This year I have two kids in fourth grade and one kid doing first grade work. One of the best things about homeschool is being able to teach a subject based on ability instead of a specific age. My middle child started reading early, so I caught him up with his older sister. My middle child would be in second grade at public school, but he is in fourth grade at home. This is why I have a 9 year old and a 7 year old in fourth grade.
I’m also advancing my 5 year old son. He would be in kindergarten at public school, but I feel confident he can do first grade work. This is my first year having all three of my kids doing proper school work. Thankfully, first grade work only takes about 2 hours or less.
I’m having a lot of fun teaching more subjects this year. Another benefit of homeschool is adding fun subjects like Latin, Typing, and Electronics. I’m always looking for curriculum ideas and curious about what other people use to homeschool, so I am sharing my curriculum.
Here is an overview of the curriculum we are using this year.
These are the subjects I am formally doing with my 5 year old. When I do history or science with the older students I give him a coloring page if he wants to follow along with the lesson. He gets some of the knowledge, but I’m not concerned about him mastering history or science right now.
Math – Math-U-See, Alpha – We skipped Primer and jumped right into the first level. My son could count to 20 and write all his numbers, so I was confident he was ready to begin with first grade. Thankfully, he wants to be like his older brother and sister and enjoys doing math.
Reading – All About Reading, Level 1 – My son knows all his letters and can read a few Bob Books, so I felt he was ready for Level 1. This program is very hands on and my son loves it.
Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears, Grade 1 – I love Handwriting Without Tears! It’s the first subject I introduce in preschool. My son can start learning math and reading early because he is able to write.
Speech – We do a private speech therapy once a week with a wonderful Speech Therapist. She gives me homework every week to reinforce what she teaches in her sessions.
Typing – Typing.com – We use typing.com to teach typing. My five year old’s pinky can’t reach the enter key while his hands are in home row position, but he’s getting the concept. He get tired of the lessons and moves along slower than his older siblings.
Music – Recorder class – This year we are in a homeschool orchestra and my youngest begged to be music class. So we thought we’d give it a try. Learning rhythm has been a little difficult, but he is learning how to read music! Leaving the music stand and recorder out in the dining room reminds the kids to practice.
Circle Time – I’m reading classic chapter books out loud to the older kids and I try to include my youngest when I read.
I’m definitely feeling the pressure to get my kids ready for middle school and high school. I feel like first grade through third grade was all fun, but now we need to buckle down and get a little more serious. Even though I’m making fourth grade slightly more difficult for my kids, I’m still trying to keep it fun through my curriculum choices.
Math – Math-U-See, Delta – I love Math-U-See’s mastery approach to math. We just finished multiplication in Gamma and are ready to tackle division.
Reading – All About Reading, Level 4 – My daughter loves the hands on work. She isn’t keen on reading the chapters out loud, but this curriculum helped her so much. Now she has confidence to read small chapter books on her own.
Spelling – All About Spelling, Level 1 and 2 – I’m still on the fence about this curriculum. I’m going to finish Level 2 and see if their spelling has improved. This curriculum is teacher intensive, because I have to teach the spelling rule, then dictate phrases for them to spell.
Writing – Writeshop Junior D – We just finished First Language Lessons, Level 3. My kids can diagram sentences, recite the definition of a preposition, pick out the predicate nominative, but they can’t write a paragraph. After looking at many grammar curriculums I chose this one, because it seemed a lot like All About Reading. It’s very teacher intensive, but has games to teach concepts. The format wasn’t easy for me to figure out at first. The curriculum could be better organized, but once you go through one lesson you get how it works. So far my kids love it as much as I hoped.
Science – Apologia Junior Botany – This is our first year doing an Apologia science curriculum. I love the junior notebooks! I like the conversational style of the textbook. I chose Botany, because we currently have a garden and a nice backyard filled with all kinds of plants.
History – Story of the World, Volume 1 – We’re finishing up Volume 1 this year. The kids enjoy doing History lessons. I like how flexible I can be the with the curriculum. Reading the story and doing the map with the coloring page is easy, but the curriculum also suggests library books and crafts.
Bible – veritasbible.com – We absolutely love this curriculum! It costs a monthly fee to subscribe to the course work, but it is well worth the money. I want my kids to have a basic overview of the Bible and this course definitely covers many stories with videos and quizzes.
Latin – SingSchool Latin – This is a great introduction for kids in elementary. It’s really fun to hear my kids talk in Latin. We do one lesson a week.
Typing – Typing.com – My kids find this typing course boring, but I make them do it anyway. Typing isn’t an exciting subject. I know my kids will be glad I made them learn how to touch type!
Music – Guitar and Recorder – My kids are in a homeschool band school called HOST. The 9 year old does beginning guitar. The 7 year old and 5 year old are in beginning recorder. The recorder class teaches them how to read music and prepares them for band. It is so fun to see all my kids sight read music.
Independent Reading – My kids have reading logs. When they read 10 chapter books then we will take them to a toy store. Twenty minutes of independent reading gives them time and a reminder to read their own books. It’s been a long journey and many trips to the library to get my oldest to love reading, but the reading log is helping her discover books she enjoys.
Circle Time – During circle time I read a classic book out loud. We’ve read Mr. Popper’s Penguins and are currently working on My Father’s Dragon. I got a few suggestions from The Read Aloud Handbook and put them on a Goodreads list.
Programming & Electronics – My husband and I have really gotten into Raspberry Pi and Arduino electronics. He has also been teaching them to 3D print and how to use a laser cutter. My 7 year old is using Coding Games in Scratch to learn how to program games in Scratch. I’m also using Adventures in Raspberry Pi and Geek Gurl Diaries on YouTube to build projects with my 9 year old.
It’s cool to explore technology with the kids. We want them to know how a computer works and how to prototype projects using a breadboard. We believe technology is the future and we can start while they are young. Eventually we want to teach them how to code in Python. I’m using Code Academy to teach myself and I’m confident my kids could also learn from Code Academy.
Our homeschool is a lot of fun. This list doesn’t even include field trips and all the activities we have with our homeschool group. There is so much to explore!