They shall mount up with wings as eagles…

Posts tagged ‘Apologia’

New Year, New Ideas

Everything has seemed to slow to a crawl around here.  Now that the holidays are over, we can get back into our old routine.  Everyone was so busy in December that we didn’t do very many playdates and no field trips whatsoever.  The next couple weeks I have a couple playdates set up for the kids and even and field trip to City Hall.  That should be a lot of fun.

Coming up soon we should be receiving our tax return.  I always use a sizable amount towards our homeschooling supplies.  Since I have finally figured out how to educate our children without spending a large amount on a packaged curriculum, we are going to use the difference to enrich our education through memberships, more field trips and activities.

My plan is to set aside $2000 or $40 per week for the next 50 weeks towards homeschooling expenses.  I am hoping to use that money for all memberships, “back to school” shopping, and anything related to homeschooling expenses.  This is approximately how much I spent last year on boxed curriculum.  I feel confident that we can move away from the boxed curriculum, which is not much more than a reading list, and piecemeal our own, complete curriculum following World Book Typical Course of Study  and the book list from Sonlight’s website.  Leaving lots of time to follow more of the kid’s interests in whatever we are studying.

I am currently in the process of getting all the kids switched over from the Jump Math that they had been doing over to the MEP math, which is free (except for my print ink and paper).  I still really love Jump Math, but it is becoming harder and harder to get the workbooks when I need them.  Plus, Jump Math only goes up to grade 8, so I knew eventually we’d have to look for something more.  MEP goes through statistics, and we also can use Khan Academy for any subjects that are beyond my understanding.

We have been using an Apologia science course and plan on continuing the titles as long as the kids are still interesting in those particular books.  So far, they love them, especially the activities (which is really why I chose that publisher in the first place).  They have recently added the Jr Notebooks to the Astronomy course, so I think we will be doing that one next.  The one good thing about homeschooling, is we have no timelines on starting and stopping books.  We can just keep going until one is done, then just start-up the next one the following day.

For the rest of the subject, we are going to follow along the World Book Typical Course of Study to be sure we are not missing any important topics.  Zion has also been using Reading Eggs on the computer to learn to read.  Right now, we have a free trial for Zion, Promise and Gabriel, but we will be getting a paid subscription for at least Zion once his trial runs out.  I don’t think the cost is worth it for the older kids who already are confident readers.  We’ll see since it is a small expense.

That is my plan anyway.  Our education plans are always morphing and growing according to the needs of the kids, so just because we are starting this way, doesn’t mean this is exactly how our day to day will end up.  We add things we like and throw out the things that are not working.

Physical Education


I just came across this great blog post about incorporating Physical Education into your homeschooling education.  They linked a great source for activity calendars.  I definitely want to start following their suggestions since I seem to do better when I have a plan mapped out for me.  I think we will start September 1st, since August is nearly over.  The calendar is meant for children 5 and under, but I bet we can all get something out of the activities.  I won’t rehash everything written at The Homeschool Village, so click over there and take a look!

Speaking of Physical Education and Health (since Nebraska does require that we teach health).  I came across a health curriculum that follows traditional eating rather than that severely upside down “food pyramid”.  Its called Real Food Nutrition For Kids!  They offer a free chapter, but it did take a couple of days for me to get the email link so be patient, its worth the wait.  As soon as the weather gets cold, and we are having more time in the house, I am going to get the full curriculum to try out with the kids.  Probably just Jacy, Gabriel and Promise, but maybe Zion too.  It’s for ages 6-11 so Zion might be a bit young to keep up.  They also have a course for ages 12 and up.  If I like the one for kids, I thing we will use the older one for junior high health.  Currently we use Apologia Science Anatomy and Physiology in lieu of a health curriculum since in encompasses both science and health for us at the moment.

Our 2011/2012 Curriculum

I get this question a lot and thought it would be helpful (to me) to write it down so others can come read it.

Jacy is going into the 6th grade this fall.  He is using Switched on Schoolhouse for History/Geography, Language Arts and Spanish.  He is using Apologia Anatomy and Physiology for Science.  For Math he is using Jump Math.  To supplement his spelling he is using Sequential Spelling.

Gabriel and Promise (4th and 2nd)  are using the same things, with some workbook adjustments for skill levels.  They are using Switched on Schoolhouse for Language Arts and Spanish.  We are using Sonlight for Bible, Memory Work, History/Geography, Read Alouds and Readers.  (Jacy joins us often for our Sonlight lessons).  They are also using the same as Jacy for Science, Spelling and Math

We just started Zion this year with Sonlight’s p4/5 curriculum and MyFather’s World K.  I also got him a Horizion prek workbook, since the SL for p4/5 doesnt have many writing activities.

So that’s what we are using, and here’s my reviews of the thing we are using now and somethings we’ve used in the past.

Switched On Schoolhouse –

We tried it this year for Spanish, History & Geography and Language Arts.  Jacy really, really likes it.  He likes being able to do his own thing and go at his own speed.  It didnt work at well for Gabriel and Promise because there is a lot of textbook-like reading for them to do on their own.  I did keep them doing the Language Arts portion because it was catching a few things they hadn’t learned in depth yet.  Next year we are going to try Sonlight’s LA program for at least G and P.  If Jacy wants to stick with SOS, that will be his choice.

We also tried Spanish through SOS, but I dont think they are retaining enough knowledge.  I really want to try Rosetta Stone sooner than later.  Jacy is still doing the Spanish, but G and P have dropped it because it wasnt a good use of their time.  Unfortunately.

Apologia Science –

I really, really love our science.  The Anatomy and Physiology have regular notebooks and jr notebooks to go along with the text book.  This was really helpful because I can have the J, G and P all doing the same thing, with different notebooking journals.  The regular journal is at least at a 3rd grade level in my opinion.  We are hoping the author comes out with more jr notebooks for her other science books.  They are all creationist based, so follow along with our faith.  Hugely important to us.  We got our supplies through so it made that part easy peasy.

Jump Math –

This one is a bit harder to get a hold of.  We get ours through a coop, but i think amazon carries some of the workbooks.  It is a Canadian company, but i really appreciate how it teaches concepts from different points of views.  After Zion finishes the Horizon workbook, we are going to try that math with him since its easier for me to get, plus has fun manipulatives.

Sequential Spelling –

It is basically a bunch of spelling list, but teach using spelling families that build upon each other through out the week and the lessons.  It has really helped Gabriel gain some confidence in his spelling, the others dont need much help, but are most definitely benefiting from the practice.  And yes, we are all doing Book 1 together.  It was made to be done in a way that there are not grades, but spelling levels.  As long as the child can read at about a 2nd grade level, they are reading for Book 1.

Sonlight –

This is my favorite thing we do.  It is a literature based curriculum that rotates around History.  We pretty much follow the included schedule word for word, except we don’t get much use (so far) of the notes that are included.  It has discussion questions, etc.  We just make up our own.  We are doing the readers currently, and plan to try their full language arts program next year.  The books included with the program are well worth the expense in my opinion, but are mostly easily found at the library.  Some of them are SL publications so those would have to be purchased through them or skipped.     The read aloud often include poetry or arts books. 

Zion is using their p4/5 program since the K program is a bit over his head.  We also added in My Father’s World K Curriculum.  This should give us 2 years of PreK/K work.  We are using MFW for the solid phonics foundation and SL for the beautiful books.

My Father’s World –

We just started using this so I don’t have a complete review.  So far so good.  I spent a good part of last week mixing the weeks from MFW with the weeks of SL to make a 2 year K program for Zion (and tag along Israel).  Just from going over it, locating supplies and extra books, I really like the way it is set up.  Zion seemed to enjoy the quick lesson that we did this morning, but time will really tell how well he likes it.  One think I do like about it is that the cost is far lower than Sonlight’s and yet it seems to be just as good of a curriculum.  They are both very similar in that they use a lot of books.  The one disadvantage MFW has over SL, is that it isn’t entirely all inclusive.  MFW does expect the parent to use outside sources for some of the subject, like science.  Every week it asks the parent to reference an encyclopedia, other books, the internet or magazine articles.   Thankfully, we have plenty of that lying around the house being unused.

Southwestern Ask Me! Books –

I saw these books on TPW blog and knew I needed to have them.  Long story short, we bought them through a kid selling them door to door two years ago.  I’ve added them into Zion’s curriculum at regular intervals.

I hope this helps someone