Homeschooling Curriculum: Open Thread

August 10, 2006 @ 11:09 am | Filed under:

I know, I know, it’s August and you’ve all already done your shopping. My plans to spend the summer reviewing curriculum were somewhat derailed by Scott’s job offer and subsequent departure, what can I say. But! I haven’t given up yet.

Except! It’s naptime for my little ones and I’m supposed to have an hour to write this post. But now I hear Wonderboy awake and sad upstairs. So I have to go. But I’ll be back. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves. What I was going to do here was hit you with a whole bunch of reviews and links and then invite YOU to chime in with your own opinions. Instead I’ll invite your opinions first. What are your plans for the upcoming year? Let’s hear ’em! I’ll be back later.

POSTSCRIPT (but I can’t stay): So I went up to his room, where he was crying on the bed.

Me: What’s the trouble, buddy?

Him: Nee hee-hoo.   (That’s "Need tissue," for you consonant-using types.)

Well, no wonder. I’d cry too if I were lying there in dire need of a heehoo and not a heehoo within reach. Poor little guy.

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27 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Julie Bogart says:

    I hope it’s not too self-serving to share a review of The Writer’s Jungle over on The Homeschool Magazine website:

    I thanked Dawn King (author of the review) for writing it and she replied that it was the best program she’d ever looked at. 🙂

    I was pretty happy about that.


  2. Leslie in Springfield says:

    I’ve got two girls, 9 yrs. and 5.5 yrs. We will continue with our BraveWriter and Arrow subscription from Julie Bogart– we love that! Older daughter has finished up with Miquon Math and I’m still mulling over where to head next. Maybe the continuation series Key To… We’re going to start Real Science 4 Kids and are very excited about that. Latin is also on the horizon for us– I’d love to hear some reviews of Latin curriculums, although Lissa was kind enough to tell me what she and Jane are using (I’m leaning in that direction). We use a variety of resources for Spanish, including a free-through-the-library subscription to Rosetta Stone. We’ll add a bit of Italian because we’re planning a trip there in about a year. For history we love Story of the World and Story of US, plus all kinds of stuff from the library. We do a bit of picture study and composer study in spurts. Trying to add more nature study in and just watched our 3 monarch caterpillars turn into chrysalises (sp?)… I’d love to hear others’ plans and reviews.

  3. Denise says:

    Get back here and post your links, please! I want to live vicariously through you – and of course, add a few comments. We’re not curriculum shopping at all and it is sort of weird.

  4. Sandra says:

    Here in New Zealand we are about 2/3 way throught our academic year – still waiting for the new catalogues to arrive from the US (3 months delay with slow postage) before I start planning for next year. Just wanted to mention Rebecca Rupp’s great books Home Learning Year by Year and The Complete Home Learning Sourcebook. Great for people who like to pull their own stuff together instead of buying a prepackaged currciulum.

  5. Mary Beth says:

    Since I am new on this homeschooling journey, I have enrolled my son in a Home Education private school based here in Maine called Royal Academy. I have a “supervisory teacher” (I know all you seasoned homeschoolers are cringing). I plan on using a smorgasbord of resources from Zaner- Bloser for Handwriting and spelling, Math from Modern Curriculum Press and (sigh) Bob Jones ^textbooks^ (I know, I know what you’re all thinking). I also picked up some A Beka readers at a used sale. I am, however (for all you Charlotte Masonites) using a “Nature Notebook” (albeit a pre-printed one). There you have it-please don’t hate me because I’m insecure…

  6. Jennifer says:

    We are using a combination of some of the Seton books (love the readers!), Math-U-See, Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia and Handbook of Nature Study for Science, MCP Spelling, The Story of the World for History, Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, and about a million other books. We are using The Well Trained Mind as a guide and branch out after the bases are covered. For Religion, the Bible and the Baltimore Catechism. Mary Beth, we are on year 2 and I feel the same way you do.

  7. sherry says:

    We’re heading into year one. We’re very eclectic but base our studies around CM and Ambleside.

    We’re using The Beginner’s Bible and studying the Old Testament this year. Five in a Row and Caldecott’s Across the Curriculum. We’ll be doing American History this year using living books. For science we are using both Apologia’s Flying Creatures of the 5th Day and Our Father’s World from CLP. Explode the Code for Phonics. We’ll follow the Ambleside Art and Composer terms, read from their list of Year 1 books, and keep a nature journal and read the CLP Nature Reader. Finally, for math, we’re using Liberty Math for 1st grade. We’ll also be utilizing notebooking, lapbooking, a timeline, book of centuries and family read alouds.

    WHEW. That sounds like a lot!


  8. Anne V. says:

    We will continue with Shiller Math. It works and we have fun–math is no longer a “chore.” We will practice our math facts pretty much daily for 5 minutes on the MathMat,with computer games, regular games and any other fun way I can think of or someone can suggest.
    Language Arts is easy for ds so I’ll use LLATL as a spine to help me mostly. I am feeling uneducated in the grammer department. It seems like Sonlight LA which we have used since preschool as ds enjoys.We aren’t going with SL this year-I am winging it! We are also looking forward to trying out Friday Freewrites and Tea Parties if I can get it all together–and trying Bravewriter next year. Lot’s of reading, together and independently.
    Religion will be based on some CHC books, My Path to Heaven, Just Like Mary(mostly for dd, who is 3, and adores Mary, even invented her own prayer to her), Catholic Tales, Faith and Life, and the Catholic Treasure Box books.
    The rest is probably considered “delight” learning. Ds is interested in Lego Robotics(the toys get more expensive as they get older :), wants to do chemistry this year(help!!) and science, lots of science. Of course, plenty of nature study in our yard and hikes and field trips to see the area museums before we move on, etc. We follow interests after the basics and that is fun!!
    DD(3) will do the Treasure Box with me, I am hoping to read to her some, and work on handwriting-she is enjoying learning to write her letters! Ds didn’t even want to pick up a crayon to color at this age!!

    Looking forward to hearing others’ plans for the year.

  9. Real Learning says:

    Lissa is talking curriculum

    And you are invited to share! Visit the Lilting House. All you need is your PC and a cup of tea–much less fuss than a conference and potentially more enlightening and inspiring! Read all the comments, breathe the diversity, sift,

  10. Elizabeth Foss says:

    I’m planning math and language arts for eight–individually. Then, it’s unit studies to round things out. You can read about it here:

    I did extensive preschool planning that will actually serve me well for my K’er and second grader too. The series starts here:

    My senior is pretty well set. I’m calling this year “Everything I want you to know before leaving for college and need to cram in at the end.” We’re going to be studying perosnal finance, advanced grammar (his request), and morality (using Scott Hahn’s huge book ). There’s some accounting and another lab science to be had too but he’ll do that at the local community college and get dual credit.

    For my eight-grader, the plan is tailored carefully to meet his special needs. You can see it here:

    I’m still tweaking plans for the middle guys and I’m furiously writing unit studies so I have some direction before the baby arrives–so I’m eagerly reading the comments here!

  11. Julia says:

    This is fun! For my 7 yr. old, we are using RightStart Math, Classical Writing, SOTW & AIS, Elementary Geography (by CM)and the rest of the subjects are from AO Year 2. We are also dabbling in some Spanish.
    My 5 yr. old is doing RS math, OPGTR, HWT and lots of reading.
    We started school on Mon. and this week went so well.

  12. Jen says:

    We are using American School for our 9th grader. The 7th,5th, and 2nd graders are using Seton for their readers and math. Bravewriter, Sequential Spelling, and PLL (from Hillside education) are in the plans for various kids. We’ll do a lot of nature study outside and work our way through Sonlight Science 4 with dvd. And of course we’ll read ,read, read from the 4real list!

  13. Gwen says:

    Mary Beth: We’re not cringing, just cheering you on!

    We’re continuing on with BraveWriter of course. The Expository Essay class is done for 11th grade dd. I’ll be switching (uh-oh I have to do that soon) to the Boomerang for monthly dictation passages and writing prompts.
    Thanks to Kim at Starry Sky, I’ll be relying partially on Student’s Friend for an Ancient History spine and I recently found this cool set of art projects that has big pictures and great instructions: Many of these lessons will be integrated with our Ancient History and we’ll also be using Artistic Pursuits by Brenda Ellis for H.S. Art.
    9th gr. ds will be learning Basic and Python programming from another homeschool dad (thank you so much Dear Lord).
    I just received St. Patrick’s Summer, which will cover elementary religion and we’ll be following along with O.T. Bible History.
    H.S. dc are using the Apologetics Series by the San Juan Seminar

    Dd will be using Wheelock’s Latin and science is still up in the air!
    4H projects will round it out for us: There’s baking, ceramics, art entries, .22 rifle target shooting and modelcraft and dog obedience (still have to find the new dog, let’s pray he already knows how to obey, lol.

  14. Rebecca says:

    We are ebb and flow-ers by nature. Last year I was immobile for the first part of the school year and had a newborn for the second part. We were happy if we did Math, Catechism, and read a lot of books.

    This year, my fifth grader and I are going to pick up the pace a bit by doing daily Math (Math U See), Language Arts (undecided), Latin (Latina Christiana), Catechism plus lots of literature from the list at We will study Ancient World History as well as late American History via literature.

    I used to plan and plan everything to the smallest detail, only to find that within three weeks, I was burned out, the house was a mess and everyone was grumpy. Now I try to have the spines in place with a plan for a couple weeks at a time.

    I have a preschooler and a first grader (who, frankly, got robbed of a fun kindergarten last year) so , in addition to working with some Montessori materials, I am focusing heavy on read alouds, art, painting, playing, singing, marching around our small home with rhythm instruments. Thank God for John Philip Sousa!

    My first grader wants to learn to read so we will work on that. He also wants to learn cursive handwriting so he can write “like Thomas Jefferson” 🙂 .

    I also have a nine month old baby who will be doing a lot of pot banging, nursing, bouncing, crawling, playing with tupperware, hopefully growing some teeth and generally being irresistable. 🙂

  15. Theresa says:

    We will be starting off the year with a nautical unit-study. Plans for 6th grade here:
    and the Kindergarten version here:
    Plus we will be using Bravewriter methods for writing, and “Fridgeschooling” for other subjects such as poetry, latin/greek roots,saints, artists, etc. You can see my set-up for that here:
    For religion we are using St. Patricks summer and the DK Illustrated Family Bible for older, and Tomie DePaola’s Bible Stories for younger.For math I am using a combination of stuff, starting off with a fractions ebook from HomeschoolMath:
    Plus the little will be doing lots of montessori-type stuff, which can be see throughout my blog.
    Whew! Should be a busy year!

  16. Amy says:

    These are my preliminary plans, but I often let the unschooler in me take over, as we tend to have something major happen each school year (first trimesters, new babies, relatives in health crises, etc). BTW I have an 8yo (3rd grade), 6yo (1st), 3yo and 1yo.j

    Math-U-See is the one definite. Beta and hopefully quickly on to Gamma for the 3rd grader. Alpha for 1st grader. We tried all sorts of math over the past few years for my struggling oldest, and MUS seems to work the best for us. So it stays (yay! this is a big thing for us, lol)

    Since I have four girls, we are into girly things here – lucky for us we are ready for American History because there are two interesting unit studies out there we are going to tackle parts of: Portraits of American Girlhood and Prairie Primer. This will hopefully cover history, some LA, much of science, music, etc. Oh and I can’t forget two other literature/unit studies we are going to pick from: Catholic Mosaic and PACE (Program for Achieving Character Education). I’m definitely not doing all of every study, but the books give me a jumping off point and good book lists.

    I’m hoping to attack spelling, attention skills and grammar with copywork and narration.

    We are also fridgeschooling (see Lapaz Farm’s comment above) which will help us reinforce math, art, music, manners, virtues, religion, and LA.

    The times they learn best, though, seem to be when my dh grabs something after dinner, like our magnetic refrigerator poetry words, and starts and activity which then leads to all sorts of questions and fun learning. He’s the best!

  17. Mary Beth says:

    I failed to mention yesterday what I plan to use for Bible study, which is ironic because the Christian aspect is one of the main reasons I am homeschooling. In addition to church, Sunday School and AWANA, we will use a book I picked up at a used sale called “What the Bible is all about and an ABeka Bible reader. My husband also picked up an Elementary Bible Truths Handbook (which is also BJU). Whew, don’t know how I’m gonna fit it all in. Thanks for all the encouraging comments!

  18. mary says:

    my 8 and 6 yr old boys are doing sonlight core 2 for history and read alouds. each is doing their respective LA (2adv and 1). i’m using noeo science for both and geography trails around the world. we use singapore math. religion is a mish mash of catholic mosaic, moira farrell’s albums, chc’s a year with god and mater amabilis saint books. that’s a lot to cover, but we are working on a liturgical notebook and expect it to take a few years to complete.

    my 3 yr old dd will get montessori work and read alouds. we hike once a week at the nature center and keep nature journals.

  19. Dawn says:

    I’m still dithering over the details, but here is the general plan:

    (We’re adding math journals and Bravewriter to our language arts.)

    More on the history:

    We’ll be keeping current affairs notebooks – basically I will clip articles from various news media and we’ll paste them into a notebook. We’ll also use online resources (meant for children). At the end of the week we’ll review “the week that was.”

    We’ll be taking a rabbit trail to the north and south poles:
    Melded with some family history:

    For Religion: Cay’s Catholic Mosaic (making liturgical notebooks), CCC, Baltimore Catechism, Magnifikids, dePaola’s Bible Stories, The DK Illustrated Children’s Bible, Catholic Treasure Box, the Vision books.

    Oh, and for the 4yo – a homegrown version of BFIAR using books we have on hand, along with Slow and Steady Get Me Ready.


  20. charity says:

    This is a great idea (the post).

    I have 8 and 9 year-old boys (and a 3YO). This is our second year homeschooling. I am trying Switched-on Schoolhouse for math and Learning Language Arts through Literature for language arts and reading (plus other child-chosen books). For science, history, social studies, etc. I am going to try a build-your-own-curriculum approach using library and internet resources. Partly because of budget reasons, partly because it sounds like an adventure. I am terrified, yet excited. This is only my second year, after all!

  21. stef says:

    got mine here, lissa, still in progress, though:

    enjoying all the different responses from everyone!

  22. Sandra says:

    More time than when I posted yesterday. I’ve got four children aged 14, 11, 8 and 5 so we are doing real mish-mash. I’d love to have everyone together on the same page so to speak but ages, interests and abilities have dictated otehrwise. I guess I’m most influenced by the Well-Trained Mind. For Maths everyone uses Saxon (except the 5 year old – we just wing it). I like the constant review and the presentation suited the eldest. Since we have it now the others use it too. No real complaints.

    For History the 8 yo does SOTW (the 5yo listens in), the 11 yo does History Odyssey and the 14 year old is completing a major research paper on the Hundred Years War. We also really love the Learning Through History magazines either to supplemet our studies or just for fun reading.

    Literature is focusing on great books with discussion, written papers etc based on a variety of study guides (Garlic Press, Progeny Press,Portals to Literature, Pink Monkey notes online in otherwords whatever I have to hand.)I could do this myself but I don’t always have the time and sometimes haven’t even managed to keep up with the novels the oldest two are reading so the study guides are a time saver for me. For writing the 14 year old has his history paper and smaller papers after many of the novels he reads, the 11 yo is using How to Write the Novel Way, and the 8yo and 5 yo do narrations -often they dictate, I write and they copy – dictations, copywork and other ideas from BraveWriter. The 14 yo is completing Stewart English v2 for a bit of grammar review.The older 2 are also doing Vocabulary from Classical Roots.

    For science I’ve made my own programmes based mainly in living books – Earth Science for the 8yo and Life Science for the 11yo but the 14 yo is doing biology using a video course from the Teaching Company. Next year the younger two will do R.E.A.L. Science, the 11yo will use Real Science for Kids, supplemented by some resources frm Noeo, and the oldest will combine science and maths with Saxon Physics (with some living books to liven it up -although he likes it dry!)

    We do poetry weekly and pick a composer and musician to study per month. We like Classics for Kids (radio programme on line) for use with our composer studies.

    The 11yo is doing Latin Primer (but not really enjoying it I have to say although her older brother loved it). I ‘m looking at Minimus for the 8yo next year. We do French (my oldest are Canadian by birth)- an outside class for the older two and a New Zealand Ministry Of Education programme (I’m stunned to find I like an official government resource but I do like this) but I’ve just received So You Really Want to Learn French which we’ll start on Monday.

    Think that is everything. Apologies for my technical incompetence which prevents me linking to any of the programmes I’ve mentioned. Google shouls help if you are interested. If not ask and I’ll try and help.


  23. Kathryn says:

    You can find the long (overlong!) version in an ongoing series of posts at my blog: Just to prove I can be concise, here is the short version. I’ll be working with an 11yo and an 8yo, with a 3 month old baby along for the ride. We will be working Charlotte Mason style, largely following the Mater Amabilis structure, but with a mish-mash of materials as neither girl fits neatly into one of the MA levels this year.

    11yo – Maths 2XL (lessons on CD-Rom presented by an Australian maths tutor:; English and French with texts from; chemistry focs for science, using a large chemistry set and another Galore Park text as a spine; twentieth century history; continuing a geographical world tour with the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Middle East; biographies of 20th century saints and a “living catechism” book (Adventure of the Amethyst by Cecily Hallack); Artistic Pursuits, which we started last year but never got past the first few lessons; current affairs notebook (new for this year).

    8yo – Singapore My Pals Are Here for maths (at least to start with, then may move on to something different); Junior English 2 by Haydn Richards (an old-but-still-in-print British book); Latin Prep from Galore Park; Real Science 4 Kids chemistry, with “slime technology” and electronics kits for hands-on science; Story of the World 2 for history; same geography tour as her sister; St.Patrick’s Summer and Life of Our Lord for Children by Marigold Hunt, together with a book of saints’ stories for religion; Artistic Pursuits.

    Add to that a selection of books to read aloud and independently, mostly connected to the topics they will be studying, nature study as it happens, copywork, music (brass band and Saturday morning music school) and dance classes.

  24. Mama Chaos says:

    This year is roughly unschooling, or more Mama’s too lazy to put together somethign formal. LOL Though I’ve ordered the guides from Enki and we’ll be trying to work that style in and hopefully be fully Enki geared by next year.

    I wanted to start teaching E Spanish, but I’m terrible at it. So instead we’re going with his already small base knowledge of sign language and using the ASL University.

  25. Marianne says:

    We are using Singapore as our main math, with drill and Miquon added in here and there. We use Language of God for my 2nd grader, Easy Grammar for my 4th grader, and Spelling Workout (MCP). ETC workbooks for 2nd grader. We are reading through the Vos story Bible. We use Christian Cottage Unit Studies for History and Science (VOL. 4) and my little kindergartner is doing MFW K, while loosely following along with our read alouds from the unit study.

  26. Tracy Q. says:

    This year will be the first year where we have completely three different curriculum plans for three completely different kids. We’re in the two high schoolers, one 6th grader mode now, and it’s getting intense, but still a huge blessing! Our 11th grader will be using various texts, literature, and other resources for each subject he’ll be tackling. He and his brother (starting 9th grade) will be using Barron’s Spanish Now for their first year of Spanish. His favorite subject will be Computer Science & Computer Graphic Design. American History will be videos from The Teaching Company, plus other books and resources, and he’s going to do Apologia Chemistry. Our 9th grader will be using Trisms Discovering the Ancient World mainly, along with Apologia Biology. Our 6th grader and I are so excited to be using The Prairie Primer this year, along with a horse unit study throughout the year. We’ll use Learning Spanish with Grace with her. We’ll use A Catholic Mosaic to study The Liturgical Year. Our family will study religion together using the model of
    Monday- Catechism (using the CCC)
    Tuesday- Saints (variety of resources)
    Wednesday- Scripture Study
    Thursday- Apologetics (variety of resources especially Beginning Apologetics series)
    Friday- Church History
    We’ll also all be doing Beautiful Feet’s A History of Classical Music together. That’s our basic plan!

  27. Tracy Q says:

    Oh! And we use Saxon with everyone (DIVE CD Roms for the older two as well). :o)