Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum Choices for those with little patience

Linking up with Micaela because her blog is awesome and I love a good link up!

So.....a few months back I posted about my curriculum choices.  Well.....you can just go ahead and forget that post, because I've changed a lot of our curriculum in the last few months. 

So, before we get into our curriculum choices...let's just talk a lot about what motivates me in choosing curriculum.   To be quite honest, there are basically three things
1) ease of use and can they do it independently
2) cost. 
3) philosophy 

Yes..in that order...so as you can see ease of use and cost comes before philosophy.

Everyone thinks that homeschooling parents must have superhuman patience....but I can tell ya...I am low, low, low on the patience scale.  When God was handing out patience, I must have been too impatient and left. 

Anyway, homeschooling does give me the opportunity to practice patience....and heaven knows  I need the practice...but I also tend to drop things that require too much of my time or too much planning or are too involved. 

So, this year, we've basically switched over to using almost totally Mother of Divine Grace (with a few exceptions.)

Why Mother of Divine Grace, you might be wondering?.  Well....because over the years, I've been more and more attracted to the classical mindset, although .I've NEVER actually read, The Well-Trained Mind.   But, mostly because I have A LOT of friends who use it.  Yes....I chose a curriculum because my friends use it.  Sad?  or Genius?  I say genius because sometimes I get hand-me-down books and because I've seen kids who went through this curriculum who got into good colleges and turned out okay..and that's the best endorsement for me. 

Plus, it's easy to use....and isn't very academically rigorous in the early elementary years, but does seem to be in the middle and high school years which I've come to really appreciate.  I don't believe young kids need a lot of academic rigor, but older kids do. 

So, here is the breakdown of what we use by kid!

11 years old
6th Grade

Math:  We started out using Math-U-See Zeta, but I am strongly considering switching to Math Mammoth so currently we are going through the 5th grade end of year assessment test and some free practice worksheets to see how we like them.   My only problem with Math Mammoth is that it doesn't go beyond 8th or 9th grade...so I don't know.  Although, they do recommend some other curriculum for the higher grades. 

MODG actually recommends Saxon...but I'm not a huge fan of that...so we'll see.

Poetry:  The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Religion:  Baltimore Catechism 2 and Ignatius Study Bible
We have this bible on our Kindle (LOVE the Kindle)
Discussion questions from Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum

I love the way they do religion...and I love how MODG is much more analytic in the 6th grade (and up) and the questions are more analytic questions and less just regurgitating information. 

Latin:  Latina Christiana I and II.  We are supposed to be in Level II, but we didn't finish Level I last year, so we're finishing that up first.

Spelling/Phonics:  The Writing Road to Reading and Starting a Spelling Notebook

This is the one choices I am a bit unsure about.  We JUST started this, after going through numerous other programs.....so we'll see how this works.  So far, it's a bit hard to pick up, but what I do see of it, I like it.

Grammar:  Easy Grammar 6.  We did Shurley English for a few years...and I like Easy Grammer better.  But, it is a bit well....easy for her...so we are going to be skipping ahead some. 

Editing:  Editing in Chief A1.   

Funny story about this book...so I buy lots of my books from Amazon used book sellers. Normally, I have ZERO problems with them.  So, I ordered it the first time, and the seller sent me the WRONG book.    So, I sent that one back and they sent a replacement, except the ENTIRE book was all written in.  I mean, EVERY.SINGLE.LESSON.  Now, I've bought used books off Amazon before, and I don't mind if the first few lessons are filled in, but this was EVERY SINGLE ONE.   So, then I ordered another copy..this one in  "like new condition."  And, the new bookseller, sent me the WRONG BOOK.   But, that's okay...because they're refunding my money and the book they sent me is a fun, logic games book from the Critical Thinking Company,. which I get to keep for free.  So, win, win for me.  And, I'll just have to keep doing what I was doing (which is re-writing the Editing exercises for Heidi to do). 

History and Geography: The Old World and America, Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt, The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and many other supplemental books which I hopefully can find from the library for free.    I love the way MODG does history...with some textbooks, but lots of supplemental books.

Art: Calligraphy first steps and Art 7 for Young Catholics.   I also love the way they do art, which include art appreciation. 

Music: Nothing...but the girls had been doing piano lessons in Fl, which I hope to continue once we get settled again. 

Science:   Apologia Astronomy and the Notebook. 
I love Apologia for science because the books are fun and interesting and my kids basically do the notebooks all on their own.  Win!

Supplements: I was recently given a bunch of curriculum, including several books from The Critical Thinking Company with logic, analytic games so we are using those as as supplement when she wants to do them. 

Literature: Nothing formal, but they do a lot on their own and when we go to the library, I make them check out at least a few real books and not just fluff/series books. 

8 years old
3rd Grade

Math: Currently in Math U See Gamma, but thinking about switching to Math Mammoth

Spelling: The Writing Road to Reading and Starting A Spelling Notebook.   I love how these books are used over multiple grades.  MONEY SAVER!!!!

Poetry:  The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Language Arts: Primary Language Lessons.  This is a bit too easy for her, so we're going to be zooming ahead and moving forward faster than the syllabus.

Religion: St Joseph Baltimore Catechism and Golden Book Children's Bible.
I love how MODG uses the bible in their religion. 

History and Geography:  Our American Heritage and Our American Heritage Map Study Skill and many supplemental books which I can hopefully get from the library. 

Latin:  Latin from the Roots Up. This is just really simple flash cards...where they learn a few words at at time.

Science: Apologia Astronomy and Notebooks. 

Art: Child-Sized Masterpieces. Step 4.  I love this..it's just art appreciation and recognizing artists..which I NEVER learned how to do. 
Music: Hopefully, we will resume piano lessons soon. 

Literature: Nothing formal, but she does a lot on her own and when we go to the library, I make them check out at least a few real books and not just fluff/series books. 

5 years old

Math: Math U See Primer.  John seems to have a natural knack for Math, so we will probably zoom through this, and then go into Math Mammoth First Grade.

Reading/Phonics:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Alpha-Phonics Primer

Religion: Golden Book Children's Bible

Poetry: The Harp and the Laurel Leaf

Art: Child-sized Masterpieces.  Level 1, Easy. 

Music: I got nothing. 

Literature: MODG has a list of recommended literature which we are just picking from and reading. 

Wish List:

 I would love, love, love to get Life of Fred as a supplement (for all three of them).  I know my kids would love it, but I haven't found it cheap enough for me to justify the expense yet. 

Anyway, that is what we are using so far.  I'm sure we'll be switching and changing things again in the future, but right now, fickle Amelia is pretty happy. 

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  1. "When God was handing out patience, I must have been too impatient and left." Hahaha! This made me laugh so hard! Me, too!

    I love your practicality. I'm going to look into a few of them, especially the US History.

    I wish we were neighbors. It's so fun to 'know' people who school with similar values.

    1. Yes...neighbors...that would be so cool!

  2. I recently saw Life of Fred starting to pop up on homeschool exchange boards (unfortunately I don't remember which right now). I'd keep an eye out, you'll likely find a good deal.


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