If you are starting to think about homeschool curriculum, but don’t know
I’ve been homeschooling my children for a total of 7 years now (not counting preschool years, even though you totally should). I have been “around the block” and have concrete opinions on certain curriculum and what works for my children. While I know every child is different, I believe my curriculum picks could work for a larger audience. I will speak about my elementary and middle school book choices. I will write separately about what I do for preschool and babies in another post I will eventually link here.
4th Grade Curriculum Choices
English: Since Kindergarten, I have usually done a DIY English Homeschool Curriculum. I would find the standards for his grade
Penmanship: I also went with Abeka, because I liked the flow.
Vocabulary: I use Sadlier-Oxford. I was not sold on the idea of using Abeka for vocab. I know Sadlier-Oxford; the books keep going
Math: I love Saxon. Saxon for every grade. I have used the meeting manuals. I believe Saxon can work for the majority of students. Most grades only have 120-140 lessons, which leaves 40-60 days of buffer room to insert your own activities or practice the things your child has a hard time with. We like to have multiplication and division flashcard/ 5 minute math worksheet days.
Science: I am a big Apologia fan. I also grew up using it. Their elementary Young Explorer’s Series curriculum
Reading: It may seem unconventional, but I am going to be using a science curriculum for his reading this year. He is the type of child where if he does not enjoy something, he drags his feet. To avoid that, I figure he can get training in reading comprehension (as well as research and art) from Queen’s Discovering Nature: Walk With Aunt Bessie science curriculum.
History: I have very limited experience with Story of the World vol 4. The first children I tutored used it (almost a decade ago!) and I remember loving it. It is another Charlotte Mason-style approach, so that
Jesus Our Guide is apart of a classic Catholic Curriculum. Your children probably used a book from the series for their First Communion. It also is not much work daily. It will; however, be laying strong religious stones in my children’s heart to give them a firm foundation.
Bible (general): I find it necessary to systematically go through the Bible to get the facts and stories down. We used Veritas Press’ curriculum Genesis Through Joshua and Judges Through Kings, last year. This year, we will be doing Chronicles through Malachi. It is pretty straightforward and can be done only three days a week if you wanted.
Elective: Junk Drawer Robotics by 4H. This is something very new and out of my comfort zone. He really wanted to do it. I’m giving myself grace, and I will only be doing this twice a week. I am also going to be asking for my husband’s help. This homeschool curriculum is appropriate from grades 3-12.
8th Grade Curriculum Choices
A little bit about my 8th grader: she is two years ahead in all of her subjects. She should be entering 6th grade, but she works (and tests) far above her actual grade. Do not be afraid to advance your children if you see fit.
Math: She is in year 8 of Saxon and she is going strong. She has already completed 1/3 of her 8th grade Saxon 8/7 curriculum as of July. I will probably have to buy her the 9th grade Algebra curriculum by November. I do not worry about her forgetting how to do something, because each lesson has 25-30 questions of review questions. If I notice she is struggling with one concept, we turn to Khan Academy, which is free.
Grammar: Abeka has an amazing grammar homeschool curriculum. That being said, it is difficult. It takes a lot of concentration. On the other hand, it is thorough; I love how it pushes her to be an amazing writer. She has a really firm grasp on her syntax and grammar rules. Her IOWA exam told us that she was operating on a 13+ grade level. I do not question what works!
Reading: Last year for our reading homeschool curriculum, we did Abeka’s book Of People. This year we are doing Of Places. All we need is lined paper for the questions, and she can work independently. It also exposes her to a large variety of Literature, many with Christian teachings.
Vocab: She will be doing level C of the Sadlier-Oxford series. Again, I love it due to the fact that it is making her SAT ready. It is also simple, direct, and mostly independent work.
Science: Usually, I do use Apologia. I thought my eight
Catholic Studies: My daughter is doing the last book in the Faith and Life series: Our Life in the Church. It is definitely intensive, but so worth it. We are doing this book 5 days a week and it’s probably the most important subject of all, in my opinion. The teacher’s manual gives songs, notes for the student, and what to pray. However, it is crucial to get the teacher’s manual!
American History: I majored in Sociology with an American History concentration. I am a little picky about which book to use, I settled on BJU’s American Republic, because I love the activity book. I also do a lot of projects and readings outside of the textbook. Some may say that the information leans to the Christian-Right (politically). I agree a little bit, and you can determine if that is right for your family. As a note, the BJU history tests for the book are very difficult. I will be making my own.
Government: Her other high school course will be
Don’t worry! Homeschooling does not always come easy. Take it one year at a time. Just remember you are doing more for your kids than anyone else will!
Drop any of your questions about homeschool curriculum in the comment sections. What are you most excited about?