Sunday, August 12, 2012

Homeschool Curriculum 2012-2013

Being a first year homeschool family but a 19 year veteran teacher I was surprised at how overwhelmed I was when choosing curriculum for my children.  I scanned curriculum over the internet searching for "homeschool curriculum", "homeschool textbooks", "homeschool resources", etc.  Then my husband and I discussed what we wanted out of our program we were to develop.  We made basic goals and perimeters such as:
1. Bible based but not Bible driven (we wanted the Bible to be an underlying theme but not an "in your face" thing)
2. Covers the subject well.
3. Is adaptable to our kids and their needs, can be expanded if the kids are interested to go further, or can be shortened if we are not that interested.
4. Flexible-can cover a span of age ranges and interest levels.
5. Can be used for all our kids (yes, some of these goals are similar)
6. Is structured enough that we don't have to do a ton of outside planning or gathering of materials.

Then we went to our first homeschool convention.  We spent a glorious three days at the convention and both my husband and I and our kids really enjoyed our time there.  We chose sessions where we would be introduced to methodology, themes in homeschooling, and curriculum as well as topics on lifestyle choices and family living.  We enjoyed our sessions thoroughly and we loved walking through the vendor hall.  WOW were we impressed with the amount of stuff that is out there for homeschool families to use.  Okay we were a bit overwhelmed also. I spent a lot of time looking at textbooks, work books, and full curriculum companies.  I asked a ton of questions.

We scoured the catalogs and information we received in the evenings and the next day I went back and asked more questions.  I came out of those three days exhausted and had made many decisions.  We were able to mark off some curricula and add to our list others we didn't know about prior to the convention.  By the second evening we had made a tentative decision.  One that we actually have stuck with since. So here it is:

We have chosen for this year Sonlight Core D+E, Sonlight Science E, All About Spelling, Horizons Math 4, and Teaching Textbooks Math 7.

Our cost for this including all the supplemental materials is $1300. That is HUGE.  We chose Sonlight because we liked that it was pretty scripted and very structured however we have the ability to pick and choose the parts we want to keep and parts we want to skim through.  We love that there is a lot of reading involved.  We think our kids will enjoy reading on their own as well has having read aloud books as a family.  We love that it is unit driven.  We love that it includes Bible study but not Bible driven.  It is actually history driven which is my forte anyway.  We love that we can use the Core and Science curricula with all our children at the same time learning together as a family.

I will keep you abreast of how we are doing in this curriculum and what we love and what we don't love as the year goes on.  If you are a homeschooling family, have you used any of the curricula that I have chosen?  What did you think of it?  How did it work for your family?

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