Friday, May 20, 2016

Sifting Through The Pages: How We Choose Our Home-School Curriculum


Making the decision to educate our children at home was not a decision that we made lightly. Conversations were had, research was done, and a lot of questions were asked.

Ultimately, the decision was made, long before our children were born, that we would be home-schooling. With the government taking control of the education in public schools and the cost of private schools home-schooling is just the best option for our family.


Choosing the Curriculum

Once the decision was made to school at home the task of choosing a curriculum that best suits our family. 

Preschool

Both of my children have been excited about learning and eager to show me new things from a very early age so I was excited when I stumbled across a free preschool program online while I was scrolling through Pinterest. 


Research

The ABCJesusLovesMe Preschool Curriculum is a comprehensive, research-based preschool curriculum focusing on Bible, academics, and development. Each curriculum contains goals and objectives to gauge the child's learning and growth. Beyond the weekly lesson plans, ideas, and materials are provided to support parents and teachers along the way.

Why I Love this Program: 

I loved this program because it is so hands on. The whole principle behind it is helping the kids learn through natural play, which is exactly how a preschooler should be learning! This is less or a curriculum and more of a guideline to help busy moms who want to be intentional plan out their daily activities. There are great Bible stories, coloring and craft activities, and read alouds that give your day direction.


Grade School

There are so many options for finding the right curriculum for your home and your family. There is secular curriculum, Christian or Bible based curriculum, online only programs, and more traditional pen and paper type programs. 

There are programs that are heavy reading and programs that are more activity and hands on based. There are programs you piece together on your own and all encompassing programs. 

So how do you choose what is the best one for you?

The first thing I would suggest is getting your hands on a copy of Cathy Duffy's 102 Top Picks for HomeSchool Curriculum

This book walks you through the various homeschool methods as well as outlining and reviewing the best homeschool programs out there. 

While I can't go through all 102 for you here I will highlight some of the programs I have looked into as well as sharing the program we will be using starting in the fall with both our kiddos and why we chose that particular curriculum.


Veritas Press

"Our approach is an ambitious one. Yet using the method of classical education from a Christian worldview makes our approach possible. Classical education takes a three-fold approach. This trivium, which it is frequently called, is Latin for 'where three roads meet' and lays out three stages of learning: grammar, dialectic (or logic) and rhetoric. The genius of classical education- why it works so well- is because it teaches 'with the grain' of how children develop. When they're young the enjoy memorizing and learning lost of things. The junior high years find them interested in challenging, arguing, and wanting to understand how things might relate to each other. During the senior high years, they become more concerned with ow they are perceived, wanting to be articulate and persuasive in winsome ways. Teaching according to their God-given tendencies proves to be remarkably effective, not to mention that it trains children to learn for themselves- as lifelong learners. 


Sonlight

"Sonlight has designed comprehensive grade/age level programs with carefully selected resources. "Open and teach" instructor’s guides outline lessons for each day using specific pages within the materials provided. All guides, whether for Core Packages or individual subject areas, include week-by-week lesson plans with record-keeping calendars, thorough instructions, student activity sheets, answer keys, and much more. The easy-to-use guides are one of the best and most important features of Sonlight Curriculum."  Cathy Duffy Review

Sonlight offers 2 curriculum options

Option 1 comes with a core package that has a focus on history with language arts built in as well. You then make your own choices for science, math, and electives. This option really leaves your child's education up to you.

Option 2 is a complete grade level package. These packages include everything you need for the entire grade level. This is the type of package that best suits the home-school parent that needs more guidance when it comes to making curriculum choices.





My Fathers World

"My Father’s World (MFW) offers complete or almost complete grade-level programs for preschool through twelfth grade. MFW embodies methodologies from unit study, Charlotte Mason, and classical approaches with a strong biblical base (Protestant) and missionary emphasis throughout all levels. Each program centers around a single guide and uses a mixture of real books and hands-on activities along with a few textbooks. Basic or deluxe packages are available for each level. Basic packages provide essential elements. Deluxe packages include additional resources for art, music, read aloud, etc. A Bible (not included) is required for every level." Cathy Duffy Review
This curriculum is designed to be a whole family approach. It begins with a foundation from pre-school through 2nd or 3rd grade depending on the ages of your youngest and oldest children. The lessons are easy to teach all together with less complicated concepts being taught to younger children and more complicated or complex thoughts being taught to the older children.

Math has to be added in once the 2nd and 3rd grade begin

The My Fathers World curriculum is the program that we are currently using for our family. The units are set up to be done in 6 days but for me that is a nightmare. The idea of starting a new unit in the middle of the week drives me crazy. Fortunately, we are able to condense it down to just 5 days by adding the read aloud times to the rest of the week. We really like this program because it has everything we need and I only have to make one purchase. We will be finishing up kindergarten with one of my kiddos in June and starting 1st grade with my other baby stepping into the kinder role in August.  When its time we will begin looking into math programs that suit our family.

Do you home-school? Have you considered it?  What programs do you use? Let me know in the comments!



1 comment:

  1. We LOVED My Father's world! We used it in the younger grades and had great results! I've also heard wonderful things about Sonlight! We use lots of different things.. http://stacynduncan.blogspot.com/search/label/homeschool There's most of them :) I will have to check out your other things, I've not seen some of them!

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