Our Curriculum Choices for 2012-2013


Our Curriculum


As summer winds down, and parents of traditionally-schooled kids are scoping out the best deals for the items on that long supply list sent home by the school district, us homeschool moms are finalizing our curriculum and activity choices for the year. While it can feel overwhelming, I have to admit that I love this time of year. When I walk into Walmart and see the slotted-cardboard kiosk filled with photocopied, bulleted list from all the surrounding districts, I am thankful anew that I get to manage the choices about how and what my kids will learn.

I know Trevor doesn’t learn well when forced to do workbook page after workbook page. If he were heading to school with his neighborhood buddies, we would be writing a $70 (!) check just to cover the workbooks they’ll use this year, and then searching out clear Contact paper with which to cover each one as the district demands. Instead, he’ll be doing mostly hands-on activities, lap books, and notebooking.

Molly, my worksheet-lover, can fill out workbooks until her little heart is content as there are so many fun and age appropriate ones available at Target’s Dollar Spot and The Dollar Tree. Seventy dollars can buy her a lot of fun, engaging pages – no contact paper required!

Before I tell you what we’ll be trying at the start of this year, I think it’s important for all homeschool parents to remember that homeschooling is a personal/lifestyle choice. You need to have the courage to throw things out when they’re not working. Don’t stay married to a curriculum, no matter how much it costs. If it’s not working, it’s not. Try something else.

This year I’ll have a fourth grade Trevor, a K/1 Molly, and a Tot school Logan. A lot of what we’ll do will be together – because we like it that way.

I think, academically, this will be Molly’s year. I’ve left her on her own in the past, and it hasn’t been fair to her. She has an incredible desire to learn, and learns at an amazing rate. If she were headed to public school, we’d be putting her in Pre-K because of her age, but she’s capable of K & 1st grade work, depending on the subject, and comprehends some subjects at a much higher level, so we’ll be trying out a lot of different things on her.




Here’s what set so far:

This is a character building year, so much of what we do will be together, and Christ-centered. We’ve hit a rough patch lately, and are focusing on core family values, family-only time {several times a week}, important virtues, and fun! {One of my greatest inspirations for this shift is my friend Stef and her new site Reclaiming the Family. Check it out and subscribe to be inspired yourself.}




Together we’ll use:

  • We Choose Virtues, Grapevine Studies, and Apologia’s Who is God? These, along with the Child Training Bible, will form the foundation of our school year and family life. We’ll be exploring and learning who God wants us to be – together. These studies and discussions will start and conclude our days.
  • Galloping the Globe {again} as a jumping point for notebooking, cultural, and geography studies. We are nowhere close to finishing this, despite having used it all year last year. The kids and I had so much fun that we tended to spend WAY more than the recommended 1-2 weeks per country. Perhaps we’ll learn to manage our time this year…
  • The Mystery of History for our history spine. Again, we fell so far behind in this program, that we’re almost starting from the beginning. I’m better prepared for keeping us on track with this program and have decided that, if the kids want to further explore the topics like they did last year, I’ll strew materials around the house for further reading and play related to whatever it is that has caught their attention, while moving on in the book.
  • a variety of materials for science, including two of my own titles, Super Smart Science and Hands-On Ecology. I’ll post more on this topic in a post of its own later, once I talk to the kids. We tend to do a lot of science just for fun, and I want to see exactly what they’re interested in learning this year. I know we’ll use The Young Scientists Club featuring The Magic School Bus to add a little fun into our day. We got a great Groupon deal on a 12-month subscription to this club, and enrolled for some extra science fun. 
  • Song School Latin for a little language-learning fun. Brian and I picked up this simple program at the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention last April, and the kids are excited about learning it together.




Trevor will use:

  • Math Mammoth {with some adaptations}, Times Tales {so he can FINALLY memorize those facts!}, and various games and puzzles we have lying around to improve his critical thinking and math skills.
  • All About Spelling Levels 2 and 3 for spelling – we’re behind in this subject for several reasons, but the main problem has been my own follow through. I truly LOVE the All About Press products and think they’re wonderful for all kids, but especially kids like Trevor, I am committed to getting us caught up this year.
  • A Reason for Handwriting : Transition for penmanship {and Bible memory work}. I’ve used several different resources for handwriting since we started homeschooling and I’m really excited about this series because of the integration of scripture in every lesson. Did I mention that we’re working on character this year?
  • our new Kindle filled with free classics, along with notebooking/lapbooking as we read together or he reads independently. We just started Swiss Family Robinson and are truly enjoying the adventure and danger, along with the family’s continued faith in God.
  • Language Lessons for the Elementary Child {and hopefully finish it this year!} for language arts/grammar.



Molly will use:

  • Math Mammoth and lots of games and puzzles to develop her mathematical and critical thinking skills. She is currently loving “math with Daddy,” where she brings him her spiral notebook and he writes some problems or patterns on a blank page, then she goes off to solve them, and comes back for praise. {Molly’s love language is definitely praise (words of affirmation)!}
  • All About Spelling Level 1 in addition to phonics activities from an old copy of Hooked on Phonics we were blessed with by a homeschooling friend. {note: I linked to the Kindergarten version of HOP above. This is the newer, updated version. Ours is broken down in levels and we’ll be using several different ones throughout the year as Molly has already mastered some of the books and letter families.}
  • lots of great books, including sight word readers from Brian’s first grade classroom {it helps being married to a first grade teacher who is phenomenal at growing little readers!}, Scholastic Sight Word Readers I found at a consignment shop, and readers and games downloaded from some amazing bloggers that share their things for free.
  • Language Lessons for Little Ones for some language arts and grammar introductions.




Logan will use:

  • lots of Lauri toys and puzzles, games, her TAG Jr., Leap Pad, and all sorts of other tot school ideas and projects from around the ‘net and around the house. Since keeping toddlers {can I call an almost-three year old a toddler still?} busy while teaching bigger kids is always one of the most difficult things facing homeschooling moms of many, I’ll try to share what we’re doing with her from time to time.


There you have it – our plans for the year. In addition to curriculum materials, we’ll be participating in an every-other-week co-op {where I’m teaching 50-Minute Mysteries based off of this book and this one, and Explosive, Electrifying, and Exciting Science based off of my own books}, the new Cleveland Metropark Zoo Homeschool Classes, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Homeschool Classes, and nature hikes, nature study, walks, and lots & lots of play. It should be a fabulous year!

If you homeschool, what are your plans for the year? I’d love to hear your ideas, and if you have a blog and share your curriculum plans this week, stop by the iHomeschool Network’s Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop and link up. If not, stop by there anyway, there will be lots of great ideas to check out.



Regardless of your plans, I hope this is your best year yet!








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