Sunday, May 1, 2011

Best Homeschooling Week Ever: April 25 - April 29

Spring break! This has been a very renewing week, full of turning my attention to non-school related projects. Of course, as nice as it was to have a break from actual teaching, my inner school geek couldn't fully abandon scholarly pursuits. April is my traditional month for selecting curriculum for the coming year. For one thing, many of the companies I like have big sales going on during this time. I also like to have all my decisions made and materials in hand by the beginning of our summer break so that I can use that time to work on lesson plans and schedules. It all makes me sound so much more organized than I feel. Anyway, I am often asked what curricula I use. For those of you who have wondered, here is the nitty-gritty (at least for next year).

Carter (grade 8/9)
Algebra - Switched-on Schoolhouse
English - The Writer's Jungle by Brave Writer
Paleontology - This is a self-designed course, meaning I choose the materials and design my own lesson plans. This is really fun when you have a child who wants to study something outside of the mainstream, like Austin did this year with ornithology.
The Constitution and US Presidents - The first semester will be using the Constitution course from Switched-on Schoolhouse and the second will be a self-designed study of the presidents using Beyond the Cherry Tree by Anne E. Schraff
Spanish 1 - Tell Me More by Auralog
Typing - Garfield's Typing Pal
PE - Local gymnastics and swimming classes

Austin (grade 11)
Shakespeare - A self-designed course based on Shakespeare in film
Bible as Literature 1 - I admit, I haven't totally nailed this one down yet--I'll update it when I have. We will cover Old Testament this year and New Testament his senior year.
US Geography - Another self-designed course, using materials from the History Channel, National Geographic, and a great company called Geography Matters
Art - Lifepac by Alpha Omega Publications
PE - Cross-country running
French 2 - Rosetta Stone

I'm all giddy! Feel free to ask any questions. I am happy to share lesson plans or more specific info on the materials I'm using for the self-designed courses. Meanwhile, break is ending and it's time to wrap up this year's work. Here's hoping my week off was enough to energize me (and my kids) for the final month.


  1. Hey jennifer...its amber not sure how my siggie will show. I went with a distance program for this first year thru CLASS. I am very insecure about proceeding with Homeschool and knew a family that had much success thru this program. Have you ever used a distance program? Wondering your thoughts. You seem to be quite the Homeschool pro!

  2. Hi, Amber! I have never really used a distance program. My original plan was to use one for high school. I signed Austin up for one distance course for 9th grade and withdrew from it before he even got going. I just missed the autonomy I have gotten used to. Part of it all comes down to what fits your personal style. Even if you don't want to design your own courses (which is not as hard as it might sound), there are so many good curriculum kits out there that make it really easy for a parent to implement. I also have found that I really don't like to go with one company for every course. I'm very much an a la carte kind of girl. Do you still have my number? If you want to give me a call, I can go on about this stuff in greater detail for you. And if you haven't already, click on the Homeschool Buyers Co-op link on the right and join. It's the best free resource out there.