Monday, September 3, 2012

Homeschooling: The Books

While I have never timed it, I am sure that it takes less than 5 minutes before the question of curriculum comes up in a conversation between two new homeschool moms.  Is it a polite question or the constant illusion of the perfect curriculum?  We all want to know what others are using.  Maybe this curiosity surfaces because there are just so many choices out there! 

We began using My Father’s World for our oldest son for Kindergarten.   It was a perfect fit for him.  We have continued using this because it has worked so well for him, and it has followed his interests well.  This year MFW 2nd grade started the first week studying the Vikings.  That made me a very cool mom!  My Father’s World covers science, Bible, history, geography, art and music. 

We started using Math-U-See last year and are continuing on with it this year.  I have also been working with him on flash cards and math facts.  The strength of Math-U-See is giving the student an understanding of the math concepts.  That is very important, but I think my son also benefits greatly from the additional focus on memorization. 

I was shocked to learn that our district does not have requirements for spelling until 3rd grade.  I felt that my second grader could benefit from starting this year.  We are using Learning to Spell Through Copywork.  It provides a great phonics review for him, but the book had a girl with a princess dress on the front.  Clearly he had to rip that off before the book was usable. 

I started using Abeka for Language this year.  My reasoning was my own.  I was introduced to Abeka curriculum in 6th grade and even as a student knew it was great.  I was behind my peers who had been using it for years.  Abeka’s books are also very colorful which works to my sons advantage.  I learned early on that he is distracted by black and white workbooks and starts to color in the pictures with his pencil instead of working.  He works more diligently with full color workbooks.  If I can give him the advantage I will.

My Father’s World has been a great fit for my son, but it was not going to be a good starting place for my Kindergarten daughter.  She is at a much different place than my son did 2 years ago.  Since I had a high opinion of Abeka and was already ordering for my son I ordered her handwriting, phonics and math from there.  (I know it seems like there should have been a much better reason than to save on shipping, but what can I say?)  I already had Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading from a past failed attempt with my son.  Since she and he are opposites, I opted to try it with her.  (Again my logic is astounding!)  Time will tell if we stick with it.  It is not her favorite; she requests to do it first to get it over with.  I need to figure out why she doesn’t like it before I switch it on her.  We will continue unless it becomes a huge battle or I find something better. 

We are using the library to the fullest this year, and everyone is around for our read aloud time.  We all learned about the Vikings through a historical fiction book together, and we have enjoyed learning about Pocahontas and Squanto, the American Indians, through biographies.  Not everyone catches the same information, but we are all learning to together (myself included sometimes!).  I imagine that we will need a break from our main books from time to time, and I plan on doing a couple of weeks of topical unit studies.  I have pinned a few ideas from

Curriculum choices can be overwhelming.  I think that my son was almost 3 when I was first handed a large catalog called the Rainbow Resource Catalog.  The large book contained too many options, and I never really read it.  A few years later Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 Picks was recommended, and I found it much more manageable.  It was a place to start.  Homeschooling wouldn’t have seemed half so scary if it didn’t seem that I needed to learn a whole new language in this whole new world.  This book breaks down learning styles and educational philosophies so that they are simple and understandable.  I found the exercises in the book to be very helpful.  My husband filled it out as well.  It was great to guide our conversations about our goals and plans for our children’s education. 

Each year I have to remind myself that there is no perfect curriculum.  I am not sure what I will be using in a couple of years.  I am happy with the way that things are going this year.  What curriculums out there do you love?  I would love to be introduced to the pros and cons for future reference!
A few other resources we have enjoyed!
This post is linked up at Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers, We Are That Family
 and Mamal Diane


  1. I also have the ordinary parents guide, but I have never used it. I love math-u-see. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by from WFMW. Hope to see you at True Aim!

  2. Hi, I am stopping by from "We Are That Family." I wondered if you would be interested in taking part in my weekly feature, "Who Home Schools?" You can read about it here - I look forward to hearing from you. -Savannah

  3. Hey! Found and followed you through Mom's Library Blog Hop. I just love your blog!

    Hope you check mine out as well :)