Disclaimer: This is not your average blog post, so I apologize in advance for the length of it. I have separated it by red titles so you can get to what interests you in a timely manner. But there is a LOT of good information in here in case you can make time to read the whole thing. So grab a cup of your favorite drink and read on, mama!
One of my favorite things to read when I started home educating my kiddos was reading about other mama’s curriculum choices. At that point in life, I felt very much overwhelmed by the plethora of resources, books, curriculums available. All I wanted was for someone to tell me “This is what we use, and here’s why we decided to go with that”
Don’t get me wrong, it was clear from the very beginning that what worked for my neighbor, might now work for me. I knew I needed to find my family’s own material, especially because we have a bilingual homeschool, so the material needed to be customized to fulfill our family’s values and goals.
But boy was I thankful for the moms, bloggers and friends who shared with me their choices, and were kind enough to explain the why behind them.
Fast forward 4 years, and here I am, typing this blog post for all of you, new to homeschooling, mommas! With this post I hope to share in hopes we can provide some clarity in some of them, describe exactly how they work and provide some feedback so you can decide whether they will work for your family, you want to find something similar or if you want to do something completely different.
My husband and I chose the following material keeping in mind the age, grade, and skills of our two older children. Our daughter is an August birthday who will turn 11, going into 5th grade and loves languages, enjoys reading, does great at math even though she must work hard at it at times and struggles with Spelling. And for our son who is 9 years old, going into 4th grade, avid reader, does great at math but struggles with spelling.
Just to make our lives easier and for them to have a buddy tow work with, we chose one level curriculum for the two of them regardless of their age and grade difference. We slow down things a notch when needed for one or speed them for the other. It is also so fun to watch how they help each other when one is struggling with certain subject or topic.
After all, that is the beauty of homeschooling– You can adjust it and mold it to fit your exact needs.
Without further ado, here it is:
Our Curriculum Choices
(For a 9 and and 11 year old)
Language arts and History. Our efforts to raise culturally aware children with a worldview biblical perspective.
- My Father’s World: Creation to the Greeks
We will be traveling back in time to Old Testament days to see God’s hand throughout ancient history. We will be learning how the biblical account fits in with other civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Babylon. We are going to be learning and acting out Old Testament stories making celebrations from the past come to life, we will also review science from a Christian perspective God’s design including dinosaurs and other discoveries.
To say that we are excited for this material is a total understatement! I cannot wait to introduce all these lovely topics to my children and learn alongside them as the Egyptian and Greek culture is quite new to me.
With this curriculum you will follow a four-year chronological study of history and I think is important to mention that we will pick and choose what material we are going to use and what we are just simply going to skip.
For example, we will be using a different kind of science material so we will skip that. We also use a different book for heritage studies so we will be adding that on top of this book but is certainly not necessary.
The titles pictured above: Streams of civilization; Milk and Honey: A year of Jewish Holidays; Aesop Fables and English from the Roots Up, are all books we will be reading from as part of MFW curriculum-so Exciting!!
- Writing Rhetoric: Narrative II
This is the culturally rich and beautiful curriculum we use for most of our Language Arts. This fun book exposes students to new genres of story, including historical narrative and legend. It includes a variety of culturally important examples. All of the skills practiced in the previous book Narrative I are extended, and new skill sets are introduced, including identifying the difference between fact and opinion and learning to ask the five W’s of a historical narrative: who, what, when, where, why. We have loved the previous two books, one was on Fables and the last one, like I mentioned was about narrative as well.
These are wonderful books full of history, and classics. they are simply delightful books to learn with.
- The Logic Of English: Essentials A spelling pack
This is a new one we are adding this year. You see my kids are avid readers. They comprehend quite good and write the same, but the struggle has always been spelling. We keep finding out every time they write things down, and their test scores confirm it. So after reading the wonderful book written by Denise Eide, we made up our minds that this was just what we were looking forward to help our children become better spellers.
Reading this book was like the biggest ah-ha moment in my teaching homeschool journey and being English my second language, I am grateful for it and totally looking forward to trying the system out with my kiddos. We shall see!
Last but not least…
- BJU Press: Spelling 5
No long explanation here other than it is important and vital for children to have nice handwriting. As Mrs. Mason said:
“It is sometimes objected that this elaborate and beautiful handwriting will interfere with a characteristic ‘hand,’ but it seems to me that to have a beautiful, instead of a commonplace, basis for handwriting is a great gain.” (Mason, vol. 1)
I have absolutely loved to see how one or two pages a day has improved my kid’s writing tremendously. Especially for my nine-year-old boy since writing doesn’t come in him as naturally as it does for my daughter. He has a long way to go but it’s nice to see his improvements. especially since they both write in cursive or script. (Note: I do not buy a teacher’s manual for this, just the student workbook. This is something that takes them about 15 minutes a day.)
Nature, Science and Math
- BJU Press: Math 5
The beauty of any book by Bob Jones is that is Christian based. However, it does not mean this math book has any biblical content like perhaps their science book does. We simply chose this book for math because we like their lesson layouts, all the fun activities that it includes for kiddos to get a lot of practice and it’s also neatly organized and colorful which is fun for the kids. Math is (ah-hem) my least favorite) and after trying Math-u-see and other math curriculums we decided this one catered the best for our family. We did find lots of value in their teacher’s manual, so we bought it along the student workbook.
We are also not fully done with math 4 so we will finish that one and jumped into 5 as soon as we can (One of the reason why homeschooling rocks!)
***Math add-on: The Life of Fred books are just funny, and smart stories that teach math. they are designed to be used in alphabetical order in it teaches math concepts effortlessly and brings them to life!
- BJU Press: Science 6
Science is very special to us.
Here’s why: we share teaching with another homeschooling family and dear friends of ours. We started this a year ago and cannot wait to do it all over again this year. We go to their house every couple of Thursdays a month and she graciously teaches my kiddos along with hers, science; she is a science teacher that taught in public school a while back for several years. I, in the other hand, teach their kids along with mine sewing, arts and crafts.
Again another reason why homeschooling is so beautiful. We can decide whether a grade is too young, too advanced, or just right and adjust accordingly, and we can have an awesome time learning together with friends!
We love Bob Jones Science 6 because it teaches kids about the incredible intricacies of cells and organisms, matter and energy, astronomy, heredity, the nervous system, and the immune system all with a biblical perspective. They also do easy and fun experiments which a great to do when you are in a small group or with several siblings!
- Nature studies: Exploring Nature with Children
This is our second year using this lovely curriculum and we really enjoy it. Multiage includes art, poetry and gets your family’s sense working with every theme. The only thing that I don’t love is that it was created in the United Kingdom, so a couple of the themes do not match with our Minnesota weather or season. Other than that it is simply exceptional!
We use it as a guide as to what we should like for when we are out and about in our hiking experiences or when we go out with our Wild and Free nature group.
Faith, Ethics and Values
- The Gospel Project: Home Edition Semester 2
Can I just tell you how much we love this curriculum? Let me start by saying it includes a student workbook for K-2nd grade and a student workbook 3-5 grade which is perfect for my five-year-old to join in and feel part of the lesson and for the little ones to do older work more appropriate for their age. It also includes a DVD that introduces the lesson with an 8-minute video plus an application video about 5 minutes long that leaves you and your kids thinking and analyzing what was learned. It brings concept to life with down to earth applications. The illustrations and graphics throughout are exceptional too.
I did order the teacher’s manual for this, and I totally recommend doing so. In every chapter, it will show you an overview of the lesson for you to jump right in and know from the beginning what is the theme, the lesson, the Bible verse to memorize and any other simple materials you need to gather. Usually nothing more than a couple index cards a picture of the family, a roll of tape, etc. Just simple things that you probably have around the house.
- Heritage Hymns by dear mama Amber O’neal Johnston, Heritage Mom
Hymns have always been so interesting and beautiful to me. Growing up in a different country, I didn’t know they excited until I married my husband at age 21. And I truly fell in love with them, every time we sign them at church I get teary eyed. To me they mean more than any other worship song, they feel like they provide a deeper connection with the Lord, and I am all about whatever bring my family closer to Jesus!
I met amber through Instagram, and I was simply thrilled when I found out she was releasing this wonderful guide.
This guide includes 15 hymns along with links to the sheet music, lyrics and audio or video of multiple versions of each song. We cannot wait to dig in and spend some time studying the meaningful lyrics of the hymns included. My goal is for my family to memories at least a couple of them if not more. This is again a new resource, and I am expectant to see how it goes so be sure to check back for a review!
The rest of the titles pictured above: They are just a bundle of books that were borrowed to me by a dear mama friend that just got done going through Creation to the Greeks with her kiddos. I plan on using them as guides, and to educate myself during this year of learning. I don’t anticipate reading them entirely because…life. But they are already sounding and looking so good that I might just have to!
The David C. Cook Journey through the Bible: This book will help me better understand favorite Bible stories so I can teach their purpose better. I might even read some of the chapter’s out loud with the kids.
Celebrating Biblical Feast (in your home or church): We will be recreating several feasts during the year and this book will serve as our guide, so we do them properly.
Bruchko: This book tells the story of a nineteen-year-old that heads into a south American jungle to evangelize a murderous/savage tribe, the Motilone Indians as well as other islands in the Pacific, etc. His decision meant capture, disease, terror, loneliness, and torture but what discovered has revolutionized missions. I might start this one tonight! 🙂
The Narrow Road: This book features true stories of Brother Andrew and other believers who risked their lives smuggling Bibles into countries where Scriptures are outlawed; with an aim to raise awareness of the persecuted Church. This one looks great but it might be a little deep for the kids, so we might just skim through it and save it for when they are older. I included in here because I have heard wonderful things about it and it has been recommended by several friends. It is packed with dangerous adventures and high drama, testifying to God’s miraculous provision for those who follow where He leads.
The Story of the World Vol.1 DVD set: We are starting to watch these with our kids every Sunday evening to get us ready for the year ahead! This is a series of 8 hours on 7 CDs where Susan Wise Bauer brings to life the stories and records of the peoples of ancient times. Written in an engaging but straightforward manner. Sunday here we come!!
It wouldn’t be Cedar Hill homeschool if we didn’t add music and art!
- History of Art: This will be our third year using this lovely guide that comes with the flashcards picture above. We take it slow but every time we get a chance to do a little bit of this book we fall in love with it all over. Usually the kids would say something like: “Mom, we should really do this book more often” Totally recommend.
This book is designed to give students a concise body of information that can easily assimilate. It includes 32 art movements featured in the cards in this series, it includes fun project suggestions (out favorite part), but you certainly don’t need to do those if they seem like too much for the time you have. They do vary to appeal different ages which is perfect for the homeschool setting.
- Classical music CD’s: This part is suggested in the My father’s World curriculum and it sounds wonderful to have the opportunity to have a rich introduction to some of the most well-known classical music artists like Handel, Vivaldi and Bach.
You can get the three music CD’s plus 3 more with the story of each of the composers here
As you may know by now, I am Spanish Immersion teacher so most of the language will be designed and put together by yours truly and we will be mostly using the unit studies that I create. In addition to that, we are going to be using two books from the Latin American editorial Santillana that are fully in Spanish one will be for Language arts and one for Math that we will alternate with our English curriculum so they continue working in their Spanish acquisition. But I think this part needs a full blog post on its own. I will link the website in case you want to take a look here. Now I am going to share about my two favorite and biggest allies when teacher my kids the language:
Rosetta Stone: Friends, this is the classical program that you have heard to learn a language for a long while, and I would say they have been around this long because they simply are that good. I really believe they are excellent, so we invested in an online membership for each of my kiddos and yes, unfortunately they each require their own membership, there is no sharing allowed in this, but, totally worth it!
Rockalingua Spanish: Friends, Rockalingua is so.much.fun! This is the program I use to get worksheets, videos, and songs from. They are exceptional and even though they have use European Spanish, it still works great for my students as well as my kids. You do have to pay a membership to get access to everything and I think it is totally worth the price, but also you can find some of their videos on YouTube and they do have some free content on their webpage. But again I would totally consider investing in the membership. And one membership gets you access to everything so that is always a plus.
***Rockalingua has graciously offered a 20% discount code for the readers that sign up to receive my email notifications. Use the code HOLA on their website once you sign up with your email here . Just scroll all the way to the bottom.
There you have it, friend, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you but rather gave you enough information to help you decide what would work for your family. And because you made it this far, I am going to gift you a printable of a Curriculum Planning Sheet so you have a space to neatly organize your ideas in 🙂 This file is part of my Homeschool Planner pack that will be available in my shop soon. You can download the freebie here:
Thank you for reading and happy planning!