We are a few weeks into our 13th homeschool year and I feel like our curriculum choices this year couldn’t be better! We are still finishing the easing into school process and haven’t yet started the next science courses for the two older kids, but I can’t wait to get those in my hands and let them dig in! A couple subjects, they’re finishing up what they’re using now from last semester, and will start the next one on the list as soon as they finish (like Spanish, Latin, or math!) I must admit, this is probably the first year I haven’t felt like I needed to make a big change in our choices for at least a kid or two. That’s a big win! Without further ado, here’s what is on our shelves this school year!
Mystery of History Vol 1: My highschooler really wanted an in-depth study of ancient world history this year. She’s doing this one independently and is rather enjoying it!
The Good & The Beautiful History Year 1: My 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade boys are doing this together with me. We really love the student pages, which are broken down for grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. These contain activities, mapping, coloring pages, extra info, written assignments, and for older kids, extra topics fitting of the current studies that deepen and expand the learning and even add in research, both within the studied topics we cover as a group and beyond them. This program is amazing and engaging! The audio stories scheduled in many of the lessons have been a big hit!
Not Consumed Bible Studies: PDF’s, affordable, topical issues we really seem to deal with here, and come in different age groups so all the kids can learn together. I have all four school aged kids doing these and utilize the different levels: junior, youth, and when available, teen.
Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by R.C. Sproul: My teen girl is reading this in addition to our topical studies. She’s read through main points fairly quickly, then come back now to dig in slowly, take notes, and look up the scriptures it lists within its chapters in her own Bible and reading them in context for herself.
Apologia Astronomy 2nd Ed.: My 2nd and 5th graders listen to the audio lesson while following along in the book, uses the Notebooks, and do the experiments and activities planned in the book plus the extras found exclusively in the lab kit.
Spectrum Chemistry: We haven’t gotten this yet, as Biology isn’t quite completed just yet. But, it is one I’ve waited years to have a child old enough to use because it’s just that awesome. Written by a scientist dad, specifically for homeschoolers, and it’s not only amazingly solid, it’s engaging and unintimidating making it “easy” without being easy! Comes complete with books and all the chem supplies you need for labs. I have kids headed to the science field, so I get really picky about our science and math choices!
Rainbow Science: Also don’t have this one in hand yet, but this is what my 8th grader will be starting soon and since it’s by the same author as Spectrum Chem above, I’m incredibly excited about this one, too! It’s a 2yr program done 3 days per week and covers 4 areas of science. The first year covers physics and chemistry, and the second year covers biology and applications of science. It’s a serious course like their chemistry, and written in the same engaging, approachable style. The labs are super fun, to boot!
Singapore Math CA Standards Ed.: (not the CC ed.} This is by far my favorite math for K-6/7! We are really enjoying it and thriving with the short lessons, clean pages, and the progression from hands-on to visual to abstract. I have my 2nd and 5th graders using it, but decided since my 8th grader missed a lot of this strong method, for his first half of pre-algebra he will go through some of the upper levels of the primary series. Pre-alg is mostly just reviewing all of arithmetic from 5-7th grade math topics before it gets into some basic algebra topics toward the end, serving as a transition for kids not quite ready to jump into Alg 1 just yet. So, for the 8th grader, we are very quickly going through 4a-5b, then we will begin Alg 1 using VideoText.
Jacob’s Beginning Algebra: Highschooler is using Jacob’s for Algebra 1 and then soon moving to VideoText Algebra to get through Alg 2. She doesn’t like math, but really likes Jacob’s! Math hasn’t been her strong subject but this challenging program as taken her to a whole new level with new confidence and skills. I’m so impressed and wish Jacob’s had an Alg 2! VideoText online will be an easy start, but will serve as a solid, challenging, and easy-to-follow program for Algebra for this science-destined child of mine.
The Good & the Beautiful Language Arts: The program truly lives up to its name. It is good and it’s more than beautiful. It covers all of language arts plus more. Limiting transitions between these areas of study has been a huge benefit for my boys! All three boys, 2nd, 5th, & 8th graders are using this program at various levels. Since we’re new to it and it’s rather advanced, we went down to lower levels to fill in gaps, learn the ropes for the program, solidify skills not yet covered in the stack of LA books we’d been using, and are just moving more quickly for the two older boys and will continue doing so until they land on their level of appropriate challenge. We ordered the print versions, but you can get levels 1-5 in PDF form for absolutely free!
With one LA program, we’re covering all these areas of study:
- Phonics and Reading
- Grammar and Punctuation
- Art Appreciation
- Art Instruction
New American Cursive and The Good & the Beautiful handwriting: 2nd and 5th graders are finishing up their NAC books then moving along to G&B’s handwriting. I have loved how simply NAC as introduced all the letters and made it easy to learn with a very natural font style. However, G&B’s handwriting incorporates more than just copying letters. The kids are given a chance to finish a picture that’s been drawn only showing its left side. This skill practices fine motor and attention to detail. I’m sure it has many other benefits as well as I’ve seen this sort of assignment in many dyslexic education materials.
Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: This is probably the favorite high school literature program I’ve come across and my highschooler rather enjoys it! We used half last year and will finish the second half this year. It digs in much deeper than comprehension and vocabulary. There is a lot of deep thinking involved and it has trained my teen to be able to discuss literature thoughtfully rather than just prove she comprehended what she read. She can read between the lines, understand the literary elements and devices used, and determine the worldview of the author as well as the internal battles within each storyline of the book (man vs self, man vs man, man vs society, etc). She’s become a more empathetic, intelligent reader and seems to get pulled more into the story now, whereas before, she simply devoured books, page after page. She could tell us every detail about what she had read, but there’s much more depth to what she shares now. I highly recommend WWC for high school literature!
Writing With Skill: I’m well aware this is marketed at a junior high program, but I emailed back and forth with the company who turns out feels that it is actually marketed too low! They find it to be more on par with high school level skills. So, that’s who is using it in our house! We’re just spreading it out slowly over the high school years. It’s been an excellent, no frills, in-depth writing program teaching many more technical skills important for high schoolers to cover before going off to college. I’m particularly impressed with the skills being taught using historical, technical, and scientific passages. My science-bound child will greatly benefit from these lessons!
Getting Started With Spanish has been a great intro to get my highschooler into Spanish. She did Visual Latin 1 previously and we’re still deciding where to go from here when she finishes this very soon! Feel free to comment with suggestions. I’m all ears.
Latin’s Not So Tough: 5th and 8th graders are both doing LNST and it’s a great fit! The clean and easy-to-follow worksheets and pre-made flashcards make it a breeze to use and their 99% independent!
I Speak Latin: I have this and have every intention of using it with my 2nd grader. My school room is overflowing with good intentions though, so we’ll see. It’s a great program that I look forward to actually using! I had the same intentions when my now 8th grader was my 2nd grader. It’s been waiting on me to put it to use for that long! How’s that for a mediocre mom moment?! The course includes no translation, chanting of forms, worksheets, or rote memorization. I love this approach! It’s available to purchase on Lulu.com here.