Friday, May 08, 2009

Homeschooling, again.

Eric and I talked a lot about the kids' education today. I thought that when I spoke to him about my concerns he would immediately discourage the thought of any sort of alternative to public schools. But he didn't. In fact, he totally agreed with me. We're looking into what our options are. I know that I will not have a ton of time to peice together a totally unique cirriculum using free and low cost resources. That's what I did last time. If we homeschool next year it would have to be more of a put-together curriculum that I could teach, but wouldn't have to spin a ton of time planning.

So all you homeschoolers out there, let me here what you like! What programs do you love, or not love. Taevy is somewhat gifted, academically. Samren is struggly greatly (with reading and writing). In looking at the Calvert program I can see right away that Samren would have to do the 1st grade program next year ("supposed" to be in 2nd).



Kerry 6:00 PM  

Gosh, Anita! There are so many options out there. I would HIGHLY suggest you check into the book "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum" by Cathy Duffy. It is EXCELLENT. Reviews your child's learning style (and how to assess it), your teaching style (because if you HATE the curricula, it will be torture to use it), and then gives excellent reviews for curricula. (With info on what curricula matches which styles.)

Sonlight is awesome since it is all planned out for you, but it can become a task master if you let it. (You have to decide how much you can get done realistically in your family and let the rest go.)

I'm a big proponent of classical education which can seem too rigorous for a child who might be struggling...but if approached the right way (with lots of games and such) is a blessing no matter the kids' abilities. But that is OUR family and may not be yours. :)

I really recommend looking at learning and teaching styles first and then educational methods second - this will determine which curricula will work best for your family.

FYI - Ambleside Online is an EXCELLLENT literature-based curriculum and it is FREE.

I just posted a list of some really great books for prospective homeschoolers on my blog (and many can be found at your library, most likely). Come check it out if you need some ideas.

Kerry 6:02 PM - I'm posting the link just to make it easy for you! I have a couple blogs, so it might not be immediately apparent which one I was referring to!

A. Gillispie 6:17 PM  

Kerry, thanks! I was a teacher "way back when." I'm also a big fan of classical education. It's a perfect fit for Taevy. Samren is just a tough nut to figure out.

Heather A. 6:24 PM  

I'm so excited for you!!! If either of your kids are into history, at all, I love (and the girls love) The Story of the World series. Although we haven't made it out of ancient Egypt yet!

Woohoo! Yeah for you and yeah for your kids!

I would guess that Taevy can do a lot of self directed learning. Sophia loves to read and so we work on a few core items together, but I just get tons and tons of books for her at the library and let her go. It's amazing what she's picked up this year.

Can't wait to see what you go with!

Story of our Life 6:36 PM  

I'm very greatful for this thread Anita. We are considering homeschooling Bryant (James would be doing it). I've copied this link so that my dh can read it and follow up w/it. :)

Love, Gala

sue 8:44 PM  

After using different curriculums, I have found one that I really like. It is My Father's World. You can start with Countires and Cultures. You would use it with Tavey and Samren together. It covers everything except math, english and spelling. The teacher's manual is great, it tells you what to do every day and is easy to follow. While they are learning about our world, you read to them missionary stories about missionaries from that particular part of the world you are studying. You can adjust the curriculum to meet the older ones needs and the younger.

Here is a great site to purchase re-sale curriculum:

If you don't see what you are looking for, just post it on their wanted to buy board. I have gotten many responses that way.

Salzwedel Family 9:00 PM  

I'm sending an e-mail to my blogging friend Cris. She is the ultimate homeschooler in my book. Maybe she will have some advice for you. I'll see if I can get you two connected.

We are Grateful!!! 9:27 PM  

Wow...exciting to see the hubby's get on board! Mine has never looked back, but was a bit concerned at first.
I started with Sonlight, just because I wasn't sure if i could get it all organized. They were a great start. After two years, A Well Trained Mind (Classical) was our pick, with Sonlight readers and read a longs.
The Sonlight forum is a huge help for those homeschooling more than one and for all.
I will be is a huge step...but one you will cherish.

We are Grateful!!! 9:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
We are Grateful!!! 9:36 PM  

PS. Here is a blogger that talks at length about picking curriculum. Grab a cup of tea and put your feet's a long read, but good.


Spike and Tuna Jones 9:21 AM  

Wow! So we are very eclectic but here goes my list of favs...

math... bob jones, saxon
apologia science
beautiful feet history
easy grammar

ok.. i'll stop, that's enough for now... at the age your kiddos there are a lot of fun group curriculums. i did that with my older three.

Congrats on your choices. Looks like this year is full of advaenture for you!

crispy 5:19 PM  

I got your blog from Stephanie, congrats on thinking about HS. The longer I HS the more I am a fan of it.

As for curr. we love Math U See. It fits really well with kids that need more than worksheets. The blocks really help get the concepts down and then they gain the skills and confidence they need.

My favorite readers are Pathway readers. Sweet, innocent, precious stories that reinforce the kind of well mannered and obedient children I long for.

Aside from that I use a lot of Evan Moor workbooks (make photo copies) for our seat work. Like phonics, language fundamentals, writing...

We read a LOT and often do unit studies on something that strikes our interest. Then we will make lapbooks about what we have learned.

I have lots of posts on HS on my blog. Feel free to check it out. Just scroll down and look on the right under labels of posts. I think I have one labeled "homeschooling" and one that is for "lapbooks".


A. Gillispie 10:19 PM  

Thank you EVERYBODY for all of the comments! I'm not totally sure we are homeschooling yet, but I'm excited about the possibility. I am researching like mad, looking at all of the curriculums and resources you have posted! There are so many options, and more than one that I think would work for our family. Does anybody have any opionions on Alpha-Omega products (particularly Horizons or LIFEPAC)?

sue 10:29 PM  


When we firt started homechooling, we used Alpha Omega Lifepacs. There is nothing wrong with the curriculum, but it can get rather boring because it is all workbook based. The older grades have the option of doing some of their subjects on the computer.

Deborah 2:19 PM  

All ages - 2nd grade through 12th grade - use Math U See and love it. My very organized and self motovated daughter loved LifePacs.
We read a lot of books, and really have enjoyed YWAM's series on missionaries. The children keep reading journals, we read aloud, we use KONOS for history and science, and Bob Jones for spelling and reading.

Three resources that have helped me more than any others:
1) Better Late Than Early, by Raymond Moore
2) For the Children's Sake, by Susan Schaefer Maculay
3) Charlotte Mason Companion, by Diane Ware

I am very happy for you and especially for your beautiful children.

Amy 6:23 PM  

We use Horizons math and love it, mostly, but it might move a bit faster than your average bear. Make sure to use the placement tests.

Depending on your homeschooling vs charter school stance, sometimes you can use K12 for free, from home. I'd love to use it, but it's too pricy for us and the free option isn't an option in our district.


whenpigsfly 11:39 AM  

I love Sonlight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I backed off it when our older Khmer kiddos came home because it was too literature heavy for our limited English vocabulary, but now that everyone is fluent, I am back in it again. I love Bibliomania in Tulsa for buying used curriculum and for browsing with my catalogs of new stuff. Its not far from you. My sage advice , handed dowm to me by seasoned home school moms when I was the novice was DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF MONEY. You'll see so mcuh good stuff but DON'T BUY IT!!
I too found LIFEPAC boring right along with my kiddos.
I use a math curric I get from RAINBOWRESOUCES catalog, called SCOTT FORESMAN and I love it.I have used it for 15 years, K -12th grade. it is PRACTICAL, life use afirming, good mix of story probs so the chidlren learn WHY they use the math and HOW to use the math, and its multi-culural so the photos and kids and names are not all "Dick and Jane" in fact one of our geometry lessons in the 3rd grade used African (GHANA) fabric stamping and patterning for the example of how to use the math.
There are scads o fgreat free sites online for schooling too. is one, is another... I'll email you.
One of my favorite things about home schooling is letting my kids choose the read alouds or the research material because it helps them increase knowedge of their particular interests. STATS is fun when you love sports and follow teams and athletes, and gives you more than "do page 344-346 for home work" as a reason to understand the material