Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Votes are In! Our Favorite Curriculum Choices: 2013-2014

Each year as we wind down our full school schedule and start "summer school" I also try to take some time to evaluate how our year went- what worked and what did not.  Looking at curriculum for the next year is a bad habit past time of mine, but it does no good to do so if I do not take a minute to reflect on our previous subjects.  Each year there are things that we decide to continue on with and some that we put aside for better options.  This year was a big transition year for us with lots of changes.  While it made me slightly uncomfortable (okay- very much so) it has shown me that change is sometimes good and now I'm very excited about our upcoming school year.  I will share those choices soon, but for now let me share some of our favorites from this past year!

CTCMath- This was a review item that we took a chance on and I still really like it. More importantly, my kids do as well.  I contend that I am not sure you can use it as a full curriculum for upper levels, it is a great review program as well as good for those that need a little review or clarity on specific types of problems.  I know several people that are using it this summer to get their kiddos ready for the next level of math.

EEME- Yep, I am going there again! ;)  Love this program.  It is not a full curriculum, but the projects are just plain fun.  How often do middle school aged kids get to play with wires and such and learn about electrical engineering?  This would rate as my 12 year olds favorite "extra" we did!

If you asked the 6 year old what he liked this year, KinderBach is one of his first choices.  I am not sure how much piano he has learned yet, but this is one program he does not get tired of!

OK, This one was a leap of faith for me.  I have used Sonlight History for MANY years.  It worked great with my older girls.  It has not been the best fit for my 12 year old son.  When we had the opportunity to review Notgrass, we put aside our current program and tried it for 6 weeks.  At the end of the review time, my son asked if we could continue with it for the rest of the year.  My favorite part of the day is when he comes in after his lesson and tells me what he has learned.  He has turned into quite a history buff and it is fun to hear the excitement in his voice when he shares what he read.  We have already bought the next program from them, but that is for another post!

And just a fun one for me!  Not curriculum, but a much favored book.  Actually, now I have the three.  I know the reviews for this one were a mixed bag, but I loved At Home in Dogwood Mudhole.  The quirky tales and the author who shares them kept me laughing.  My family often asked me to stop reading out loud to them! Maybe it is just the homesteader wanna-be in me or maybe I am just desperate for a laugh, but these books bring a smile to my face and a giggle to my lips!

The Bible Study Guide for All Ages still works for us, though I only use it for my youngest now.  We continue to buy the worksheets and work our way through the Old and New Testaments.  My oldest son is back to using the Apologia What We Believe Series which is one of the best Christian Worldview series out there for middle and high school age, in my opinion.

Homeschool Spanish Academy still wows our socks off!  Really!  Our 1st grader loves Mrs. Rosa!  He is currently taking a 7 week break, which he is not happy about.  In the meantime our 10th grader has teamed up with Mrs. Rosa for a crash summer session.  Her goal is to CLEP out of Spanish after this 7 week intensive.  CJ will resume his lessons in the fall, with hopes to getting one step closer to being able to visit Guatemala and his beloved teacher (and foster mom) maybe as early as next summer or the following fall.

All ABout Spelling was new to us as well (we were introduced to it while using PAL), but has been a great addition.  We are finishing up using Level Two this summer and will move on to Level Three in the fall.

Yes, we still use Teaching Textbooks for math.  Each year I work my way backwards in buying a new level, so by 4th grade, even our youngest will transition over to it.

There are other things we use, of course, but these are among our favorites.  We are enjoying a lighter schedule for a while and then back to the full days in August. With almost all of my curriculum ordered and ready,  I am currently looking into a slightly different schedule.  I have long been intrigues by the concept of schooling for 6 weeks and then taking a Sabbath week off.  When looking at the calendar, you can make it fit perfectly into holidays by starting late August until you get to December.   Then Christmas breaks it up after three weeks, if I remember correctly.  If you use that kind of schedule, I would love to hear how you make it work after the holidays.  Do you finish 3 more weeks to make a full 6, or just start over counting from 1?  Clear as mud?

Anyway, that's what is what worked for us this year- would love for you to share your favorite things as well!



  1. I love reading this as we have a lot of these same products in our home! (hmm. . . wonder why? ;) ) It's also interesting to me how the same curriculum works differently for different families! Notgrass didn't click with us because of the textbook style learning but I know others like you who love it! I've been looking into All About Spelling for quite awhile for Elsie and Anna, so I'm glad to hear your thoughts on it. Did you do a review on it? If so, I'd love to have the link! Thank you! (I love C's sweet little smile in the AAS picture!)

  2. I love your review. Notgrass has been on my list of things to consider, glad to hear that your kids enjoyed it. I have asked my son what he thinks of the book as we finished things this year. I should write up some of our thoughts. We do summer school as well though it won't be that hard as the schools here are in school until the middle of July.

  3. Beth, I have a friend who was trying to sell the Uncle Sam one- if you are interested I can check!

  4. I want Notgrass! It look so good! We love BSGFAA too! I want to look into EEME for my son. What do you think are the best ages for that? And we're still using CTC Math. It's a supplement here but it's been great practice.

  5. It is always interesting to hear what others use. What do you use for English/ grammar?

  6. We finished up America the Beautiful this year and loved it! We will be going back to MOH next year. We also use BSGFAA but took a brek from it to use Apologia. We will finish What On Earth Can I Do in the fall and then go back to it. We have used AAS for years but am thinking of making the switch to Spelling You See. My 10 and 12 year olds loved EEME too.


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!