I cannot believe I have a fourth grader this year! Wow, how time flies! I want to share with you what’s on our shelves for this school year, but before I do, here’s a quick thought about curriculum choices:
I really think that the most important factor in choosing a curriculum is whether you like it or not.
There are a million choices out there, and if you’ve been to a homeschool book fair, it can be totally overwhelming. However, all those math options, spelling options, etc. have pretty much the same stuff in them when it comes down to it. The most important thing is to pick something that you like, meaning something that has a schedule that works for you and a layout that you and your child can deal with every day. And don’t be afraid to ditch something that isn’t working!
We are doing Sonlight Core E for history this year, which is American History, Part 2. This will be our third year with Sonlight, and I love it! Sonlight is a literature based approach to history. It does require a lot of reading aloud on my part, but I like the fact that we are learning as a family and discussing all kinds of great issues as they come up.
Aidan was thrilled to see this book about World Wars I and II arrive in our Sonlight box! We are actually borrowing most of the books from a friend, which helps quite a bit with the cost. Sonlight can be pricey, but it is possible to put together the books needed by shopping the clearance rack at Half Price Books. It just isn’t a one-stop shop! After a trip there the other day (in which I purchased a few Sonlight books for 50 cents and $1 each), I decided that I need to stop there from time to time and purchase books as I find them!
We do the Sonlight history, read alouds, and readers, but that’s it. I have my own choices for language arts, math, science, and Bible.
Here are our language arts choices for the year:
Aidan will be doing Handwriting without Tears – Cursive Success, Wordly Wise 3000 Book 4 (vocabulary), Sequential Spelling, and Building with Diligence (grammar) from Rod and Staff. We do not do all of these every day. In general, I try to have Aidan work out of two of our language arts books each day.
Wordly Wise is such a beneficial series. I really think that building vocabulary is important for kids. A large vocabulary helps with reading comprehension, and kids who read a lot are well educated! Each Wordly Wise book has several lessons. Each lesson has a word list with definitions, several activities to enforce learning those words, and a story with comprehension questions that includes the words from that lesson. I really like the fact that they introduce various meanings for a particular word. For example, in lesson 4, Aidan will learn that “contract” can mean “an agreement that has the force of law,” “to get, to come to have” (as in contracting chicken pox), or “to make or become smaller.”
Sequential Spelling is an approach to spelling unlike anything I had ever seen before, but I really like it! Instead of having a weekly word list, there are daily word lists, and they build on each other. For example, the student spells “bat” one day, followed by bats, batted, battered, battery, etc.
For science, I am using Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day from Apologia. We absolutely love Apologia! It’s a great curriculum to use with children of different ages together. We come away from the lessons in awe of God as Creator, which is what I wanted in a science curriculum!
We are still waiting for our math books to come! After trying (and discarding) Saxon, Math-U-See, and Horizons, I have finally settled on Making Math Meaningful from Cornerstone Curriculum (a local company here in North Texas) and I supplement that with extra drill practice from Rod and Staff. I could tell you why I picked what I did, but I think that math is one of those areas where you especially just have to pick what you like! In the end, your children will learn to add and subtract with any math program!
What books are on your shelves for the upcoming school year?