IMO, the curriculum has to be tailored to the child.
I do have a few favorites:
For Spelling: Beverly Adams-Gordon Spelling Power. It's expensive but handles everything "spelling" from K through 12th. It takes a different approach than most -- the words are arranged by "rule". You teach the rule and then test without having the child study. They only study the words they miss (and there is a whole procedure for doing that). It says 15 minutes a day -- it's more like 25, but particularly for bad spellers (and I have one of those), it does wonders, and it works well for my other kids, too.
With math it's hard to recommend one curriculum. For this subject especially, I think that there's no one "best" but that for a particular child at a particular age there is a "best for them." The usual suspects are Saxon, Abeka and Singapore - and some folks like Math You See (and there are others). I've also used EPGY which is a program out of Stanford. It has certain advantages (for one thing it's accredited apparently), but I don't think it generally is the best for younger grades UNLESS you have a "math genius" who wants to move very quickly and does things "by concept" rather than "by practice" (and those are few and far between). I also supplement with an online program called IXL. I recommend that highly. It's about 30 or so dollars a year, but it provides certain types of drill in a fun way.
If you have a child who needs a lot of practice I usually go with Abeka for 1st and 2nd. Our current second grader was getting a bit bored, so we switched this year to Singapore instead of Abeka. It's more advanced in some ways and more concept based. He seems to like it better. I've used Saxon 5/6 and up because I feel that Abeka at that level is TOO focused on rote and not enough on concept -- but again, which would be best depends on the child. Saxon, like Abeka, does a lot of "practice," but it organizes it such that it teaches a concept and then has just a few problems to practice with 30 or so review problems that cover everything learned so far. It works really well for a lot of students, but some find it confusing -- usually those who really want to fully understand and practice the concept before moving on. I think that if you "get" Saxon it actually means that you learn it more deeply, since you work on the concepts over a longer period, but while it works very well for our daughter (now 7th) it didn't work well at all for our son (who's now back to EPGY).
English -- I've been using a combination of English for the Thoughtful Child and Writing with Ease (the latter of which I really like). My second grader is very enthusiastic about it, and his writing is improving slowly but surely.
Reading -- frankly, we just read. If your first grader isn't reading yet, I have used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We've never actually finished the book, but only because my child was reading and so there was no need. Right now, we're using the McGuffey Reader series. A lot of kids probably wouldn't like these, but our 2nd grader finds them amusing (they were put together in the late 18th and early 19th centuries). The important thing is to provide lots of books and opportunities to read aloud and silently once the basics are learned.
I'd also strongly recommend starting a language NOW. And that needs to be with a living person. If you have a college near your house, advertise for a student who's a native speaker (that's important) in the language of choice. Have them play with your child for a few hours each week speaking only the desired language. And I mean NO English ever. Get them books, etc., and tell the student to treat your child as if he were a speaker of the language. If they try to respond in English, give the child the words in the desired langauge and get them to repeat. If you supplement with movies/cartoons and maybe (if you want to splurge Rosetta Stone), your child will have a good accent and intuitive understanding of the language, and in some cases (our 14 year old is an example), complete fluency.
For Math I like Math You See........... Math In Your Feet , and activities like grocery shopping (weights adding & subtracting), folding cloths (fractions), cooking together (measuring, fractions, reading, sequencing)
For reading, spelling , phonics, blending, early comprehension, writing, ext. I like Ring Around The Phonics.
For American History, I create my own.
I agree w/ the pp. I've never found a boxed curriculum that worked. I have always built my own - especially for the kids under 3rd grade or so.
I use abeka for math, writing and language arts. I prefer the "traditional" approach for these subjects. Then we use My Father's World for Bible, art, music, history and science. The kids and I love the hands on, but engaging and challening approach of this curriculum. Then we use All About Spelling for spelling. It's more like a game, so the kids now enjoy learning spelling.
I have shiny object syndrome and switch things up fairly often, lol.
I like Little Stories for Little Folks (Catholic Heritage Curriculum), but I like the readers, not really the phonics instruction.
Phonics Pathways is very, very solid - but very, very boring.
Right now I'm using a mix of Reading Rescue 1-2-3, Bob Books, and I'll be throwing in Seton Press' catholic readers.
HUGE fan of using Leapfrog Letter Factory to learn letter sounds.
We *love* Handwriting Without Tears.
For your childrens' ages, I like Magic School Bus. For the older elementary crowd (grades 3-7/8), I like Ellen McHenry.
Next year's tentative science plan for grade 1 is Behold and See (Catholic Heritage Curriculum) and Liberty Press Nature Reader K (along with Magic School Bus).
Literature and picture books at the kindergarten level; move into RC history after.
I think we'll start RC History next year.
Early elementary crowd I like the looks of Horizons and CLE. We're using Miquon and The Verbal Math Lesson for my kiddo this year. Next year, I'm not sure, lol.
Making Music, Praying Twice
We'll also move into Prima Latin this fall (for grade 1).
Things change as children age; their needs may be different than they were, they may need more, they may need less, and they may need different. I'm not wedded to ANY curriculum and, so long as it doesn't work against our faith (read: I will not use most protestant programs, no matter how highly regarded by others, because most have anti-Catholic undertones), I'm game.
I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff: we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol). Aimee
This is what I have been doing this far. I'm kinda intimidated though, tbh. This fall will be my first time *technically* homeschooling. I always felt it was important to start basics at home, so at first, I just made a few preschool work sheets/flip cards for my first when she showed interest... but she blew up. She loves learning. I didn't want to hold her back. So I started buying those multi-subject and single subject workbooks for kindergarten and first grade. She's supposed to start kindergarten this year "officially" but she's already surpassed what most sites say a K "should know". My 3 yr old is more on a K level in some aspects.
I'm scared I'll mess up.
Quoting kirbymom: I use my own imagination with the resources I find within my reach. I write the majority of the school work for each child, and right now I have 6.
I'm Mary married(since 10-5-08) to Dallen, mommy to Serenity(2008), Caidence(2010), Wrex(2013). Christian, SAHM, Full- term breast feeding, Cloth diapering, Vaccinating, Anti-CIO/Sleep-training, Natural birthing, holistic loving, AP, ERF & EH, Bedsharing/co-sleeping, research-loving kinda mama.
I've seen the Magic school bus mentioned a few times, do you guys like the books or the shows? Both? I have a few of each. We love them too!
Quoting AutymsMommy: I have shiny object syndrome and switch things up fairly often, lol.Phonics:I like Little Stories for Little Folks (Catholic Heritage Curriculum), but I like the readers, not really the phonics instruction.Phonics Pathways is very, very solid - but very, very boring.Right now I'm using a mix of Reading Rescue 1-2-3, Bob Books, and I'll be throwing in Seton Press' catholic readers. HUGE fan of using Leapfrog Letter Factory to learn letter sounds.Handwriting: We *love* Handwriting Without Tears.Science:For your childrens' ages, I like Magic School Bus. For the older elementary crowd (grades 3-7/8), I like Ellen McHenry. Next year's tentative science plan for grade 1 is Behold and See (Catholic Heritage Curriculum) and Liberty Press Nature Reader K (along with Magic School Bus).History:Literature and picture books at the kindergarten level; move into RC history after.I think we'll start RC History next year.Mathematics:Early elementary crowd I like the looks of Horizons and CLE. We're using Miquon and The Verbal Math Lesson for my kiddo this year. Next year, I'm not sure, lol.Music:Making Music, Praying TwiceWe'll also move into Prima Latin this fall (for grade 1).Things change as children age; their needs may be different than they were, they may need more, they may need less, and they may need different. I'm not wedded to ANY curriculum and, so long as it doesn't work against our faith (read: I will not use most protestant programs, no matter how highly regarded by others, because most have anti-Catholic undertones), I'm game.
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