How to Jumpstart Homeschooling Your Child: Curriculum Ideas and Outlines for Each K-8 Grade Level

How to Jumpstart Homeschooling Your Child: Curriculum Ideas and Outlines for Each K-8 Grade Level

Are you considering homeschooling but don’t know where to begin? Below is a list of recommendations broken out by grade level so you can easily jump in and get started. The resources selected do not require any expertise on your part. They are either scripted for you or allow your child to work fairly independently.   Do not be intimidated.  You got this!

Kindergarten

  • ReadingTeach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is brilliant.  By spending about 15-25 minutes each day over 3-6 months, your child will be reading on a 2nd-grade level upon completion. It is entirely scripted so you have no prep at all.  My son was so advanced from this program that he had already read the first five Harry Potter books while he was in kindergarten.  This propelled us into homeschooling. For $14.99, it may be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your child’s education.

  • MathHorizons Math is a colorful and visually-appealing workbook that spirals backs to concepts to better ensure long-term mastery.  The kindergarten year comes with a book 1 and 2. You probably only need 2 since we are in the second semester. There is no need to buy the teacher’s manual. CTC Math is an online alternative though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Other resources: Reading Bear, Reading Eggs
  • Enjoy time together at this sweet age. Go out in nature. Cook together. Create art. Play games. Be in the moment and soak it in. There will be enough rigorous academics later. Some European countries like education powerhouse, Finland, and Germany don’t start formal academics until 6 or 7.

First Grade

  • 1933339446GrammarFirst Language Lessons is a beautiful way to do grammar with your child. Sit down with a cup of tea or hot chocolate together and enjoy these lessons that are entirely scripted for you. No prep is required.
  • MathMath Mammoth contains both the instructions and exercises so Math Mammoth Grade 1-B Worktextthe students should be able to work fairly independently.  This curriculum helps foster a deep understanding of math. CTC Math is an online alternative though I find pencil and paper most effective. I recommend the free website, XtraMath, for practicing math facts starting with addition.
  • Writing–Have fun with writing during this time. Here is an enjoyable list of writing prompts for your child to journal each day.
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up with you and read to you from a book he likes for 15 minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of Mr. Popper's Penguinsour family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the Poppy series, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.
  • HistoryStory of the World : Ancient Times is the first volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, coloring pages, games, projects, and reading lists.

Second Grade

  • GrammarFirst Language Lessons: Level 2 is a beautiful way to do grammar with your child. Sit down with a cup of tea or hot chocolate together and enjoy these lessons that are entirely scripted for you. No prep is required. 1942715056
  • MathMath Mammoth 2 contains both the instructions and exercises so the students should be able to work fairly independently.  This curriculum helps foster a deep understanding of math. XtraMath is a free website for practicing math facts.  CTC Math is an online alternative to the Math Mammoth workbook, though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Writing–Have fun with writing during this time. Here is an enjoyable list of writing prompts for your child to journal each day.0140309578
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, cozy place and enjoy reading 20-30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the Poppy series, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, and Pippi Longstocking. Story of the World, Vol. 1 Bundle: History for the Classical Child: Ancient Times; Text, Activity Book, and Test & Answer Key (Story of the World)
  • HistoryStory of the World: Ancient Times is the first volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, coloring pages, games, projects, and reading lists.

Third GradeAbeka Language 3 Grammar & Writing Worktext, 5th Edition (2019 Revision)   -

  • GrammarAbeka Language 3 Grammar and Writing Worktext  is a delightful, colorful and visually appealing workbook. The child can work independently with minimal assistance from the parent. I don’t find it necessary to purchase the teacher manual. Note: Abeka is a Christian publisher.1481012584
  • MathMath Mammoth 3 contains both the instructions and exercises so the students should be able to work fairly independently.  This curriculum helps foster a deep understanding of math. XtraMath is a free website for practicing math facts.   CTC Math is an online alternative to the Math Mammoth workbook, though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Writing–Have fun with writing during this time. Here is an enjoyable, free list of writing prompts for your child to journal each day.The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, cozy place and enjoy reading 20-30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are The Tale of Despereaux, The Secret Garden, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, and Pippi Longstocking. Story of the World, Vol. 2: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages (Second Revised Edition) (Vol. 2) (Story of the World)
  • HistoryStory of the World: The Middle Ages is the second volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions,  games, projects, and reading lists.
  • Typing–Learn to type for free using the BBC’s Dance Mat Typing.

Fourth Grade

  • GrammarFirst Language Lessons 3 is a complete writing text that covers parts of speech, sentence diagrams, and skills in beginning writing, storytelling and narration.  Classical education concepts of memorization, dictation, copywork, and narration are part of this program.  Sit down with a cup of hot chocolate or tea together and enjoy these lessons that are entirely scripted for you. The instructor’s guide is also required. If your child is looking for more challenge and would like to diagram in much greater detail, you may opt for First Language Lessons 4 with the teacher guide.
  • Math Mammoth Grade 4 Answer KeysMathMath Mammoth 4 contains both the instructions and exercises so the students should be able to work fairly independently.  This curriculum helps foster a deep understanding of math.  The $10 answer key is suggested. XtraMath is a free website for practicing math facts.  CTC Math is an online alternative to the Math Mammoth workbook, though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Writing–Have fun with writing during this time. Here is an enjoyable list of writing prompts for your child to journal each day. 0440412676
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, cozy place and enjoy reading 20-30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are The Star of Kazan, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and Where the Red Fern Grows.Story of the World, Vol. 2 Bundle: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages; Text, Activity Book, and Test & Answer Key (Story of the World)
  • HistoryStory of the World: The Middle Ages is the second volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, games, projects, and reading lists.
  • Typing–Learn to type for free using the BBC’s Dance Mat Typing.

Fifth Grade

  • Writing–This is an excellent and free list of narrative, persuasive, expository and creative essay writing prompts. Allow your child several days to work on each essay including both a rough draft and polished draft. You can provide editing and feedback on these fifth-grade assignments. This will also serve as his grammar assignment.
  • MathSaxon Math 6/5 Homeschool Kit has incremental step-by-step instructions so the child can work independently. The included solutions manual is excellent because it lays out the solutions in a step-by-step format. There is continual practice and review to ensure mastery.  CTC Math is an online alternative, though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, 05457091641416940286cozy place and enjoy reading 20-30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are Caddie WoodlawnDeath on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure, and Cabin on Trouble Creek, and The Great Brain series.
  • HistoryStory of the World: Early Modern Times is the third volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story and covers the period from Elizabeth I to the 49ers.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, timelines, games, projects, and reading lists.

Sixth Grade

  • Writing–Here is a list of narrative, persuasive, expository, how-to and creative essay writing prompts. Allow your child several days to work on each essay including both a rough draft and polished draft. You can provide editing and feedback on these sixth-grade assignments. This will also serve as his grammar assignment.1591413494
  • MathSaxon Math 7/6 Homeschool Kit has incremental step-by-step instructions so the child can work independently. The included solutions manual is excellent because it lays out the solutions in a step-by-step format. There is continual practice and review to ensure mastery. CTC Math is an online alternative, though I find pencil and paper most effective.
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, 0545709164cozy place and enjoy reading 20-30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon AdventureA Little Princess, Tuck Everlasting, and Sophia’s War: A Tale of Revolution.Story of the World, Vol. 3 Bundle: History for the Classical Child: Early Modern Times; Text, Activity Book, and Test & Answer Key (Revised Edition) (Story of the World)
  • HistoryStory of the World: Early Modern Times is the third volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, timelines, games, projects, and reading lists.

 

Seventh Grade

  • Writing–Use the outstanding and free Both Sides of the Issue video series from Stossel in the Classroom for your child to exercise critical thinking, research and persuasive writing skills.  Two opposing viewpoints are presented in short videos on each topic to encourage open discussion and critical thinking resulting in a balanced lesson.  Each video is about 5 minutes. Some examples of topics include What Should we Do About Student Debt, Should We Tax the Rich More, The Climate Debate, and Should We Have Single-Payer Healthcare. You child can watch both videos on a topic and write a persuasive essay about why she supports one of the sides. Further research can be required, if you choose, with sources and data to 1591413508support her viewpoint.
  • MathSaxon Math 8/7 with Pre-Algebra Homeschool Kit has incremental step-by-step instructions so the child can work independently. The included solutions manual is excellent because it lays out the solutions in a step-by-step format. There is continual practice and review to ensure mastery. CTC Math is an online alternative, though I find pencil and paper most effective. 0439669960
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, cozy place and enjoy reading 30 (or more if she wants) minutes each day. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with are The Giver, A Night Divided, Angel on the Square series, and Survivors: True Stories of Children of the Holocaust. 1945841753
  • HistoryStory of the World: The Modern Age is the fourth volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story. It covers Victoria’s Empire to the end of the USSR.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, timelines, games, projects, and reading lists.

Eighth Grade

  • Writing–Use the outstanding and free Both Sides of the Issue video series from Stossel in the Classroom for your child to exercise critical thinking, research and The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens: Updated for the Digital Agepersuasive writing skills.  Two opposing viewpoints are presented in short videos on each topic to encourage open discussion and critical thinking resulting in a balanced lesson.  Each video is about 5 minutes. Some examples of topics include What Should we Do About Student Debt, Should We Tax the Rich More, The Climate Debate, and Should We Have Single-Payer Healthcare. You child can watch both videos on a topic and write a persuasive essay about why she supports one of the sides. Further research can be required, if you choose, with 0064462080sources and data to support her viewpoint.
  • MathMr. D’s Algebra I includes 12 chapters of video-based instruction, coursework for each section of each chapter, 12 chapter tests, 2 semester exams and a comprehensive solutions manual. Also included is an online grading book and email access to the Mr. D teaching staff. Note: I have not used this program because my 13-year-old son attends an in-person algebra class each week. However, I have heard many great things about this program.
  • Reading–Your child can snuggle up in a favorite, cozy place and enjoy reading 30 B017WQDIBW(or more if she wants) minutes each day. I suggest he reads The Six Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens by Sean Covey. Also, read aloud with your child as much as you can. Here is a list of some of our family’s favorite read-alouds.  Some great ones to start with include The War That Saved My Life, Red Scarf Girl, The Cay, and  The Scourge.B01LP3J9N4
  • HistoryStory of the World: The Modern Age is the fourth volume of four in a very exciting narrative series that reads like a story. It covers Victoria’s Empire to the end of the USSR.  If you opt for the audiobook, the narrator is extremely gifted and our whole family enjoys it. There is an optional activity book with mapping activities, review questions, timelines, games, projects, and reading lists.

Note: We have always done science at our co-op. The reading and workbooks are done at home while experiments are done with their friends in class. Furthermore, we have significantly augmented our science learning out in the world. Musuems and nature centers, for instance, offer incredible classes for hands-on learning. Additionally, science comes to life on nature walks, tidepooling excursions, zoo visits and more!

Here are some other resources:

  • No Red Ink is an internet-based writing and grammar program that provides free curriculum, adaptive exercises and  actionable data.
  • Khan Academy is a free website offering a wide variety of classes for learners.
  • Learn to type for free on the BBC’s Dance Mat Typing. The animation is delightful.
  • Prodigy Math is a free, Pokemon-style math game kids can play online.
  • DuoLingo is a gamified way to learn six different foreign languages. It is fun and free!
  • Many public library systems offer free access to Rosetta Stone Online with a library account.
  • Scholastic is offering free online resources during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Audible is offering a free Audible Stories for website for children of all ages.
  • Get a work out with Kidz Bop Dance videos.
  • A list of science YouTube channels for kids
  • Common Sense Media shared a list of recommended documentaries to watch with kids.

I’ve been homeschooling my kids who are now in 8th, 6th and 3rd grades for the past 7 years. They take the same standardized tests in the spring that all public students in California do and score very well.  Many of these resources shared above have served us well.  Education is not a one-size-fits-all. While much of the curriculum above will work for many children, it won’t be the best fit for all kids. There is a tremendous amount of curriculum to choose from. You can spend hours researching it. I put this list together for you with quality picks that require little prep work on your part and are laid out very well for ease of use.

If you are consideing homeschooling as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, please know that being cooped up in the house is not what homeschooling looks like or feels like at all.  In my experience, it is exciting and dynamic and the socialization is outstanding. Most homeschoolers are out learning in the world. My family, for instance, is quite busy with sports, on-campus classes 2 days/week, field trips, volunteer work, hanging out with friends, and more.

We are thankful for this flexible lifestyle that has allowed us to customize our children’s education and have more time for pursuing our hobbies and interests. Because schoolwork can be completed much more efficiently than in a large classroom setting, there is quite a bit more time for pursuing passions, play and brain breaks.

You have a big support system in the homeschool community. Homeschoolers are extremely generous in sharing knowledge and wisdom. We appreciate that no two families homeschool the same way and aren’t in competition with one another. When one is successful, our collective homeschool community applauds and shines.

Best wishes to you as you start this journey with your children!

You may also like:

Is it Time for you to Consider Homeschooling?

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

Do Parents Need More Patience for Public School or Homeschool?

Homeschoolers Make High Profile Entries into Top Universities

Homeschooling is the Smartest Way to Teach Kids in the 21st Century According to Business Insider

How to Build Your Homeschool Tribe

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How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Did you know you can give your kids an exceptional and customized education for less than $400/year?

Homeschooling is the epitome of personalized education tailored to your individual child. You don’t have to be wealthy to provide a cutting-edge education for your kids. Many families of modest means around the country and even the world are part of this exciting movement!

As parents, we know our kids better than anyone and also have the greatest vested interest in seeking out the best curriculum and programs for them. In addition to individualized one-on-one teaching, we are fortunate to live in a time when some of the best teachers in the world are offering content online for free.

Homeschool families also recognize the value of libraries. The famous line from Good Will Hunting is not lost on homeschool families:

“You blew $150k on an education you could have gotten in $1.50 in late fees from the library.” — Good Will Hunting

Here is a typical homeschool curriculum for a 4th/5th grader. The cost is around $250/year and would be about the same for most elementary-aged children. Furthermore, many of the purchases can be used again for siblings. Even if you hire a private tutor or outsource a subject to a group instructor, the cost is still significantly less than paying for private school.

I try to buy used curriculum on Amazon when possible. Additionally, Rainbow Resource usually has the cheapest prices for new items.

Experiential learning is one of the most meaningful and memorable ways to learn. We go on a field trip just about every week as well as engage in extremely hands-on learning activities with our weekly co-op. Homeschoolers should make the most of their homeschooling freedom and deliberately seek out experiential learning opportunities. Spending $250 for the year, you could engage in so many wonderful types of experiential learning and could even do it for a lot less. Nature is free. Many organizations and companies offer free field trips, tours and programs.

A big component of homeschooling is customizing to your child’s passions and interests. Sports, music, technology, and music are a few examples of a program each family can uniquely design for their own children.  You will want to factor those costs into your child’s educational plan.

With some research and effort, you can provide your child a cutting-edge, customized education! The homeschool community is extremely generous in sharing information and support. Join our movement. We want you to succeed and are here to help you!

Would you like to share some tips about homeschooling on a budget? How much do you spend homeschooling your kids?

You may also like:

How to Jumpstart Homeschooling Your Child During Covid-19: Curriculum Outlines for each K-8 Grade Level

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Free and Fun Spelling Website

You can sign up to follow The Contemporary Homeschooler via email by clicking on the Follow button. Also, join our community on Facebook.

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Is it Time to Shake Up Your Homeschool?

Is it Time to Shake Up Your Homeschool?

Do you feel excitement, gratitude, and happiness for your family’s homeschool life? Or do you feel like something may be missing and would like a change?

I want to share with you some steps you can take to infuse joy into your homeschool.

  • Change Your Homeschool Each Year–Homeschool feels more like an adventure when we change it up each year.  It keeps learning fresh and exciting. A couple of years ago, we went to an enlightening class at Disneyland each Tuesday with our friends. Our minds were expanded to the tremendous value of learning in non-conventional ways.

    Now our core group of friends schedules our activities together for the entire school year. This past school year, we adventured on field trips together each Tuesday, did co-op on Wednesdays, and sailed each Friday. In the fall, we’ll do beach volleyball and marine biology together on Tuesdays,  co-op on Wednesdays and Family Nature School on Thursdays. It is fun to change things up each year.

     

     

  • Get Out of Your House–Are you making the most of your flexibility and freedom in homeschooling by playing and learning out in the world? My whole family is so much happier when we have someplace interesting to go. The kids are far more motivated to finish their school work so we can have fun. As aforementioned, we go on a field trip each Tuesday with our friends. It is as much fun for the parents to learn as the kids. We all also look forward to hikes, beach days, park days, and other events with friends. While the kids play, us moms have a great time talking to one another.
  • Evaluate Academics–Which academic work adds value and which does not? What can be trimmed so you can spend more time with meaningful, hands-on learning in the world or just plain fun with family and friends? Here are some questions to ask:
    • For tedious math programs with lots of repetition, can your child do every other problem instead of every single one?
    • Does every subject need to be done daily? For instance, can you alternate Spanish and geography every other day? Can anything be combined? Are there some subjects you can learn organically without a formal curriculum?map-pics-002 I spend a great deal of time reading to my kids at the kitchen table. We keep dry erase maps on the wall (a friend keeps her maps under plexiglass on the kitchen table). As we go on our literary adventures, we cover all sorts of geography. There is no need for a separate geography curriculum with the organic way we learn.
    • Is the computer-based learning program you are using effective?  Make sure you have selected a solid program if they are spending time on that. I have found many of them to be a waste of time with a lot of fluff or not synced up to the child’s level.  If it is not a good use of time, consider cutting it and engage in hands-on learning instead.
    • Is any part of your child’s curriculum making them cry on a regular basis? In most cases, I’d say ditch that book. I know it is hard because you spent money on it. However, it is not creating a love of learning and may be damaging your relationship. Research and find something else he enjoys more. Sometimes there is an undiagnosed learning disability.
    • What can be done in the car en route to field trips and other activities? My kids read a lot in the car. Some kids do their math and others listen to audio 1933339128books while riding.  This is a wonderful time to listen to Story of the World history CD’s.  Evaluate about some ways you can restructure your schedule so you can get our earlier in the day enjoying the world.
    • When you consider what type of learning is most memorable, it is not sitting at the kitchen table or desk doing workbooks.  It is hands-on learning out in the world. It is creating and collaborating. It is hearing from people who are passionate about something share their knowledge with you. Yes, there is great value in spending time in academics. However, what can be cut from your child’s workload for other types of more memorable learning?
  • Be Deliberate About Building Your Homeschool Tribe–During my first year of homeschooling, we were meeting with three different, unrelated groups each week. I realized we weren’t going to have deep relationships if we continued on that path. I asked my kids which group they preferred, and they unanimously said our co-op. So, we began focusing on joining and creating activities with that group. Now, we have the most amazing group of friends. We are out together learning in such incredible ways and from fascinating people out in the world. Check out the blog post I wrote on the topic of building your core group of homeschool friends.
  • Co-op–Joining a co-op was one of the most important things we have done. We were fortunate to have an established co-op in our area with lovely families who share our interests and values. We meet them each Wednesday for a fun-filled day of learning. My kids take classes like art and science because I don’t enjoy doing art projects and science experiments at my house. I’ve taught multiple writing and also Lego classes. It is a joyful day because we all share our talents and passions to create wonderful classes for our kids.  The friends we have made at co-op are the same ones we do life with throughout the week.

    If you don’t have a co-op in your area, then you can get with a few friends and start one. If you don’t know many homeschool families, is there a Facebook page with homeschoolers in your area? You could share your idea of starting a co-op and see who else may be interested.

     

  • Year-Round School–We school year-round, and here are some reasons why:
    • We don’t have to spend several weeks each September relearning what we already learned. In my view, that is a waste of time, and I’d rather use that time doing other things.  We use a lighter schedule during the summer and primarily keep up with math, reading, and writing.
    • Frankly, I don’t enjoy being out as much during the summer when places are hot and crowded. During the school year, the weather is nicer, parking is abundant and our favorite places often empty.
    • My kids still keep some type of structure for those relaxed summer days. I hear some parents talk about their kids’ bickering during the summer. We don’t see that too much at our house.
    • We still take off certain weeks of summer for camps, vacations, etc.
    • Year-round schooling takes pressure off of me during the school year to really enjoy all the opportunities available to us year-round. Image result for let this messy house image
  • Relax Your Housecleaning Standards–Are you meticulous with your house? Do you spend a lot of time tidying and cleaning? Do you jump on your kids often when the house is not looking up to your high standard? In my opinion, you can relax. I don’t think too many people will look back on the years with their kids and be glad they spent so much time cleaning and being uptight with them. Rather, they will look back at their laughter and memories. I say a messy house is a sign of living life to the fullest.

You know the saying: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  I have found that most of us homeschool mamas are much happier when we are outside of our house learning together in the world with our kids and friends. It makes us such a joyful, adventurous, and grateful group of families.

How do you add joy to your homeschool? Please let us know in the comments below.

You may also be interested in:

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Homeschooled Teddy Roosevelt Never Sat in a Classroom Until Harvard

Benefits of Experiential Learning

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Homeschoolers Make High Profile Entries into Top Universities

Homeschooling is the Smartest Way to Teach Kids in the 21st Century According to Business Insider

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My Favorite K-6 Math Curricula and Supplements

My Favorite K-6 Math Curricula and Supplements

Are you looking for some fresh math ideas or simply a how-to for your K-6 homeschooled student? In this post, you will find a wide variety of math resources that I love including some that are FREE! We use curriculum but also sprinkle in living books, free web-based programs and more.

A wise teacher once told me that you should select math programs from a few different sources. This way the student will see math from different angles. So, that is the way I have built the math component of our homeschool.

My 10-year old son and 9-year old daughter have taken standardized tests as a gauge to how they are performing against their peers from public schools around the country. They attained the highest level of math performance on those tests.  I was proud of this because I do not spend one-second teaching to that test. I just provided them what I believe to be a well-rounded math education. I also have a 6-year-old daughter.

Here is our program:

  • Horizons Math–This visually-appealing spiral math program is our core curriculum. We have almost completed three years of Horizons Math. It offers ample practice and repetition but is done in much smaller bites than some of the more tedious math programs I’ve used and seen. There is a lot of variety in the lessons as well as games and puzzles. I also like it because the kids can teach themselves with the tutorials provided in the workbook. While I don’t present any formal lessons, I do use the teacher’s manual to grade their work. Horizons Math 5 Student Books 1 & 2   - Overall, this is the most pleasant and well-rounded of any of the curriculum we have used. My only complaint is that when you start a new year the first 25-45 lessons are too easy. I assume this is because many people take off the summer and the kids need to review. We are year-round schoolers and don’t need that review time. So, I just have my kids double up on lessons until they become more challenging. Typically, they do one lesson per day.
  • Singapore Math–Singapore Math refers to the teaching method and curriculum used in Singapore. This nation consistently ranks at the top of international assessments of student achievement in math. The framework emphasizes mastery of concepts through dynamic problem solving.  We use the workbooks but not the textbooks.B003AY7NH6The textbooks are where your students will find the teaching. My kids can pretty much figure out what needs to be done without the textbook. They have seen some of the concepts already in Horizons but Singapore presents it in a different way. However, I have the teacher manual to grade their work and help them with any questions they have. It is not a spiral-based math program. It is for this reason that I also use Horizons. I feel the practice and repetition of prior concepts are important. Typically, my kids do one page per day.
  • Khan Academy— Khan Academy is FREE and offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace. Typically, my kids’ target is a 3% increase to their achievement level per day.
  • XtraMath— XtraMath is FREE and teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. While it is not flashy or particularly fun, the focus is on speed and accuracy. No parental involvement is required.  In my opinion, mastering math facts is so important, and I would not even attempt long division without being completely fluent in all the math facts. You can slow down the speed of the quizzing if it is too difficult for your child at first. We cycle through XtraMath every 3-5 months to ensure my kids can quickly recall the math facts freeing up mental resources for higher level operations. This takes about ten minutes each session.

Continue reading “My Favorite K-6 Math Curricula and Supplements”

An Example of an Eclectic, Academic Homeschool Curriculum

Some of you have asked what a typical homeschool curriculum looks like and how much is spent. We try to do as much learning out in the world as possible as well as through living books. Here is what we did for my 9, 8 and 5-year-olds last year. I think about $508 was spent total for all 3 of them averaging about $170/kid for the year.

Math
*Horizons Math workbooks 1 and 2 for $22.45 each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/000718
Horizons Math Teacher Manual for $45
http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/000717
*We supplement with Singapore Math workbooks
Singapore Math a and b workbooks $13.20/each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/023997
Singapore Math Home Instructor Guides for a and b $17.49 each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/024006
*We supplement with IXL–2 memberships at $79/each
*We supplement with XtraMath and cycle through it about every 3 months to stay sharp with math facts
https://xtramath.org/#/home/index

Grammar
First Language Lessons 4 workbooks at $12.95 each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php…
First Language Lessons 4 Teacher Manual at $19.50
http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php…

Spelling
Spelling.com is an interactive free spelling website
http://gradespelling.com/

Writing composition
I have not found a curriculum I have loved so have done my own thing. The link below will take you to another blog post about writing ideas without using a curriculum. Instead, you can tailor it to passions and experiences. If they write for their peers on a site like MeWe or a blog, they may find it more enjoyable than just writing for their teacher or parent.

Writing Ideas

Penmanship
D’Nealian Handwriting at $10.95 each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?id=037802&subject=Handwriting/9&category=MODERN+%2F+D%92NEALIAN+STYLE+-+MANUSCRIPT+AND+CURSIVE/2015

Science
Apologia Anatomy and Physiology text @$25.25
http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php…
Apologia Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal at $17.50 each
Also, we get many science books from the library to cover a wide variety of topics and greater understanding of the world.

Literature and History
We do all literature and history for free with living books from the library. Reading is a huge cornerstone of our curriculum and we are a family of ravenous readers. Reading aloud during snack and meal times is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling.

Learning to Read (for my 5 year old)
Explode the Code 2 and 3 at $6.95 each
http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php…

Would anyone else like to share their curriculum? What do you absolutely love? Let others benefit from your experience.