Monday, August 31, 2015

2015-2016 School Year - Plan of Attack

Continuing with the school theme for another Monday, today I want to share with you the curriculum we have chosen to use this year.  Because I have been doing this homeschooling thing for over 17 years now and because I review homeschooling products on the side, we have come in contact with a lot of great, and a few no so great materials.  We have even come to realize that some things we have used have been great for one child, but not the best fit for another.  After all, I have four very different children with different strengths and weaknesses, not to mention different learning styles.

What does that mean for us?

It means that planning for every new school year takes some work on my part.  I pull out the specific grades' storage bins, remind myself of what I have and then decide what will or will not work for that particular child.  I make a list of the things I need to change and then get busy ordering if the need arises. Luckily for me, I often review new products that I set aside once our review period is over to use in a new school year cycle.

This year is a year of several changes for us but I am excited to officially get started in another week!  I will have to let you know what the boys think! ;)

3rd grade-

READING- Sonlight Literature
  Colby likes to read, so this "just" read a book and answer questions orally method works for us.

GRAMMAR- BJU English 3 and Evan-Moor Daily Language Review, Grade 3
     The reason we chose BJU this year was that I like how the chapters alternate between writing and grammar.  For my active child, it helps cut down on the monotony he is prone to experience.  We are using the daily review as part of his independent time.  Though it only takes him a few minutes to do, I am hoping it will help give him some confidence to begin doing some school independently.

SPELLING- All About Spelling, Level 4
  Admittedly, Colby is a good speller, but this program just calls his name!  It is active and hands on enough to keep him engaged.

MATH- Teaching Textbooks, Math 3
  In the past we have used Saxon until about 5th grade, but I do not think this child could stand another year of it- he just wasn't challenged enough!  I did get the hard copy of the text, but I am betting he will use and love the CD on the computer the most.

HISTORY- Veritas Press Self Paced History- New Testament Greece and Rome
  This we actually started at the beginning of the summer, taking a few weeks off here and there.  I NEVER thought when we reviewed this program last year that this would become one of our all time favorite curriculums.  We walked away from a history curriculum we had happily used for years because Colby just cannot get enough of it.  He has learned so much from Veritas and continues to be as excited about it today, a year later, as he was when we first tried it.  If you are not familiar with Veritas Self Paced History, I encourage you to read our review!

SCIENCE- Nancy Larson Science 2 and 3
  Yes, you read that correctly.  We are planning to use two levels this year.  Colby really enjoyed level one last year but tends to ask to do several lessons in one sitting, so I know we can cover two levels this year.  While this does not come from a Creationist point of view, I am comfortable with the information Nancy provides because we do it together.  I LOVE that it is an all-in-one boxed kit.  It makes planning ahead NOT necessary and the lessons fun!

BIBLE- Grapevine Studies
  This will be our first year using Grapevine, but so far I like what I see!  Another program we highly recommend is Bible Study Guide for All Ages, especially if you are schooling multiple ages at one time.

GEOGRAPHY-Evan-Moor Daily Geography Practice 3
  I know, I know, a third grader doesn't necessarily need geography, but this simple little workbook is again a chance for Colby to gain confidence in doing school independently. Plus, who doesn't like playing with maps?

SPANISH- Flip Flop Spanish
  Yes, we have done this before, but because of the timing of our review we never finished the complete program.  It is fun and active and a great fit for my hands-on kid, so we are excited about doing it again.  We have a ton of Spanish resources we will use to supplement if needed.

8th Grade-

READING- Lightning Literature-
  We reviewed this and loved it, so we put it aside to continue this year.

WRITING- Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW) Student Writing Intensive
  There is just no better writing program out there than IEW!  I do like to save it for upper middle school and lower high school grades.

SPELLING- IEW's Phoentic Zoo, Level B
  We are getting ready to begin and review this product.  It is my prayer that because it has a large auditory based style it will be the answer to our poor spelling problems.  Stay tuned.

  Great, simple program.  Salem did the online version last year but chose to use the workbook this year.

GRAMMAR- Easy Grammar Plus, East Grammar Ultimate Series 8th grade and IEW's Fix It
  Yes, I know this may seem like overkill (please do not tell my son) but since this may be his last formal year of basic grammar, I want to make sure he has got it down to a science!  I was going to stop using Fix It for a while, but since we have seen some good progress with the program I decided it was just too good not to finish.

MATH- UnLock Math Pre Algebra
  We have used Teaching Textbooks at this level with much success, but after doing this review recently, Salem chose to stick with it.  Alecia is a great teacher and Salem really likes her teaching style.  When a child asks you to do a specific math, just go with it!

HISTORY- Sonlight
  After many years of using Sonlight for History, two years ago we changed to Notgrass after reviewing their America the Beautiful program.  We are returning to Sonlight just for the year because I love the books used in their American History- Core 100 program.  We are going to use this year as a "bonus" in History, and return to Notgrass for Salem's high school years. Yes, sometimes there are so many good programs out there that it is hard to decide which to use.  Unless you are me, and you choose to use them all! ;)

HEALTH- Total Health
  All kids needs some basic health lessons in my opinion.  Boys especially! ;)

BIBLE- Apologia's Who is My Neighbor?
We used this series as a review item twice now, and are going back to finish this book!  We love it!

GEOGRAPHY- Memoria Press Geography II
  We reviewed this geography several years ago and I just happened upon the new level again this year.  Salem liked that it was fairly simple and straight to the point, but also used maps and taught some neat facts about the different countries.  It is a nice solid program that doesn't take up too much time, but teaches good material.

SCIENCE- Apologia's Physical Science
  Why try to fix what is not broken, right?  Plus, we are blessed that a friend does labs with several kiddos twice a month.  She is my hero!

SPANISH- Classical Academic Press- Spanish for Children, Primer A
  There are a lot of good programs out there for Spanish, but we really like that this one has video teaching, listening CDs, and very strong grammar-based lessons.  You can begin it at a younger age, but we decided to use it for 8th and 9th grade then move on to three more years at a higher level.

Wow, are you tired?  I am!  But I am also very excited too.  Mark your calendars- September 7th starts our week one of Sabbath Week Schooling for 2015-1016!

Join us on September 7th as some friends join us to show you what different homeschoolers' days REALLY look like!  You just might be surprised!

Linking up with friends-

My Joy-Filled Life

Hearts for Home Blog Hop

I Choose Joy!


  1. My daughter loves geography so even though she is 2nd/3rd grade we are doing it. I found some DK workbooks that are just the right thing for her.

    1. Good for her! Never met a DK book I didn't like- what a good idea!

  2. This looks like a great year! I love the idea of Sabbath Schooling. It is very similar to Charlotte Mason suggestions for review weeks. I always seem to forget to schedule it in.


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