Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Top 10 Curriculum Choices

Notebooking lends itself to LOTS, if not most curriculum. That being said, we don't notebook every subject at once. In fact, our notebooking methods have changed quite a bit over the last year or so... but that's another post.

The Top 10 topic this week is supposed to be '10 Reasons I'm Excited For Next School Year', but I'm always excited about my curriculum choices and those I've loved from the past, so that's why I chose to right about this. My list below is a list of curriculum that we've used over the years, some with and some without notebooking, but all of which I highly recommend. This list is in no particular order but I am adding them by subject.

{1} Math - Teaching Textbooks
We've been using Teaching Textbooks for 5+ years. I originally chose it because I was teaching 6 kids all on different levels and when it comes to math, that took a lot of my time. Teaching Textbooks teaches your child using interactive cd lessons. The younger levels (they currently offer Math 3 - Math 7) includes cd lessons - which allows your child 2 chances to get the problem right, solutions, grade books, and a teachers section. In the teachers section you can undo a lesson or problems you want your child to redo. They also offer Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus. If you haven't taken a look at Teaching Textbooks, stop by their site to take a look at their sample lessons.

We never did any notebooking using Teaching Textbooks but I and another blogger friend, Sonia,  have created a few grading sheets for the upper levels.

{2} Science - Apologia Science
We've been using Apologia Science for almost as long as we've been homeschooling, about 12-13 years, I'm guessing. I love Jeannie Fulbright's Apologia Elementary Science books and I'm looking forward to using them again when I have grandkids... many years from now! The elementary level books are so well written, the experiments are doable with several kids and there are even notebooking lessons that go along with each lesson. I did purchase one of her notebooking journals (Anatomy and Physiology) and I liked it. My son enjoyed the journal and being a busy year for our family gave me a little more freedom to help my husband with his schooling. It's a nice supplement for a child to work on their own.

The high school level books are also exceptional. The lessons are written in a narrative style and the experiments are also doable. The chapters are divided up in a way where there is an "On Your Own Question/s" and this is where I would have my children stop for the day. You can also get the books in audio, which was helpful at times.

donnayoung.org offers ideas and lesson plans for all the Apologia books.
Elementary Books
Upper Level Books

{3} History - Heritage History
Honestly, I haven't used this yet, but I'm already in love with it! The developers of Heritage History have put together lists of classical (in the public domain) Living History books to go along with different time periods. They've also created lesson plans (more like suggestions) to go along with the wonderful classic books they've selected for each period. There are literally hundreds of books to choose from on all reading levels. The books can be read online or from your computer or tablet. I easily put the kids books on their Kindle Fires and I have them on my iPad. It's just very user friendly, notebooking friendly, and I couldn't be more excited to use it this year for our history study.

{4} Writing - Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)
We began using IEW about 7 years ago. I believe it was/is helpful not only for teaching my kids how to write but also assisted with their narrations. There are 3 levels, A, B, and C as well as a Teaching Writing CD course. I purchased the Teaching course but didn't feel it was necessary for me. The website will help you choose the right level for your children and they also offer continuation courses and theme courses that we've found very helpful.

{5} Spelling - Sequential Spelling
I've found this spelling to work best for all my kids. There's no busy work, which I love. We don't follow all the suggestions from the book - it's important to let your curriculum for work you and be flexible. Many of the lists are quite easy for my kids, so I'll just skip words and we might get through a week's worth of words in a day, but I love the setup nonetheless.

{6} Grammar - Easy Grammar
I know many of you don't use any grammar program or don't feel it's necessary if you have a good writing program. I agree with that but before my kids become proficient writers we use Easy Grammar to learn the basics. They first learn to identify prepositions, then prepositional phrases and once they eliminate those from their sentences finding the other parts of speech become much easier. And, it only takes about 10 minutes a day. We've been using Easy Grammar for about 15 years and love it.

{7} Vocabulary - Vocabulary Vine
We of course pull vocabulary out of most our studies, but this one year study of Latin and Greek roots teaches your child why and how they are used. Cathy Duffy wrote a nice review about it here.

{8} Government - American Government & US Constitution (Part 1) & (Part 2)
I can not say enough good things about these courses. They literally made my older children extremely passionate about American History, Government, and the Constitution. The teacher is engaging, the books are wonderful and we all enjoyed these courses. I'm excited to do them again with my younger son in the coming years. You can also view 14 of the video lectures online free.

(Content below taken directly from their website)

Part 1 course contains:
  • a text book (The 5000 Year Leap)
  • a curriculum guide
  • suggested course requirements and grading standards
  • teaching objective for each lesson
  • reading assignments
  • quizzes
  • examinations
  • lesson presentations on six DVD's.
Don't forget to view the 14 FREE lessons from this course here.

Part 2 course contain:

  • a text book (The Making of America)
  • a curriculum guide
  • suggested course requirements and grading standards
  • teaching objective for each lesson
  • reading assignments
  • quizzes
  • examinations
  • lesson presentations on twelve DVD's.
While we are far beyond the 'learning to read' stage in our homeschool, my 2 youngest learned to read, for the most part on their own, using starfall.com. I was so busy with the older kids, and I couldn't get the younger ones to sit still unless they were on the computer (not completely true, but I know some of you can relate) and starfall was the answer to my prayers at that stage in my life. My son, who is now 13, was reading on a 2nd grade level at about 5 years old. And best of all, it's all free, including the worksheets, if you choose to use them. Excellent resource for teaching your children to read.

{10} Unit Study - Learning Adventures
Because we've used a lot of unit studies over the years, I thought I'd add one of them as well. We've used Tapestry of Grace, which I liked a lot but I felt like too much was crammed into one year. We tried a couple others as well and they just didn't seem to work well for our family. But, we did use A World of Adventure, as well as their second unit, A New World of Adventure. We never got to their third unit because it took too long to come out and it's meant for younger students. We also took about 2 years to get through each unit. 

Each unit offers everything except Math. I didn't use the entire unit study, but I did like the Bible, Literature, History and Fine Arts. I feel it's a unit study that is often overlooked by homeschooling families and it's definitely worth taking a look at. It's also very affordable. Stop by and take a look at some of their sample days.


Please let me know if there are any questions you might have.


This post is linked up at Top Ten Tuesday


1 comment:

Angela said... Best Blogger Tips

We haven't used most of those curriculum, but there are a few that I'm intrigued by. Thanks for sharing I'm going to check them out.

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