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Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014

This year (our ninth year homeschooling – woot!) we’re adding a few new pieces to our homeschool curriculum roundup and venturing into the world of high school credits. Gah!

It was a bit intimidating at first, but after putting together an overall plan for high school,  it was a bit easier. Several of our friends are also venturing into the homeschool high school realm, so that helps even more! We’ll be participating in a small-scale co-op this year for two of our high school credits which will make several of the subjects a LOT of fun.

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

 

Here’s a look at the overall plan for the homeschool year. This year our kids are working on 8th (Laurianna), 6th (McKenna), 4th (Zachary), and 2nd (Kaleb). Our 8th grader will be working on 5-6 high school credits.  Something may have been left off the list despite my ridiculous list making, so it’s entirely possible that this list will be edited during the year.

2014 homeschool curriculum

2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

4th Grade Curriculum Choices

6th Grade Curriculum Choices

8th Grade Curriculum Choices

Laurianna  will be working on 6 high school credits this year. We are also a part of a small co-op and will be combining a literature class and science labs with them.

History as a Group…

Our history text will be our core focus for the year and we will be working on Mystery of History 4 as a group (Early American History to Modern Times). As they fit in, we’ll add lessons from Story of the World 4. Depending on the levels of the kids, they will also use the following resources. The bulk of our resources are from Bright Ideas Press with a few from Amazon:

Mom’s Curriculum & Additional Helps

In addition to a lovely collection of teacher’s manuals that go along with all of the kid’s books, here are a few things that I have on hand to keep me organized:

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.

Quick Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

There are so many times when we get ‘stuck’ in the ‘What are we going to use?’ rut for homeschool curriculum. Choices abound and can be overwhelming!

Tips for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum



Next week I’ll be sharing what our family will be using for the 2014-2015 school year (you can see our choices from last year here), but here are five tips for helping you make homeschool curriculum choices (and they are things that I have to remember every year!).

1. Your homeschool doesn’t need to look like another family’s school.

Just because your best friend is using something and has her school time set up in a specific way doesn’t mean that yours needs to mirror everything just so. You and your family are unique! (And that is a good thing).

The opportunity to homeschool our kids is a blessing and it can be so tempting to try to be just like another family and put expectations on ourselves and our kids that really aren’t appropriate. Please remember that your family may have different priorities, you may be in a different season of life (young kids vs. older children), and you may be facing different parenting challenges.

Your quickest way to burnout and making some bad decisions is comparing yourself or your kids to others. Focus on what is important – your family and what is best for them! (Trust me on this!)

2. Consider what you as a parent need, just as much as you consider what you are getting for your children!

While it is important to consider your child’s learning style and your teaching style, sometimes you may be in a season of life where you need all the help you can get! Maybe that means looking at a curriculum that requires little planning on your part. It’s okay to consider something that will make life easier for you!! There have been times in our family life that life was crazy (lack of sleep, a move, etc…) – take it all into consideration before making your final choices!

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you buy!

Whether it be asking another homeschool mom, searching blog reviews, getting a hands-on look at what you are considering at a homeschool convention, or calling and talking to a company in person. Keep in mind that what works for one family may not work for yours, but you can do research before you make a commitment.

It’s also great to know the guarantee policy of a company as well. There are several companies (such as All About Learning Press) that offer a one year money back guarantee – that can be a great help when you are looking to buy!

4. Stick to your budget.

I know – not a fun word, but keep in mind that just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean that it’s the best (or only) thing that will work. You may be able to find the same curriculum used, borrow it from a friend or the library, or find an alternative to that piece you have your eye on.

It is SO easy to get carried away (trust me, I know). Put together a rough idea of what you need, set some $$ limits and see what you can do. If you have a limited budget, be sure to read How to Homeschool on a Limited Budget for some great tips!

5. Ask your kids what they would like. 

Maybe it’s just my kids, but they seem to have opinions on what they like and don’t like. Granted, they can’t do whatever they would like all the time, but some of our best times together have been focused on topics that were interesting to them.

With our oldest embarking on her high school journey, we sat down together and looked at programs that she would enjoy too. We talked about things that she wanted to be involved in, compared programs together, and looked at what has (and hasn’t) worked in years past. Sometimes we’ve been able to incorporate what they wanted into our plans, and other times we’ve had good discussions on how we can adapt something we’re using. Including older kids in the process is so important – especially as they become more independent in their learning.

 

Other Helps for Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

How to Homeschool Children with Special Needs

When curriculum isn't working - www.homeschoolcreations.net

Looking for some additional helps in choosing homeschool curriculum? These posts may offer some additional tips for you:

What one tip would you offer other families when choosing curriculum pieces? Leave a comment below and chime in with your thoughts.

Homeschool Basics

This post is a part of the Homeschool Basics series. Be sure to read the other posts if you are just joining in. For the record, I am not an expert. I’m a homeschool mom who is sharing what she’s learned so far along the way with her own family.

June Pocket Chart Calendar Pieces – FREE Printable

June pocket chart calendar pieces from homeschoolcreations.net



Summer may be right around the corner, but these cute calendar pieces will keep the learning going!

The June pocket chart calendar pieces have three different colored number cards and pictures. Use the different colored number cards to try different pattern sequences: an ABC pattern, ABAB pattern, AABB pattern and other patterns you can make up together. Here’s an example of different patterns using the cards from a past set to give you a few ideas.

pattern example The set includes a calendar header for the month of June as well. Time to get your pocket charts and laminators ready and start printing the June pocket chart calendar pieces. {Psst —> Here are some cheaper laminating pouches we use and LOVE!}

June header

Additional Calendar Helps

Here are a few additional printables and helps for you all, including the pocket chart that we use, laminating tips, and additional printables you may like:

 

Yearly pocket chart calendar numbers from Homeschool Creations copy Pocket chart holiday and special occasion cards

 

Keep up with the newest posts and subscribe by RSS or e-mail to be the first to know of other free printables!

Coupon Codes and Companies to Thank

We really appreciate the following companies – be sure to stop by their sites and check them out.

Find out more about the 2014 Homeschool Conventions

The final 2014 Teach Them Diligently Conventions will be in Dallas. Our entire family attended in D.C. this past May, and we SO enjoyed it! The workshops, sessions, and children’s programs are fabulous! Use coupon code HSCREATIONS to save $7!!. Stay tuned for more information on the 2015 locations and speakers (at this point I’m hoping to join them again)!
 

Homeschool High School Science Tutorials

Red Wagon Tutorials offers upper level science help for homeschool families worldwide.  They specialize in downloadable, online live-feed, and online recorded science classes as well as digital e-Notebooks and Flash Drive presentations. Learn more about their 2014-2015 programs.
 
ConLitHistoryNeverKnew450x450_zps8288a06d Squilt Music Appreciation Young Living Essential Oils 2

Apologia has a brand new Constitutional Literacy DVD class for high school – and truthfully it is one that adults will benefit from as well. The class is taught by Michael Farris of HSLDA and is a full high school credit! Visit their site to find out more!

No More Lemonade – Most teachers’ view of entrepreneurship can be summed up in a few short sentences. If it’s difficult, make it impossible. If it’s complex, pretend it’s not. And if you think you understand it, you probably don’t. Learn entrepreneurship the right way – experience it.

SQUILT (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time) is a music appreciation curriculum for preschool through middle school that is easy to teach and implement for the parent with limited or NO musical knowledge. Use code HSCREATIONS at checkout to receive 25% off any volume and get your fine arts classes ready for the upcoming year!

This past year has seen a lot of changes in our home thanks to Young Living Essential Oils. We’ve changed from many of our over-the-counter medications and instead found natural remedies that have worked amazingly. Our favorite oils are peppermint, lavender, peace and calming, thieves, and lemon – all in the everyday oils collection.If you’d like to find out more, feel free to email me (I’d love to talk with you) or learn more here.

 

Reader’s Favorite Posts from May 2014

Curious to see what others have been reading this past month? Below is a list of the ten most visited posts for the month of May 2014:

  1. Organizing School Paperwork
  2. Alphabet Flashcards and Wall Posters
  3. Daily Calendar Notebook Printables

PDF Printing Problems

Having trouble downloading or printing this file? Be sure to check out the post on PDF Download Problems for tips and tricks on getting the files to download properly. The solution is usually something simple and quick!

May Pocket Chart Calendar Cards

May pocket chart calendar pieces from homeschoolcreations.net

Are you ready for May? The trees are finally budding in our area, flowers are popping up, and the birds are going nuts at our feeder! Time to get your pocket charts and laminators ready and start printing the May pocket chart calendar pieces. {Psst —> Here are some cheaper laminating pouches we use and LOVE!}

There are three different colored number cards and pictures in this download. Use the different colored number cards to try different pattern sequences: an ABC pattern, ABAB pattern, AABB pattern and other patterns you can make up together. Here’s an example of different patterns using the cards from a past set to give you a few ideas.

pattern example

The set includes a calendar header for the month of May as well.

May header

 

Additional Calendar Helps

Here are a few additional printables and helps for you all, including the pocket chart that we use, laminating tips, and additional printables you may like:

 

Yearly pocket chart calendar numbers from Homeschool Creations copy Pocket chart holiday and special occasion cards

 

Keep up with the newest posts and subscribe by RSS or e-mail to be the first to know of other free printables!

Coupon Codes and Companies to Thank

We SO appreciate the following companies – be sure to stop by their sites and check them out.

Find out more about the 2014 Homeschool Conventions

The last two Teach Them Diligently Conventions for 2014 are coming soon! Be sure to register today for the Washington, D.C. and Dallas events. Our entire family will be attending in D.C., and I know you will be SO encouraged through the workshops and sessions.  Use coupon code HSCREATIONS to save $7!!
 

 

Apologia science

 

Bright Ideas Press publishes curriculum that is both affordable and easy-to-use with children of different ages at the same time. We are SO excited about their upcoming North Star Geography program for high school – it’s already on our curriculum list for next year! (Note: the North Star program is available for pre-order – WOOT!).

Apologia offers  a K-12 Creation-based science curriculum, worldview curriculum for ages six to fourteen, practical and inspirational books about homeschooling, refreshing retreats for moms, and online classes from Apologia Academy. Visit their site to see their full curriculum line!

A+ TutorSoft, Inc. provides Multi-Sensory Interactive MATH Full Curriculum products to help students improve their grades at all levels. Download one free month of math curriculum and get started today!

No More Lemonade – Most teachers’ view of entrepreneurship can be summed up in a few short sentences. If it’s difficult, make it impossible. If it’s complex, pretend it’s not.  And if you think you understand it, you probably don’t. Learn entrepreneurship the right way – experience it.
 
 

Reader’s Favorite Posts from April 2014

Curious to see what others have been reading this past month? Below is a list of the ten most visited posts for the month of April 2014:

  1. Our Chore System and Chore Chart Printables
  2. ABC Bible Verse Flashcards
  3. Garden Preschool Pack Printables

 

PDF Printing Problems

Having trouble downloading or printing this file? Be sure to check out the post on PDF Download Problems for tips and tricks on getting the files to download properly. The solution is usually something simple and quick!

Our Calendar and Morning Board Routine (and FREE Printables)

Calendar Board Printables from Homeschool Creations

 

 

 
 

 

Over the past four+ years there is one thing that has been a constant part of our morning routine – our calendar board. Each of our kids has participated in learning from it, and it has been a fun way to add a bit of math, Bible, and other subjects into a start of our day. Our youngest is in first grade and we’ll likely be using it next year with him as well for continued practice.

Our Current Calendar and Morning Board

The current setup for our calendar and morning board hasn’t changed much over the last two years, but I recently realized that there are a large number of you that have never seen it before!

Calendar Board and printables from Homeschool Creations-1

The calendar and morning board is essentially the size of a large posterboard. We used a piece of foam board to make it super sturdy and then used a mix of activities and things we wanted to include in our routine. On the board above you can see the following printables (linked below) – I’ve listed them from top to bottom by column (items with an * are included in the calendar printable pack):

  • Prayer cards for our Compassion children. Each week we put a different card at the front. These are half sheets of paper that I made with pictures of the children we sponsor through Compassion (and there is also a card for a missionary friend in the mix).
  • Skip Counting Charts – we have charts from 1 to 12 that we rotate through and practice. The originals are 8.5” x 11”, so I printed them off 2 to a page to make them smaller.
  • Make the Date  – we use plastic coins to make the date with money. For example, if it is the 24th of the month we could use 2 dimes and four pennies to make the date. (Find these here.)
  • What Time is It? * There is a mini Judy clock velcroed on to this part. Kaleb sets the clock to the correct time and then writes the time in digitally.
  • Days in School * – Each day we add another number to our days in school and learn how to break a number down and identify number words (match to Math U See program colors)
  • ABC Bible Verse Cards – These flashcard-sized ABC Bible verse cards have a verse for every letter of the alphabet and are in constant review.
  • We Choose Virtues cards – The teacher cards from the We Choose Virtues character program slide into half of a page protector (5 1/2” x 8 1/2”). We review one character trait and the ‘catch phrase’ each week.
  • Today’s Temperature * – a little help to track and compare the indoor and outdoor temperature and learn how to use a thermometer
  • The Weather Outside * – a weekly weather tracker
  • Today’s Date (hanging from the bottom) – from Mama Jenn

 

Below you can download all of the calendar and morning board printables that I’ve created and use them to put together your own calendar board. The printables are available for free!

 

How to Make a Calendar Board

If you’d like to make your own calendar and morning board, you might want to grab the following supplies:

Assembly and Storage:

I purchased a piece of foam board from Target/Walmart and used adhesive hooks to hang the board on the wall (and a pencil to poke holes through the board – grins). After laminating most of my pieces, I used double-sided tape to adhere the main pieces to the board. I also cut several sheet protectors in half to slide in other pieces (like the skip counting charts) that were not laminated.

There isn’t a set way to put the board together – I just decided what pieces we wanted on our board and then rearranged them on the board before adhering anything.

image

Velcro was my friend. Every coin and number card has a velcro dot attached to it in some way. Keep in mind that all of those little squares and coins need to be stored somehow. I laminated several pieces of cardstock and then attached the extra pieces to the cards for storage and keep them in a small bin from Ikea. We can easily find the pieces we need and return any unused pieces to the cards.

Follow up with the Daily Calendar Notebook

 

 

Calendar Notebook Binder
 
 

 

 

After we go through our calendar board, our youngest (first grade) works on his daily calendar notebook. It’s just another way that we continue to work on various math, science, and handwriting concepts each day. From working on a monthly calendar, tallying the days in school, and graphing the weather, there’s lots to work on. You see a bit more of the Daily Calendar Notebook printables (including a video) here.
 
 
We also have a pocket chart that we use as our daily calendar and practice for patterning, learning the days of the week, counting, etc… Learn more about the yearly pocket chart calendar cards here.
 
 

Past Calendar and Morning Boards

As I mentioned before, our calendar and morning board has looked different and traveled around the house with us. Here’s a peek at another way it has been set up:

image

Take a peek at this calendar set up here

A Few Other Moms with Calendar and Morning Boards

You may also be interested in visiting these moms to see how they set up their calendar and morning board time:

How 2 Sticker Dots Helped Our Reading Lessons

Sticker dots for reading

In hindsight it seems so simple, but two tiny sticker dots have been a HUGE help to our reading lessons with our youngest. There are days when he gets overwhelmed when he sees his reading assignment for the day. And remember small progress leads to big improvement. While we don’t need to use this method quite as much anymore, it was one of those ‘aha’ moments for me – and may be for you all as well! 

Mark it Dots for Reading-7

The reading fluency sheets from the All About Reading program are absolutely wonderful, but Kaleb’s hesitancy comes at having to read “all those words” (as he puts it). While there really isn’t a lot to read on the sheets, looking at two 8.5” x 11” pages can seem like a lot since they aren’t in typical story format like the hard cover readers from the program.

Mark it Dots for Reading-4

Usually we break up a reading lesson to complete over a few days, but that initial shock can wreak havoc on a little boy’s emotions (smiles). We began using some tiny little Mark-it Dots to show the stop/start point in his reading assignments and I cannot tell you the WORLD of difference that it has made.

Mark it Dots for Reading-10

The Mark-it Dots (found on Amazon) are reusable and lightly sticky, so you can put one dot at the starting point of the reading assignment and one at the end to show a definite end. Once the reading assignment is completed, the stickers can be peeled off and re-applied to the next day’s assignment.

Mark it Dots for Reading-16

We have the 1/4” Mark-it dots  (there are larger 3/4” dots too) that come in a pack with rainbow colors. We use a green dot for our start point and a red dot for our ending point, and it has worked so very well!  

Does your child ever get overwhelmed reading? What tips have you found that help ease the anxiety? 

 

 

progress in small way adds up to big improvement - HomeschoolCreations

Every day sees progress in some small way that over time adds up to improvement. It’s hard to see at times, especially when we are a part of the small steps leading up to those larger strides. Yes, it requires perseverance and sticking through those (maybe many) rough days, but progress is being made. (read more…)

 

Interested in learning more about All About Reading – click here!

All About Reading Activity Bundle