Teaching Textbooks

 

Our 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations

The main focus this year for Kaleb is reading. His reading skills grew tremendously last year, but with reading being the core of his starting to work on subjects independently (something important in the upcoming years), the core of all we do and focus on needs to be reading. Together he and I are reading aloud to each other and reviewing, reviewing, reviewing so the areas he struggles in becomes much more natural for him. Zachary’s 4th grade year (our other son) was the point when reading finally ‘clicked’ for him, so although I’m trying not to compare too much, I am truly hoping and praying everything really falls into place for him this year and he feels comfortable with his reading skills. 

Another area we will be targeting is history/geography. Kaleb will be working with Zachary (6th grade) on these two subjects, as well as some friends of ours. The intent in history is to work on a similar cycle with the boys and Laurianna so we can tie in some field trips with another family. 

The bulk of Kaleb’s studies are still done together with me, with the exception of math, since we use a computer-based program that essentially reads the lesson to him. He can definitely read more than he lets on most days – it’s just that struggle to actually DO it, rather than letting his siblings jump in (when they are so willing to do so). 

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Here’s a look at the overall plan for our 4th grade year…

Kaleb has been going through science experiment ideas with me and we are compiling a list to work on about one experiment or STEM project each week. This boy is ALL about math and science, so he will be working on plenty of hands-on projects throughout the year both with me and on his own. It’s not uncommon for him to pull out our Little Bits set and work on something while he is waiting for me or when he is finished with his work. 

On the flip side, he is also a boy that loves to create and work on art projects. As the year progresses, his wall will be covered with various creations from Home Art Studio. I absolutely LOVE this program and the fact that Kaleb can work independently on his art projects – and all I need to do is prep a tray for him with all the supplies. Super simple and he can’t get enough of it. Win-win! 

Co-op Learning

This year we are only participating in one co-op with all of the kids and trying to keep life a bit more simple in that regard. While Kaleb isn’t as upset about it (he’s a fairly even-keeled kiddo emotionally), he does love our smaller co-op because his best buddy is also a part of it. Our co-op meets every other week with the elementary and middle school kids, so it isn’t overwhelming for planning. This year they will be working on the following two classes: 

  • Spanish – last year they had a level 1 Spanish for elementary with one of the moms – and really loved it. She is hoping to use a new program this year – so we’ll keep you posted on how that is going. 
  • Five in a Row – two of the moms tag-team teach this class and work on one book each month – art projects, science experiments, etc… 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Kaleb the past few years:

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016

McKenna is a wee bit anxious about the upcoming year, even though she honestly doesn’t have much to worry about. Last year she made huge strides in working independently, but the thought of earning high school credits this year is a little daunting to her. We are so glad to be a part of a small co-op where she has good friends to learn alongside in two subject areas (and make it even more fun too). 

Our biggest hurdle this year will be getting her daily routine in place. McKenna is our late riser and while that can be a lovely thing, it also puts a kink in the day when everyone else is ready to go early in the day and then finished up early as well. While this 8th grade plan isn’t quite as high school ambitious as Laurianna’s was, it will be a great “easing in” for her. The credits she is earning will give her a good jump on her high school years. 

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 5.5

8th reading list 2016

Out of all the subjects, McKenna is most excited for Visual Latin and Physical Science. Literature and Algebra 1 are the most intimidating to her, mainly because – ALGEBRA – and the thought of writing three papers a month is something that seems overwhelming because they are a new style of paper for her. 

We opted not to include any additional grammar program this year because McKenna has a solid grasp of grammar and will rely heavily on it for her literature class (and a mother who is a stickler for writing well and editing). Both her physical science and literature classes will be a part of our small co-op group, although she will have a full load during the week in preparation for the classes.

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with McKenna (and Laurianna) is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with McKenna the past few years:

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Eighth Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

8th Grade Homeschool Year in Review



Laurianna’s eighth grade year was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. Seriously. Somehow the start of last year really had me realizing that every little thing mattered. We were on the verge of HIGH SCHOOL, deciding if she would be taking high school credits and the panic set in.

The bulk of Laurianna’s work was independent, although there were several classes that we did in a co-op setting, because we have some fabulous friends and it was much fun interacting with a few other high schoolers (and commiserating together on their science or literature woes). Laurianna is very dedicated and responsible in managing her time, so although we had talked about what programs she would use, she put together her own schedule for the weeks and years. There were a few times we had to review her plans and reorganize things, but otherwise we met weekly to go through her work, correct papers, and look at what was coming up next.

You can see all of our 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices for the 2014-15 year here, but below you’ll get a good look at what we used for Laurianna’s eighth grade year and what we will be continuing on with in the upcoming year.

Geography

The plan: North Star Geography (1 credit) and Wondermaps

 

Email subscriber can click here to watch the video clip.

Hands-down, North Star Geography from Bright Ideas Press was the BEST addition to our curriculum and Laurianna’s workload. If there was one thing I heard constantly, it was how much she absolutely loved the program and it was her favorite. She earned a full credit for the program, and I rather loved the grading sheet that was a part of the program (and did all the computing for me).

There were many hands-on projects that Laurianna worked on throughout the year, and I hope to share her hydroponics project with you all soon. Between mapping, learning country facts, and the well-laid out program, it was a definite win for our year.

Science

Physical Science from Exploration Education (1 credit), The Fossil Book and The Cave Book from Masterbooks (1/2 credit)

Glider from Everday Exploration

Science was one subject that we worked on with a very small co-op this year (four kids). One of the moms took on the weekly teaching and the kids were responsible for the reading assignments during the week and working on their lab projects (these varied from building a glider, a miniature house, solar-powered fan, or other projects). The kids each brought their assignments during the co-op meeting and ran additional experiments together and had their lab booklets checked out as well.  Overall, Laurianna really enjoyed the program, especially the hands-on projects.

Her second semester she started working on the two Masterbook science classes for a total of 1/2 credit. Both of these books are counting toward her elective classes.

Literature

Introduction to Literature (1 credit)

Homeschool Week in Review-17

Literature was another class that we opted to work on together in our small co-op. This was the class that I taught and having the small group worked very well. Each week we spent time talking about various writing techniques and reviewing the most recent assignments together. Writing is one area that is so important because it covers so many different aspects of life and will follow the kids wherever they go! This year we focused on putting together a strong essay (see the fun hamburger essay outline that Laurianna drew for herself and friends).

Hamburger essay outline for literature

Next year we will be working through the next book in this literature series. We read some fabulous books together (see Laurianna’s reading list here) and at the end of each unit we watched a movie version of the book to compare/contrast if it followed the book or completely digressed (more often then not it was the latter – but it was still fun).

The best part in working with the small group was the opportunity to work on peer reviews and share different writing styles with each other. Having someone else read, edit, and review your papers can be very intimidating, but the kids all handled it so well.

It is also here that I remembered why I though teaching high school English was not the direction I wanted to head. While I love many of the aspects of the class, having four papers to grade each week was crazy enough and I cannot even imagine having a crazy amount of papers to review each day/week.

My only ‘complaint’ with the program was the not-so-clear-cut grading scale/rubric. For my sanity I ended up creating a grading rubric for each type of paper, along with checklists for the kids to review before handing papers in. These were similar in style to the ones that I was familiar with from WriteShop, giving the kids and parents a clear idea of what was expected and how they could improve papers.

Grammar & Spelling

Easy Grammar 180 Daily Teaching Lessons, All About Spelling Levels 6 & 7

This was a fairly ‘light’ area for Laurianna this year. The Easy Grammar lessons were overall review for her, and we did spelling lessons sporadically throughout the year. She is a very proficient speller and we will finish up level 7 with her next year.

Math

Algebra 1 from Saxon Math (1 credit)

Saxon Algebra 1

Algebra is probably one of Laurianna’s least favorite subjects overall. She is still muddling through two tests and reviewing some of the material – it just isn’t her favorite area. While she didn’t struggle completely, it was the subject that took her the longest to complete each day and made her eyes want to gloss over.

Next year she is still debating on using Saxon for Algebra 2 or moving back to Teaching Textbooks. The main reason for the switch to Saxon was one of her friends was using Saxon, so she wanted to as well. We’ll have to decide in the next bit, but fortunately have both on hand just in case.

Elective

Greek Myths from Memoria Press (1/2 credit)

Laurianna really enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson series, so she thought that Greek Myths would be along the same lines. It wasn’t quite what she expected and while it started out okay, she now wishes she would have chosen something else as a 1/2 credit elective. (grins) She did finish the class during her first semester and earned the 1/2 credit, but has mentioned to her younger sister that it might not be the best option for her. Overall a good lesson in perseverance and finishing what we start.

Foreign Language

Spanish Tell Me More program (1 credit)

We didn’t quite get the first year finished and had a glitch in our software. When the program was initially purchased, Tell Me More was their own company, but they were bought out by Rosetta Stone. Trying to figure out how to get past our glitch was put on the back burner since we weren’t sure where to go for customer service. Fortunately, because we started it her 8th grade year, we have a little bit of wiggle room and will finish it up and move on to year 2 shortly.

Vocabulary

Dynamic Literacy Word Build Elements

Although we intended for Laurianna to work on this, we ended up shelving it because she was working on so much with literature and Daily Grams.

History

Mystery of History 4 combined with Story of the World 4 (see below); Liberty Kids dvd series

Laurianna worked primarily on taking good notes this year and getting ready for an independent class next year. She took the quizzes to go along with the class as well but decided to skip the coloring pages (grins).

Bible

Picture Smart Bible – wrapping up our Old Testament Studies and 90 Devotions for Kids – morning devotions

The Picture Smart Bible coloring pages were something Laurianna enjoyed, although our switch back to Grapevine Studies was her favorite study overall.

Co-op

PE, Art, and other electives

homeschool January 2015-36

The other co-op we were a part of included an art class that Laurianna really enjoyed. This year they worked on creating marionettes and decided to make characters from the book of Esther. When they were finished, they helped sew the costumes, created scene backdrops, wrote a play, and put on a 15 minute presentation for the co-op.

Click the images below to see our 2nd Grade Year in Review4th Grade Year in Review, and 6th Grade Year in Review. Stick around too – I’ll be sharing our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year soon!

2nd Grade Homeschool Year in Review 4th Grade Homeschool Year in Review

6th grade homeschool year in review

 
 

New to Homeschooling?

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

Additional Resources: Unfamiliar with some of the curriculum choices above? Follow the links below to learn more about the companies and resources:

Curriculum Choices from Years Past…

If you’d like to see what curriculum we’ve used in years past, click on one of the posts below. Grade levels taught each year are listed with the posts.

Homeschool Classroom Video Tour

When I initially shared that we were finishing off an area for our homeschool classroom a year and a half ago, I posted a short video clip of the ‘in progress’ work. Since then I’ve shared pictures of the room, but many of you have asked for a video tour. Sometimes pictures are helpful, but a video can really help give you a little more perspective.

Each video will have short blurbs telling more about the pieces and there will be links at the end of this post as well. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

Would you like a tour? This is the closest that I can give you to a personal visit right now, so grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and spend some time with me. We love our schoolroom and are glad that you are here for a visit.

Come on in!

Homeschool Room Tour {Part 1}

 

Homeschool Room Tour {Part 2}

 

Things You See in the Video {in order seen}:

Note: Ikea keeps changing location on their links, but names are provided for the various items we are using.

Other Helpful Posts

Phew!! If you stuck around for it all – let me know if you have any questions!! Leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer you!

 

Our Kindergarten Learning Area

Preschool CornerThis year before we started school, I asked Kaleb if he wanted to continue using the workboxes {we used the Trofast system from Ikea} or use workfolders like the others. He has been asking for awhile to use the workbox grid cards like the older kids, so this year we made a fresh start with his things.

Kaleb’s workspace is at the end of our homeschool classroom that is right near my desk. Both he and Zachary are closer to me so that we have a ‘triangle’ of sorts to work together, because they are the two that are most hands-on at this point.

Kindergarten workspace-2

Pictured above: Desk – Vika Amon birch tops w/ Curry legs and red Snille chair Pencil rack is Bygel rail with blue Bygel containers. Bins from the Ikea Trofast system.

When we moved the bigger Trofast system out of the schoolroom, it opened up some space next to Kaleb’s desk, so I re-worked the layout there to tailor it to what we’d be focusing on this year. Essentially, I just made it more fun for him {grins}.

Kindergarten workspace-1

Pictured above: A Guidecraft Nordic rocker, our monthly calendar pocket chartUS Wall Cling map, and our All About Reading Level 1 bag of goodies.

Kaleb is the one that primarily uses the pocket chart calendar, so that was moved next to his desk. Each day he figures out the color pattern {he chooses a new pattern each month} and will then count for me, tell me the full date, and explain the pattern is. {This is one of his favorite things to do ~ grins}.

On the wall right below, we have a US Wall Cling map {sometimes there is a similar one available on Amazon}. This year we’re talking a lot about where we live and the world around us, so the map has been a great hands-on tool for Kaleb.

We also keep his bag of All About Reading Level 1 books and the folder games in a bag on the floor so that we can pull it out when we are working on reading. Right behind the bag you may notice a few cookie sheets. One is for our Read! Build! Write! mat and letters. The other {red} sheet is a magnetic Kidboard from Barker Creek that we’re using to build sentences and read together.

Kindergarten workspace-4

Pictured above: Bygel rail with blue Bygel containers and 12” square corkboard tiles.

Kaleb’s desk area has all of his markers, pencils and more right within reach. Hanging right above his desk are pockets that we use to hang things that we are working on {currently a poem from First Language Lessons and our weather spinner}. We use it to also show off Kaleb’s artwork or other fun things. {shhh….Ziggy the Zebra is resting on the desk}.

Kindergarten workspace-3

Between McKenna and Kaleb’s desk is another Ikea Trofast tower. Kaleb stores all of his ‘extras’ in the bottom two bins. The white bin is for his workfolders and the red bin is where he stores his history binder and other large items so they don’t take up desk space. On top of the Trofast system, is a red bin {left} where he puts any of his completed work. The two binders between the two red bins {top} are his daily calendar notebook and McKenna’s.

That’s just a quick look at Kaleb’s kindergarten workspace. I’ll share a little more next week about how Kaleb’s overall routine is with his workfolders and weekly workbox grid and how we’ve tweaked the workbox system to work for our family.

More Preschool Links

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post below and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you. You can read more in the updated guidelines for Preschool Corner.

Be specific in your ‘link title’. Leave either your blog name or theme and provide an age range for your activities. Something a little like this:

Police Officer Theme {ages 4-5}

 

Preschool Corner

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Homeschool Reading Program

Our New Homeschool Room

Updated: If you would like to, please take a video tour of our homeschool room – I’d love to show you around!!

Homeschool Room

We’ve officially been in our new homeschool room  for 2 weeks now and it has truly been such a blessing to have everything we need in one spot and organized! While we still have a few things that need to be finished {trim work and securing bookcases to the wall}, we’ve been putting it to good use.

Since our room has some odd wall angles, I measured and re-measured and did a lot of online planning to make sure that pieces I was considering would fit in the room. Almost all of the furnishings are thanks to a day-trip to Ikea and the patience of a wonderful friend who helped talk me into {and out of} a few things. I went with a list in hand, but still managed to forget one thing ~ a Trofast shelving unit that is supposed to hold the bins between the kid’s desks. Oops.

Maybe you all remember the disaster of a space when all the books, supplies and what-nots were moved from their various hiding places all over the house and into their permanent learning spots. Yikes! But, it finally came together. I’m not kidding when I tell you I had blisters thanks to the little Allen wrench and a whole lotta screws.

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Pictured above: a big, fat mess

I have to tell you that the color of paint in the room {Benjamin Moore Stem Green} scared me to DEATH when I first saw it on the walls ~ before the furniture was in the room. Thankfully, my hubby and good friend were right when they told me it would all be ok {and talked me out of repainting}.

Ready for a little tour of the new schoolroom? Here’s the view from my end of the room {when you come up the stairs from the garage}.  We have a larger table area that all of our chairs fit around when we are working together for some subjects {history, Bible, etc…}.

New Classroom-1

The table {Ikea Norden} also folds down so we can slide it to the side of the room if we want a little more space. It also has 6 handy drawers where we keep some of our extra supplies like paintbrushes, some art supplies, card games, etc…}.

New Classroom-6

The view from the other end of the room where you come in through the upstairs {via the girl’s room}.

New Classroom-2

There are two desks on each side of the room ~ we split the kids up boy/girl on each side. They are SO excited to have their own workspace {and I am so happy to not hear ~ “Move your stuff out of my spot!” ~ just sayin’}.  Kaleb and McKenna are on one side of the room. There will eventually be a shelving system in between their two desks {the one that I forgot to pick up on the trip}.

New Classroom-3

Pictured above: Desks – Vika Amon birch tops w/ Curry legs and red Snille chairs. Pencil rack is Bygel rail with blue Bygel containers. Bins from the Trofast system.

Kaleb’s desk area is something I’m just loving. I know it’s a little more busy, but he has all of his ‘stuff’ around him and is so excited about it!His desk area has posters from his All About Reading program, a place to hang the ABC crafts he completes and a space beside his desk for his workbox system.

New Classroom-4

Pictured above: ABC posters from All About Reading, trofast system from Ikea, Bygel rail with blue Bygel containers and 12” square corkboard tiles.

The boys’ desks are closest to my end of the room so that they can pull up their chairs to the other side of my desk if we need to work together. I got a swivel chair for myself ~ just because. :)

New Classroom-5

 

My desk area holds all of the main text books {all the teacher’s guides, etc….} along with all the fun stuff too {a.k.a. the laminator and all the teacher supplies}. Top shelves are all of the books we’ll need for this year, shelf level with the desk holds the day-to-day things, and lower shelves hold all the ‘we use it at sometime’ stuff. We had to rig the top of the shelving system because of the slant of the walls. Instead of the top that comes with the system we screwed a white shelve to the top to hold it in place {shhhhhh!}. That way it can sit flush against the wall and things won’t fall out the back.

20110924-IMG_2049 20110924-IMG_2048

Pictured above: My desk is Expedit bookcase and the Expedit desk and Snille swivel chair. The file boxes are Lingo boxes along with green Kassat boxes {to hide stuff}.

One of my favorite parts of the room is the bookcase setup around the window at the end of the room. I LOVE the little window seat area that we were able to create with the bookcases. This has been one of Laurianna’s favorite places to sit and work during the day. I also love that the bin under the bench pulls out to store the kid’s coloring books and such.

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Pictured above: Bookcase setup includes 2 Expedit tall shelves, 2 Expedit bookshelves, and a Stuva storage bench with red chair cushions.

All of our Calendar and Morning Board things are set up in one of the corners of the room {you can read more about our Calendar setup here}. Our All About Spelling board leans up against the wall so that we can move it around if we want to. :)

The bins on the bottom shelves of the nearby bookcases hold some of our day-to-day things: calendar supplies, our All About Spelling teacher manuals and cards, and also our science curriculum. The  kid’s easel is folded up and between the wall and the bookcase.

New Classroom-7

Pictured above: Our monthly calendar pocket chart, We Choose Virtues poster, Calendar and Morning Board, US Wall Cling map, and our All About Spelling board.

The shelves on either side of the window hold all the rest of the ‘stuff’ we use during the year: games, history books, Bibles, early readers, chapter books for the girls, puzzles, and just general fun stuff.

20110924-IMG_2055 20110924-IMG_2053

Pictured above: Bins are Kusiner green/blue and red book bins from Really Good Stuff. Tabletop paper holder from Ikea. Chair is the Guidecraft Nordic rocker.

So…that’s it! We’re in and almost settled. My hubby is working on the trim and hopes to have it finished soon!! Most everything is linked to underneath each of the photos, but here’s the short list:

Where Did it Come From?

I would love to also see your classrooms too ~ wanna share? The best part of putting our room together was gathering ideas from all over the web! I’ve included a linky below for you all to join in and include a thumbnail image of your room.