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I'm a stay-at-home Dad suffering from Fibromyalgia. I homeschool my daughter and lead worship at my church. I'm also a gamer and a geek and proud of it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Planning Ahead

So when I started this blog I said it would be about my life as a homeschooling Dad, and it has been very focused on me lately. So, I thought I would do an entry regarding the most dreaded question in homeschooling. No, not the socialization one, though that one ranks up there in annoyance right next to nails on a chalk board. No, I'm talking about, "What curriculum do you use?"

I guess I find it annoying because I don't use one set curriculum. I use what works, usually through trial and error. So without further ado, I present my current choices for next years curriculum arranged by subject, along with the reasons I chose them.

Let's start with the core subjects

Bible

Discover 4 Yourself Bible Studies by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt
I chose this series (actually my wife spied it at a home school conference) because first of all I trust Kay Arthur, and second the approach does more than teach what the Bible says but also how to study what it says. Each study is from 4 to 7 weeks in length and ranges in price from $5 to $9. There are enough titles in the series right now (more are on the way) to cover three or more years of Bible. (We have one more years worth of studies left in our library plus a few we will do over the summer).

Civics (This encompasses Social Studies, History, Geography, and Government)

Medieval History Study Guide by Rea C. Berg
This study guide put out by Beautiful Feet Books uses literature to teach history. I love the idea of living books, as it allows history to come alive. The study guides we have used so far have been great and informative. They are relatively inexpensive ($12.95 - $17.95) and some will cover both middle school and high school level work. The literature used can be purchased but many titles are available through your local library keeping costs down, though we have purchased many of the titles for our own library.

Foreign Language

First Start French by Danielle Schultz
This will be our first year of French and I'm excited about using this series by Memoria Press. We have been using their Latin Curriculum for the last 4 years and have found it very well designed. I'm hoping that this series will not disappoint. Why French and not Spanish? Simple we are continuing our studies of the root languages of English. I'm hoping to find a user friendly Greek Curriculum for our high school studies. Again this curriculum is pretty inexpensive with the full kit (Teacher Guide, Student Book, and Pronunciation CD) under $40. (Are we sensing a theme here???)

Second Form Latin by Cheryl Lowe
I'm still up in the air on this one, but I'm including it in the list. We are wrapping up Latina Christiana II this year and I'm still trying to decide whether or not to continue with our Latin studies. If we do this would be the curriculum of choice. Also by Memoria Press, this curriculum is a continuation of the Latina Christiana Series, Also I can get it at a discount now because it is still being Beta Tested.

Language Arts

Learning Language Arts Through Literature by Susan S. Simpson
I love this series as it uses real literature to teach language arts, I only wish I had found it sooner. For less than $50.00 ($25.00 if you want to fore go the optional workbook) you get a well design curriculum based on classic literature and the Bible.

Jump In by Sharon Watson
We actually started using this book this year and will continue to use it in the next few years. It is a writing curriculum for reluctant writers, that uses a step by step approach to teaching writing. I like this one because it doesn't make the assumption that my daughter knows how to write. It is also less than $30, and put out by the folks at Apologia Educational Ministries.

Mathematics

Math 7: A Teaching Textbooks by Greg Sabouri and Shawn Sabouri
This is my first choice for a math curriculum. We have used Teaching Textbooks for the last two years and my daughter loves it. It is a computer based curriculum that has detailed explanations and solutions for every problem. My only regret with this one is the price at $150 it is a tough pill to swallow. I have managed the last few years to get discounted copies at the CBD Warehouse Sale.

Science

Exploring Creation with General Science by Dr. Jay L. Wile
I love Apologia Ministries. This curriculum is creation based and scientifically sound. We have enjoyed their Elementary level text thus far and are looking forward to this one.

Electives

Art

Lambs book of Art 2 by Barry Stebbing
We have been using this book this past year and are about 1/2 way through. I like the way this is laid out and will use this again because I already own it. Of course I also teach Art at our home school co-op so this one is easy on the wallet.

Music

God Made Music 7 by Joe Swaim
I've always been intrigued by this series, and the samples I've seen show great promise. Of course, my daughter also gets to participate in a Music class at our co-op and of course is in the children's choir at church.

That pretty much covers everything except for Health and Physical Education. I'm still looking for a decent Health curriculum but that is what Mass HOPE is for. My daughter is involved in Gymnastics and enjoys Ice Skating for most of the school year. Also my wife is using this for some of the trickier areas of Health Education that I'm not really comfortable with.