Our Curriculum Scrapbook
A Visual Walk Through Our Homeschooling Years
As a homeschooling mom I'm always asked, "How do you know what to teach? Do you use some kind of curriculum?" Those that are familiar with the abundance of materials available will inquire about what products I've tried and ask for my opinion, "What do you think of Singapore Math? Have you used Saxon?" I've developed this hub as an overview of our choices for homeschool through the elementary years.
As you browse, you will see the choices I've made in regards to curriculum, our favorite books, and several handcrafts. I have even included some of the possibilities I'm considering for the near (and distant) future. We've had a lot of fun - I hope you get a feel for how exciting homeschooling can be.
Kindergarten :: Our First Year
A Year of Trial & Error
As a former teacher, I had over the years considered homeschooling even before I had children. The option was always in the back of my mind. In Oregon, a child is required to be 5 by Sept. 1st. to begin Kindergarten. Sweetie's birthday falls in mid-September so she wasn't supposed to begin Kindergarten until the fall of 2008.
In the summer of '07, she was showing all the signs of being academically, socially, and emotionally ready for Kindergarten despite the arbitrary requirement of the state. We thereby opted to give homeschooling a try, knowing that if things didn't go as planned we would register her for Kindergarten in '08.
That first year, we opted not to buy any curriculum but rather to learn from our surroundings and from what life presented us. I spent much of this year researching homeschooling methods and philosophies. Exploring what 'homeschool' looked like. My research led me to the theories of Charlotte Mason and John Holt. Soon thereafter, I discovered The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. Though vastly different, I was intrigued by all three approaches. I knew immediately that my homeschool would be an eclectic mix of each.
Unit Studies Our First Year - Kindergarten & Preschool
- Ancient China
- The Iditarod
- Maple Syrup :: Sugaring
- Vertebrate Animals
- Ancient Egypt
Our Favorite Books :: The First Year - Kindergarten & Preschool
These are the books that we love to read (or listen to) again and agin. Timeless stories and illustrations that we still remember to this day.
Homeschool Education Philosophies
- The Well-Trained Mind
The Well-Trained Mind (published 1999 by W.W. Norton) serves as a resource for parents wanting to educate their children according to the classical model of education. It offers a step-by-step, grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject guide to the classica
- The ABCs of Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who was born in 1842 and died in 1923. During that time she developed a Philosophy of Education that has proved very adaptable. Designed for homes, private schools, and homeschools, her blend of practices (for s
- Ambleside Online
A free homeschool curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own private and correspondence schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards. Ambleside Online uses the
- John Holt and Growing Without Schooling
Also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning, the philosophies presented by John Holt have come to be termed "unschooling" and can be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixe
- Sandra Dodd and Radical Unschooling
Learning for fun is the most fun way to learn, and to live. Here, Sandra has gathered much and written some to inspire you to revel in your own learning, in your children's learning, and in your friends' curiosity and happiness in the face of a world
First Grade :: Our Second Year
It's All Coming Together
Following our year of experimentation, I felt much more comfortable going into 1st grade. I had done my research. I had made connections. I had found my niche. It was now time to really put it all together and 'make it happen'.
I thereby purchased curriculum for math (Singapore 1A and 1B) and history (Story of the World - The Ancients). For language arts and science, I knew I would follow the suggestions of Charlotte Mason and keep lessons short and concise. Lessons would be derived from our weekly readings and nature walks. Foreign Language, Art & Music would also be key components of our curriculum.
I had an agenda - I knew where I wanted to us to be at the end of the Grammar Stage (4th Grade) - but I would allow the children to lead us there.
Our Favorite Books :: The Second Year - First Grade & Preschool
As we began to homeschool in earnest, a new routine developed. In the evening, DH and I assist the kids with preparations for bedtime (brushing, flossing, picking up their rooms, etc.). When they are both tucked in ... I sit down to read aloud from a chapter book. Many of the selections are my own childhood favorites. Others are related to our current studies. From these, I have selected our favorites to highlight here in hopes that you, too, might enjoy them with your children.
2nd Grade & Preschool :: Our Third Year
We continue to enjoy homeschooling more and more. The flexibility it provides our family is priceless. As we continue on our journey, I have discovered that we are more and more 'unschoolers' ... allowing our personal interests and the activities of life direct our learning. We spend less time involved in planned lessons. Our days are free flowing and we squeeze in math & language arts lessons between activities. We have a lot of discussions while traveling in the car from one activity to another. I know we have made the right decision.
Unit Studies Our 3rd Year - 2nd Grade & Preschool
3rd Grade & Kinder
Our 4th Year
We rolled into our 4th year of homeschooling and continued much as we had done in previous years. Nothing really changed, though, of course I slowly began to expect more from the little guy.
Unit Studies Our 4th Year - 3rd Grade & Kinder
- Passports Club :: Around the World in 180 Days
An individualized, sequential, geography program to help students learn some, or all of the world's countries over the course of a school year, and to meet essential academic learning requirements for geography.
Our Favorite Books :: The 4th Year - 3rd Grade & Kindergarten
- Running & Swimming
- Taekwondo :: Sweetie studied Taekwondo for four years and received her junior black belt in July 2011. Presently, we are taking a little time off to explore other interests.
- Traveling :: We enjoy traveling all over the country and hopefully, as the kids get older we'll be able to extend our explorations to other countries. Our first trip abroad was a recent road-trip through British Columbia & Alberta, Canada.
- Mandarin :: Sweetie has been studying Mandarin for four years now. Originally, she was in an immersion class for 4-6 year olds. Now, she takes private lessons with the instructor. She absolutely loves anything related to the Chinese culture. She is excited that her little brother is now taking lessons as well and she delights in helping him with his homework.
- Trains :: Buddy has sold all his Fisher Price GeoTrax trains to upgrade to HO gauge model trains. When doing math or other lessons, I've discovered I must relate everything to trains for him to take interest! His collection of HO trains has grown and he is now amassing a collection of N scale trains, a collection he began when we traveled to Scandinavia.
- Our Scandinavian Heritage :: As a descendant of Norwegian immigrants in the late 1800s, I was delighted to discover that we have a Sons of Norway lodge locally. We have been active members of the lodge for years and enjoy the many cultural and social opportunities the lodge has to offer.
4th & 1st Grades
Our 5th Year
This year has brought about many changes. First and foremost we relocated to California and thereby discovered that homeschooling laws are significantly different. The state has seemingly discovered that they are losing out on tremendous amounts of money and have thereby worked hard to recoup some of those dollars.
Unit Studies Our 5th Year
- Scandinavian Heritage Camp :: The Vikings
I've coordinated a heritage camp for three consecutive years. This year the theme of the three day day-camp was Vikings ... which proved to be a hit particularly with my kiddos since we just returned from Scandinavia and they had seen many of the th
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