It comes with a DVD full of short stories that introduces each week’s theme. I love it because they have a workbook for my younger son who is 4 and a workbook, of the same program, for my older kids; that way we can all work on it and enjoy fun activities designed for each age group. It has been wonderful to bring Bible studies back to our regular Rhythm. It is definitely drawing us near to God, we spend some time reading God’s Word, talking about the reasons behind the stories in it, we are working on Bible memorization and the best, in prayer. I can already see how it makes a difference in everyone’s day.

Pre-K Curriculum choices:

My little one is only 4 years old but he was eager to start school so I got him all the material needed but there are some things that we might repeat and add on next year once he is a little bigger. For his young age I chose MFW too as the main curriculum, and then I found the cutest math program, again through the Homeschooling community on Instagram.

He has mastered almost all of the alphabet and we are currently working on learning how to read. He is really good with numbers so we are already doing some addition, subtraction and for fun, we do Sudoku games included in the curriculum.

  • My Father’s World: God’s Creation from A to Z a learning adventure that will encourage a lifetime love of exploration and discovery. The 26 hands-on, easy-to-teach thematic units focus on the wonder of God’s creation.
  • Math: Kinder Nature Beginnings  A supplemental math program for ages Pre-K through 3rd grade with nature as a spine. This resource is designed to work alongside any main curriculum. The purpose is simply to gently introduce various logical and mathematical skills. Since y little one is so young I do not use any other program; just this one and it has worked great for us. We love that is nature-based!!
  • Language Arts: The Logic of English Foundations A: I learned about LOE 3 years ago from experienced homeschooling mamas. Without it, I would have never jumped onto teaching my little because of fear of failing since my native language is Spanish. Here we are, a year since we started and my little guy is starting to read. LOE has been ideals make perfect sense and I’m thankful for it. The handwriting part of it, however, is a bit advanced for my little guy so we will do it over again next year to cover what we skipped this year 🙂
  • Reading practice: Bob Books. We LOVE them. They are fun, short and my son is learning how to read with them beautifully.

Spanish Language

I teach a Spanish Immersion class at our house. My kids love that they get to learn Spanish with some friends! We supplement with Rosetta Stone, Rockalingua and Duolingo, that way they get a feel of a Spanish Immersion at home! If you are Rohester local, you can learn more about my Spanish classes here.

A couple last thoughts:

If you are unsure of what subjects do you need to teach your child “legally” in the U.S. It might be a good idea to check out the laws from your state. This article might help you with that:

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/instruction-time-subject-requirements/

Here is a map where you can click to read info pertaining to your state specifically:

https://hslda.org/legal

Here, at Cedar Hill Kids Homeschool, we study the following subjects:

Bible, Language arts: handwriting, spelling, reading, and composition; Math, Science, History, Nature studies, Music, Spanish and, Physical Education.

What makes homeschooling doable is its flexibility. Even if you have multiple children. The more the merrier I would say!

How is homeschooling flexible you ask? There are many ways that you can make it work, it adjusts to your family’s needs and wants. You can also use one these ideas to make it fun, easier, and enjoyable for everybody:

  1. You can find multi-age curriculum, so you don’t have to isolate one program per kid. Isn’t that amazing!?
  2. COOPS. You can cover some subjects and they get to learn with friends!
  3. Outsourcing subjects. You can do this with a mama friend with expertise on certain topic or subject. You can work out a fun deal, like we did for science with a dear friend. She’s a former science teacher so we meet every so often; she teaches my kids and hers science and I teach mine and her kids Spanish , art and sewing. We all look forward to our meeting always- It’s super fun!
  4. Family activities. Music and other activities can be learned as a family affair. You can take a taekwondo class together, go swimming together or learn a skill/craft.

I hope you found this helpful. If any questions come up, let me know and be sure to like and/or share with your friends, I’d definitely appreciate it!

By the way, the next article of these series is about creating a workable rhythm for your family over a schedule and how to prioritize time, so stay tuned for that!

This image was taken from the tablelifeblog.com FREE download.
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