Planning Our Homeschool Curriculum

It’s still early July, but I’m already thinking about our homeschool curriculum for next year. We’ll be back to school very soon here, so I’m preparing now to make sure we’re ready. As I considered what I’ll change for this homeschool year, I realized I never shared our curriculum choices for 2016-17. So, here’s a quick post reflecting on what we used, what worked well and what didn’t as I look ahead to our next year of homeschooling.

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Our 2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

This was both my favorite and least favorite school year so far. My son definitely matured and improved in his work ethic and skills, but it was a stressful year for our family and I fear this showed up in his end-of-year testing. Overall, he maintained good grades across the board and we made considerable headway after finding out he had vision related learning challenges. All in all, I’d say we are on the right track with the goals we set when we took him out of traditional school and I’m excited about his 7th grade year.

Here’s what we used:

Math Curriculum

We tried Math U See and initially, I loved it. My son is very hands-on and fought tooth and nail when we used Saxon. This was a much more pleasant experience, although we barely used (or needed to use) the manipulatives. I had such high hopes because I really like the way the lessons are taught. We finished Delta quickly and moved on to Epsilon last year. Unfortunately, while his grades were good during the year, his Math scores during standardized testing were very low. I’m trying not to panic, but it looks like we’ll be moving back to Saxon (even though he hated it, his test scores were quite high!).

Language Arts Curriculum

We switched to Alpha Omega’s LIFEPAC for Language Arts. I think it’s comprehensive enough, so we’ll keep using it. I tried very hard to continue using Here to Help Learning in addition to LIFEPAC, but I eventually gave up. The older he got, the more complaints I got that the content was too corny. That stinks a bit, because it really does help improve writing. I’m on a desperate hunt for something similar, but more age-appropriate.

Schoolhouse Teachers Homeschool Curriculum and Classes

Science Curriculum

No big complaints here. We’ve been using Science Shepherd and I’m considering switching to Alpha Omega just for the sake of continuity and nothing more. We stopped doing Tinker Crate just in the interest of time. My son enjoys the hands-on activities but didn’t want me to “school up” the fun he was having with it. I’d worked hard to keep STEM at the core of our school days, but I’m not sure I managed to do that well this time. We did enjoy using PIPER and I recommend that for kids, whether they’re in a home or traditional school.

Kids use PIPER to build their own computer and play Minecraft
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History Curriculum

We worked through a large part of Mystery of History and accomplished a great deal. I’m on the fence about whether we’ll continue or switch to something else just because I want to be certain he’s on track for high school. It appears that most 7th grade History curriculum covers U.S. history. We did that extensively during 5th grade, so I don’t want to repeat it. We did make some adaptations–I used the pre-tests as quizzes and the quizzes as tests. He enjoyed the timeline (I created a timeline printable that you’re free to use) and I used this as our Bible curriculum for the year as well. He’s gotten too old for my Check Your Messages Bible Workbook, but we’ll be hitting my 101 Bible Verses Workbook much harder this coming year.

Electives

I’ll likely continue with each of these in the coming school year. We used Rosetta Stone Spanish. It can be glitchy, but it gets the job done. We finally got through Keyboarding Without Tears and I moved him to Typing Instructor Platinum 21. It’s challenging and engaging and I’ve noticed an improvement in his typing. Finally, we continued using Spelling City. It’s a must-have for us, as his vision challenges have made spelling quite difficult for him over the years.




And that’s the long and short of it. I hope sharing our choices helps you as you plan yours. Please let me know if I can answer any questions about the curriculum options we chose and if you have any good ideas to share with me, let me know in a comment! I’ll post about our 2017-18 choices soon.

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