Curriculum is one of the most stressful parts of homeschooling. You may be asking yourself, Where should I start? Which one should I get? What if I buy it and it doesn’t work out? Can I use it for more than one grade level? I have asked all of these questions and had times where curriculum didn’t meet expectations, required supplementation, and wasn’t usable. Through trial and error I’ve found some excellent curriculum that I really love and I’m excited to share them with you.
For the past 2 years we have been using Horizons Math. My daughter is in the 2nd grade book and my son is in the Kindergarten book. It is a spiral approach. The spiral approach introduces many different math concepts and the child continues practicing the concept throughout the year. Some people love this, while some prefer a mastery approach. I feel that the spiral approach works well because the kids don’t have to work on the same math concept for long periods of time. Some math programs will have the student work on addition for pages and that is all. I know my kids would get burned out by this. Horizons has each worksheet divided into sections with different concepts. So, if your child doesn’t particularly like adding with borrowing, he won’t have to do an entire page of the problems, just a few. Another thing that I like about Horizons is how colorful it is. Most math curriculums are black and white with no pictures. They seem very boring to me. Horizons is very colorful with lots of pictures.
I started using Explode the Code for preschool and it taught my kids their letters and letter sounds. It worked so well I have continued using it for both of my kids. It incorporates writing, spelling, and phonics. I have never had a complaint from either of my kids using this curriculum. Another huge benefit is how inexpensive these workbooks are. They range from 6-10 dollars a book.
This is my second year using All About Reading with my daughter. It is really effective in teaching kids to read. I love the magnetic tiles to build words, fun games, and nice hardback books with engaging stories. It is really easy to use and doesn’t take much time. My son had a great time with level 1 this year. He loves playing the games that are included in each chapter. He plays them multiple times, even days later. He finished it up before Christmas so we have been re-reading the stories in the books. My daughter finished level 3 this year, although she already knew most of the words. I looked into level 4 for next school year, but she is above that reading level as well. I now have her reading any chapter book that she finds interesting.
My son used the A Reason for Handwriting Kindergarten edition and he loved it. It has large lines to practice writing and a coloring sheet for each letter. He loves to color, so he really enjoyed this curriculum. He sped through this though and was finished with it before Christmas. I would have went ahead and purchased the 1st grade level , but the lines seemed too small for him. I think he will be ready in the fall. My daughter has been using the cursive curriculum. It is very effective. Her cursive handwriting is beautiful. Each day she practices writing 3 words and at the end of the week she writes the Bible verse in its entirety on a lined paper with a picture to color. She loves to pick a picture to color and write the verse.
I am using All About Spelling with my daughter this school year. We started with level 2 and it has been working out great. Instead of just giving a list of random words and having the child memorize the words, this curriculum teaches why words are spelled the way they are. It teaches words that have the same spelling patterns. You also use the letter tiles to build words which is a nice hands on way to engage the students.
I have nothing but great things to say about The Story of the World. This is my kids favorite subject! They want to do history every day. I read the chapter to my kids and then I print off the coloring page and map that goes along with each chapter. The student activity book includes these and also has ideas for other activities to do with your students. There are between 3-5 activities to choose from and I usually chose 1 or 2 of these to do with my kids. There is also a list of books you could get from the library to go along with the chapters. I am learning right along with my kids!
What about you?
Not all curriculum is one size fit all. One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is you can find curriculum that fits your teaching style and your child’s learning style the best. What curriculum do you use? What do you love about it? Share them with me in the comments.