Monday, August 5, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum Choices: The Year of Change

The  year before my oldest son was to begin "officially" homeschooling, I searched and researched curriculum choices.  I have to say that across the board, more families have difficulty with choosing curriculum than any other homeschooling decision, at least in my observation.  My decision-making was made easy when my husband told me that he wanted to use the curriculum that he used when he was homeschooled (from 6th grade up), which was Abeka.  I was fine with that.  I hadn't read anything "bad" about it, so we ordered Abeka curriculum.  Things went and have gone well with Abeka...and as you will see, we are still using it for some subjects.  

However, this past year, I thought about how "fast" Abeka moves through things...and I wondered if things were being covered too quickly.  My son definitely struggled with how quickly the multiplication was taught, and so I knew that we were going to have to make a change in the math department.  Then, as I thought about my own experiences, I thought about the language arts...and how we knew what a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, etc. was by the time I was the age of my boys.  Abeka covered some of those, but I felt that it was still done too quickly for my kids to really grasp it.  So, I decided to make a change in that area too.  Also, I was putting a lot of work into their spelling program.  The "activities" that they gave to go along with the words were very short, so my children would have them completed in a day.  So, I would have to make up stuff to go with the words for the other days of the week...which meant more time spent at the computer, making my own "worksheets," and printing them off.  In the earlier grades of Abeka spelling, I liked how all of the words were, sun, pat, sat, mat, etc., so that the children were learning, "If I can spell 'at,' I can also spell 'mat,' 'sat,' and 'pat.'"  However, in the higher elementary grades, I felt like the words didn't really relate to one another at all or build upon each other.  I missed that a lot.  So, a homeschool friend of mine told me about the curriculum that she uses that does just that...all of the words are related and build upon one, we are also changing our spelling curriculum!

I want to say before I move on that I am very glad that we used Abeka and that we will continue to use Abeka for some subjects.  It does move too quickly on some things, in my opinion, but they do have a very solid Christian base for their curriculum, and my children have learned so much by us using Abeka in their beginning years.  BUT without further are our curriculum choices for this year...

2nd Grade
My youngest child, and only daughter, is going into second grade this year.  As you can see, she is using Abeka for most everything.  Here you can see her Language, Letters and Sounds, Our America (social studies), Enjoying God's World (science), and Health, Safety, and Manners books.  She will be doing some subjects with the boys...for the first time ever!  (More to come on that...)
4th Grade
My youngest son will be fourth grade this year.  He is still using Abeka for science (Understanding God's World), social studies (My State Notebook and another social studies text not pictured), and health (Developing Good Health).  He will be using Math-U-See Beta this year.  The first time we've used anything except Abeka for math.  So, this will be very new for all of us!
5th Grade

My oldest oldest child...will be going into fifth grade.  He is doing several subjects with his some of the books pictured above are the ones that he and his brother will share.  They will be doing science, social studies, and health together (as well as some other subjects that he will be doing with his brother and his sister, which I'm coming to...).  He will also be using Math-U-See this year...the Gamma edition.  Again, this is the first that he has had anything except Abeka, so he is very excited about doing something new!
All Three

Language:  We will be using First Language Lessons this year.  My daughter will be doing her Language Workbook in addition to this, and my sons will also be doing worksheets from time to time to go along with this.  The lessons in here are short, but very effective in teaching a child exactly WHAT a noun, pronoun, adjective, and other valid things that I believe they need to know but wasn't focused on as much in their Abeka Language.

Vocabulary:  We began working with Wordly Wise last year, and I liked it so much that we are going to continue this year. 

Spelling:  This is the spelling curriculum that my friend told me about where the words relate to one another and build upon each other.  It's called Sequential Spelling.  I'm very excited about trying it this year!

Our first day of school is August week from today.  So, I am using this week to get prepared!!  Are you making some big changes in your curriculum this year?  Did you have a year in the past where you make some major changes?  If so, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  I feel like I'm stepping onto new ground, and am a little nervous about it all!

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  1. Happy NOT Back to School!

    I love your post! We've stayed with what we started out with, for the most part. I made a spelling curriculum switch a year or two ago to All About Spelling (although Sequential Spelling was a top contender until the end).

    We use FLL as well. I like that the lessons are short and they get the job done. Do we need more than that? :)

    Good luck with your new year!

    1. Thank you so much, Cara! I am looking forward to all of the "new stuff," and to see how it works! :) Thank you for coming to my blog and leaving me a comment! Hope that your new school year is great!!!

  2. We have made several changes through the years. I hope it all works out for you. Have a great year.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dawn! I hope that you have a great year as well! :)

  3. I love the flexibility of homeschooling! We love MUS, it has been a great fit for my children over the years. Hope it goes well for yours!
    This year I have 7th, 3rd, 2nd, K, and 4 little ones:

    1. Thank you for your comment, Tristan! I am really looking forward to using MUS. I have watched the introduction on the CD's and am excited about how my boys will react to it.

  4. It's always fun, exciting and just a little scary to try something. Hope you have a wonderful start to your new school year and that your new choices are a good fit for everyone!

  5. We started our homeschool years using Rod & Staff exclusively. This worked well for the first three years. Since then, we've added many other options, but still use R&S for our spine.

    We LOVE Math U See and hope you do too! :)

    Thanks for visiting during the NBTS blog hop! I love these hops as it affords me an opportunity to meet fellow bloggers! :)

    Have a great year!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Laurie! I love the blog hops as well!!!