What Are You Using?
At back-to-school time each year, the big question always seems to be: What Curriculum Are You Using?
I, for one, LOVE seeing what other families have chosen to use. It’s so inspiring to find out about new resources and how those choices work for others. I have certainly incorporated various curricula into our homeschool because someone else shared it and it spoke to me!
First, A Few Encouraging Thoughts
With this being said, I feel it’s so important to listen to our hearts and our children and choose what is best for them. I shared my thoughts on a recent planning post where I included a few pieces of advice:
- Listen to your child-after all, your child is the reason for homeschooling
- It’s ok to make changes or leave things unfinished
- Don’t compare yourself to others-your homeschool is for you and your family
- Be easy on yourself-don’t expect too much from you or your child
Comparison is the thief of joy and resources do not define your homeschool or your family. Just because someone else is using a particular curriculum does not mean it will be the best fit for your child. I encourage you to do the research, listen to reviews and testimonies, and above all-listen to your child.
Last week, I filmed a (lengthy) curriculum tour for Instagram and shared (almost) everything we will be using this year. I saved the video in a highlight (see image below) if you’d like to peruse.
We are continuing with some companies and curricula we used last year while also using some new-to-us resources! I have a 2nd grader and a kindergartener now, so this year will be different from any previous year. They will have some separate studies in addition to group lessons. We will still be incorporating unit studies as that is how my children learn best and remain engaged.
So without further ado, here is our list!
We used Exploring Nature With Children from Raising Little Shoots last year and absolutely loved it! So much so, in fact, that I taught a local homeschool co-op class based on the curriculum. I cannot recommend this nature curriculum enough, however, the weeks do not always line up with our tropical Florida climate. For this reason, I created the Florida Nature Guide and will be using this alongside ENWC to bring our natural environment into our studies.
We will also continue to use Firefly Nature School monthly lessons. I create a themed Prep Pack each month for her ebox subscription and I just love the way she designs her lessons. I print them each month and add them to an ever-growing bound collection of her studies so we can use them again and again.
Lastly, we will be using the BRAND NEW North American Animals study by Broken To Brave. I am BEYOND excited for this new resource for multiple reasons. Firstly, the curriculum uses The Burgess Animal Book as the spine and I love anything Thornton Burgess! Secondly, it’s going to pair absolutely perfectly with my daughter’s main writing and geography curriculum this year…which brings me to my next subject:
My Kindergartener’s Main Curriculum
Chickie will be using STEAM States. This is a full-year U.S. geography, history, and science curriculum I designed for my son. He used it his Kindergarten year and loved it! We learned about the animals, flags, state birds, flowers, etc. of each state along with mapwork, historical persons, and science experiments! Day 2 of the suggested self-guided routine within the curriculum is to research the plants, animals, and terrain of each state. I created coloring sheets after researching the different states’ animals for my son and we completed a nature study on each state. Now that Crystal at Broken To Brave has created this incredible North American Animals resource, we can combine this with STEAM States for a well-rounded study into the United States!
For language arts, we are using using multiple resources as well. Both of my children will learn together with Jot It Down from Brave Writer. This is a full-year of projects, crafts, and writing exercises based around fairytales. Many people use Jot It Down for pre-writers or reluctant writers and simply transcribe what their child dictates. This method helps instill a love of reading and creative thought while taking away the heartache of actual writing practice. I will be using it this way with my daughter, but my son on the other hand, is a very strong writer and will simply write his own journal entries and narrations. In this way, we will be able to read these books and complete these projects together!
In addition, we will be using A Year of Alliterations for the first time. My wonderful friend Rose just created this lovely resource and I am so excited to incorporate it! There is an alliteration poem and illustrated copywork page for each week (corresponding to each letter of the alphabet). It’s something that both of my children can complete together and will help with gentle handwriting and poetry practice in one.
We will also continue to use Twelve Little Tales. We used this for most of the last school year and fell in love. Each of my children have their own creative writing notebooks that we add their stories and illustrations to. Twelve Little Tales is a subscription service where each month you receive a gorgeously watercolored story starter. You always receive 12 creative writing prompts that children can use a launching point to come up with their own tale! This has been so much fun for us and I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different routes my children take in their storytelling. My daughter makes up a song at the end of each of her tales and they are just hilarious. This service has truly inspired my children and opened up the door for their creative writing skills. I highly recommend this for every especially those with reluctant writers.
Lastly, my son and I will be reading through Grammarland together. I’ve heard so many positive reviews of this book and can’t wait to get started! This book is a fictional story that incorporates grammar lessons within each chapter. The way the information is presented in the text is fun and allows the child to see how the lessons are applicable. I’m always a fan of engaging styles of learning as opposed to drills.
For science, we will stick to our unit studies. This year, we have 4 specific studies planned, but will incorporate more as my children show interest in other topics. We will be studying both Energy units from the Good And The Beautiful: Introduction To Energy and Energy, Heat, Light, and Sound (bound together). We used 3 TGATB science units last year and I cannot speak enough to how wonderful and easy these are to use. The instructions, discussion prompts, and information included are so simple to follow and understand. The activities and printables included enrich the unit and make the study come to life for children. I plan to eventually buy and use ALL of TGATB units over time. We will also be combining this specific study with the War Of The Currents magazine from Honest History.
In addition, we will be exploring the Freshwater Guide from The Peaceful Press that I had the honor to help create. And, we will work our way through Biomes & Ecosystems from Schoolhouse Curiosities.
We are making some big changes here because I must admit I have never used a formal math curriculum with my kids. After MONTHS of researching and asking others what has worked for them, I discovered that most people end up investing in 2-3 math curricula before find the ‘right’ one for their children. This was so disheartening and made me quite timid to bite the bullet and commit to one. I finally landed on Singapore Math for my son. He will be using 2A and 2B this year and if I find that it is a good fit, we will continue with it next year and I will also purchase it for my daughter as well.
In the meantime for my daughter, we are starting with the Elementary Arithmetic Series: Book 1 from Simply Charlotte Mason. This book will last us a few years and appears to be a wonderful way to build a strong foundation of counting, number association, and values without overwhelming the child (or the parent). I can’t wait to get started! You can download a free sample on the site to take a look at the contents and how it’s scheduled. It guides you through focusing on a number per week and then moves on to addition and subtraction. I feel that this will be simple and gentle enough to begin with my Kindergartener and give her the confidence to develop a love and understanding of math!
Please keep in mind: although this is what I have collected to use based on what works for my children and what they’re interested in-we may not get to it all. We certainly will not be doing these all at the same time. The science units will be for one-month periods of time and I am also implementing a loop scheduling for fine art studies for the first time. We will start out the year slow and steady by finishing up The Playful Pioneers from The Peaceful Press that we started at the beginning of summer. This will help with transitioning into our new rhythm. It may seem like a lot at first glance, but when each activity lasts about 15 min and we do 3-4 a day, it’s more gentle and flexible for us.
If you have any questions for me or would like to know more about what we’ve used or plan to use, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to expand on this!