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My Favorite Curriculum
People ask me so often what curriculum I recommend. The answer always is a hodgepodge of curriculum, otherwise known as an eclectic approach. I found these curriculum choices to work well for a broad spectrum of kids and use it regularly in the group classes that I teach at Learn Beyond The Book as well, so I wanted to write them down, because many wonder about it. If you ask 10 homeschoolers what curriculum they use though, you will have 10 different answers, so it will be a trial and error process to find the good matches for your child’s learning style, so try to get the curriculum used. Here are just my own personal favorites, but of course by no means a comprehensive list:
For Language Arts:
Spelling Power is my favorite and I sometimes combine it with the free version of Spelling City online that has a few online games which they like. I will do the pretest from Spelling Power, but modify it a bit and go till they have 10 words wrong, then put them into Spelling City and let them do that daily until they get 100% for 3 days in a row. If they keep missing just 1 word, I will move on and just add that word to the next list. The way that Spelling Power prescribes also works great, but if you have less time every day for a pretest, the Spelling City combination is helpful.
Bob Books and then the readers from the curriculum set Sing, Spell, Read, and Write. After that I love some small reader books from the library and then switch to lots of picture books. Once you do picture books and they get a bit harder, you might read some words and they read some and that way they don’t get too tired and frustrated. I would say whenever frustration sets in, that’s it for the day. You want them to love reading, and not hate it. Also, read out loud to them a lot of fun books that they can’t read themselves yet. Dr. Seuss books are my favorite, but there are tons of other fun ones too.
After they start reading, let them pick books that they love from the library or Amazon/Barnes & Noble.
First Language Lessons and the Rummy Roots games from English from the Roots Up to learn Greek and Latin Root words, then reinforce things learned in First Language Lessons with Easy Grammar and Daily Grams.
I like Writing Strands for some things and Institute for Excellence in Writing for other things (look for this used, it is really expensive). I like to combine Writing with whatever else we’re learning, so if we just studied ants, I will let them tell me something about what they’ve learned and write it down (start with just a few words, then progress to a sentence and paragraphs, then essays eventually). Then I would let them copy what I wrote, because that way they write it, it’s really their words, but they see the correct way to write it with correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization OR you can let them copy sentences from their favorite books. I got this idea of copying and dictating from the Charlotte Mason Approach.
Math-U-See for place value, addition and subtraction and then when they’ve mastered those, I like the Key To Series for Decimals, Percents & Fractions, etc., coupled with a lot of Math Games. After that I like Saxon Algebra ½ for Pre-Algebra and for Algebra 1 my favorite book is Elementary Algebra, which you can purchase with or without a DVD with an excellent instructor.
Economics & Finance/Consumer Math:
I wrote my own curriculum for this, because I didn’t find something that I really liked. My curriculum is called Where’s the Money? It has a lot of hands-on teaching and ideas and incorporates games and entrepreneurship.
For Social Studies, I love Story of the World as the backbone and books from the library plus unit studies from Teachers Pay Teachers for activities for specific topics to supplement – borrowed this idea from Classical Education where History is done chronologically.
Lots of Science books from the library and Schlessinger Media DVDs and Discovery Education for almost any subject. I would tailor it a lot to what my kids were interested in at the time. Animal Planet episodes are also great for some Science. Mostly let them ask all their questions about how the world works and find them the answers and ask them questions about it so that they start thinking about it themselves. I also love Brain Pop. There will be some free videos, but a subscription is usually required. A lot of the charter schools have this as a free resource to you though, so check with your teacher if you are in a charter school.
I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to come browse our selection of new and used curriculum at SCV Beyond Books.