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Our Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015 and Back 2 School with the IAHE Bloggers

We’ll be starting our 9th official school year.  I remember our first year, I think.  We had a five year old, three year old, 15 month old and a new little one due in December.  Those days were a blur.  Happy memories, fuzzy, but happy memories.

Wow!  We’ve come a long way.  Eight years ago, I started using curriculum (Five in a Row) to guide our days.  I was still figuring out my daughter’s learning style, which method fit best with our goals and learning philosophy and how to juggle homeschooling with the needs of the rest of our family and homestead chores.  Somehow, we’ve all survived – and learned.  Probably mama most of all.

One of the things I’ve learned is that I am a curriculum junkie.  This is apparent at two times of the year – during new school year planning and convention season.  There is something about colorful new (or new-to-me) curricula that just makes me happy.  We are back to the beginning with our history studies.  We’ll be reusing our main history curriculum, but of course, we have some new resources, too.

Want to see what we have planned?  Planned!  No promises we won’t take the long way or short cuts.  One of our favorite parts of homeschooling is following our own path, on our own timetable.  We enjoy the rabbit trails and also try to remember that we don’t have to dwell on what doesn’t work.  Be sure to check out my friends’ (and fellow IAHE Bloggers) posts on their curriculum choices.  They will be linked below.

One of the family subjects I will be changing in how we think of it.  Thanks to one of Heidi St. John’s presentations at our IAHE convention this past spring, we will no longer be treating our Bible studies as a school subject.  I will be working to develop this into a daily habit instead.  I want our children to see their Bible study time as part of their daily routine – like getting dressed and eating breakfast.  When we view it as a school subject, it is all too easy to drop on busy days or during school breaks.  This is one life-long habit that they need to keep no matter how busy the day.

For history, we all study together.  We use Mystery of History.  Vol. 1 takes us from Creation through Christ.  We’ll be using Illuminations 1 with this as well.  Because so much of this early history we have covered before, not just during history studies, but in Sunday school and Bible studies, I feel we need to add some new resources to keep our learners (my own?) interest.  We’ll be doing many of the literature guides with Illuminations – covering great books with the Family Guides and Read Alone Guides.  I love the flexibility and ease of using this with a range of ages.

Our eldest, an 8th grader this year, will also be adding in some of Veritas Press’ Omnibus 1 and Roman Roads Media’s Old Western Culture The Greeks.  We’ll be careful adding these resources in.  I want to challenge her, but not overwhelm her.  We’ll be picking and choosing from all three main curricula to customize her studies for her interests and needs.  Any of these resources are full and rich on their own, but since we have all three, I hope to make use of (at least in part) all of them.

We also like to do our science studies together.  We have loved Apologia’s Young Explorer series and will be finishing that with Zoology 3: Land Animals.  We’ll also be looking at habitats or biomes as we learn about the various animals.  We’ve covered all the other titles in this series, so I know we’ll love this one, too.  I’ll be adding some assignments of my own for our 8th grader.  She’ll be researching and reporting on great scientists and inventors.  Nature walk and studies are easy for us – and a favorite of the younger learners especially.  I put this with science because it is often the only science we do for the youngest learners.

Charlotte Mason EXTRAS
We’ll be sticking more closely to our Charlotte Mason influence.  We’ll be scheduling our studies in 6 week blocks.  This will make it easier to keep up with our artist, picture, and composer studies.  Each new six week block I’ll introduce our new artists and composers.  Resources from Classical Composers Monthly will form the bulk of these studies.  We’ll also try to be more consistent in actually doing more art.  Chalk pastels are the easiest for all ages, especially when we use the fun tutorials and lessons from HodgePodge.  We will use Artistic Pursuits as a guide for other lessons as well.

Language Arts
Math and language arts are where we study by skill rather than all together as a family.  As much as I don’t personally like online learning programs, my children do.  Some of the programs we have reviewed lately work very well with the children.  Four of the children will be continuing with ESA Essential Skills Advantage.  Our preschooler is especially having fun with this one.  Our eldest will be continuing with Lightning Lit Shakespeare Comedies.  Our third grade son will be working on the still-being-developed Lightning Lit. 3rd grade.  We’ll be keeping up with Spelling You See as well.  Our eldest could use some practice, but the upper levels aren’t out – yet.  We’ll have to see if she will have room in her growing schedule once it is.

Math is still being guided by the principles of Math on the Level.  The regular practice for most of the children will be with CTC Math.  It’s not just my math-y daughter that enjoys it.  With the two youngest learners (1st grade and pre-K4), we’ll be sticking to a mostly living math and playing approach.  For my children that are more math-y minded, they have both wanted to do more yet not needed additional instruction.  For my children that are not math-y, this has allowed me to see where they need help yet still keep things more fun.  I don’t want my children to dread any subject, especially math.

Are you using any of the same resources?  Have you found a new favorite for science?  I want to know what you are using!  If you’re looking for more inspiration (or just like to read about curriculum and lesson plans) be sure to read the other posts in the Back 2 School Blog Hop with the IAHE Bloggers.

Be sure to visit the other IAHE Bloggers posts:
Are you homeschooling in Indiana?  We’d love to connect with you!

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