Our Homeschooling Curriculum Choices for 2020-2021

Homeschool Curriculum Choices

 

I shared in Instagram stories recently about our decision to homeschool this year.  This is our first year to ever homeschool!  My children have attended our local public school since kindergarten and we have always felt confident in this decision.  This year, however, we made the decision to homeschool in light of the pandemic and all of the uncertainty it brings.  When I shared on Instagram about our decision, I received many messages asking for curriculum resources.  Because of this, I have compiled all of the curriculum I will be using at this point in time.  Depending on how this all works for each of my children, we may adjust as necessary during the school year.

 

We have three children in the following grades:  1st, 5th, and 7th.  Needless to say, I am much more confident in teaching my first grader than I am my 5th or 7th graders (although she tends to be the most strong-willed).  🤪  But I am confident that strong curriculum choices will help me with both of my boys.

 

The first thing I did when thinking about curriculum was print off the state standards for each subject in the grade level of each of my kids (yes, that is A LOT of paper).  I am glad to have these printed off so that I can reference them throughout the year and try to align our curriculum decisions with the state standards (especially if my kids choose to return to public school next year).

 

I spent an extensive amount of time researching curriculum.  I really wanted an all-in-one curriculum (My Father’s World, Sonlight, Gather Round) to make life simpler for me, but because of the ages of my kids this just didn’t work for us.  I also want some subjects to be taught simultaneously with all children.  At this point, we will be attempting to do Science and History together with all three children, scaffolded up and down for the academic ability of each child.  My older kids will go more in-depth, obviously, but we will all be learning the same topic at the same time.

 

Also, I think it’s important to note that NONE of this curriculum is sponsored.  I have purchased everything with my own money.  Obviously, I do not know how well this will work for our family YET but I am excited to get started!

 

First Grade Curriculum:

Math:  Singapore Math Dimensions

 

Phonemic Awareness/Phonics:  Pathways to Reading

This is a curriculum I used as a first grade teacher.  I was required to attend a week-long training prior to implementing in my classroom.  Unfortunately, the teacher manuals for this program cannot be purchased without attending the training.  If I would not have gone this route, I would be using All About Reading (which I might still use for the second semester).

 

Reading Comprehension:  I am utilizing the book Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller (you can find the 2nd edition here) along with Reading Strategies that Work that includes some fun printables to use.  But we will primarily be focused on reading strong literature together.  Neither of these are intended to be a “curriculum” in and of themselves but since I have experience teaching this subject, I feel confident implementing them.  If you are new to homeschooling or teaching, All About Reading, along with reading quality literature would be your best all-around Language Arts curriculum for first grade.   Make sure that whatever curriculum you choose, it incorporates elements of the Big 5 skills it takes to teach reading:  Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Comprehension, Fluency, and Vocabulary!

 

Handwriting:. Handwriting without Tears (I have an old teacher’s guide that is helpful for teaching the names like “Frog Jump”, “Magic C”, etc.  but it isn’t necessarily required to have the manual).

 

Spelling:  Pathways to Spelling (OR All About Spelling)

 

Science:. The Good and Beautiful (starting with Kingdom Classifications, then moving to other units throughout the year)

 

History:  Kansas State History and then The Good and Beautiful History Year 1.

 

Bible:  Community Bible Study Homeschool lessons on the book of John

 

Music:  Piano Lessons

 

 

 

5th Grade Curriculum

Math:  Singapore Math Dimensions (Grade 5)  Beast Academy*,starting with Level 3

Due to some MAJOR shipping delays (after over a MONTH I still had not received my Singapore Math shipment) and also a bit more research, I decided to switch my 5th grader to Beast Academy* for math instruction.  I purchased the entire curriculum myself but the links above are affiliate links for the program.

Beast Academy is new to me but it came highly recommended by the math teacher who is teaching my 7th grader’s Pre-Algebra class.  You can read more about why we made the switch to Beast Academy here.

Because Beast Academy is more focused on problem solving and conceptual understanding of math concepts than rote memorization of math facts, we are also doing Multiplication Facts that Stick by Kate Snow for a few minutes each day as he still hasn’t memorized them all quite yet.  😳

 

Writing:  Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Level A, Year 1

 

Grammar:  Fix It (from IEW)

 

Literature:  Novel Unit Studies:  I’m going to choose one book to read each quarter and purchase a literature unit from Teachers Pay Teachers for each book.
Update:  So far we have read Walk Two Moons and are getting ready to read Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World.

 

Handwriting:  Handwriting without Tears Cursive Book (kids in our district were supposed to learn cursive in third grade but his third grade teacher didn’t get around to teaching it).  😕

 

Science:. The Good and Beautiful (starting with Kingdom Classifications, then moving to other units throughout the year)

 

History:  Kansas State History and then The Good and Beautiful History Year 1.

 

Bible:  Community Bible Study Homeschool lessons on the book of John

 

Music:  Guitar Lessons

 

 

7th Grade Curriculum

 

Math:  Pre-Algebra (taught online by a private teacher)

 

Writing:  Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Level A, Year 1

 

Grammar:  Fix It (from IEW)

 

Literature:  Novel Unit Studies:  I’m going to choose one book to read each quarter and purchase a literature unit from Teachers Pay Teachers for each book.
Update:  So far we have read Walk Two Moons and are getting ready to read Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World.

 

Science:. The Good and Beautiful (starting with Kingdom Classifications, then moving to other units throughout the year)

 

History:  Kansas State History and then The Good and Beautiful History Year 1.

 

Bible:  Community Bible Study Homeschool lessons on the book of John

 

Music:  Saxophone Lessons

 

 

Here’s to hoping for a wonderful year full of learning and growth for us all!  

 

 

 

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