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Q.  How do you choose a curriculum that works for your family.

A.   The main things I look for in a curriculum/resource is

  • What need is it meeting (this could be a family need, or a need of an individual)
  • What preparation does it require of me
  • What teaching time per day / per week – Does it fit our study schedule
  • Does it work with notebooking?  Can I tweak it to fit?
  • If it is a new resource I also have to ask what is it replacing (I can’t keep on adding good things to my family – something has to go if something is being added)
 I have written about this process on my website:  Choosing Homeschool Curriculum for the Discipleship Homeschool

Q.  What curriculum do you use?

A.  I don’t make a distinction between curriculum and resources – I use what meets the needs of my children.  I have used some complete curriculum and I have tweaked things to make it fit us and I use many books just off the shelf of Amazon or Koorong.  I think it is very important that you give yourself the freedom to tweak things to fit your child and your family situation.

I list these resources here as a good place for folk to start looking – you may well find something else suits you better.

Phonics / learning to read:  Reading Made Easy by Valerie Bendt  It teaches phonics, it has very limited prep, is scripted so you know what to say.  You can read more about it here.  After our children were reading we used more Charlotte Mason methods of copywork and oral/written narrations.

Math:  Math U See and Living Math ideas.  Read more about living math here and here.

I like MathUSee as my children can do most of it independently, it has a hands on component, and it works with the idea of mastery before you progress.

Bible Study:  We have used many different resources for our Bible study.  On the Way was my favourite when the kids were little as it helped progress us through the Bible and gave good resources for interesting notebook pages.  There are three different age groups 3-9, 9-11, 11-14.   I found it easy enough to get a key objective from these resources, read the Bible story from the narrated children’s Bible and create conversation.  Then they would do their notebook page.   I have used many other resources as my children have grown older and needed different things.  Maybe that is a post all on its own.

General Knowledge

Five in a Row:  This is my all time favourite curriculum/resource – I stretched it out for as long as I could.  I love it.  It has shaped how I teach and how my kids learn.

Sonlight:  Though I found Sonlight a bit overwhelming for many years, I finally purchased it for Daniel last year and it has been great.  The books are fantastic (and I have always used them as a resource for a great book list – even without buying the whole kit-n-caboodle!)  In using it though I made big tweaks – only using the components that suited us.

Science:

Noeo Science has worked for us – both as an independent study (for older kids) and for younger ones too.  I am going to do another Noeo next year.

God’s Design – Answers in Genesis resource.  I really enjoyed how this resource covered all my ages – upper primary (and would have done lower as well), middle and upper highschool.  It is a very family friendly resource.

I have used others – some with success, some with tears!  These two are my favourites.

History:

We initially used Diana Waring What in the World is going on here as a guide.   We’ve also used Mystery of History and Learning thru History.   Josh and Jess did History fairly chronologically (though they got stuck on certain periods for longer amounts of time – and didn’t study every era).  Nomi and Daniel are looking at things more randomly.

My shelves are filled with so many other good resources – but these are the ones that have served us well and are a good place to start.

Read more about discipleship homeschooling on my website.

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This post is a part of a series springing from the Q&A session at the Mum Heart Conference.  I’m taking time to answer these questions this week as I think they are helpful questions for most homeschooling mums at some time in their journey….

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