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2012 Curriculum Changes

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Officially we’re halfway through our school year and we’ve had a bit of rearranging going on ~ some over the last 8 weeks and a few new pieces added to start this semester. You can see our full 2011-2012 homeschool curriculum list in the post I wrote earlier this past fall. Here’s a look at the areas we made changes.

I do love the fact that we have the flexibility to tweak things in our schedule that are {or are not} working for us so that our family gets the most out of what we are doing. Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating, but when something ‘clicks’ ~ that is just a wonderful feeling!


Mystery of History Volume 1The biggest switch has been with our history. At the beginning of November we began using Mystery of History Vol. 1 from Bright Ideas Press. We have several of the go-along digital pieces {reproducible tests/quizzes, folderbook, notebooking pages, and coloring pages} and are slowly working in some other things such as the Read Aloud Guides and Family Study Guides that are a part of Illuminations. Can I just tell you how much we are all enjoying history?? Very much! :)


imageThe girls both switched over to Easy Grammar in early December and that change too has been such a great switch. It came highly recommended to me from Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Our prior program just was causing more frustration and tears than learning, and Easy Grammar has made a world of difference. We are also using Daily Grams to go along with the Easy Grammar and the girls {and I} like the layout of the program. We also now have separate levels for the girls {we are using levels 4 and 5}.


Zachary is moving into Write Shop Primary B and the girls are starting Write Shop Junior Book D that just released at the end of 2011.


Laurianna wrapped up Teaching Textbooks Level 5 and has now started Teaching Textbooks 6. We’ve also added in Life of Fred: Fractions for her to work on on Tuesdays/Thursday in addition to her TT lesson. She loves the simple format and giggles through many of the questions. :)


Kaleb has finished up All About Reading Level Pre-1 and is now working through All About Reading Level 1 and we are having much fun. He asks to work on it every day {even days we don’t have school}. You have to love that enthusiasm!

McKenna will also be working on her reading comprehension using Beyond the Code 4.

That’s it on this end. Have you made any recent tweaks or changes to your curriculum?


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  1. Yes, we switched to BJU Press English and Horizons Math. Next year we may do Teaching Textbooks for the older girls. At least that is what my husband wants to do. :)

  2. I started Hanna on Easy Grammar this school year too.  This is our second quarter with it and we both like it.  I bought all of their books on clearance last year–2nd grade through Easy Grammar Plus–couldn’t pass them up at such a great price and am glad I did now!

    Thank you for the heads up on the way you are doing TT and LOF.  Hanna is starting out that way this week.  LOF is very challenging for her this year, so I’m hoping two lessons a week will be more manageable for her.

    I bought Write Shop 1 for her, but am still debating over whether we will start it this school year or wait till next year.

    Good luck with your new curriculums and the rest of your school year!

  3. I’m debating on Illuminations at some point, and would love to hear more of what you think about it.  It seems like such a big leap to add in, but I’m sure I’d love it once I started.  I have yet to dislike anything from them.

  4. For the Easy Grammar, did you feel like you need the Teachers Book also or just the workbook for the kids?  We are looking to change to something different also. I have liked what we are doing but feel we need a bit more meat! :)

    • The teacher’s manual has all the answers to the daily exercises…so, I did buy those as well. The teacher’s manual doesn’t need to be consumable, so we’ll be able to use it with the rest of the kids coming up through and just buy the workbooks from now on ~ and then resell them in the future. :)

  5. HI there,
       My oldest is turning 5 next week, he has williams syndrome and does not yet recognize letters. He can tell if it is a letter just cannot recall which one it is. I am wondering if all about reading introduces letters or is the child expected to already recognize them? I am thinking about adding it to our handwriting without tears curriculum( we are using their pre-k curriculum) so that he could learn his letters and hopefully get ready to learn to read over the next school year. Any information or tips about the program or teaching those letters would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  6. I added in Winning With Writing for my 2nd grader several months into the school year {we start in July}.  I love the short, easy lessons and I feel like we are moving forward with grammar.  We are also doing more unit studies than I had intended but it’s working for us!

  7. beachmama4 says

    I am looking at adding The Write Shop I for my 7th grade son.  We are both becoming increasing frustrated with IEW’s SICC-B that we are using in our co-op.  I will probably add this to our overall curriculum next year for my younger daughter as well.

  8. H-Mama @ Family Team says

    oh, yes!  we love easy grammar and TT, too! :)

  9. I’m constantly tweaking! the biggest change was adding all about spelling – we’re on level 2 now with our first, and the 2nd one is starting level 1! 

  10. We’ve switched up a few things too.  We were using MUS, but changed to Bob Jones Math.  So far, so good.  I’m really surprised MUS didn’t work for my daughter.  It gets such good reviews.  She’s just not remembering the information.  
    We also added in Bob Jones Spelling.  I took out A Reason For Handwriting, because she hated it.  The spelling has lots of handwriting in it, so I thought it can be used for handwriting practice too. 
    I’m also adding in some reading comprehension lessons.

    Good luck with your new choices!

    • I’m figuring the reading comprehension will also give us some good 1:1 time together. :) an added bonus that she will love. Have fun with your switches too!!

  11. Goodness I didn’t realize how much we had in common! We just added MOH & Illuminations, doing Easy Grammer, adding WriteStart, doing Teaching Textbooks. I want to add in Life of Fred too.

  12. parkepreschool says

    Curious how you would compare your curriculum with A Beka? This is my
    first year home school and I’ve like it O.K. but honestly I have nothing
    to compare it to.  Maybe you know of a site that compares curriculum.  Sorry, I guess that’s not a simple question and I realize that I’m asking for your opinion.   Love your posts and information.

    • parkepreschool says

      I ready your post about spelling, I’ll have to check out the program…I hate the A Beka spelling, too many words that used different rules.

    • I love the layout and structure of this MUCH better. We started out with Abeka for several subjects, but have slowly weaned off things over the years. We still use it for the younger grades of math, but when they hit a certain grade we switch over to a different program. I absolutely love All About Spelling and the rules and program are laid out so that you have no questions about what is being taught. It is very hands on as well, which really helps kids connect with the program. AND…they have a 1 year money back guarantee…which means you really can’t go wrong. :)

  13. Emily Quesenberry says

    So glad to hear someone say they like MOH, we are planning on using that this coming August. What age range did you use it for?

    • All of the kids are sitting in on it right now ~ K through 5th. :) The youngest colors along on the coloring pages to go along with the lessons {he loves that} and listens somewhat {grins}. He likes to work on the projects with us and watch any go-along videos too. Anything he’s absorbing is fine with me! I love that we can make it more or less difficult depending on the levels our kids are at. There are suggestions for different age ranges which helps a lot.

    • Emily Quesenberry says

      Thanks for answering, I will have k,1,and 4th and was looking for someone with similar ages to find out how it worked for them. Hearing that it works well for your ages, makes me feel like I’m making a good choice. Thanks again!

  14. Jolanthe, I noticed you switched your grammar program. Could you explain the difference between the Language Lessons and the Easy Grammar? My son is 10 and in the 4th grade, he can’t spell to save his life and I am just starting to introduce grammar, writing, and spelling into his program. Before all of these subjects were so overwhelming he would end up in tears daily. (He was a late reader.)  I feel he is ready to begin something now but I have no idea where to begin and no one near me to ask. Any thoughts? Thanks for any help you can give me. I am kicking myself now for not going to the conventions last year to ask these questions!

  15. Although I have never commented I LOVE your site and all that you share!  I’m curious why you switched from Homeschool in the Woods, Time Travler to Mystery of History.


  16. Just a few questions about your math selections.  My son is in TT 5 right now, and I was planning to get level 6 for next year, though I noticed it’s more expensive than the earlier levels, nearly $30 more (for the CDs only).  I was wondering how you’re finding Life of Fred.  Does it go well with TT 6?  Does TT 6 need the extra supplement?  Would Life of Fred: Fractions work well without TT?  I did look at the website, but without seeing the book, I’m just not sure.  TT is expensive enough, so I’m trying to decide whether to do one or the other or both together.  Also, I don’t know if you have the books that go along with TT 6, but do you find you’re using them, or are the CDs still enough (we’re using CDs only).  What are your thoughts, now that your daughter has been doing both?   (HELP!)  : )

    • Our daughter has really been enjoying Life of Fred. I don’t think that it is required, but we’ve been using it so she has a bit of a ‘hands-on’ work with math. And it’s fun. :) We do not typically use the books to go along with TT, although I do have several of them since I was able to find a few of the TT levels used via homeschoolclassifieds.com. Right now, Laurianna is doing a full lesson in TT each day and also on lesson in LOF every other day along with it. The problems are just fun ~ and usually read out loud to others because of the content. :) I hope that helps some!

  17. Socalmama3 says

    Thanks for sharing your updates.  As I’m thinking about next year, I’m wondering how you liked the Word Build Foundations.  Did you continue that?  Would you recommend it?  I’d love to get your feedback. 

    • We used it all year. One of our girls had a harder time with it at first, but after about 8 weeks really began to enjoy it a lot. The different approaches {games, etc…} helped mix it up a lot too. :) Will be picking it up again this year for sure.

    • Socalmama3 says

      Thanks so much for the quick reply! I’m going to a hs conference this Sat., so am trying to narrow down what I’ll be looking at/buying.  I have been homeschooling for 12 years, and I have been so blessed to have found your blog this past year.  Lots of great ideas and printables, and positive support.  May God bless you and your beautiful family.

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