it’s summer, continued again.

About this time last year, I posted about the curriculum I’d purchased for the 2013-2014 school year. So, as we close out the year with pictures and an end-of-the-year interview, I figured I’d toss in a quick review of the curriculum choices we made.

Because I am nothing if not opinionated.

But first, the year-end interview.

Here is my sweet D, as he finishes up his 6th grade year – which was his first official year to be homeschooled.

Let’s see what he thought of it.

dalton1

Dalton is 5′ 1″ and 118 pounds. That’s up 2 inches, and 13 pounds since last September.

What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of? “Learning about the Bible.”

What was the most challenging part of this year for you? “Learning to study at home with all the distractions.”

What is the most important thing you learned this year? “Not to procrastinate and just get the work done.”

What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year, but is easy now? Grammar

In what area did you make your biggest improvements? Grammar (let’s hear it for Easy Grammar)

dalton2

Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite and why? “Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I like survival stories and learning how people manage to survive in really harsh conditions.”

What are three adjectives that best describe this school year? “Fun. Hard. And – it’s not really an adjective – worth it.”

What is your favorite memory from this school year? Ice skating with Asher and the girls.”

What are you looking forward to most about next year? “Reading the Bible more.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “An athlete. I”m just not sure which sport.”

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Now for the curriculum. Here is what we started with for Dalton’s 6th grade year, all bright-and-shiny, last fall…

homeschool2013dalton

and here are my thoughts as we close out the school year:

Teaching Textbooks 7 – Third year using Teaching Textbooks and I LOVE Teaching Textbooks. My kids love Teaching Textbooks. The end.
Exploring Creation with Anatomy – Apologia Science is just good. We had the Notebooking Journal as well, which I think is absolutely worth the investment.
Wordly Wise – We limped through finishing this, won’t do it again next year.
Wordsmith Apprentice – Dalton didn’t love it, but I don’t think he would love anything that prompts him to write. We will use the next level of this same series next year.
A Reason for Handwriting – No fun for anyone, dropped it.
Word Roots – Did it, but probably won’t do it again next year.
Critical and Creative Thinking – Good but not great – dropped it mid-year when Dalton just had too much going on.
Editor in Chief A2 – I like this. The boys’ don’t love it, but it requires them to write (cursive, yikes!) but I think it’s very good.
Easy Grammar – Love this program, a little every day goes a really long way to learning something that could possibly be very, very boring.
Daily Grams** – We like the Easy Grammar curriculum so much, we added this after the beginning of the year. Good stuff.
Keeping a Nature Journal – We didn’t even start this – too much other stuff going on.
All American History – Both boys really enjoyed this and I did as well… good pace, interactive workbook, we are using the next book in this series next year.
Foundations of Personal Finance – Did not complete this. Still have it and plan on doing it, eventually.
Thinking Toolbox – This was okay, none of us were huge fans. Dropped it mid-year.
Mapping the World by Heart – Got the maps printed out, never even started it. We ended up going with a much simpler (read: much less time/labor intensive) geography curriculum.

One other “curriculum” we use is the One Year Bible Plan. The boys and I have quiet time together every morning and use this to go through the Bible, with an OT reading, a NT reading, some Psalms and some Proverbs. Honestly, it has become the best part of the school day for us.

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And here is my Asher. Newly turned 15 – I can’t even believe he’s going into the 9th grade in the fall.

This was his third full year homeschooling, let’s hear what he has to say about it:

asher1

Asher is 6′ 0″ and 220 pounds. That’s up 2 inches, and 31 pounds since last September.

What is something you accomplished this year that you are proud of? “Installing surround sound in my bunk bed.”

What was the most challenging part of this year for you? “Being disciplined enough to get all my schoolwork done every day.”

What is the most important thing you learned this year? “I’ve learned more about the Bible than I have at any other time in my life, because we are studying it every day.”

What is something that was hard for you at the start of the year, but is easy now? Writing creatively.

In what area did you make your biggest improvements? Writing creatively. (let’s hear it for Writing With Skill!)


asher2

Of the books you read this year, which was your favorite and why? “Kisses From Katie. Because her perspectives on her struggles with the children were interesting.”

What are three adjectives that best describe this school year? “Difficult. Entertaining. And interesting.”

What is your favorite memory from this school year? “Laughing at the kitchen table during Bible Study – the whole “holy bucks” thing.” (trust me, it’s funny.)

What are you looking forward to most about next year? “Chemistry. And the experiments.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “Game designer.”

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Here is what we started with for Asher at the beginning of his 8th grade year…

homeschool2013asher

and my thoughts on these curriculum choices as we close out this school year:

Mapping the World by Heart – As I mentioned about, we chickened out of this. Okay, I chickened out.
Word Roots – B2 – I think Asher hid this, no idea when I saw this last.
Keeping a Nature Journal – Not even started, maybe I’ll use these for Sophie and Isabelle in the fall.
All American History – As I said above, just good. Everyone was happy with it, and that’s sayin’ something.
Exploring Creation with Biology – Good stuff. And Asher has really enjoyed Biology this year, which is even better stuff.
Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 – Did I mention I love Teaching Textbooks?
Sequential Spelling 7 – Sort of odd. And I had to read the list to him every day for him to spell, which takes longer than you might imagine. He did make strides in his spelling this year, though.
Editor in Chief B2 – Good solid editing practice that we use for handwriting practice as well.
Foundations of Personal Finance – Didn’t get around to it this year.
Writing with Skill – This is a good program. So happens that Asher’s biggest weakness is language arts, so the fact that he and I both like it speaks volumes. We are trying something different for next year, though.
Easy Grammar** – Added this after the beginning of the year, has been a good choice for Asher.
180 Daily Teaching Lessons** – We added this as well, and we will be continuing with this series in the fall.
** – books we added as the year went on – when you homeschool you can do crazy stuff like that

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There you go – our 2013-2014 homeschool year in a nutshell with my two big boys. I’m going to have to agree with the words they chose to describe the year, especially difficult and worth it.

Just Isabelle is left. Figure she gets her own post since she started the school year in public school and is finishing out with homeschool.

P.S. Links are just links, not affiliate links. Because links are fun.

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Comments

  1. From one homeschool mom to another – I LOVE!!!! this post! It’s so helpful! I’m always on the look out for kid and mom friendly curriculum. I can’t believe how big Asher is!! 6 feet! my little boy is 6’7″ now . . . why do they have to get so big so fast.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Thanks, Alida! I love to read others’ thoughts on homeschool stuff, so that’s why I try to share when I can. And 6’7″? Oh my…

  2. you crack me up!!! we do the same– lots of ditching and changing mid year– something to look at (because, shoot, it’s always fun to look at something new–) is Winter Promise— think a tone-downed Sonlight with some hands on.– we just started it– i can do 3 different curriculums and NOT want to eat all the chocolate in the house by supper– my older 3 (6th, 4th, and 3rd) are doing Adventures in sea and sky (pirates, nautical exploration, air, space) does history AND science– way fun. My middle 2 are doing Animals and their habitats– (2nd and K) so fun and my youngest is (4 year old) is doing journeys of the imagination and i’m ready to learn.. :) and dude– Asher??!!!! what are you feeding that boy?? he looks like a line backer!!!!!! wow– that be one heck of a growth spurt– bet you loved shopping through that!!!

  3. Lets here it for homeschool mamas!

  4. Sheri Watson says:

    Love this! Thank you. Do you know what you’re doing for high school? We are going from an online charter school to doing it on our own. I’m freaking out about the whole having enough credits to graduate and how to get them in properly.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Yes, I already have Asher’s curriculum for next year (he’ll be in 9th grade.) Our cover school helps us figure out credits, etc. Maybe you can find one in your area, or a homeschool co-op?

  5. Would you say that Easy Grammar is for the student that has a more difficult time learning/memorizing rules? I’m looking for a grammar curriculum for one of mine that has a little more of a difficult time? I think I liked it better 20 years ago when you had a choice from about 3 main curriculums, lol.

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Easy Grammar is very easy for all of mine (have 3 kiddos using the curriculum). The rules aren’t the focus… instead, each new idea gets lots of practice so it becomes a habit. Doing it daily really helps as well. Here is a link to the Easy Grammar site – check out the sample pages linked in the black boxes. http://www.easygrammar.com/order2.html
      Hope this helps.

  6. If you still want to study root words, I recommend “English from the Roots up.” This has 100 root words that are either Latin or Greek. We did Greek this year, and will do the Latin words in the fall. I like it because it is easy to use with multiple grades. My 8 yo learned the root, and usually 1 English derivative. Mt 12 yo learned at least 5 derivatives every week. Mama even learned a thing or two.

  7. Hey, Stephanie! I so enjoyed these “it’s summer” posts and learning more about your kids. Love the interviews – great idea! I have friends that have four girls, all being home schooled. They are also feeling led to adopt, so I always share your blog with them when I see something interesting/helpful, which is often :) I miss your Sunday Snapshot linky, but completely understand why you probably can’t keep up with it, lol!! Wishing you a safe, healthy and JOYfilled summer – I’m guessing you’ll be spending some time at the Y ;)

  8. I like that Inga mentioned an alternative root curriculum – it’s probably my favorite word study topic with my third graders! A thought on Spelling, you could use SpellingCity.com. It has various activities including basic “teach me” and “test me” that read words to the student. There are also paid activities including vocabulary games and record-keeping, but some of those basic spelling activities are free – plus the typing and spelling practice he would get just entering in the list at the start of the week.

  9. Great post! Loved reading it and what a good idea to let us know what you all liked and what you weren’t fond of… Love reading the boys responses! Now who will you be HSing next year?! The two boys and ?

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