Top Curriculum Picks 2014-2015

For even more posts about planning from curriculum picks, to scheduling options, to setting goals, be sure to visit my homeschool planning guide.

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Well we are one week into our 2014-2015 school year and it is going great! Only 35 more weeks to go. :-p

Ah if only the general feelings of goodwill and happiness would continue indefinitely. Yeah, they probably won’t, but I will clutch them close to my heart while I can.

In the meantime, I owe you guys some planning posts, don’t I? Not very nice of me to write a whole book on homeschool planning and then not share what I am doing. So August will be devoted to just that — and the rest of those learn to write numbers printables I owe you.

Curriculum Picks 2014 Homeschool Planning


Let’s start with curriculum picks and then we can expand with methods and the nitty gritty from there.

Homeschool Planning for Olivia (Grade 4)

Math-U-See Gamma – Yes, this would be considered a year “behind,” but I would ask “behind whom?” Last year my plan was to try to squeeze in all of Beta and most of Gamma and “catch her up” but about five weeks into the year I realized it wouldn’t happen, slowed down, and focused on mastery. And guess what? She is right where she needs to be in math (and is still on track to do Algebra in grade nine). She moves at her own pace, but she gets it and retains it, and that’s what really matters.

All About Reading 3 – This program has become pretty easy for Olivia, but we are going to finish it anyway just to make sure we leave no gaps in her reading instruction. She is coasting along now at a lesson a day so we should be done in a couple of months. We love so much about this program — the fact it is scripted for me, the lovely readers, and the fun, but effective activities.

All About Spelling 2 – Still working through this one from last year, but our pace is picking up in it as well. Right now we are alternating two days of spelling with two days of writing, but once All About Reading drops off the schedule we will pick up a day here to ideally complete a lesson each week.

Writing and Rhetoric Book 1 Fable – Continuing this that we started last year. I love that everything I want to do: narration, copywork, dictation, discussion are all in one fabulous, well-written book. It’s the progymnasmata for dummies!

Prima Latina – Working our way through this one still too. We supplement with the songs from Song School Latin One and our own fun Latin creations.

Classical Conversations Prescripts – She is finishing PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing: Scripture and then will move into Prescripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons: American History.

Homeschool Planning for John (Grade 2)

Math-U-See Beta – John constantly surprises me with how he thinks about numbers. Math is not an issue for this one.

All About Reading 1 – Reading on the other hand is not like math. I just keep telling myself that if we continue to work through this program (which we didn’t start until November of last year) then everything is going to be ok. That is one other thing I love about AAR — it is systematic and complete. Nothing will be left out and eventually they will read. So we are plugging along.

Song School Latin – Everyone in the family does the songs during morning time, but John is actually working through the student book with me this year. We also got the Monkey Match card game and mostly just use the cards with Race to the Colosseum at this point.

Handwriting – John uses St. Anne’s Helper First Communion Copybook for handwriting practice.

Homeschool Planning for Thomas (Will be five in October.)

Since Thomas is not yet even kindergarten age, his school depends on his mood. If he wants to do it, we do. If not, we don’t. So far he has been pretty anxious to do it.

All About Reading Pre-Level – So far this program is TONS of fun. I have to get on to the big kids to keep them from playing along. We have a zebra puppet we got for $1 at Michaels. Thomas LOVES the puppet, the games, and even the craft sheets. This may be my favorite All About Reading yet — and that is saying something!

Singapore Kindergarten Essentials A – I had this book left from John’s kindergarten year, because when we started K it was already too easy for him. Guess what? It is too easy for Thomas in preschool too. He has told me he is bored with it, so I am going to pick up a copy of the B book (I think.) This kids does not look at the seven items and count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. He looks at them and says, “Four plus three is seven.” We have to get a harder book.

Homeschool Planning for the Whole Clan

These are the subjects we do together in our loop. More about the loop coming soon, but here are the curriculum resources we are using.

Story of the World 3 – I broke down and bought the activity guide this year too! I think the map-work especially will be a hit. John has already expressed his distaste for the coloring pages, but Olivia is loving them.

The 50 States and Where to Find Them – My goal is for the kids to know the states and their capitals. We are working through half of them this year.

Exploring God’s Creation with Chemistry and Physics – We are memorizing chemistry and physics sentences in co-op this year, so to add context we are using Apologia. The kids are using the notebooking journals (John at his request) and I bought the experiment supply kit. I can’t tell you how HAPPY I am that I did that. It is going to be worth every penny and the difference between experiments getting done or not. The kit comes with things divided out by lesson — there is even a baggie of Cheerios in there for one lesson. How great is that?

So that pretty much tells you what we are using. More coming soon on how we are using it and filling in the details including information on memory work, morning time, our handy clipboards, a school room update, checklists!, teaching independence, reading lists and more.

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  • Dawn says:

    IT looks like some great choices. We use All about Spelling too.
    Blessings, Dawn

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Thanks Dawn! I really wish I could convince Marie Rippel to write a grammar program. Then life would be great!

  • Amy B says:

    My preschooler loves the AAR pre-level too!:). They produce such high quality materials. Thanks for sharing your top picks. It is so fun to hear what is working well for others. Thanks Pam!

  • We like The Story of the World series. I am using volume 1 with my first grader this year. I also have the activity guide. My daughter loves to color and she has enjoyed the mapwork so far. I also cut out the little cards in the back of the activity book and with each chapter she will color the picture. We’ll use these cards for review cards.

  • We are using some of the same things! We just started Writing and Rhetoric and are loving it so far. We are about 3/4 of the way through Prima Latina. We are going to review and then finish that up this year. Time to pull out Race to the Colosseum and get playing!

  • Patti says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! I was wondering what your thoughts were on the AAS program. I am considering purchasing it for my 3rd and 1st grader. My 3rd grader is not a great speller and I see this being a problem in our school this year. I am guessing that AAS is something you would recommend? Also, I have a 4 year old (will be 5 in March) – and am considering the AAR pre-level. It’s nice to know you are liking it so far!

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Oy! Sorry Patti. This got burried in my inbox. I really like AAS. It makes sense to me to learn spelling rules and then apply them to a set of words. We memorize those rules and now when Olivia comes across a word instead of telling her how to spell it I prompt her on the rule and she knows exactly what to do.

      Pre-level is so much fun. The puppet really makes the program for us. And I get to do a funny zebra voice.

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