Our Best Homeschool Curriculum - How We're Planning for 2019/2020
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Ok, here’s the thing… I know I just shared about our Summer bucket list but now it’s a great time to also start planning out our school year!
We aren’t starting school until the first week of September (YAY) but I need to get a head start on planning out the year or I’ll never be ready on time. We are about to start our SIXTH YEAR of homeschooling! I can not believe that!
We have three grade school-age students this year - a 5th grader, a 3rd grader and a 1st grader. So, I wanted to share a few things I do to prepare for each year and what curriculum we are using right now.
How to Plan Out Homeschool Curriculum
Daniel and I usually have one evening towards the end of summer where we sit down and talk about our upcoming school year and the individual needs of each kid. We discuss which curriculums we think would best suit everyone and come up with a rough outline of the school day.
This meeting usually take a minimum of 2 hours, but depending on the needs for the upcoming year it can take up to 4... days. Once we’ve picked curriculums I order everything right then. I have to do it this way otherwise I’ll wait until the last minute to order what we need causing us to start school while still waiting on books to arrive.
Homeschool Scheduling and Goal Setting
Getting ahead before falling behind.
This year I am trying something new, hoping to stay a little more organized. I bought a weekly academic school year calendar from Simplified Planner to set goals and keep our school weeks running smoothly.
Something I noticed that can quickly become a downside to homeschooling is allowing one of our sweet little students too much time to grasp a weak-spot in a subject.
For example, our oldest had a heck of a time learning her times tables last year (she’s definitely my child) and so instead of having her continue on in her math curriculum we paused the progression and had her focus on her times tables.
Fast forward six weeks and she was still working on her dang times tables. Help me, Jesus!
What I later realized was, because there was no deadline set for her, it left the task too open-ended and she never felt the urgency or focus to get the task done. So I’m hoping to use my academic planner to set benchmarks and goals for each kid at certain points throughout the school year, the thought being that it will keep them (and me) on track and getting things done in a timely manner.
Annual Homeschool Room Clean-out
Another thing I like to do before the start of every school year is a HUGE schoolroom cleanout and purge! By the time we finish our school year we’re all so excited for a break that we don’t ever tidy things up in a way that allows us to kick off the next year easily. (I should also note, that we do use the schoolroom for other purposes and it does get used all year long.)
I like to file away the school work from the previous year, organize art projects and drawings the kids have done into piles of keep and toss, go through our most used supplies like markers and colored pencils, and take stock of the supplies we have on hand to see if we need more of anything. I’m expecting the clean out to take a bit longer than usual this year since we have little Arthur who is going to need me, but the big kids are super helpful and will definitely participate in the efforts.
Which Homeschool Curriculums Do You Use?
As far as curriculum goes, we have used quite a few and I wanted to share some of our favorites and what we will be continuing with this year.
For math, we have LOVED Math-U-See! Daniel and I can’t speak highly enough about this program. It’s a video-based math curriculum with easy to understand lessons that are no more than 6-8 minutes long. The initial Math-U-See kit includes a set of color-coordinating blocks to help with kinesthetic learning. The kids actually get the blocks out and build with them almost as much as they do with their legos. We’ve been using this math program for the past 3 years and I don’t see us switching any time soon.
Last year we decided to give Math-U-See’s sister program a try and purchased Spelling-U-See for the big girls to use. We liked it enough that we’re going to stick with it this year (2019) and overall I like the curriculum. The coursework is repetition based and, to me, seems a smidge boring, but I have noticed the girls’ spelling improve over the last year.
We’ll continue with The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1 for both girls, and Owen will start about halfway through the year with the program. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed this curriculum and all the super fun activities each chapter has for the students to do. It is biblically-based but still covers an eclectic mix of both biblical and secular subjects. It is heavy on the reading, but my kids have loved each chapter and find the reading to be very entertaining.
After each chapter there is a Map Work page, a Coloring page, and then a list of 3-5 different project-style activities for the students to do that relates to the topic of the chapter. There are also tests for each chapter.
Last year was our first year using Easy Grammar and we liked it! It seems to be especially comprehensive and gives enough pages for the students to work through before continuing on if they’re needing more help. We used the Teacher manual, student workbook, and test book and will continue with this homeschool curriculum this year 2019/2020.
For science, we haven’t been doing a full curriculum. Instead, we’ve loved reading through the World of Science book! This year however, the kids are asking for a more hands-on science curriculum so I’ve been shopping around for a new option. I would ultimately love to find one that all 3 of the big kids could participate in, but I haven’t landed on anything yet.
We also do cursive, but instead of using a set curriculum I just buy cursive workbooks from Amazon! Super cheap, and quick delivery it’s a mom win for sure. I’ve ordered a ton, but some of our favs were this Jokes and Riddles one and this Inspiring Quote one.
For the other subjects I have designed our own sort of curriculum that the kids use. We’ve modified existing practice and lessons to fit each kid.
For the most part, these are our favorite homeschool curriculum options right now and we will be continuing on with each of them for our upcoming 2019/2020 academic year!
I would love to hear what your thoughts and plans are for what the best homeschool curriculum is for your family!
Do you buy one complete set or do you piece together from different companies?