Deciding on a curriculum can feel daunting. There are countless options available. How do you decide which one to choose? Each homeschool family should always take into consideration what their wants and needs are in a curriculum. Decide what you want your child to learn and how they learn best. Check out my post from last year for some great quizzes you can take to help you figure out your child’s learning style and your homeschool style. You can find the post here.
Our Criteria for Choosing Curriculum
Our family’s criteria for curriculum is that it be Christian-based, open & go, and all in one with the option of adding more. If you would like to read more in detail about what that means check out my curriculum choices post from last year. You can find the post here.
Our Main Curriculum
If you’ve been following us for awhile you’ll know we have always used and love My Father’s World curriculum. I fell in love with it when my oldest daughter used it in kindergarten and we’ve continued using it ever since. We are continuing with it again this year. I’m so excited because both of my girls will be using the same curriculum in the family learning cycle.
Family Learning Cycle
My Father’s World has what is known as a family learning cycle. This means you teach the same history, science, Bible, art, and music to all of your children. Each child will do different work depending on their age and ability. But they will be learning the same basic things. The math and language arts are not included. This is because each child has different needs and abilities. So you add in whatever curriculum you like for those subjects.
Families new to My Father’s World with students in 3rd-8th grade, should begin the Investigate Family Learning Cycle with Exploring Countries and Cultures. Then it moves onto Creation to the Greeks, Rome to the Reformation, Exploration to 1850, and 1850 to Modern Times. Your child will continue cycling through until they are in 9th grade and then move onto the Declare program.
I am so relieved to finally do this! Last year I feel like the majority of my day teaching was reading aloud. I had to read two separate history, bible, and science books. Not to mention two separate read alouds everyday. It was just a lot of try and do. I got burned out by the middle of the year.
My oldest daughter did Exploring Countries and Cultures for 3rd grade year last year. My youngest did Learning God’s Story for 1st grade. So now both girls will be using Creation to the Greeks this year.
History & Bible
This year history and the Bible are intertwined. These are our main books we will be using for history, Streams of Civilization Volume 1 and World History from Ancient to Modern Times. We will be starting at creation and continuing through ancient history studying the Old Testament and ancient civilizations.
Here are the included history books we will be using when studying ancient Egypt and Greece. Make it Work! Ancient Egypt, Learn About Pyramids, and The Trojan Horse. I have also purchased a few other books and activities from Rainbow Resource to go along with our studies. I just searched Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece and found so many fun activities to add. I’ll be sure to do a follow up post and share those when I receive them.
These are our main books for science, Science in the Beginning and Dinosaurs of Eden. I’ve also added these beautiful Creation Story Cards from Brighter Days Press to go along as we study each day of creation.
We will be studying creation learning all about light, air and water, land, plants and sea, sun, moon and stars, birds and fish, and animals and people. There are many fun science experiments every week that correspond to each day of creation. I’m debating on whether or not I want to purchase the lab kit for Science in the Beginning from Rainbow Resource. This kit includes all of the things you will need for the experiments. It’s a little pricey but it would be nice to have everything in one box instead of trying to gather them up throughout the year. I’m not sure if I’ll get it though. I guess we’ll see!
Art and Music
For art we will be starting a 4 year chronological study of art and history using God and the History of Art. This year we will be focusing on Egyptian and Greek art with hands on crafts and art projects.
For music we will begin a 4 year chronological study of famous composers. This year we are focusing on the baroque composers Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel.
I purchased the deluxe curriculum which included both the art books and a 6 CD set of composers.
We have tried a variety of math curriculums over the past year trying to find the best fit for my oldest daughter. We finally found something that works last year, Math Lessons for a Living Education from Masterbooks. We will be continuing it this year for both of my girls.
Grade 4 – Level 4
My daughter didn’t begin this curriculum until the middle of the year last year. So she will finish level 3 and then move onto level 4. She is a very kinesthetic and visual learner and loves to work with her hands. I always like to find resources she can use to help foster that type of learning. This year she will be continuing learning multiplication and division. These multiplication/ division flash cards from Masterbooks is such a great visual of how both are linked together.
I thought this fact family board from Jack and Link would be fun to help solidify multiplication and division facts in conjunction with the flash cards. You can add salt to the boxes and have your child write in the numbers or you can use wooden numbers to place into the boxes.
The multiplication chart from Jack and Link is perfect for helping to memorize all the multiplication facts.
Grade 2 – Level 2
This will be my youngest daughter’s first year using the Masterbooks math curriculum. Last year she used the math book that came with the first grade curriculum. She is more than ready to start level 2 this year.
I’ve picked out a few wooden resources that will hopefully make learning fun for her. The classic number line from Bless This Homeschool is a great tool to practice addition and subtraction.
I just purchased this twenty frame from Chickadees Wooden Toys for solidifying addition and subtraction facts. We also have a ten frame from Treasures from Jennifer that she used a lot last year. But I thought the twenty frame would be perfect for learning addition and subtraction with bigger numbers.
The Wonders of Numbers board from Bless This Homeschool is such a fun hands on tool to practice addition and subtraction. Use the wooden numbers to create an equation. Then use manipulatives to figure it out. We have small wooden cubes, buttons, wooden balls, and felt balls.
In 3rd grade my oldest daughter used the recommended language arts curriculum. It wasn’t a great fit for her. Last year she used and English curriculum from Rod and Staff. And unfortunately it wasn’t a good fit either. Since we love Masterbooks math so much I thought we could give the language arts curriculum a try this year.
Grade 4 – Level 4
I decided to start her with Language Lessons for a Living Education level 4. She will be focusing on parts of speech and grammar.
I love this Parts of Speech board from Bless This Homeschool. My daughter used it a little last year and really enjoyed it. The middle white part is a dry erase board. Write a sentence and have your child label the parts of speech.
For spelling we will continue using Spelling by Sound and Structure from Rod and Staff with level 4. My daughter really enjoys it. And I like how it teaches the sound and structure of words.
My youngest daughter will be using Language Lessons for a Living Education level 2 and Spelling by Sound and Structure level 2. I’ve also added these fun word builders from Bless This Homeschool. Every week there is a new set of spelling words. Days 1 and 2 consist of questions about the words. On day 3 you do a spelling drill. This can be a variety of things. I thought it would be fun for her to use these to practice her spelling words.
We will also be continuing working on handicrafts. This year I thought it would be fun for my girls to make a list of all the things they would like to make for their friends and family for Christmas and work on them a little each week. We have a lot of embroidery, cross stitch, needle felting, and sewing projects that they can choose from.
This is will be our 5th year homeschooling. The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is, if your curriculums isn’t working for your family, change it. You are not controlled by your curriculum. You have the freedom to change things up at anytime during the year. You don’t have to stick it out until the end of the year and wait to change it the following year. Last year my oldest daughter did 3 different math curriculums. As soon as I realized things weren’t working I would search to find something that might work. It took a couple of tries but we finally found something.
Try not to feel overwhelmed in thinking you must choose the perfect curriculum. Just try something that best aligns with your criteria. And don’t feel bad if it doesn’t end up working out. The beauty in homeschool is the freedom to choose and change things at anytime!