I occasionally get emails from moms venturing into home education who want to know how we choose our curriculum and what resources we love most, so I want to take a few moments to share the tools that work for us. I don't claim to be a know-it-all expert on homeschooling (I'm pretty new to it too!), but I do know that sometimes it can be helpful to see how another family goes about things.
Here are some of the tools that are working for us right now...
Math: I am a huge fan of The Critical Thinking Co. Their math text books are colourful and engaging and they progress through the math skills at a pace that doesn't bore my children or leave them in the dust. The books are pricey, so as I've shared before, I cut the spine off and put each day's work in a page protector to be completed with a dry erase marker. This allows me to reuse the books for multiple children.
We also use the Building Thinking Skills books from The Critical Thinking Co.
Language Arts: My oldest daughter is in grade one and is doing A Reason for Handwriting and Spelling Workout. She loves to read the Bob books to her younger siblings (and it has helped her to build a lot of confidence and realize that she really can read by herself) and we use the bingo cards and word searches from this book to practice sight words.
My 4 year old is in Senior Kindergarten this year and we are working together through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy Lessons. I think the one-on-one time we spend snuggled on the couch with this book is at least as beneficial as the reading lessons themselves.
Science: My kids are fascinated with the sky and space so we are using Apologia's Exploring Creation With Astronomy as our science text. Honestly, they would probably be a little young for this course if they weren't already so interested in the topic. On the first page of the book they explain the benefits of presenting science topics in an immersion strategy (a whole topic of study all in one year) instead of the spiral method many of us experienced in school (touching on many topics of study year after year, going a little bit deeper each time) and I was immediately sold on this curriculum. I can't wait to explore all of the Apologia Exploring Creation books with the kids!
History: We are reading through the Mystery of History, Volume One. I love this book. It presents biblical history and world history intertwined with one another, and it is very well written. My husband and I are as excited to read from it as the kids are. (maybe more!) We don't do all of the projects and activities the book suggests.
Latin: We've just started using Song School Latin. When I ordered our curriculum for this year, Song School Latin was sold out so we only received it this week. So far it seems like a great way to introduce some Latin so that the kids (and the whole family, really) is ready for a more in depth study of the language later on.
Geography:We decided against a formal geography course this year. In part because I was afraid of burdening my young children with too many academics and not enough getting dirty in the backyard, but also because I think that curiosity based learning is the best learning and we can foster plenty of curiosity and some great question-asking just by encouraging the kids to explore atlases, maps, and our world map place mats. We read books about interesting places and we curl up together on the couch and pour over the pages of our beginner's Atlas.
Other resources: One of my favourite things about doing school at home is how we get to blur the lines between education and life. We start our day with a riddle because my oldest daughter loves riddles. We refer to youtube videos and read interesting facts from the farmer's Almanac. We pray for missionaries and then find them on a map. We take the long way home when running errands so we can drive past the Long Haired Highland Cattle because we read about them in Wee Gillis and find them beautiful. We read lots of good books and watch documentaries together and sit on the back porch to observe the sky.
Our Homeschool Goals: I think it would be overwhelming to consider the vast array of homeschool resources out there without knowing what it is we are trying to achieve. By giving words to the dreams we have for our children's education we gain focus and insight into where to put our time and energy.
For us, our goal is to raise children who are very literate and have great critical thinking skills, who are passionate, curious and creative. If they are those things, then we believe they will have no problem learning anything they need to know and excelling at anything they feel called to do. And that's what we want for our children: freedom to go wherever God calls them.
So that's our homeschool in a nutshell. Thanks for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking!