Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Homeschool Favorites for ALL Grades



I often get asked what my favorite curriculum is for different ages.  I have to say that the list changes yearly, because let's face it, each year we are bound to find something new and improved- and yes, sometimes those things make it on my list.  There are also a handful of items that have graced my favorites list for YEARS!  After all, I have been homeschooling for over 23 years!

My two daughters have graduated from college, my oldest son starts this year and already has all but one of his general college courses completed, and our youngest beings 8th grade next month.  Point being- we have done all the grades multiple times! 

I know there are many out there that are new to homeschooling or still trying to decide if this is something you can do until the current COVID situation calms down.  I would love to give you a few words of wisdom from an OLD homeschooling mom...

YOU CAN DO THIS!  You are smart, and you are able!  And no one knows or loves your kids as much as you do.

NOT EVERY DAY IS EASY!  But every day is worth it.  You will build relationships with your kids and maybe even heal a few. 

YOU ARE NOT RUNNING A MINI VERSION OF SCHOOL!  Homeschooling and schooling at home are two different beasts.  If you are going this on your own, outside the school system, you get to call the shots.  Check out your state's legal requirements and then jump in!

IT DOES NOT TAKE ALL DAY!  Really, it doesn't.  It is dependent on how many kiddos you are teaching, their ages, your pace, and a million other details.  But you will not have the distraction of 20 other students, bath room breaks, fire drills, recess and so on!

DON'T MAKE IT COMPLICATED! If you are just trying to fill in for a year, there are many programs online as well as "all in one" programs to choose for.  They not only offer discounts for an entire level, but will have lesson plans that you can follow day to day.  Ones I would recommend you look at are-

When we began homeschooling, and for several years afterwards, we used "all in one" curriculum.  It was an easy way to get started and did not feel so intimidating.  Through the years I started finding other courses I loved and would add them to our program, sometimes doubling up subjects just to fit it all in.  After wearing myself and my kids out, I began to streamline and pick and choose with more deliberation.  Add in my years of reviewing homeschool curriculum, and I have been exposed to A LOT of programs.  I tell people often, ask me about it- I have probably used it.

That being said, yes, I do have my favorites and if I was starting all over tomorrow here is what I would use!   If I have reviewed a product in the past I have linked them to the review. Please note- I am NOT profiting off any of these products.  Just a mom sharing her experiences.

Kindergarten- Just have fun!  Really!  Learn letters, colors and explore nature!  If your kiddo love games. learn through games!  Let them help in the kitchen, talk about community helpers, read aloud daily, and snuggle a lot.  They are only young once- savor this time.  If they really want to read- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, is fun, short, and easy to use.  BOB Books are also good!  Saxon Math K is a great hands on math program and most kids find it fun to use at this level.

1st Grade-All About Reading and Reading Eggs (super fun online program your kids will LOVE!)
                  Saxon Math
                  Saxon Grammar and Writing or Here to Help Learning (online)
                  Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                  History- My Story 1 (Masterbooks)
                  READ- every book you can get your hands on!
2nd Grade- All About Reading
                    Saxon Math
                    Here to Help Learning (online)
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    History- My Story 2 (Masterbooks)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program
3rd Grade- All About Reading

                    Saxon Math
                    Hake Grammar and Writing or Here to Help Learning (online)
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    History- Elementary World History (Masterbooks)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

4th Grade- All About Reading
                    All About Spelling (very hands on) or Spelling Power (if your child is a strong speller)
                    Saxon Math AND Time Tables (simply the BEST way to learn multiplication I think!)
                    Hake Grammar and Writing or Here to Help Learning (online)
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    History- Our 50 States (Notgrass)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

5th Grade-  All About Spelling (very hands on) or Spelling Power (if your child is a strong speller)
                    Teaching Textbooks 5 (Math)
                    Hake Grammar and Writing
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    History- America the Beautiful (Notgrass)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

6th Grade - All About Spelling (very hands on) or Spelling Power (if your child is a strong speller)
                    Teaching Textbooks 6 (Math)
                    Hake Grammar and Writing
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    Memoria Press Geography I
                    History- From Adam to Us (Notgrass)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

7th Grade-  Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                    Teaching Textbooks 7 (Math)
                    Hake Grammar and Writing
                    Nancy Larson Science (non religious) or Exploring Creation Series
                    Memoria Press Geography II
                    History- Uncle Sam and You (Notgrass)
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

8th Grade- Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                    Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 (Math)
                    Hake Grammar and Writing
                    Apologia General Science
                    Memoria Press Geography II
                    History- Sonlight (This is one of our favorite years that uses the A History of US series                           by  Joy Hakim)
                    Keyboarding
                    READ- every book you can get your hands on! We use Sonlight's Literature Program

9th Grade- Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                    Teaching Textbooks Geometry (Math)
                    Apologia Biology or Friendly Biology
                    IEW writing
                    Foreign Language
                    US History- Sonlight or Notgrass
                    US Literature- Sonlight
                    Elective

10 Grade-  Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                    Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 (Math)
                    Apologia Biology
                    IEW writing
                    Foreign Language
                    World History- Sonlight of Notgrass
                    World Literature (Sonlight)
                    Elective

11th Grade- Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                     Teaching Textbooks Chemistry (Math)
                     Apologia Biology
                     IEW writing
                     Government and Economics- Sonlight or Notgrass
                     British Literature
                     Elective

12th Grade- Wordly Wise Vocabulary
                     Math U See- Stewardship (this is a consumer math class that teaches some great                                 life skills!)
                     Apologia Physics (if your child is college bound in a science or math related field only!)
                     IEW writing
                     Elective

Our family also incorporates Bible into each year, either using what is provided by our Sonlight curriculum, or various programs we have found along the way. I will post on some of those next week so make sure to check back!

Keep in mind, this is what has worked for us and our MY favorites.  There are SO MANY great programs out there.  Figuring out what kind of learner your child is will help you when you start looking for curriculum.  NO child is the same and their educations should never look the same as well.  Find something that they love and fits them well, and you will be on your way to having a child who loves learning!

I pray you love teaching as well!

Got questions??  Ask away!

Blessings


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

What Week Is It?



Seriously!  I am having a hard time keeping up.  I know we homeschooled for nine weeks under the Stay-at-home order.  Or was it a recommendation?  Who would know.

Then we moved and did about 7-8 weeks of renovations.  Or was it 9?  Who would know!?

We are still waiting for our front door, glass inserts for our garage doors, glass shower doors for our master bedroom, and the entertainment center.  A few of those things have been ordered and re ordered several times.  We have been waiting for...who would know?

And now Arizona is back tracking and implementing new closures due to the rise of Covid cases.  Really?

I am not even sure I want to know what week it is anymore.  As a matter of fact maybe we should skip straight to August and hope for better times! ;)

On a lighter note- not much to report.  We did manage to get handles put on all of our bathroom cabinets, and are still waiting, see above, on more than several things.  We have also had a few estimates done and are waiting for those to come in.  I will have to fill you in with those projects soon!

In the meantime, this month I am going to begin to plan for the start up of homeschooling to begin mid- August!  For the first time in MANY years, I will have one student!  I can hardly believe it.  Colby will be in 8th grade and I am actually really excited about this year's curriculum.  It will be an adjustment to have just him at home, but we are both eager for a change.  I am looking for a few fun things for the two of us to do together during off hours.  In additional to the puzzles!  :)  All. The. Puzzles!

So be looking for a homeschool update soon!  After I find my planner and get started!

Hugs to you all, prayers being lifted!  Stay safe and keep your eyes on God!
Blessings,

Thursday, June 18, 2020

House Reno- Week 7- Winding Down

It's hard to believe but we do not have much to show you this week.  Most of the week was spent just settling in some, decorating a few areas, and celebrating Colby's 13th birthday, with a weekend away to visit his sisters and some friends of his.

I mentioned this book before, but seriously, you need to get it and read it- Cozy Minimalist Home!  It is a pretty quick read, but has quite the punch.  I am so tired of STUFF, but I do not want to empty my home of everything and I certainly want to maintain that cozy feel we all love.  This book has been eye opening and a great "how-to" helper.  Hopefully my other helper (Ashton) will be up soon to hang pictures and out on the finishing touches.


Decorating touches this week-













The biggest change- KITCHEN DOORS CAME BACK!  While now I cannot find anything in the kitchen again, I love the finished look!







The remainder of our time was spent on the phone trying to resolve two issues!  The first- a now THIRD shower door has been ordered for the master bath.  Thank goodness for cheap shower curtain liners!  The first two glass doors were damaged in shipping we are told, and they keep telling us we need to cancel those orders and have a new one shipped.  Growing weary of that drama!

The second is an entertainment hutch that was ordered at the end of April that has yet to arrive.  Oh well, not entirely true.  The wrong bottom was delivered.  Without the top.  (that is still in my garage because the delivery company has yet to figure out how to come back and get it.  BUT, the same delivery company then delivered the top and bottom pieces, both literally in pieces.  I mean, broken shelves, pieces in the bottom of the box, the works.  We refused delivery and they went back.   Come to find out the manufacturer is here in AZ (the pieces shipped from Minnesota), so we have cancelled the order and found a local furniture store that is going to order the pieces for us.  Cue another 6 weeks of waiting, but at least they will make sure the pieces are in one piece before they get delivered to our house.

It would all be a comedy of errors, except it is no longer funny.  And in the meantime, the TV is still on the floor.

Good news- front door is being replaced soon, and windows in the garage door have been ordered.

Before and after pictures will be coming soon of lots of the spaces, and then I am going to stop boring you for a while

After that, phase two begins! ;)

Blessings,








Monday, June 15, 2020

13 Years!

Yep, our youngest just turned 13 this week!  Hard to believe we only have two teens left at home, one of which, between work and school we don't see much.

How did this cute baby-





turn into this handsome young man?



Time has flown. 

He has grown and matured so much in the past year I hardly recognize him some days.  He is a voracious reader, loves history, and can still be found messing with legos and nerf guns.  Our recent move and the pandemic situation has taken away his swimming and friends for the time, and yet his love of life still shines brightly.  He is learning to love exploring our property and is becoming quite the horse and goat whisperer.   We may just have another equestrian in the family after all!

11 years ago the Lord blessed us with Colby Jose, and we are thankful every day for that gift!



Surprise trip to see the girls and swim in the pool with some friends!



Official 13 year old "dad date"


Happy Birthday, son!  May the Lord bless you and keep you and may you serve Him all the days of your life!



We love you!

Monday, June 8, 2020

House Reno- Is it REALLY Week 6?

Almost three weeks in the house but yes, we are REALLY on week six of renovations.  It was a slower week in some ways which is good because, ya'll, I am tired.  Like bone weary tired.  Which is why this post is just getting written this morning.  I crashed last night.

Yesterday was the first day we did no work on a house project.  None.  Nada.  It was glorious.  One of our daughters spent some time with us last week and we took the time to just be.  Online church, a hike, and ice cream- a perfect way to relax! 


Things are actually winding down on the house projects (on phase one!).  We are still waiting for our master shower door to come in as well as a front door, and I still need to hang pictures.  I have been reading a book called The Cozy Minimalist Home, and processing ideas before tackling that project.  Living with white space is actually very freeing.  Her motto "lass stuff, bigger impact" speaks my language, while still making a home feel warm and cozy,  This week I hope to try to settle in a bit to a new schedule.  Colby has a few summer school subjects we are doing together and I want to try to start lesson planning for his "next year."  I suspect we will try to get started on that in August.

The biggest news of the week- Colby turns 13 on Thursday!  I can't hardly believe we will have our last teen in the house!  With Salem working and taking college classes, it is just Colby and me a lot.  Well, dad too since he all of the classes he is teaching are currently online.  It is odd to have just one of our four around most days, but I think he is enjoying getting all of the attention! ;)

Any way...

What did we get done this week?


Replaced outside lights

Before
Before and After




Before and After
Before and After







Planting a few things to make me happy when I sit outside!





Putting together Ikea bookshelves for Clarke's office.  This was a three day project!  Seven shelving units in all.  While, I love the finished project, do not ask me how I feel about Ikea for a while, please!







Our helper this week!


A few spaces still to work on and pictures to be hung, but you get the idea.

Emptied the last boxes of books- for the office and homeschooling ones!  NO MORE BOXES!  It is a glorious feeling!


It is not lost on us that it has been a hard week for this country.  While words cannot fix anything, we pray continually, knowing that only the Lord can heal hearts, take away racism, and save our country and our souls. 

Take time to love your family, be kind to others and know that we love you!

Blessings,