Homeschool Basics



Just after a super crazy week that included moving and a mono diagnosis, we kicked off our school year in late August. We've been at it almost a month now, and for the first time in a while, school is actually going really smoothly! I know that there are so many different homeschooling approaches and curricula out there, so I thought this week I'd share what we're using this year for our kids. You might already be familiar with some of the things, but if you aren't, you might find some ideas!

For the sixth grader...

Saxon Math: A couple years ago my husband took on math and chose Saxon for its straightforward approach, which was a good fit for our son. I'm back to teaching math, but I've stuck with Saxon. The only change I've made is to do three lessons a week instead of five. The lessons are fairly lengthy and we have two days a week that we're out of the house a good deal of the day, so we don't do Saxon then.

Life of Fred: This year we're using Life of Fred for two content areas for my son. On our two busy days, he does LOF math instead of Saxon and we also have started Australia, the first book in the LOF Language Arts series.

Grammaropolis: We have not done a great deal of formal grammar, so when I heard about this site from a friend, I thought it might be a fun way to review what we have covered and introduce some new things. He's enjoyed it so far and I've heard him singing songs about nouns several times, so it must be sticking! Ha! If you decide to purchase a membership, check the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op for a better price.

Brave Writer: I go around and around with myself about what to do for writing. We've used IEW some and I enjoy the structure it provides, but I'm also drawn to the love of language in the Brave Writer materials, so I've purchased The Arrow and The Writer's Jungle and we'll start those next week.

History Alive: I'm not really a textbooky person, but when I was teaching I went to an in-service where I won the fifth grade History Alive textbook and thought it made such a great spine for teaching history that I started using it in my classroom and now I use it with my own son. We pull in lots of primary source materials, books, and other activities, but if you ever come across one of these books, get it. (It looks like now they offer online products, so you can check those out here.)

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive: We started cursive last year and I was surprised at how well my son did with it, but we're still practicing!  

For the first grader...

Reading Made Easy: There are so many different reading programs out there, but we already had this one since I used it with my son, so I gave it a try with my daughter and thankfully, it is working. We do about four lessons a week and she's reading Bob Books and some other easy readers, too.

Horizons Math: She was so excited last year when she got her first Horizons workbook and we've continued with that this year.

Life of Fred: On our shorter school days, we're adding in LOF math.

Handwriting Without Tears: My daughter has always had pretty nice handwriting, but we're still practicing letter formation on a few letters and practice is a good thing.

Unit Studies: We are continuing to do unit studies from Homeschool Share and Five in a Row. We started the year with a fun unit on sharks.

For everyone...

Sassafras Science Adventures: We haven't started formal science with my son and my daughter does science as part of her unit studies, but right now we're reading together from the Sassafras Science Adventures book that focuses on zoology.

Artist Studies: I think this is our fifth year of doing our artist studies together!

Co-op: This is our second year to participate in our small co-op. This year we're doing hymn study, Spanish, composer study, art, science, picture study and Shakespeare.

Read Alouds: And of course we're reading aloud together! That's my favorite part of the day.

What are you using this year? Share it with us here, especially if you've found something great we all need to know about.

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About This Blog

Jennifer Geary is a wife of one and mom of two who is back home in Broken Arrow after Air Force-sponsored detours to Omaha and Oklahoma City.  An elementary education graduate from the University of Oklahoma, she decided to leave her “regular” teaching career behind to homeschool her son and daughter. 

When she’s not educating, feeding, or cleaning up after someone, Jennifer likes to read and scrapbook.  You can read about all of her adventures at Little Things.

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