Our box of homeschool books was waiting by our door when we returned home from the Island on Sunday night. The girls eagerly demanded to open it on Monday morning. I’d planned to take this week off to relax after a summer of camps and plan for the school year, but I couldn’t deny their excitement. We opened the boxes, handed out the workbooks, and they started school. I’m still doing laundry from the week away and trying to get ahead with a few blog posts before I break open my planner for the year.
This fall, Sunshine (age 10) is going into Grade 5, Lily (age 8) is going into Grade 4, and Jade (age 5) is starting Grade 1. Pearl (age 2) will be trying to do whatever her sisters do and Joey (age 1) will be chewing on whatever pencils and papers the girls drop on the floor for him.
Each year that we’ve homeschooled, I’ve adjusted our curriculum slightly. This year has been no exception, for a number of reasons. We’ve actually continued doing some schoolwork throughout the summer (noted below), but I’m excited to get back into a regular school routine. So here’s what our 2018-2019 homeschool curriculum choices look like.
Sunshine and Lily are using Teaching Textbooks for grades 4 and 5 math. They started using this online curriculum in July and have been logging in nearly every day since then. This has made math a lot easier for me, as I no longer have to check their work. They also prefer doing their lessons and math problems online, so it’s eliminated some struggle around the hated math lessons.
Jade will be using Saxon Math for Grade 1, just as her sisters did. She loved her Kindergarten Saxon math lessons last year and calls most of her workbooks “math books.”
All three girls will be using the Behold & See Science program from Catholic Heritage Curriculum. Sunshine and Lily are doing Behold & See 5, which provides “in-depth, conceptual understanding of selected topics from biology, human anatomy, earth science, chemistry, and physics. It gently communicates the richness and order of God’s creation, and reflects on the proper use of scientific knowledge for the glory of God.” This year they get workbooks as well as a textbook.
Jade will be doing Behold & See 1: On the Farm with Josh & Hanna. This textbook uses stories about two siblings to introduce younger children to scientific ideas. I’ll either read it to Jade or assign Sunshine and Lily to take turns reading with her.
We currently have several programs on-the-go for language arts. Sunshine and Lily are avid readers, and I’m looking forward to helping Jade learn to read this year.
All three girls are still using Reading Eggs. For Jade, this program includes letter recognition and matching. For Sunshine and Lily, the program is more about reading comprehension and grammar. Sunshine is also using the new Reading Eggs workbook, which I’ll be reviewing later this week. The older girls really enjoy this program (Sunshine kept pestering to make sure I’d renew her subscription) and often spend extra time doing extra activities.
Jade has started the Catholic Heritage Curriculum phonics program, which includes My First Catholic Speller, Catholic Heritage Handwriting, and Little Stories for Little Folks: Catholic Phonics Readers. I still appreciate the way that our Catholic faith is woven through the little lessons in these books. Jade has been often frustrated by the online reading programs we’ve tried, so I’m hoping that sitting down to read together with little booklets (as I did for her big sisters) will be less intimidating for her.
Sunshine and Lily are also using Grammar Planet, a new online program to help kids learn about grammar (which I’ll be reviewing later this week as well). While the girls have learned a bit of grammar in their other language arts programs (including Reading Eggs), I’m finding it doesn’t stick. From my own experience, I know how important grammar is so I’m excited to be trying this program out.
Next week, I’ll also try to jump back into Home School Navigator with all three girls. (Which reminds me that I need to check the booklist and make a library run!) This is another online program we’ve had the chance to review this year. The girls read great picture books, then watch videos about the book and complete activities (usually on a printable PDF) related to the lesson.
For the past three years, we’ve been using (and loving) Connecting with History. The fourth year of that program, however, focuses on American history. As a Canadian, I don’t really want to spend an entire year on American history, so I’ve been debating what to do. Another friend of mine has been doing the same program with her kids for the past three years. After chatting about next year, we decided to organize a Canadian Catholic history study for our kids—and invite a few other homeschoolers to join us!
We need to sit down this week to start planning our first unit, but I’m really excited about what we’ll learn this year. I love Canadian history.
We’re using Courage and Conquest: Discovering Canadian History by Donna Ward as our core text for the year, along with a self-published Canadian Catholic history book. Using these two books, we’ve divided Canadian history into ten units or time periods. We’re aiming to cover one unit per month. For example, our first unit will be on Canada’s First Nations, using Canada’s Natives Long Ago by Donna Ward along with a few other books.
I ordered a Canadian map to put on our wall as we study our country’s history. We’re planning to weave a bit of geography and Canadian art and literature into our study as well. While I’ve ordered a few books for our own use, I’m also planning to find a lot of books at our library. I suspect our problem will be narrowing down the book lists!
Choosing curriculum is fairly easy. Choosing extracurricular activities is a bit harder. It’s always hard to find a balance between what the girls want to do, what I think they should do, and the time we have to spend on those activities. This year, Sunshine and Lily will be doing a musical theatre program with a friend of theirs. They were able to attend their friend’s year-end performance of Jasmine in Aladdin last year. We were blown away by the talent in the show, and the girls’ interest in theatre was renewed.
After doing her Sportball camp this summer, Jade has been interested in floor hockey. When my husband takes the girls to the drop-in gym at our local rec centre, Jade heads for the floor hockey equipment. I managed to find a floor hockey class for preschoolers, but she’s currently on the waitlist. I’m praying that she gets in before the class starts, as her other option is soccer. She’s not very excited about that, though I think she should give it a better try.
Sunshine and Lily are also doing catechism classes at our parish and continuing their music lessons. Jade tried violin lessons a few times this year, after expressing interest in Sunshine’s violin and getting her own violin for Christmas. However, she gives up easily during lessons so I think we’ll keep it informal this year. I may have to try digging out my violin more often to play little songs with her.
To see what curriculum other homeschoolers are using this year, check out the 10th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop at iHomeschoolNetwork.
You can also check my homeschool curriculum choices for the past several years:
- Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum
- My 2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum Plans
- How I Chose My Homeschool Curriculum
What homeschool curriculum are you using with your kids this year?