Choosing Curriculum for your Homeschool

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So you’ve decided to homeschool. Great! Now what are you going to teach? Choosing curriculum can be an overwhelming task. Many people start by attending a curriculum fair and looking around….. but THAT can be an overwhelming proposition.

I always recommend to people that you should teach in a style and with a curriculum that you find teachable and enjoyable yourself. Are you structured? Flexible? Teach the way you function yourself and your kids will adapt. Later on as you see reasons to modify according to how they learn you can. But when starting out, go with what strikes a chord with you.

To help new homeschooling families decide where to look, I created this flowchart to get you at least pointed in the right direction. Make some basic decisions to get to some google search terms and narrow it down.

Remember. There are plenty of ways to do this the right way. You might have to make changes. But don’t be so overwhelmed that you never start. You can do this!

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Our Curriculum for Next Year!

Books

This past year we have been using Alpha Omega’s Horizons preschool in our homeschool.  For Kindergarten in the fall, we have selected Memoria Press’ Kindergarten classical curriculum.

Memoria Press’ curriculum appealed to me with its introductions of amazing art and music throughout the school weeks.  There is focus on Bible teaching using the Golden Books Children Bible which I remember from childhood.  Copybooks emphasize phonics lessons with seatwork and copying of Scripture as the kids advance in their handwriting.  There is a recitation period to start each school day, where the kids get to formally recite what they have learned.

Memoria Press starts the kids on Latin around the 1-3 grades and I, at least, am looking forward to that, having been taught Latin when I was homeschooled! The dividends on that are paid in vocabulary and in general language learning.

I am a big fan of the classical approach to learning.  I should add that we intentionally went looking for a curriculum with structured lesson plans so my husband and I can hand off school throughout the week depending on our schedules.

For my visual learner, I knew we needed something with manipulatives and visual emphasis of math lessons.  I didn’t see that in the Rod and Staff math that comes with the Memoria Press curriculum, so we wanted to substitute something else in its place.  I saw Right Start Mathematics and instantly liked the fact that the concepts were not watered down from the very beginning.  We do the same thing with our science instruction at Homeschool Science Press, so it seemed like a natural carryover.  Right Start Math uses tools such as a Math Balance, abacus, clock games, and manipulatives.  Having already introduced some basic math and counting this past year with the Horizons curriculum, Right Start recommended we begin with Level B.

There is no dedicated science book with the Memoria Press Kindergarten curriculum, so as science is covered, we will supplement with pages from My First Science Notebook by Homeschool Science Press.  This will help us learn science as we encounter it in the real world, but still drive home the skills of science: observation, measuring, drawing, and recording.  I expect to continue this approach for this next year at least and then we’ll be looking for a dedicated textbook.  I might use vintage science books, who knows?  My most important goal with science for now is to make sure they are asking questions, guessing the answer, and observing outcomes.

What are you using in your homeschool this fall?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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Gardening!

HSV Garden Challenge

Garden.  Challenge.  We’re ready.

Our garden? Shown here.  a 16 x16 plot, scraped clean by tractor and ready for final assembly.  We have a water line set to run perpendicular to the southern side, and we’ll tap off it in east-west rows with soaker hoses.  You can’t grow anything around here without irrigation.

Garden plot

The dirt? Not good, so it will all be amended with topsoil and compost.

The compost? This year we’ll be buying compost, because we don’t yet have a bin for it.  We’ll be building our first pile this year.  It will be adjacent to the garden, made from pallets and rebar, which I saw on this website.  Looks like a good starting point!

The challenges: Frequent chinook winds and rabbits.  We live on the front range of Colorado, so nothing is left outside which could blow away.  We also have a healthy rabbit population which we are trying to keep in check, but in the meantime a fence should solve both issues, and we’ll be installing one surrounding the entire garden.

Growing season? Not yet… but soon.  Can’t plant anything around here until mid-May (they say after Mothers’ Day you’re pretty safe), so we have started seeds.Planted seeds

I started small.  I felt fairly confident with a limited selection to start, so on our kitchen counter, we have zucchini, cilantro, roma tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers.  This will be a good start to a salsa garden, and as I gain the know-how, we could add garlic, onion, and berry bushes.

Cilantro plants

Here are the cilantro seedlings we started in Mid-March.  My little preschooler helped with the planting and we’re observing them (scientifically, of course!) as they grow.

To aid in that endeavor, I printed this page from My First Science Notebook (eBook version).  His little drawings are simple, but good practice in the scientific skill of observation!

Plant growth chart

This is our first garden here, but I’m pretty certain the next steps are to start hardening the plants off with time outdoors on the warmer sunny days to come, then plant them in the garden the second week in May.

More to follow as we try to meet the garden challenge!  If you’re starting your garden too, leave us a comment and also head over to The Homeschool Village to join the Garden Challenge linkup!

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