Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday- The Homeschool Curriculum Edition





 I definitely DO NOT consider myself a homeschool veteran or guru or anything like that.  However, because my kids are great at fooling the masses....or least they appear to be able to read, write and do math...I frequently get asked what we use for curriculum. So, I figured I would share it in a handy, dandy quick takes..our 7 most frequently used curriculum choices.
--- 1 ---
Math U See:  .I started using this when Heidi was in first grade and have stuck with it ever since. It's not perfect, however the teaching DVD's are useful and I like the way it systemically teaches skills. It's not terribly strong on certain "other skill" like telling time, so I do supplement that. But, overall, it generally works for us..so we are sticking with it...for now. 
--- 2 ---
Handwriting Without Tears. :  This is something I started using when Heidi was in kindy and just stuck with it. We definitely don't do all those wooden blocks or extra things, I basically just use the workbooks to teach letter formation. However, I do like the way it teaches letter formation and systematically builds, starting with the easiest letters capital letters first and gradually getting harder.
--- 3 ---
Shurley English: . I like the way this teaches vocabulary, grammar and writing all in one. As a parent, I find it very easy to use...if not somewhat repetitive. But, everything is really, clearly laid out and doesn't take a lot of prep work..which is big for me.
--- 4 ---
Apologia Science:  . I have a love/hate relationship with Apologia. The books are really interesting and my kids will actually read them for fun. This year, we got the Notebooks for the first time, and my kids really enjoy making the notebooks and doing the notebook activities. Science is currently their favorite subject. Plus, our homeschool coop is using it...which is the main reason we are.

For the most part, it's pretty good. At times, it does get a bit too young earth creationist for me...as I consider myself a creationist (as in God created the world), but not a young-earth creationist. I definitely believe that God created the world and everything in it and created man in his image and likeness...but not necessarily that the earth is only 5000 years old or whatever it is.  The Catholic church doesn't teach that Genesis is to be taken literally, so I don't.

Overall, I'm learning to like Apologia. I definitely think it is better for grades 4th-6th..it's a bit hard for grades 2-3, in my opinion.
--- 5 ---
Sequential Spelling:  I love this program.  it is really simple and easy to use, and definitely seems to work.  It was designed for kids with dyslexia...and while my children are not dyslexic...this program definitely seems to have improved their spelling.  It works at building up bigger words from base words...so for example..if you can spell act, then you can spell activate and activates and activation., etc. 

-- 6 ---
I use a little, workbook program called Maps, Charts and Graphs. It's really simple and basic, but does a good job at giving kids a chance to learn map skills and reading charts and graphs. It's a bit outdated though. This year, Heidi has a problem in one of her books that talked about the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. So..yeah..it needs to be updated!
--- 7 ---
History:  I haven't found a decent history program yet. Currently, we are loosely following the history program outlined in Mother of Divine Grace. I don't love it however...but I haven't found anything else I really love, so we are using it. History is definitely not my forte. I think my kids mostly learn history from reading historical books..they love to read stories from times past, so they get a lot of history from those. The American Girl Books, Anne of Green Gables books and Little House on the Prarie books are current favorites.

I didn't mention what we use for religion..but I used up all my 7 Quick Takes so I'll have to leave that for a future post.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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