August 04, 2011

Everything Changes: Thoughts on Curriculum


My daughter (12) was a late reader by most standards and my youngest son (10) was a reluctant reader by any standards.  He absolutely HATED to read!  But, this summer they both inhaled books one right after the other.  They have been going through books like they are starving or thirsting terribly for them.  And we are thrilled! Take a look at our summer reading logs on our sidebar; we started keeping their summer log on the 1st of June.

On the curriculum front, this changes everything!  I have waited for this day!

Before I share what we will be studying and the resources we will be using,  I wanted to simply say that we are what you would consider eclectic homeschoolers.  We use a little bit of this and a little bit of that as we see fit.  I do not bow down to any homeschooling method.  I bow down to my God and ask for his guidance as I search for resources and subject matter to teach my children.  I use what I feel works best for each of our children and that is subject to change at any given moment.

I do however find value in using living books, journals, diaries, original documents and resources.  I love learning from historical fiction and our curriculum is rich in it!  I believe children need time to work, time to play and time to chase after their own interests. We all do.  I do not believe in busy work or filling our schedules to the brim. 

We enjoy lapbooking, unit studies, nature studies and read-alouds.  We love maps, recipes and learning self-reliance skills. These things are part of our learning experience and life experience.  I believe my daughter will need to learn different things to fulfill her life’s mission than my sons will need to fulfill theirs.  We are all different.  I do not believe one size fits all.

So without further ado….


We will be studying The Middle Ages, and it will last as long as we want it to.  Here are some of the resources we will be using for that:

   activitybook2-rev_3     story_of_the_world2_2    KAN

Depending on the interest level of each child, they will choose from a vast assortment of related books to read independently, as well as a variety of hands on activities.  Our read-alouds will be history related as well.  We will add pages to our History Timeline Notebook and as we find treasures relating to our studies, I will record then on our blog for future reference.

Language Arts

We include Spelling, handwriting, grammar and writing here. 

We will be using:

047965   HWT_Cursive_Success_GR4    981420_1_ftc_dp 

We love all of these resources.  The children ask to do them.  As far as writing goes, I am planning for them to practice in their lapbooking, and other History and Science related work.  We will participate in some dictation exercises, work on our Scripture Journals, and who knows what else.  I like to change things up every once in a while.  Variety is nice.


Math is a tricky thing here.  The children do not know all their facts yet and find it tedious and boring to have to memorize them.  I do see value in memorizing them, but it’s really no fun and seems like such a mountain to climb.  The problem with math around here is that the children don’t find it fun.  They see no joy in it.  While I had plans to practice those pesky math facts this summer, they fell by the wayside.

As we get back to our full learning schedule, we will attempt to make headway with math facts first. For some reason my children can figure out anything as a word problem but working math facts with just numerals is not something they find fun at all.  In an attempt to practice math facts and win them over a bit, we’ll use:

       61Fz9DkN1SL._SS500_   truck word problems    image   

After that I’m leaning toward Teaching Textbooks for math.  We shall see.


This skill is becoming more and more important in the world and in our learning.  Mattison has committed to design a monthly newsletter for her Young Women’s group at church.  Her first debuted last month.  It’s amazing how much she has learned in Microsoft Word already.  She is moving faster than I expected in our lessons and so I just answer her questions and show her how to do what she wants, and leave her to it.  Typing will make this easier and quicker for her.

Mason does not have a “reason” to type exactly, but hopefully I will find one.  Having a reason to learn something makes all the difference in how deep we drink, don’t you think?  I should consider that for Math as well.

We will be using:

image image image

  • Free Typing Game (lessons, games and tests)
  • MS Word (for projects that give a reason to type)


There are so many interests in Science right now. This makes it hard to tack something down, but most of the questions have been about anatomy so I think we need to fill that cup.  We will not start our Science right away, but will add it in at a later date, once we have established our new schedule. 

We plan to use the following resources:

98f002dee1fd7169decbc8980c4c     337016_1_ftc

nonfiction-read-write-booklets-human-body-10-interactive-alyse-sweeney-paperback-cover-art     1448cad8ba9013e54eac94312fec9ad187     662982

Like our History study, once we begin our science, we will study it until we are full and move on.


Of course we will regularly visit our public library and bring home additional literary treasures. The children will choose books that interest them and I will continue to record their reading on our blog sidebar.

We will be taking the 30-Day Challenge as part of our homeschooling experiences as well.  We are currently in the process of listing ideas we’d like to try for 30 days.  Have you tried the 30-Day Challenge?

We will continue in 4-H, which gives our children the opportunity to try new things, give presentations and demonstrations in front of a group, and make new friends.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

*This post is linked to the 3rd annual “not” back-to-school blog hop.

To find what others are using for their curriculum head on over.  Week one is focused on Curriculum, week two is focused on the school room, week three is for school pictures and week 4 is Day-In-The-Life Week.


  1. I would love to find out how you like story of the world. It is on my "wish list".

    Something that I have found works great for my boys for typing is Mavis Beacon. There are fun games as you achieve each level. And, they each have a personal (very private) blog. I have them write on their blog 3 times a week with story starters (I posted them on my blog and on the LDHS blog) or with daily things they want to talk about. Just to get them typing.

    We struggle with math here too...but dh is a math (geek?!) guy so he teaches that to them at night.

    Great list, thanks for the posting about it. (I have to write up my year for our facilitator so this gives me a bit more to think about)

  2. Looks like a fun year.

  3. wonderful, just wonderful! You are going to have a fantastic year!!

  4. We are using Apologia's Human Anatomy & Physiology too! I read several blogs of families using it for this school year. We love Easy grammar as well.

    Have a great year!

  5. It looks like a good line-up - I bet you'll all have a great year! We're trying Teaching Texbooks this year too, for grade 5, in the hopes that it will keep my daughter's interest.

    Regarding the math facts, we were given Times Tales to review earlier this year and my daughter who can not keep multiplication facts in her head had them memorized perfectly after using it. It might be useful for yours too. They make the facts into stories so the kids remember the image and words and tie it all together.

    Also, there's a free typing program that my son liked at this age called Zombie Typocalypse. Not gross, just silly.

  6. You are going to have a GREAT year!


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