So far, the year 2020 has been quite the whirlwind. Nevertheless, we are ready to resume our homeschool routine. This time, with a new set of curricula we’ve never tried before. I figured I’d take you all along for the journey as we make the most of our “new normal” during our sixth homeschool year.
If you’re new, here, welcome! My name is Nike Anderson and I’m a homeschool mom to a second and fifth grader. We are six-year homeschoolers who live in Middle Georgia and love adventure.
When I’m choosing a curriculum, I like to take five things into consideration:
- Learning Styles. I have kinesthetic and visual-spatial learners. That means any curriculum I choose must have visual appeal, forgo rote memorization, leave room for hand-on learning, and pose enough challenge for my little complex thinkers.
- Philosophy. We are Whole Child homeschoolers. Our philosophy is to nurture and develop the cognitive, physical, spiritual, social, emotional, and creative selves of our children. While one curriculum can’t do all of that, I do look to see what areas are challenged outside of cognition.
- Relevancy. It’s important that my children can connect with the curriculum. It’s also important that the curriculum keeps pace with the times.
- Flexibility. Lessons must not be rigid and should leave breathing space for customization and enrichment activities.
- Lesson Time. With two active boys, lessons must be short, sweet, and to the point. No fluff! Just give us the meat and potatoes.
I’m hoping to top last year when my boys agreed that it was the best homeschool year yet. It was a great balance of virtual, textbook, and hands-on learning. Of course, that was before the pandemic era—which cut our extracurricular classes and field trips short in the Spring. In any event, I hope my boys enjoy the new curriculum selections.
Keep reading to find out what curricula we are introducing to our homeschool this year. Every curriculum I suggest is suitable for second grade up through middle school, with the exception of the devotional selection.
My Curriculum Picks for Grades 2-7
Math: CTC Math
I’ve heard great things about this virtual, subscription-based math program. Not only is there an awesome discount for homeschooling families, but subscribers gain access to all grade-levels from K-12. That means, your child can move up and/or down a grade to best suit their mastery level.
Speaking of mastery levels, CTC Math is based on the mastery method of teaching, rather than the spiral method that loops previously learned concepts. While we are accustomed to the spiral method that Abeka offered us, we’re excited to change things up and see how CTC’s mastery approach works for our family. Not to mention, I keep hearing “I’ve already learned that,” from my kiddos.
Reading & Language Arts: Language Lessons for a Living Education
Language Lessons for a Living Education caught my eye because it is Charlotte Mason inspired. We’re not fully Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, but we do adopt some of her philosophies about children and learning. Particularly that we should educate the whole person, not just the mind.
Comprehensive curricula has worked very well for us, so I was excited to learn that this curriculum covers picture study, memorization, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, observation, poetry, psalms, letters, and practical application through creative writing. Even better? These lessons are short and sweet, leaving more time for hands-on learning.
History: Oh Freedom by Woke Homeschooling
This is a conscious US History Curriculum with an emphasis on African American history. I love that this curriculum also highlights the story of Native Americans and immigrants of color. All lessons are story-driven and designed to engage the senses. We will listen to stories, sing songs, eat, pray, and enjoy field trips together.
While this curriculum is most appropriate for grades 3-7, it is highly customizable to fit the needs of students of all ages. I will be customizing this curriculum to meet the needs of my second and fifth grader. There’s also an awesome companion journal that includes learning prompts and encourages children to dig deeper.
Science: Marine Biology by The Good and the Beautiful
We’ve tried The Good and the Beautiful curriculum before and one thing I really loved about it was the gorgeous artwork throughout. For this reason, I was glad to incorporate one of their unit studies into our homeschool curriculum. This Marine Biology unit study is free to download. I do forewarn that you’ll want to ensure you have access to a color printer for all the beautiful images. You’ll also need a laminator for some of the enrichment activities.
This unit study is adaptable for grades K-8 and offers tips on how to further engage older students. It also includes a list of all the materials you’ll need to complete each lesson and experiment. Best of all, it’s a family-style curriculum with an open and go, no-prep concept.
Elective: Yoruba Basics
I’m a firm believer in introducing children to foreign languages. This year, we are trying out Yoruba Basics. If you didn’t know, Im half Yoruba thanks to my handsome Nigerian father. Its been a desire of mine to introduce my boys to more of the Yoruba language outside the few words and phrases I know. Yoruba Basics is a virtual school for kids that teaches Yoruba language and culture.
While there is a reasonable price tag attached to their amazing courses and services, they do offer a free introductory course for children. That program covers the alphabet, colors, numbers, greetings, and free worksheets for more practice.
Devotional: 100 Indescribable Devotions for Kids About God and Science
This is not a curriculum but an awesome devotional that opens the floor for a conversation about the wonders of God’s creation. This book is best suited for children ages 6-10. It covers scriptures, scientific facts, hands-on stem activities, and a closing prayer. Subjects covered are space and time, earth and weather, plants and climates, the human body, emotions and imaginations, animals and habitats, and more.
I originally opted for this devotional with the intention of turning it into a unit study, but decided I just wanted to go for an open and go curriculum. Thought I’d mention that for those of you feeling up to building your own science curriculum. Nevertheless, this book will be a great way to start our homeschool days.
Well, there you have it. I hope this post inspires you to try something new. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more curriculum discussions. Next week, I’ll be talking about my new homeschool must-haves!