Wow. Its January. You mean most people don’t post their new curriculum halfway through the year? Whoops. To tell you the truth our curriculum is so fluid that half the time I don’t know when one year stops and another begins. Finish 3rd grade writing? Move on to 4th. Still haven’t finished up math for last year? Let’s work extra hard on that and get it done.
The fluidity of road school is both good and bad. We have the flexibility to do what we need for our kids and cater to their strengths and interests. The downside is that perhaps sometimes we get “behind” whatever standards society has deemed necessary for our children’s learning.
Obviously, I’m become less than enamored with public school standards these days. Ha! But that’s okay. One day I’m sure we’ll get back in and then I don’t want my kids to be completely on the outside.
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Rachel – 4th Grade
Spelling Power: continuing on with this one as its fabulous. I love that I don’t need to constantly buy a new book for each year (aside from their student books) and they only study words they miss. Its very fluid and works gerat!
Beast Academy 4A-4D: We are fully immersed in this one now. In 2014 I had talked about starting around Thanksgiving and we did. The kids love the cartoon monsters, and both Sam and I love how they teach concepts. Common Core Math is really not so bad people!!
Easy Grammar 4: We were all done with the Spectrum books we’ve done previously. Rachel would learn about nouns or verbs and then really have no idea what either of them were. Easy Grammar starts with recognizing prepositions and crossing them out. Afterwards finding the subject and verb gets a bit easier. I wish there were a bit more practice problems on some of them, so we throw in a little IXL.com if we need to. **Note that we bought just the teacher edition and the student workbook. I wish I had bought the digital teacher version as the book is HUGE. It does help to have it though. I haven’t missed having the test booklet.
Reading Comprehension: Rachel said she was done with the Spectrum books so we made a deal. I bought the Classic Literature Volume 1 Mega Pack from Confessions of a Homeschooler and she is working her way through the units. She’s done Little House in the Big Woods, and is now on to Black Beauty. Its easy enough that’s she’s able to do the lessons almost entirely on her own for which I am grateful.
Spectrum Writing 3/4: I looked around for something else and didn’t find anything I loved so we are just pushing on with these. They aren’t fabulous, but they’ll do for now.
Spectrum Geography Grade 4 – Regions of the U.S.A.: She didn’t love Grade 3, but I think this year is going over better. Plus, its about the U.S.A. while we are traveling it. Can’t think of anything more appropriate.
Worldly Wise 3000 Book 4: So far I’m loving these vocabulary books. Our kids read so much they often use words they don’t understand, so I felt vocab was a must. These have great words and assignments that aren’t too hard or too easy. Just right.
Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times: We bought the audio download, 2 student workbooks and the teacher edition (which also contains a workbook), and the Kindle text. Perhaps a bit overkill as we don’t ever use the Kindle text. We love the audio and we listen to that while the kid’s color, we do the map work, and then any additional pages. We don’t do much besides that. The teacher edition has some great activities, but we often don’t have the stuff, the space, or the time. I feel like we are doing good enough. My kids beg to do this because they love it!
Orchestra Unit Study: This was kind of a whim unit study, but its been fun. We picked up World’s Greatest Composers, and are pairing it with a book series by Mike Venezia, and Story of the Orchestra. Our biggest problem with this has not been moving fast enough to keep their interest. We need to book it a little to get through.
Science: We have yet to start it, but I bought Science in the Beginning: Textbook + Helps & Hints by Dr. Jay L. Wile on the recommendation of a few friends. I feel like after we’ve gone through Orchestra we’ll start this… maybe next year.
Andrew – 3rd Grade
He has most of the same books, just a grade lower. Spelling Power, Beast Academy Grade 3, Easy Grammar Grade 3, Spectrum Writing 3, Story of the World, Wordly Wise 3000 Book 3, Spectrum Geography Book 3, and Orchestra.
Andrew does love the stories for Spectrum Reading Comprehension, so he is doing that instead of the Literature Unit. Totally fine by me.
Handwriting Without Tears Cursive: We bought this one from Rainbow Resource, and although its not his favorite, Andrew’s cursive has definitely improved. He likes that when you write sentences you only use letters that you’ve practiced.
Cara – Kindergarten
This was a bit of a reach for me. I wasn’t sure I was ready for my baby to “start” Kindergarten. She’s been more than ready though and is really soaking everything up. Our main focus for her is reading on her own, and introducing her to other concepts like math, phonics, etc.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: I’ll be honest. This has been less than easy, but I think we are finally making some progress. We’ve been using this book on and off over the last year and a half (Amazon says we purchased the book on Sept. 8, 2014) and Cara is on lesson 80 now. She’s reading fairly lengthy stories and is gaining confidence. We are pretty lax about how we use it, only doing a lesson every other day, and never, ever reading anything more than once. I think those two things have really helped curb her frustration.
BOB Books: We do these on the days she’s not doing her reading lessons. We bought two different collections at Costco, but you can also find them on Amazon. She reads them fairly well and so far we’ve enjoyed having them as a supplement!
Spectrum Kindergarten Phonics: We finished up her Scholastic Kindergarten workbook which we started over the summer and moved onto this one. The Kindergarten version is pretty basic, but learning to read by letter sounds has really worked for her and this just reinforces it. It includes ending and beginning sounds of words, short & long vowels and she’s really done great with it.
Spectrum Sight Words, Grade K: Combined with the Flash Cards we are working on her learning and memorizing her sight words. No complaints about this book other than its fairly repetitive. It comes with sigh word flash cards you can cut out in the back and sometimes I’ve needed those to reinforce her words as our set doesn’t have ALL of them.
Sight Word Flash Cards: I love that these are double-sided. We work through about 10 at a time and recently she’s really loved me timing her to see how fast she can get through the 10. If she makes zero mistakes we pass them off, and once she’s passed them all off she’ll earn 50 tickets.
Lollipop Logic Grades K-2: I needed math for her and this one seemed like it would be something she liked. Cara loves puzzles, counting, and patterns. We went through this pretty fast, but she loved it!
Spectrum Kindergarten Math: After Lollipop Logic we picked this one up. She’s gone through it in just about a month. I don’t love the easy review, and she keeps wondering why she’s doing shapes as part of math but no problems motivating her. She loves math. Next I’m going to order The Complete Book of Math Grades 1-2, and The Complete Book of Time and Money Grades 1-3.
Handwriting Without Tears, Letters and Numbers For Me: I honestly was wondering why parents do Handwriting as a subject. I totally get cursive, but a system for printing? I then I realized that Cara writes MOST of her letters BACKWARDS. Crap. Supposedly this system really helps kids learn to correct that, and we are working on it. Knowing which letters “Leap Frog” has helped with her N’s (probably her worst letter), D’s, P’s, B’s, and M’s. I also bought the Wide Double Line Notebook Paper and we were given the Wood Pieces Set for Capital Letters but I don’t know that I would have bought them on my own.