Our Homeschool Curriculum for the 2014-2015 School Year!

I know I’m sharing our curriculum choices late, but I just haven’t felt like typing out this list before now. 🙂 Our school year changed dramatically right when we started, due to my pregnancy. I feel like I’ve spent more money this school year on curriculum then any other year, but I have needed to get what will work for our family and not stress about it.

We started out our school year in July doing Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ with the oldest two boys (5th and 3rd). We have not studied the ancient time period and I really liked how it was introduced in Heart of Dakota. I prefer a gentle, very biblical approach to the ancient time period with elementary grades. However there is a lot of reading out loud with Heart of Dakota. After I got pregnant and became sick I just couldn’t keep up. I knew the boys couldn’t do it all on their own either, so I put it all on the shelf and looked at other options. I’m still looking for more history options for my 3rd grader, but I’ll share what we are doing right now.

5th Grade Boy

Math-We have really struggled this year with math. I’ve been using Christian Light math for several years now, and I really like it. However, I talked to three different moms (two former math teachers) over our church retreat last weekend and was sharing about our struggles in math. It does not come easily for my son, and we have worked hard to get to where we are at. When I checked his work recently I realized he just isn’t getting enough of the concepts, and several of the concepts he struggled with was more unique problems because of it being a mennonite math curriculum. We totally stopped CLE a week ago and have been doing multiplication war flashcard games, and went back to Teaching Textbook. So far it’s going much better. We are still behind his grade level, but I feel confident we will catch up with a lot of hard work this year.

Science – He is reading through the BJU 5th grade science book, and also using the apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day book and Notebook.

History – I had purchased America the Beautiful set by Charlene Notgrass at our local homeschool curriculum fair this year. I’m so thankful I did, as we started this once I got sick. It has been an amazing curriculum, I haven’t found one thing I don’t like about it yet. It requires very little teacher involvement, he just comes and reads to me things he has written for the day. I also purchased the Student Notebook to go along with it and he loves it! History is one of our favorite subjects in this house, and I’m thrilled to have found such a great resource. I only wish there were more options like this for younger grades. I know we will continue to use more books from this author in the years to come.

Spelling – A Reason for Spelling. This is something new we are trying. I love All About Spelling, but we just didn’t do it enough last year. I thought I would try more of a workbook approach and see how he does.

Grammar – We are using Easy Grammar and Language Lessons by Sandi Queen.

Handwriting – Italic Handwriting Series

Bible Time – Walking in Truth (He does this after our devotions together).

Reading – This child goes through books so fast I can hardly keep up with him. I don’t use a separate reading program for him, but just encourage him to read history, science, and good literature books that we provide. When I’m feeling better we try to have a book that we enjoy as a family in the afternoon, but it will still be awhile before I start that back up again.

Logic of English – A review is coming on this later, but we are using this curriculum to help our grammar and spelling skills. It is really intense, but I’m super impressed with it.

3rd Grade Boy

Math – Christian Light math and Teaching Textbooks. This child gets through his school quickly, and enjoys doing things on the computer so I didn’t figure it would hurt him to do both. 🙂 So far I haven’t had any complaints about it.

History – I’m still really struggling with this one. When I got sick, I looked on my bookshelves and pulled out the three Children’s books of the Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea,  and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. I also got the children’s activity books that go with each book. He has worked his way really quickly through these, and is on the last book. Ideas would be helpful! I thought about using Mystery of History and reading it out loud to my 3rd and 1st grader, but I have never seen the actives that go along with it and I don’t know how teacher intense it is. I’m trying to save my strength for the subjects the children struggle with, and history is just not one they need a lot of my help with right now.

Science – Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day, plus the Junior Notebook to go with it. He doesn’t like to do a lot of writing yet, so I didn’t feel the older notebook was a good fit. I’m not exactly sure why we are in two separate Apologia books this year, the boys just read it to themselves, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal. 🙂 I had both of them, and the boys seemed interested in different topics this year. He is also reading through Machines and Motion, and loving it.

Spelling – A Reason for Spelling.

Grammer – Easy Grammar and Language Lessons.

Bible Time – Bible Light Units by Christian Light.

Reading – Again, this child loves to read as well so I just let him do a lot of reading on his own.

1st Grade Girl

Math – Horizons (we are finishing up the last few pages of her K book and are about ready to start the 1st grade book). She loves math and it comes easily to her. I’ve been so happy with the Horizons Kindergarten books, and hope I like the 1st grade just as well!

Reading – We have been using All About Reading, Level 1 and have made it through the first reader. Reading has not come as easily to her as I would have expected, I’m still waiting for the lightbulb moment where it just all clicks and makes total sense to her. We are sounding out a lot of works still, which takes a lot of patience on my part to sit next to a fidgeting child who is slowly sounding out every single word. 🙂  We are going to still use All About Reading, but I just purchased the Logic of English Foundations program to teach reading and handwriting together, and my goal is to do both. So far the Logic of English isn’t taking a huge amount of time to do each day. This is where a large amount of my energy goes each day, but it’s very important to get her reading skills improved this year.

Science – We have been slowly working through the BJU 1st grade science curriculum. She loves it, I honestly find it so extremely easy for her I have a hard time doing it. She loves work pages, which I think is why she likes this curriculum so much.

History – History for Little Pilgrims – I have been reading this out loud to both my girls (1st and PK).

Literature – The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton Burgess Both the the girls love this book!

Handwriting – Italic Handwriting Series. She loves handwriting, and begs to do more then one lesson a day so she is already at the end of this book! I guess we will cover a lot of handwriting this year!

Spelling – We are about ready to start A Reason for Spelling book A.

Preschool Girl 

I don’t think I’ve ever done as much preschool work as I have with Olivia! She begs to do school and has cried when we haven’t gotten to her workbooks that day. So I try hard to make sure she has her school time.

We are using Horizons Preschool books with her. The cutting and pasting, and working on forming her letters are good, plus she likes the coloring in it. But the math is super easy for her, so we started the Horizons K math a few weeks ago and it’s going great! I’m also doing Logic of English, foundations book A with her. I wouldn’t have started her yet, but it made sense to have her do this along with her older sister. So far it’s going ok. She will be 5 in December, so it makes sense she is doing some Preschool, some Kindergarten work. That is the beauty of homeschooling, just adjust to where they are at!

I’d love to hear what is working out great for you this school year! Chatting about curriculum is one of my favorite topics. 🙂






15 Comments on Our Homeschool Curriculum for the 2014-2015 School Year!

  1. I’m right there with you! We’re struggling to finish CLE 500 math. We’re moving to TT6 in order to repeat the concepts she’s missed. Plus, I’m terrible with math, and I need help teaching it!

    As for Mystery of History–I do not care for it. I actually took our two volumes (1–2) as a spine, and have used a lot of resources off our own shelves. We’re tolerating it until we’ve finished and can move into America The Beautiful. I, too, wish they had more for younger kids. I will probably let my littles just read living books from the library until they’re old enough for Notgrass.

    One thing that has really slipped through the cracks for us is geography. I’ve got to do something!!

  2. All Through the Ages for HISTORY! Chronological, age leveled, living History TOPICAL books k-12. Amy at Raising Arrows has a great blog post about it! So all children can study (pick a topic, like Greece) at once!


    Cheap to buy, either PDF or hard copy 🙂


    Just pick out the children’s books and let them read! Or do read aloud when necessary for youngers!

  3. I would like to recommend using Modern Curriculum Press Mathematics for grade school level math. I have a BS in Mathematics, have tutored for years and work as a math teacher for an accredited homeschooling organization. The MCP series is a consumable work-textbook. Practice makes progress, so give your kids weekly reviews of learned concepts.
    Also, the Khan Academy is a great online tool for math help. Recently my daughter was struggling with rounding numbers, so I found a short video about rounding at Khan Academy and it worked wonders for my daughter just to “see” someone else explain the concept.
    I also recommend trying MCP Maps, Charts, and Graphs workbooks to supplement geography. The series is for first grade through eighth grade.

    Best wishes to you all in your homeschooling journey! It is so challenging while expecting another little one.

  4. I use Story of the World for history and this year I splurged and bought the audio CDs. So worth it! Since we’re in the car a lot I just keep the CDs in the glove box and we multi-task by driving and listening. Both of the older kiddos enjoy the stories so we’ve listened to all the chapters at least three times (on the first disk) and some of their favorites I have about memorized :). When life gets overwhelming I drop the activity book and just have them listen.

    I’m planning a review of Logic of English on my blog soon too! I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

    (Anna loves Horizon K math too!)

  5. I, too, have a struggling math student. We have used different things, but we’ve had the most success with Math Mammoth. It’s really thorough, well-designed, and the most affordable math program I’ve seen, especially for large families.

  6. I love hearing what people are using for curriculum too. 🙂

    We are doing My Father’s Word Adventures in US History this year, and loving it so far. Simple and organized. Horizons Math, and a few misc resources for improving reading. I do want to find a nice, solid phonics workbook, because I think that will help a a lot with reading. This is all for a 7 and 6 year old boy and girl.

    My Pre-K guy is doing Rod and Staff ABC series workbooks. He is like your daughter, and begs to do school too!

  7. Have you looked into A Living History of Our World? We are using volume 3 this year, and it is Charlotte Mason with notebooking pages. It is a lot of fun.We use God’s Design for Science, as it is fun and does not require special equipment for experiments. My youngest son just turned 5 and he is having a much more difficult time learning to write, I am realizing it is because his other brothers were 5 and a half before they started school.

  8. We are in our fourth year of using Heart of Dakota, this year using Resurrection to Reformation and also Bigger Hearts for His Glory. We love everything about it.

    I have to disagree with you on the amount of reading aloud required for Creation to Christ. This is the level with lots of independence built in. The teacher is only reading aloud the storytime box and the Genesis/Geography books. There is much more reading aloud in the lower levels.

    • Since I had our 3rd grader join in, I was reading all the subjects aloud (including history) to make sure he understood it. Even on the independent boxes they needed a lot of oversight. So for our family it was still a lot of reading aloud.

  9. This is my first year of homeschool with my 8th grader. It is going well so far. We are using Christian Light Education math pre-algebra (and also their Bible workbooks). I love the approach their math books take especially compared to the public school textbooks we’ve just come from. I also am using America the Beautiful which is great so far. Since he’s in 8th grade though I have to make sure he does all the assignments to make it difficult enough. I bought four books from Answers in Genesis for science. We started on the Archaelogy book and this is the only book I’ve been disappointed in. The book is confusing and the quizes are too hard. However, the other three books are on different topics and are written by different people, so I am hopeful they will be easier to use. I have a few other items but I haven’t really decided how they are going but I think they will work out fairly well.

  10. My second grader who attends our church’s excellent Christian school will study science for the first half of this year and history for the second half. The school has always done this with the younger elementary grades, and I love it. This approach allows the students to focus on the “three R’s” without getting overwhelmed and still gives them a good introduction to science and history. We don’t always have to do everything at every age and all year long.

  11. I’m interested in using the horizons preschool book for my daughter. Do you have and use the teacher guide or just have her doing workbook pages?

  12. Having grown up with teachers (Dad a college professor – world history and Mom an English professor and then a K5 teacher), I thought I’d LOVE putting my own curriculum together – I mean having grown up with a mom that “practiced teaching” on us in the summers – my parents just loved school haha – I knew what I was doing. I was basically raised in small Christian schools.
    After 4 years of “bumbling around” with my own “thing” and putting curriculum together – I learned that homeschooling is a whole different ballgame then the Christian school.
    Then, I discovered Landmark Freedom Baptist Press (it isn’t just for baptist LOL). I fell “in love”. I still love looking at curriculum and learning about new ones but we will always use this program. It is set up in totality for the mother as a week by week, lesson by lesson. It has changed my whole approach to teaching and my kids LOVE it!
    We took a different route with our oldest son and in 10th grade allowed him to take his GED (he passed with flying colors and a scholarship to college – made this homeschooling mom happy) and he went at 16 right off to community college. He was able to complete 4 semesters and is now in the Air Force (sniff, sniff – just finishing up basic training and I miss him like crazy while very proud of him!). His college credits earned him a higher rank to start. My other children may not want to take their GED early and that is fine. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart but I’ll never do anything else because I can tailor their education to each child’s needs. I love spending every day teaching them and learning all the things they are learning :). Okay, Dad and Mom, I’ve become you – I want to do school and be in school all the time LOL 🙂
    Happy schooling!

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