Home school curriculum. It may in fact be my kryptonite. The bright colors, the smell of new books, the crisp new pages… it all calls to me! Ha! While picking new curriculum can be one of many enjoyable aspects of homeschooling, it can also be a bit overwhelming. You can cater to your child and meet your child’s needs with a curriculum that YOU get to choose, but with so many options out there, sometimes it’s a shot in the dark. You have your all-in-one curriculum, your mastery programs, the extremely laid-back programs, the free, the expensive, the ones with manipulatives and and games, the ones that aren’t all about the frills, and the list could go on and on.
With all of the awesome options out there, what do I find extremely useful?? User reviews and actually previewing the content. So over the next few weeks, several of the mamas in our group are going to break down what curricula they’re using this year in their homes. I hope these posts are helpful for you now or in the future to help navigate the fascinating world that is home school curriculum.
So this is where I start us off. Just a little background from last year of my family’s curriculum experience. I chose to forego purchasing curriculum for every subject. I thought it was a great idea to simply piece together things I found online to teach my oldest child’s kindergarten year. For one reason, I was trying to save money and secondly, I really didn’t feel the need to have a huge curriculum set for kindergarten. So I went to a used book store, got some used items that I thought we could use, picked some things up here and there, and formed what I THOUGHT would be sufficient for our year. That didn’t go so well for us. While it went okay for the first few weeks, I could tell my little guy was bored to tears and school was not something he was enjoying. After seeking the wisdom from a new, but wise friend, I scrapped what we were doing and took an entirely different route. Now even though I didn’t use a box curriculum last year, I definitely learned that our family needs some better guidelines. A spine, as some would call it.
So fast forward to March, which means it was time for Teach Them Diligently! I was able to listen to seasoned homeschool parents who gave me some great insight as well as actually getting to put my hands on some curriculum! The first night in the exhibit hall, I was like a dog after a bone. I had my hands, or more like my arms, full of curriculum. I was ready to drop a small fortune and I had not even covered 95% of the hall. I reined in the impulsive buyer urge and decided to press pause on any big purchases until Saturday and I am SO glad that I did.
Over the course of 3 days, I listened to these great speakers, prayed over my decisions, and was going to leave without any major decisions made. Well, praise the Lord, on my last pass I decided to stop at the Master Books booth. One which I had skipped multiple times because it wasn’t anything I had really heard of. When I stopped, I had history in mind. What was I going to do for history? I was greeted with an extremely helpful gentleman who probably didn’t realize it at the time, but would start me on a path to completely change my curriculum plan and lead me to where I am now: EXTREMELY excited about this year!
So all of that boring chatter leads me to share with you our curriculum choices for the 2018-2019 school year! For each subject I am attaching a link to the curriculum where you can find a preview to almost everything listed. I love this feature, because like I said, I like reviews as well as seeing it for myself.
Here is a quick rundown of how Master Books is set up. Master Books is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum, but definitely not staunchly CM. Each subject book is compiled of 5 short and easy lessons each week that build upon each other. Before each lesson, there is a story of some sort that connects to the subject matter, which I think is their way of trying to incorporate the literature-based approach. Master Books recommends 30 minutes per subject, but so far, we have never needed that much time to finish the work that was provided. If I still have some child engagement and think we can go over things a few more times, then we will do that. One thing I really love about Master Books is that it is extremely budget friendly without skimping on materials. It is a consumable-based curriculum, so you can’t pass it on from year to year, but the cost is very comparable to most workbooks that you would have to purchase for multiple children. One thing I really love is that you can build a bundle and save $$$ on their site! They also have a preview to every subject I’ll be talking about except for our Bible curriculum. One of the biggest draws for me to Master Books is that it points everything back to God, and how every part of our life is connected to our Creator and how He has a plan just for us! Finding something that was Christ-centered without boring us (unfortunately, that can be the case sometimes) has been a HUGE pro for our family!
Here is a quick list of the Master Books curriculum (and one or two other items) that we’ll be using this year! I’ve linked them below so you can check them out! Once every component of our curriculum has arrived I am going to post a video here so I can share some other awesome aspects without you having to read a book in the process!
Language Arts – Language Lessons for a Living Education (My 1st grader) – master books
Foundation Phonics (my preschooler) – master books
Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education– master books
Social Studies – My Story– master books
Writing – Writing Strands – Level 1 This is a bit of a “it’s a great price, let’s try it out.”
Science – 106 Days of Creation Studies from Simply Charlotte Mason
Nature Study – Exploring Nature with Children by Raising Little Shoots
History – We will be using a few different resources for our history, primarily Amblesideonline.org book lists with some of Beautiful Feet’s book lists. We won’t be doing much other than read-alouds and narration this year as we start introducing American History.
I will also be using the preschool Rod and Staff set with my preschoolers. It is fantastic to help teach independence and help our little ones learn to follow directions!
Within all of these items there is LOTS of copy work, which will serve as our handwriting practice.
Our Language Arts curriculum incorporates composer and artist studies, but we will possibly be adding to that from time to time.
We will also be studying hymns this year by using our church hymnal and selecting some of our favorites like Be Thou My Vision, Come Thou Fount, In the Garden, It is Well with My Soul, and the list goes on. Many of these hymns have wonderful stories behind the inspiration of how they came to be.
Typing that out, it seems like a lot! We won’t do every subject every day, but I’m excited to start and have a broad course of study this year!
What curriculum is your family using this year? Do you have old favorites? Or are you trying something new? We’d love to hear your feedback!