Curriculum 2011-2012

I think when it comes to homeschooling, the most difficult task is choosing the curriculum. There are just too many options, which I’m thankful for, but so many choices sometimes sends me into a tizzy. This year was a little bit easier because of 1) the opportunity I had as a reviewer for TOS Crew which introduced me to some new products and 2) because I took the time to plan our school year and figure out exactly what we needed to be successful.

I have three students (sigh). They just don’t stop growing although I’ve tried squeezing them down (note: it doesn’t work). River is now a 4th grader, Lily is a 2nd grader, and Canyon is a preschool-Kindergartner. We started school July 11th and there are a lot of subjects I want to cover with them this school year, but I have had to be a little realistic and realize we cannot do everything; but that doesn’t mean I am not going to try. So far, what I have planned this year is the following:

R = River, L = Lily, and C = Canyon

Harmony Art Mom
Art Projects for Kids
Ed Emberley books
R, L, C
  Art has been a subject we have not given too much attention to in the past other than doing abstract paintings and coloring. I hope to keep this fun as they begin to include and make more defined art pieces.

What We Believe
R & L
R, L, C
  I am not sure how far we will go in the What We Believe series, but we are sure enjoying it now.
Last year was the first year the children participated in Awana. River will continue TNT, Lily will move into the second Sparks book, and Canyon will be moving into the second Cubbies book.

B90 for Kids
R & L
Hubbard’s Cupboard
  I may not have been successful in the past with this challenge for adults, but River and Lily are trudging along and it is giving them a chance to “read through” their Bible and become more familiar with His word. We are following along with Mom’s Toolbox.

Foreign Language
Prima Latina
R & L
Sign Language
R, L, C
  Okay! Before you jump all over me, we are calling Latin our foreign language until we start our Spanish study which I hope will be sometime next semester. They will also learn the basics (letters and numbers) in sign language.

From Sea to Shining Sea
Discover America series
R, L, C
  We are going to continue our trek through the United States. We started this study last year and took a break. This year, we will finally finish going through the US and hopefully be able to venture internationally next school year.

Cursive First
R, L, C
  Although River and Lily have been writing in cursive for a few years now, we still use this along with our phonics and spelling curriculum. Other handwriting work comes along with the copywork they do in language arts, music (hymn study), and history (summary writing).

Early American History
The Edition of this book is due any day now!
R & L
  History has been a difficult subject for me to find curriculum I’ve really liked so we have been using different resources like Heroes in Black History (totally awesome book) up until now. I am patiently waiting for our book to arrive from Beautiful Feet. Although this will be our main resource for studying history this year, I am going to still sneak in a few other studies I will put together. For some reason, a study on the Titanic keeps hanging in the back of my mind.

Language Arts
First Language Lessons
R & L
Before Five in a Row
  This is our second year using this curriculum and I have been pleased. The lessons are short, but comprehensive and that satisfies the English major in me.

Life Skills
Emily Post
R, L, C
  This has already been a challenge for me when it comes to teaching them how to maintain the home. I have to keep reminding myself that although I can do it “better, stronger, and faster,” I need to let them do the work so they can learn the skills. I never imagined gaining a love of folding towels, but I do. Skills outside of the home will be easier to teach.

Books of Choice
R & L
Before Five in a Row
  I have created a reading list for both River and Lily that has a diverse group of titles. I will share the lists later. All I can say is that we have some great reads coming up this school year. They each have already finished two from their lists.

Something new for Canyon (and me) is using Before Five in a Row. We will be completing a review as a TOS Crew member and will continue using the curriculum through the year. I already purchased the first volume of Five in a Row (I’m impatient sometimes) and will continue with that book next. If you are a Five in a Row fan, then you may want to join All of a Kind Family‘s blogroll where you will also find many helpful resources while you are “rowing.”

Logic/Critical Thinking
R, L, C
  You will hear me talk a lot about EdHelper. I totally love this wonderful resource site. I use it for creating worksheets, creating study guides, and lesson planning in almost all of their subjects. The critical thinking studies include exercises from all subjects (math, time, science, etc.).

R, L, C

Math Facts
R & L
  I found this curriculum on the last day after walking all of the aisles at a homeschool conference. I was tired and had almost given, but was determined to hit every vendor before I left. After talking to the representative, I was SOLD and we have been using this curriculum ever since (about four years). I like that they use an abacus for solving equations.

The Story of the Orchestra
Then Sings My Soul (hymn study)
R, L, C
  We are going to finally start and finish The Story of the Orchestra. I have had it for years and although my older two are a little past the cuteness of the presentation (Orchestra Bob), we are still going to work through the book. We will study the artist and delve a little more into their lives using the Opal Wheeler books.

My children received the hymn study book (they received their own hymnals last year) from their choir instructor and I took that as confirmation that this was the year to start studying hymns. It is something I have wanted to add to our curriculum for a while. We will study and learn one hymn a month. I may slip in a contemporary Christian song in there every once in a while.

The Story of the Orchestra
Handbook of Nature Study
R, L, C
  We will go through the curriculum created by Harmony Art Mom. Although our seasons may be a little off in some places (man, I miss California), I believe that we will be able to work through and learn much this year.

R, L, C
  This is a subject that will get more attention this year. For now, I am going through and teaching them the technique for doing basic exercises using a YouTube video series. We really enjoyed GoTrybe and may look into some type of structured video exercise program like that during the colder months.

Phonics and Spelling
Spell to Write & Read
R, L, C
Wise Guide for Spelling
R & L
  I really like this curriculum. I think that River and Lily both are doing so well with their reading and spelling due to the lesson they have learned. I have even started paying more attention to the way I pronounce words and the phonemes that make them.

Exploring Creation w/Astronomy
Science Experiments
R, L, C
  Although this will be their main resource for science study, they will be doing additional science experiments and other science studies this year.

R, L, C
  I can now tell them to “look it up in the dictionary!” They have been studying vocabulary for a few years. For now they are doing grade level vocabulary words, but are working towards moving to the QuickStudy English vocabulary and grammar cards of 1000 words.

  I really enjoyed this curriculum and will continue using it with River this year. River and Lily will also be doing creative writing, letter writing, poetry writing. They will be ‘a writin’.

As I look over our plans, it seems like a lot, but we will not be studying each subject everyday and some of the subjects will be studied once a week. I am excited about what all of us are going to learn this year. Have you started putting together your curriculum for the new school year. It always excites me when I learn of other homeschoolers using the same curriculum as me, so let me know if we are using any of the same material.

If you would like to see what other homeschoolers are using this year, then hop on over to Heart of the Matter’s “Not” Back to School Blog Hop which is featuring curriculum this week.

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11 Responses to “Curriculum 2011-2012”

  • Comment from Dawn

    I have used some of your choices. Have a wonderful year.

  • Comment from Wendi

    I see a lot of familiar titles on your curriculum list. We also use First Language Lessons and the Then Sings My Soul book…we love the Exploring Creation with series {right now we’re working through the botany book}, and I will be using IEW with my ds9 for the first time this year :)

    Looks like a great year ahead!

  • Comment from LaDonna

    We used Apologia Astronomy last year for Science. Math was a really hard choice for me this year. I almost went with Rightstart. In the end I chose Math on the Level. I just learned about Cursive First and I am looking into it more. Have a wonderful year!
    LaDonna recently posted..2011-2012 Curriculum Picks…

  • Comment from MissMOE

    We are also using Harmony Art Mom’s nature study blog to go along with the Handbook of Nature Studies. Looks like you’ve got a great plan–enjoy your year.
    MissMOE recently posted..Airport Poetry and Prose

  • I’m here by way of HOTM Hop — it all looks great! I hope you have a great year!
    Sally {with eager hands} recently posted..2011-2012 Curriculum Epic

  • Comment from Valerie

    Sounds like a great year! We love FIAR too and I am SO excited to be able to re-row with my kindergartner this year. Love Harmony Art Mom too! Have you checked out TruthQuest for history? That’s what we ended up with and we’re loving it so far!
    Valerie recently posted..Plans for the 2011-2012 school year

  • Comment from Joey

    I love Harmony Art Mom and the Handbook of Nature Study is one of our constant companions. Have a great year!
    Joey recently posted..The curriculum follow up post

  • Comment from Jamie Bee

    So exciting! Reading this post gave me sooo much anticipation for the upcoming years! Homeschooling is gonna be a lot of work, but soooo much fun! I’m going with a mish mash of Sonlight, Oak Meadow (waldorfish) and of course all my Montessori training for Ash this year. Preschool is super easy, but it’s a great time to lay groundwork! Squeeee!!!!

  • Comment from Tiffany

    I really relate to you with the dilemma of curriculum choices. I am considering using something else next year. What I have discovered about myself is I need curriculum that is open and go. Planning week after week is really wearing me down. If I could toss the majority of choices this year I would. Its too bad we are just beginning our next year. I will say that there is nothing wrong with the resources I picked but I need something that is planned out for me. The good news at least I have figured this out about myself now. Wish me luck.

    Looks like you have outlined a wonderful year. I am wishing you guys the best.
    Tiffany recently posted..Activity Bag Swap

  • Comment from Marie

    I love how you broke down each subject and child. Looks like you’ve got it all covered.
    I totally agree that decide what to use each year is the biggest task to tackle. I am thankful for all the options :)


    I may complain about having so many options, but I am also so glad they are available to us and that there is quality product from which to choose.

    Marie recently posted..Review: The Grace Card, DVD

  • Comment from Brandy

    We will be using Financial Peace Jr. this year as well!
    Brandy recently posted..More pictures

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