homeschooling: 2014-2015

I shared a post similar to this a little over a year ago, with all our curriculum choices for the year. And I posted a follow-up at the end of the year, with our thoughts on all of Dalton and Asher’s curriculum. (Thoughts on Isabelle’s 3rd grade curriculum choices is here.)

Let’s just say, we didn’t end the year the same way we began. But in homeschooling, that can be a really beautiful thing.


Here is precious Vivienne. Six years old and technically in first grade, but she might still have one foot in kindergarden. School isn’t her favorite.

Learning? yes. School? no.

So we approach learning in a more relaxed way with her… focusing on the things she enjoys and not stressing about the things that are anxiety-producing for her.


Bob Books – When Vivienne struggled with learning to read last year, we switched from the book we’d bought to some Bob Books we had laying around. And it was like magic. So we will happily continue with all the Bob Books we can find.
A Reason for Handwriting Book A – Vivienne enjoyed the K version of this book last year so we got the next book in the series. She’s already happy to practice her skills daily and that’s enough of an endorsement for me.
Explode the Code (books 1, 1 1/2 and 2) – Vivienne enjoyed these last year (Get Ready for the Code) and seems excited to begin the next set. I love them because they are simple, easy to understand and just seem fun.
Mathematical Reasoning Level B – This is by the Critical Thinking Co. and I love them. This series is very good but intense. Poppy has the preschool version and I found it to be excellent, but quite advanced. We will finish up the Horizons math books we used last year and see how Vivienne does with this, if it’s too difficult we’ll find a book to bridge the gap between where she is and where this book starts.
The Reading Lesson – We tried this book last year and she just weren’t ready for it, so we put it away. will give this book another go.


Isabelle, on her first day of 4th grade.

This sweet girl came home from public school last November in a way we could have never predicted. And she has flourished.

Amazingly, she was able to complete all the curriculum we purchased for her – an entire school year’s worth – between November and August. She ended up homeschooling all summer because it just took that long to get it done, but I think it ended up being a real blessing for her. She never complained once and was mentally ready to go when this school year started.

I can’t even put into words how proud I am of her. School isn’t easy for her. But she has a tenaciousness and desire to learn like no one I’ve ever known. Many days she ends up teaching me something new.


The Story of the World Volume 2 – This was the history curriculum we chose for last year (Volume 1) and Isabelle loved it. She is able to recollect so many details from the reading, it’s really quite amazing. So it was an easy choice for her history this year.
Exploring Creation with Botany – We love Apologia… me and my kids. We buy the notebooks and lesson plans that are available for these to make it just that much easier for everyone.
Who is God and Can I Really Know Him? – This series is by Apologia and the girls and I are using this as a bible study. We have the notebooking journals as well and so far, so good. The girls are enjoying it and it provides a great “jumping off” place for some meaty discussions on Jesus and what it means to follow Him.
Easy Grammar Grade 4 – Love this series. We get the this one instead of the cheaper workbook because it has everything we need in one book. We use construction paper to cover the answer page when we are working and then uncover it when we talk about the answers.
Daily Grams Grade 4 – Ditto on the love. But we just get the workbook for this one because I can actually grade it quite easily.
Reading Detective Beginning – From the Critical Thinking Co. and has excellent reviews so we decided to try it this year. Isabelle struggles with reading comprehension so we have high hopes. Will let you know at the end of the year how it measured up.
Teaching Textbooks Math 4 (not pictured) – Love Teaching Textbooks for all ages of math. And all my kids have loved it as well. Honestly, on those days when one of my kids is having a hard time getting started, this is one of the few ways I can get them going.
A Reason for Handwriting Level C (not pictured) – Isabelle struggles with cursive but really wants to learn. So we are starting here. Somehow it ended up in Sophie’s pile so you can see the spine of it in her picture.


And Miss Sophie. This was taken in the first hour of her first day of homeschool.

Welcome to 5th grade, my love.

I must confess to being painfully disorganized and the day went down badly. Especially for Sophie who, because she’s never seen her mama homeschool in real-time, has never stared complete chaos in the face.

Thankfully we’ve pulled up from that ugly nosedive. In fact, I’d bet that this morning, as she was riding Jewel out to the pasture, she was thinking homeschooling just might be okay.


The Story of the World Volume 2 – This curriculum is appropriate for multiple grade levels so the plan is to teach Sophie and Isabelle both history and science together.
Exploring Creation with Botany – Same science as Isabelle.
A Reason for Handwriting E – Same curriculum as Vivienne and Isabelle, just a different level. Not surprisingly, the girls like the space in the back (to write scripture memory and color) the best. I’m okay with that.
Easy Grammar Grade 5 – Sophie is surprisingly behind on grammar, so we’ll see how she does. Thankfully this curriculum is well-laid out and hasn’t overwhelmed her yet.
Daily Grams Grade 5
Who is God and Can I Really Know Him? – Sophie is studying this alongside Isabelle as our bible study.
Teaching Textbooks Math 5 (not pictured) – Teaching Textbooks usually runs a grade behind, but math isn’t Sophie’s strong point so with it being her first year homeschooling we decided to get her the easier curriculum and, if she plows through it, we’ll just start her on Math 6 a little earlier. Better to encourage her than to overwhelm her, right?
A Reason for Handwriting Level E (not pictured) – Sophie’s handwriting curriculum. Her cursive is wobbly, but even after one week of practice, she told me it seems to be getting easier.


And Dalton, first day of 7th grade. Doesn’t he look excited? Actually, this is a bit of a dramatization, he kinda-sorta-likes-school but just doesn’t want to show it. Plus, when he hits his school work and gets it done, he has the rest of the day to do what he wants. And he loves that.

He’s also the tiniest bit competitive… so finishing later or doing poorly just aren’t options for him.


Around the World in 180 Days – This is a history/geography/social studies curriculum designed by Apologia. I was looking for something to facilitate discussion and study of the world for both Asher and Dalton and this seemed to be a good fit. We will see how it goes, it requires a lot of additional resources from the library, news, etc. so I’m thinking of having Chris – who has traveled the globe many times – to teach.
Easy Grammar Plus – Dalton enjoyed this curriculum last year and this is the next level. Gerund, anyone?
Wordsmith – We used this curriculum last year and although Dalton didn’t love it, he also despises creative writing. I think it’s a good curriculum and he doesn’t hate it, so we’re using it again.
Mathematical Reasoning Middle School Supplement – Got this but we went through it and he’s not ready for it. We might pull it out later in the year or wait until next year. Again, this series is a bit advanced and very intensive, but good. We’ll use it eventually.
Reading Detective B1 – Another highly recommended book by Critical Learning Co. (Isabelle is using the elementary edition) and Dalton has already commented on how much he is enjoying it.
All American History Volume 1 – We used this curriculum last year (Volume 2) and both boys really enjoyed it. They also learned a lot. And it seemed to work well for them to complete separately or working together. Expecting them to enjoy it just as much this year.
Exploring Creation with Physical Science – At last, I get to use some of the curriculum Asher used for Dalton.
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra – Ditto. Asher used this and now Dalton will use it. Love that.


And last is Asher. First day of high-school. But does he look nervous?

No way. He’s wearing sport shorts and the t-shirt he slept in. So glad my sweet boy with the nervous stomach that caused me to reconsider homeschooling almost 3 years ago is still happy homeschooling.

Now Asher’s biggest challenge isn’t his nerves, or even the materials. It’s organization. Time management. Avoiding distraction.

But we’re working on that.


Teaching Textbooks Geometry – This is Asher’s 3rd year using Teaching Textbooks and I think he’d cry if I tried to switch it up. His learning style is such that he really enjoys (needs!) a break from textbooks and workbooks. This is the perfect answer, because they also include a lecture and explanations for every. single. problem. It’s been far too long since this mama did geometry and I’m happy to leave it to the professionals.
One Year Adventure Novel – This was my out-on-a-limb curriculum purchase for this year. Asher really struggles with writing creatively and this course seemed like it might just be the thing. If all things go as planned, Asher will actually pen his very own novel. We shall see…
Around the World in 180 Days – Will possibly work through with Dalton if I can bribe the teacher.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry – Asher hasn’t cracked this book open yet because he has spent this week finishing up last year’s science curriculum. (see mention of time management issues above.) Thankfully he does very well in science, he just isn’t as diligent about doing it as he should be. He should be on to this book in the next week or so. I even bought him the kit with all the materials for the experiments… the kid with distraction issues now has his very own Bunsen burner. Help me.
All American History Volume 1 – Will complete with Dalton.
Easy Grammar Ultimate Grade 9 – From the Easy Grammar series, this is the curriculum for the 9th grade.
Word Roots B1 – More from the Critical Thinking Co. We’ve completed the previous Word Roots and will continue through the series.


And that’s it.

So very grateful to be winding up the first week in this now very busy (albeit little) school we call home.

If you have curriculum recommendation or just something you’d like to share, please do. I love to hear about other mama’s choices for homeschool curriculum.



  1. Your kids are just all so cute!

  2. Always love curriculum posts. So interesting. Now, how about a post about how you organize and your day runs?!

    We use All About Reading/Spelling, Bob books, handwriting without tears

  3. Hi There!
    Not a Mama- but I am a homeschooled child going in to Senior Year! :-)

    I <3 Teaching textbooks too! I am sad to have to use a different curriculum this year, as i'll be doing Calculus, But, because of that, I wanted to recommend a great Teaching Textbooks-like curriculum for Calc: Thinkwell. It is lecture-based, just like Teaching Textbooks, so your children that like TT would probably do well with it if they get to Calc. :-)

    Curriculum is something I love to talk about- it's a seriously weird homeschool quirk of mine, so I thought i'd add some recommendations by telling you what i'm using this year!

    English- i'll be reading 20ish novels, completing some vocab., writing 6 essays, and one research paper. Most of the books I am reading for British Literature are on the Sonlight Brit. Lit. List, so I am using their Instructor Guides for the first time ever.

    History- As this year is my first ever experience with Sonlight, I decided to also use one of their histories. I am combining a secular European History text- a college level one called "The Western Heritage" along with their core 200 history, which is a Christianity-focused Western Civilization course. I'm hoping the balance of Christian materials and Secular will give me as balanced of a history course as possible.

    Math- Finishing TT Precalc and then moving on to Thinkwell AP Calc AB

    Science- Oak Meadow Physics and *maybe* Advanced Biology.. Not sure yet. :-)

    I'm taking a couple other courses, but we haven't finished purchasing them yet, so I can't include them. 😉 Right now, I am interested in doing a literature integrated Ancient history course- reading the Illiad, Aeneid, Odyssey, Epic of Gilgamesh, Code of Hammurabi, etc. in addition to studying Ancient History. Not sure if that will happen or not! 😉 I also need a government course, but I haven't decided on which one i'd like. I'm also taking foreign language, but again, haven't purchased my curriculum yet!

    Happy Homeschooling!

  4. Do you have a daily homeschool schedule you can share?

  5. So I am a special education teacher and if she loves the Bob books consider checking out a reading curriculm called Sound Partners. Sound partners has a lot of great research done on it and one of the best part is that it is scripted so anyone can use it and uses the Bob books to supplement the lesson. There is also a Bob book app.

  6. Could you add a picture of some of your curriculum without one of your sweet kiddos? I’d love to pin this post but don’t want to put your kiddos all over Pinterest. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for this! I am also very interested in how you schedule your day with all of your little ones. For the first time this year I am homeschooling 3 of my 4 and I must admit, I’m a little intimidated with how I’m going to give them all enough one on one time with school work. I do have a 2 year old to throw in the mix however which isn’t going to help but would LOVE to get some ideas from how you plan out your day! <3

  8. Thanks so much for doing these curriculum posts! We needed a change in a few areas from what we used last year.. and your posts have been so helpful!

  9. I’m a Kindergarten teacher at a private school. This year we’re using Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting and the Phonetic Reading Program from California along with Primary Phonics for reading.

  10. You cannot imagine my excitement when I saw “OYAN” (One Year Adventure Novel) listed for Asher. I’m a recent highschool graduate and I love the curriculum-and “Mr. S” as his students call him. It is a little time consuming and challenging, but when you are slightly relaxed with “The Compass” it’s amazing. Don’t stress. They also have a forum for teen writers using their curriculum. My advice on that is to have a time limit, because it’s easily addictive to be able to hang out with like minded people your age anytime. If he’s lucky he will make some life long friends, as I have. Please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions, and if you decide to do the forum, I can give you my username for Asher to look up if he has any questions. Enjoy!!!

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