Homeschool Curriculum Picks for Elementary 2015-2016 FeaturePin
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Note from Pam: My curriculum choices are coming soon, but to give you a view of another homeschool and to help you get to know her better, Jessica will be sharing her curriculum choices and plans this year as well. 

Although Pam and I are involved in the same co-op and having much the same philosophy of education, our curriculum choices are slightly different. Those choices that are the same, we tend to use differently. Enjoy as I walk you through our learning tools for this year.

Ruth, Age 8, 4th Grade

Math-U-See Gamma/Delta – We have used this program since the beginning. So far we have had no reason to change. We are still finishing up Gamma from last year and will move on to Delta as soon as we are done. Pam and I both share the opinion that one does not simply move on to the next book just because it is a new school year. No, we simply pick up where we left off. In truth we have done math through the summer with only a few breaks.

Spell to Write and Read – This is another program we have used from the beginning. Well, almost. We began with The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. It is a good book. It did not make my husband happy. So, we bought the program his mother used to teach reading.

I love the comprehensiveness of SWR. If you wanted to make it such, it is a full spelling, reading and grammar program for K-6th grade. We do not use the grammar portions.


For Ruth this year, I give a pretest of 40 words. Any word she gets wrong I will dictate to her using the special method in the book. The next day, she copies the words from her pretest into her notebook, leaving blanks for those we need to go over together. She then makes any spelling rule marks needed on the words.

Because Ruth learns words quickly, we have begun to spend less time playing with the weekly words. She will not write sentences, alphabetize, or define any words this year. There isn’t a need for it.

Pin Calligraphy for Creative Kids by Jim Bennett – Ruth’s handwriting is beautiful. This girl really has a gift when it comes to all things language. I decided that for a challenge, as long as she continued to use neat handwriting on other assignments, I would allow Calligraphy to be our handwriting. She is thrilled! I also bought a calligraphy set to go with it. This will count as a bit of art as well!


French for Children from Classical Academic Press – I don’t even have this in my hot little hands yet, but I am so excited to tell you about it. French is such a beautiful language. I have known this ever since my 7th grade French teacher made us memorize The Ant and the Grasshopper. We had no idea what we were saying, but the words were so pretty! I still remember parts. I am excited that there is now a program I can use for my 4th grade daughter!

Classical Academic Press’ Latin for Children is a fantastic program. I have no doubt that we will love and learn with their French for Children.

Sarah Joan, age 7, 2nd Grade

Math-U-See Beta/Gamma – We seemed to have some trouble finishing our math last year. We slowed way down when things got tough and never seemed to speed up again. Again, we will finish and then move on to the next book at our own pace.

Pin Spell to Write and Read – Sarah Joan’s SWR time looks a bit different than Ruth’s. We begin with phonogram review. With 70 basic phonograms, SWR helps new readers to first encode words, by spelling, then decode them while reading. Spelling comes first.

Next, I dictate 20 spelling words for the week. We mark the rules and are done for the day. During the week we will do various activities that reinforce the decoding and encoding of these 20 words. This includes, writing original sentences, reading the words, teach the teacher, and any other way the book might suggest to play with these words.

I love that SWR gives plenty of opportunity to take things at your own pace. We only move as fast as Sarah Joan is developmentally ready for.

Classically Cursive Book 2 by B. J. Jordan – Sarah Joan has been steadily working through this book for handwriting. We have worked through the letters and are beginning to copy the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Benaiah, Age 5, Kindergarten

Math-U-See Alpha – We will start with Alpha. We may have done 10 of the Primer level lessons last year. I seem to do less and less of the Math-U-See Primer book with each child. It is a fine book, and it is good to get things twice, but we generally spend enough time on each lesson that using the Primer books seems like a waste.

Spell to Write and Read – Benaiah will begin learning his phonograms this year. If there is anything I have learned in the past two years is to take it slow. We may not spell any words this year, or only spell through a few sections.

I begin each lesson by giving one new phonogram. Then I review any previous phonograms with him. Next he practices writing the new phonogram along with a few review ones. He seems to like to get stars on his page when he has written a particularly good letter. These I give freely. 🙂

Spell to Write and Read goes most smoothly when children have learned to write their letters well. For Benaiah’s handwriting we are using a very simple program called Cursive First. It is very simple, easy to use, and reproducible.

Family Curriculum

Pin Story of the World Audio Edition – We have been using Story of the World for three years now and love it! The audio edition is wonderfully narrated by Jim Weiss. Last year I bought the activity guide simply because I knew my girls would love the coloring pages. We listen to a chapter while coloring and that is it. Sometimes we talk about it, but not often. When we finish a volume, we listen to it again more at leisure. It becomes a part of our audio book rotation for mealtimes.

Pin Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie K. Fulbright – Our co-op science is mostly botany with a few weeks of human body systems thrown in. I have chosen to focus on the human body at home. Benaiah especially is always asking how our food gets into our tummies and where it goes from there, and other various questions I can’t seem to answer. I am exited to have us all learning together.

I also purchased the journals. Anatomy Notebooking Journal by Jeannie K. Fulbright for Ruth and Junior Anatomy Notebooking Journal by Jeannie K. Fulbright for Sarah Joan.

US Geography with Eight For Each State – We will continue our journey across the country this year as we finish our US Geography unit study. While this is mostly a study for the two oldest, Benaiah will come along for some of the more hands-on activities. Be sure to sign up so as not to miss a post in this great series!