Friday, August 9, 2013

Our 2013-2014 Curriculum {Not Back To School BlogHop}

Can you believe it is that time of year again?  I'm excited to participate and link up with iHomeschoolnetwork's Not Back-to-School Blog Hop!  This week we are talking about our curriculum choices for this year.  This is the first year where I am homeschooling 2 kiddos, although Maggie is 3 so it is kind of relative.  We started school a couple of weeks ago and so far it has been 50/50 on the bumpy vs. smooth days.  (After a grueling move this summer and being homeless for a couple months it is probably to be expected).  We have also made a bunch of changes this year in our school that will hopefully make homeschooling a little less schooly and a little more fun!  

So, without further ado, here is our line up of fun for 2013-2014:
(affiliate links are included in this blog posting)

Kayley, age 7

Discover the Book of Mormon from Discover the Scriptures.  It is a downloadable .pdf that sells for $19.99.  (Bonus!  Right now you can use a coupon code "Sun13" to save 20%!  Not sure for how long but it is still good today!)  Discover the Scriptures uses the Book of Mormon Stories reader or view/listen online.  It is a lot of fun and Kayley and I are both working through the program together.  She thinks it is pretty awesome that Mommy is doing her own workbook.
BJU Math 3.  We had been doing Singapore for the last 2 years but were burned out on the workbook approach and so we are trying something new and a bit different by taking Math 3 as video-based class through BJU.   Honestly it is pretty awesome so far.  I sit back and let Kayley handle it pretty independently.  Admittedly the price tag was steep, but for me, this year, it has been worth it as I have really felt like I need to focus a bit more on some other things and we've been overwhelmingly busy!

Social Studies:
Sonlight Curriculum 
We are at the tale end of Sonlight Core B and will be starting Core C before Winter.  We love the living books concept of Sonlight and I really, really like that it is open and go.
Story of the World.  We are also intertwining with Story of the World (finishing up Volume 1 (ancients) and moving into Vol 2 (middle ages)).  I buy the student pages as a .pdf download from Peace Hill Press, print them out, create a cute cover and then have them spiral-bound at Staples to make cute workbooks.  Story of the World compliments Classical Conversations so well that even though we are not going back to our community this year (a later story) we will continue to use it.

Apologia.  We wrapped up Astronomy at the end of  June.  This school year we have moved into Apologia's Exploring Creation Through Botany series.  I am torn on Apologia.  I was terribly annoyed with the company after the big anti-Mormon article came out in April on Apologia's blog.  They've made it pretty clear that they think we (Latter-day Saints) should burn in hell but yet, they are pretty cool about taking our money if we still want to buy their curriculum.   I had already purchased Botany before the big blow-up.  The thing is:  their curriculum is awesome.  It is really, really good and I really, really like it.  So, we press on with Botany for now.  The notebooking component of Botany is fun and Kayley LOVES it. 

Language Arts:
Total Language Plus.  We have started this year using Total Language Plus.  So far it is OK.  It is more work (a lot more writing) that we've had in the past but I attribute that to the fact that TLP covers ALL your Language Arts Subject in one book.  We are reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and your spelling, vocab, grammar and all that come from the reading. 

A Variety.  TLP only lasts about 8 weeks and there are only 2 series for Kayley's age so when we are done we will be moving back into Explode the Code book 7 for phonics,  BJU Grammar 3 & Reading 3 for English & Literature, A Reason for Spelling, and we are going to be trying out Word Wisdom Level C & Word Ladders for Vocabulary.  Sounds complex but its not. They are all simple, open and go.  Some of them we will just do orally.

Sonlight plus Kayley's Choice.  Reading is the MOST important subject in our house.  I expect Kayley to read at least 30 minutes a day and she does, without complaining, a LOT of times without me even reminding her.  We've created a bookworm and she is always asking for this or that from the library.  She does the reading associated with Sonlight's Grade 3 readers and will be moving onto the Grade 4-5 Reader list by Winter.  We also do the Read Alouds associated with Sonlight Core B and C (and she tags along with all of Maggies Sonlight Reading as well). 

Classical Studies:
Prima Latin by Memoria Press - This is our first year really using a language program.  We had a swift introduction to Latin at Classical Conversations this year and we are going to press on with this language.  We are using Prima Latina.  It is simple and I love that it is video based.

Classical Conversations:  It is unfortunate that we will not be returning to our Classical Conversations Community this year.  I was torn.  After moving our community is about 45 minutes away.  While the time commitment wouldn't be too bad the drive would be killer on the gas tank to drive into town 2x's a week (not to mention the hefty $500.00 price tag associated with tuition and fees).  I have already let our director know that we won't be returning but over the last few weeks I've been feeling regret.  The program is awesome!  It is a shame that I can't tutor to offset my costs but seeing as how Latter-day Saints are heathens they won't let me!  (Funny, I don't feel like a heathen?).

Anyway, I am going to try hard, hard, hard to do the program at home so next year if we decide we missed it too much then we can go back!  Classical Conversations at home might be tough but I really love the program!  On the upside, Kayley didn't enjoy it that much so she is relieved we are not going back and, a 2nd upside...CC really takes over when it is in session and I didn't enjoy the competitiveness and stress that came with "having to" be prepared every week.  It'll be nice to stay in control of our curriculum all year, take a break when we want, etc.

Memoria Press D'aulaires Greek Myths:  We will be slowly working our way through one other program that looks so good!  Using D'aulaires & Memoria Press to work through Greek Myths.  I haven't started this yet but it looks good!

Swimming.  I asked Kayley to choose a couple of things that interested her that she would like to work on this year.  She choose "learning about animals" and "swimming!"  Easy enough.  We are doing swimming lessons at Diventures in Springfield.  It is a great program.  We do have to drive into town and it is a 45 minute drive (which is part of the reason we nixed CC - too much traveling).

Sonlight Core B Science.  For "animal science" I decided to have her try Sonlights Science B - I found this used at Redeemed for about $20 with its activity pages.  It is a study of animals, magnets and astronomy.  So far it is ok.  It is really light compared to Botany but it is an elective course so, I didn't want it to be difficult.  Just fun.  She has done some really neat experiments with Magnets and they read out of Usborne books.

Maggie age 3 (and 1/2), PreK4

BJU Footsteps For Fours.  I found this little program at a steal of a deal on eBay a while back.  After finishing up BJU's Pathways for Preschool in the Spring we were excited to move into the next level.  BJU does such a great job of creating curriculum.  I have always used something BJU every year.

BJU Foundations.  On a last minute whim I decided to sign Maggie up for an online BJU course too.  Can you believe they even have classes for kids this small?  Well, they do.  The foundations course, while vintage animation that is sort of, well, cheap (and some really ugly puppets)...the course is FABULOUS.  It is like an episode of Mr. Rogers/Sesame Street/Online Class rolled into one.  Kayley took Kindergarten through BJU Distance Learning and we loved it and I was glad to see Mrs. Lawson and Miss Liston (the K5 teachers) also teach K4!  Maggie looks forward to her class every day.

Social Studies/Science:
Sonlight Core 4/5 - Its hard to believe that I have my 3 year old in a 4/5 level but, no kidding, Core 4/5 is really light on the academics and just a lot of fun reading.  I love, love, love Sonlight but it is just too light for my academically starving children.
Five in a Row w/free lapbooking materials from - more fun reading and craft projects.  Can I just say that PreK is so fun?  Of course, Maggie tags along in all of Kayley's subjects as well.  She participates in Book of Mormon, Story of the World, Botany and Latin.  When she gets bored she wanders off and comes back when we start doing something interesting.

So there it is!  Thanks for stopping by! 

*There are affiliate links in the post.  I hope that if you find any of my recommendations worthy of purchasing that you will help our homeschool by buying through my links.  ;)


  1. We too can't join in our CC because once we moved last July I can't find one that is similar to ours and the money just isn't there for it any longer. We have been able to have a lot of fun with it at home. I was worried at first that I wouldn't be able to keep up with doing it at home but I was wrong. There are so many resources online as freebies and youtube for the songs that we are still having fun with it. Happy New School Year!

  2. I wasn't going to use any more Apologia either. My kids are doing something else for science, but its very broad, no depth. Just skims some of everything. But....I couldn't find anything better for high school Biology, and a woman in our co-op has an extra Apologia Flying Creatures book she is willing to sell me, so I am buying it. I miss it. I liked being able to teach 3 (younger)kids at once and have all of them learning, while my oldest confers with me (and I help with nasty experiments). I like your selection for this year. Sounds great.

  3. I would be happy to show you how to start your own community homeschool groups. Best wishes on a fun new year!


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