Friday, May 18, 2007

What do you use? (This is a homeschool blog afterall!)

This is one of the questions you are bound to hear if you have more than two homeschoolers in one room.

At first I asked this question because I was looking for the magic bullet. The one curriculum that would teach my kids their letters, numbers, scripture and how to leap small buildings in a single bound. After a few years I learned that that magic bullet does not exist. Actually it might for me, but you might try it and hate it. Each of our kids is unique, so it follows that they will have a unique response to any given curriculum.

With that said, I thought it’d be fun to talk about what we use in our homeschool and why. What we like and what we hate. What worked wonders and what made our kids cry every time they laid eyes on it.

There is too much to cover in one post (I have been at this homeschooling thing for 10 years now) so I’ll start with this post and every now and then, update it.
So, let’s start with my favorite…History!

What do you use?

I use Sonlight now. I used Sonlight for my boys when they were in the 1st – 3rd grades and was not happy. It was just too much. I was too new to the homeschooling game to realize I was in charge not the schedule. So I kinda over did it.

My one beef Sonlight is the shocking lack of picture books. I Love picture books. When my girls were little I found Five in a Row. I LOVE Five in a Row. It was such a gentle approach. Five in a Row taught me that kids can really learn and it can be fun and painless.

My kids are too old for Five in a Row now, so we’ve gone back to Sonlight, although, I am teaching a Five in a Row class at our homeschool co op. So I’ll never really have to stop reading all those great picture books!

I really like Sonlight for older kids. Primarily 3rd grade and up. So while my oldest (he’ll be in 10th grade) will be doing core 100 (American History) my three younger kids (they’ll be in 3rd 5th and 7th) will be going through Core 3 (American History).

Really, the thing these curriculum have in common that I love is literature. Books, books, books. I think if someone told me to choose only one thing to use to teach all my kids, it would be a Library card.

I found something new that we are going to add to our American History study next year. It is called Simply Stated. It is inexpensive and really cool, and uses, you guessed it, BOOKS! I think this is going to be just the thing to add fun and the spark to our year. I spoke with the creators and know just how I want to use it. We’ll be making a notebook page for each state with a few facts and the state name and capital, drawing of the state bird, flower, etc. Then we'll read a short story from that state in It happened in America : true stories from the fifty states, then read one of the books in the list in the manual. Then we might do some map work, and place that state's sticker on our map.

There you have it. That is what I am using/have used for history. Five in a Row, Sonlight, and Simply Stated.

So, what are you using? You can put your answer in the comment or leave a link to your own blog where you answered your own post.


Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Simply Stated sounds like a great resource. I might have to check that one out.
Thanks for the info you left for me about Landmark's History of the American People and Joy Hakim's Hostory of the US. I am going to check them out at the HS convention!
I always get so excited about going to convention, the possibilites are endless!

Christy said...

Oh Tricia, thanks for telling us about Simply Stated. That looks great! I'll have to look at that.

As soon as I have some free time (HA!), I'll blog about the things we use as well. What better way to learn about new things with HONEST mom-tested reviews!

Thanks again!

Stacey said...

Hey did a web search for a Sonlight user and here you are! I'm a first year homeschooler to my 4th grader. I keep reading over and over that the schedule is not in control--that's a hard one for me, lol. I'll work on it as I go. Great blog.

mommy zabs said...

Hi! I googled homeschool and sonlight and found you! :) I have really been leaning toward sonlight to homeschool my 1st grader next year (will be in first grade)...My only concern is that it looks like SOOOOO much. Once someone said something about 5 in a row to me... but I have trouble figuring out from their website the answers to many of my questions... I know you are probably busy, but if you think of it and have time could you write me? I would love to ask someone more about it.
Thanks so much,
Elizabeth Jackson, Franklin, TN
eejackson at mac dot com