Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for the year
The first question everyone asks me when I tell them that we homeschool is, “What made you decide to homeschool?” If YOU are wondering the answer to that question, then click here go to my post “Why I Homeschool.”
The second question everyone asks me is always something to do with homeschool curriculum.
I consider myself a “structured unschooler.” A true unschooler would not have a structure…they very well may have a routine of some sort that sparks the imagination or creativity or curiosity of their children, but a structured homeschool curriculum would not have a place in an unschool.
The reason I label myself a “structured” unschooler is because we do not have a specific set of books that we use and we do not always go in a specific order when learning things. I do however, make my kids spend time each day in specific subjects. They are allowed to take time to research or practice or ask about anything they want at any time. There is no restraint on what they can spend time in on their own. We may use a text book, we may look online, we may watch a show or a youtube video and we may just talk about something that one of the kids has learned on their own or has been wondering about. We have nothing to “get finished with” and no text book to “get through” at a certain time. We may read an entire book in one day and we may read a chapter of a book and never pick it up again!
Here is the list of things that we are currently using for our homeschool curriculum choices:
Spelling: I just use the master lists from their grade levels on k12reader.com for 5th grade and under or a list of words they need to know before they graduate high school. You can google search that and find several good ones then pick one that fits your kids if they are more advanced than 5th grade. It’s FREE!
Math: Have you checked out the new look at Khanacademy.com?! We have been using it for years as a supplement (or as a reminder for me when I forgot how to perform a math function here and there!), but now it has SO many videos and so many new features! I have to make my kids stop doing math sometimes because they love the challenge! It’s FREE!
Geography: We have already covered the United States with the big kids, and my 5 year old knows where a few states are, but he is working on more basic geography concepts like landforms and map reading. He is also following along with the older 2 as we work through the “Expedition Earth” curriculum from Confessions of a homeschooler.
Reading: I plan on going through a lot of the “Classics” with the older 2 and also let them pick out books from the library on their reading level. Occasionally, I ask them to write a properly structured paragraph about what they read that day. We are currently reading “Treasure Island” together. My youngest is really into “Pete the Cat” books..and so am I! He also spends time using the Leapfrog “fridge words magnet word builder” in center time (See my awesome put-away-centers). If you have a preschool or kindergarten aged child, you need one of these word builders!
Science: The older kids and I are reading through E.O.Wilson’s “Life Science” series on iBooks. It was a free download and there are videos and graphics that are just amazing. I use my airplay feature on the Mac and play it on the tv! We are Christian and this book is not written from a Christian point of view, but I do have a very open mind to science and science theories so I am ok with this. We are through about 5 chapters now and I have stopped maybe 3 times to explain things to them by saying, “Some people believe this theory, some do not. Some believe ___ instead.” They are very mature and this sparks profound questions! It works well for us. My youngest does weather, we are also talking about life cycles as well as the cycle of life. We will build on this as we go. This is one of the areas that we do not structure too much.
History: I use a text book that I bought for $3 online. It is just a middle school U.S. History paper back text book. As a Native American, I wanted one that went back and discussed American history BEFORE Columbus. This one wasn’t extensive in that aspect, but it did give us a lot of information that led us to search for answers to questions we may not have otherwise had. My youngest does a different community helper each week for social studies. So far he has changed what he wants to be when he grows up 3 times!
Art: This year we are using the “World’s Greatest Artist” curriculum from Confessions of a homeschooler. The youngest listens to the books and I let him participate in the art projects.
That is about all we use as far a formal things! I have the older kids spend time each morning reading on their Zite apps which proves to be very productive as far as sparking interests and questions/discussions from them. My daughter plays violin, my oldest son is dabbling in guitar, and my youngest is playing on the piano. Occasionally, I will have them write an essay just to show me they still know how (the little one draws a picture and asks me how to spell a few rods to describe it), and we keep smash books/journals.
We are very into sports, but this fall we are not doing any due to the fact that we are moving out of state soon and it would be right in the middle of the season. I will post more about our little athletes soon!
I am always looking for ideas! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you use for curriculum if you are a homeschooler!