Curriculum Review 2014-2015

Last year I posted a blog Our Year In Review, on the curriculum we had use. What we liked and what didn't work so well for our family. We will be finishing up our school year in March 2015 so I thought this would be a nice time to write a review on the curriculum we used this year! Family and friends who do not homeschool please be WARNED this post is all about homeschool curriculum :-) 

Aidan, our oldest son, is completing his 3rd/4th grade year. I write "3rd/4th" because if Aidan was in public school due to his age he would actually be in 3rd grade however, some of his work he has advanced in and is working on 4th grade level... for example Math... his favorite subject!  He will be 9 in January. Below is a list of subjects & the curriculum we used this year along with our opinion on what worked & what didn't. (I would also like to state these opinions are all my own. If something didn't work for our family that doesn't mean it wasn't a good curriculum. It just wasn't right for us!)::

  • MATH - Teaching Textbooks Grade 4: This curriculum is taught completely on the computer. Aidan is almost finished with it and he has learned so much. He has enjoyed completing his math independently. I asked if he wanted to continue on to 5th grade math next year on the computer as well..... he has decided that he misses Mommy teaching him math and he wants to take a break from the computer. We will be going in a different direction next year but we may come back to Teaching Textbooks in the future!    

  • LANGUAGE - First Language Lessons 3:  We completed over half of this curriculum and then I was given the chance to review Fix It! Grammar- The Nose Tree. Aidan loved Fix It! Grammar so we moved on with it and left First Language Lessons behind. He is LOVING Fix It! Grammar! 

  • WRITING - Daily 6 Trait Writing 3 & Copybook Cursive Scriptures and Poems: Daily 6 Trait Writing did not survive long in our homeschool. I believe this curriculum is more for a "public school" based setting instead of homeschool. Since then we have moved on to different types of writing. Aidan has written essays, creative stories, book reports, letters and more! I found many ideas on pinterest for teaching writing. Copybook Cursive has been a fun way for Aidan to practice cursive handwriting he learned last year. He enjoys reading and writing the scriptures and poems when practice is needed.

  • LITERATURE - This year Aidan did not have a set literature curriculum. He has however read many wonderful books! The first half of the year he worked on reading the classics: Robin Hood, Call Of The Wild, Three Musketeers, King Arthur.. etc. He would also complete questions and activities in his reading journal that he keeps. We decided to take a break from the classics and he chose to read the complete I Survived Series and many of the Magic Tree House books!  

  • SPELLING - All About Spelling 3: We LOVE All About Spelling!! We have tried a few different spelling programs in the past but we ended up going right back to All About Spelling. This Spelling curriculum is perfect for our family and we would never dream of using anything else!  

Noah (age 7) is currently finishing his 2nd Grade Year! Below is the list of subjects and curriculum we used for him::

  • MATH - Saxon Math 2 Home Study Kit: This has been a perfect Math curriculum for my sweet Noah. I feel like it was made just for him! This curriculum likes to review what has been taught in previous lessons and Noah loves that! He struggled last year with his Math and this year he has been happy and loves completing his lessons. 

  • LANGUAGE - First Language Lessons 2: Noah is still moving along with his language lessons. Sometimes I worry that the curriculum is just having him repeat what I am saying instead of actually learning a new lesson.... next year we will be trying something new but until then we are still trucking along. 

  • WRITING - Daily 6 Trait Writing 1, How To Write A Story & Copybook 3: As I mentioned before in Aidan's list, Daily 6 Trait Writing did not last long in our homeschool. This curriculum was not for us!! We have been using "How to write a story" this year and Noah has learned a lot from it. This is a sweet book that shows your child how to complete a story with a beginning, middle and end... along with more lessons. His stories have greatly improved through out the year. We have also enjoyed using Copybook 3 (Manuscript) for his handwriting practice. 

  • LITERATURE - First Favorites 2 & More First Favorites: Noah started out this year reading almost all of the books from the First Favorites Comp. Guide. He loved the books and the fun worksheets and activities that went along with them. Since completing them we have moved on to All About Reading Level 2. I love the All About Reading curriculum and thankfully Noah does as well. He completes two lessons and reads one story each week. This curriculum has given Noah confidence in his reading! Noah also chooses a book (or two) each week for his independent reading time. 

  • SPELLING - All About Spelling Level 2: Just as I stated above::: We LOVE All About Spelling!! We have tried a few different spelling programs in the past but we ended up going right back to All About Spelling. This Spelling curriculum is perfect for our family and we would never dream of using anything else!

Listed below are the subjects Aidan & Noah complete together each year::

  • BIBLE - Draw To Learn Jesus: The boys love doing their personal Bible study each morning and then we read and complete a drawing from Draw To Learn Jesus. They are very happy with this curriculum and Mommy is loving it too! 

  • MUSIC - Meet The Great Composers: This book didn't work for us... the boys were bored with it after 2 lessons and honestly I was too :( Aidan takes guitar lessons each week with my husband, Shannon and Noah takes piano lessons with a wonderful lady, Mrs. Roberts so we held off on any other type of music this year. Next year I am hoping to incorporate a composer study that is more entertaining for them. 

  • GEOGRAPHY - The Complete Book Of Maps & Geography: The boys enjoy working the maps in this book! There are 352 pages of every type of map you could imagine. Not only is this book educational but my children actually think it's fun to learn about the maps... yay! We are taking our time completing this book. Along with our map studies we also used Legends & Leagues this year. We loved the lessons in the workbook and the story was so entertaining we read it numerous times! Another thing I incorporated with our geography this year was exploring the world. Each month we picked a new country to learn about... we learned about their culture, location and much more! HERE is an example of when we learned about Ireland.
  • SCIENCE - Lyrical Earth Science:  I added hands-on learning with this curriculum (experiments, nature hikes, field trips)! I found tons of ideas on pinterest to go along with our lessons. I did receive many helpful tips from Lyrical Earth Science but if I had to use just it I don't think it would have worked for our family. The songs were great but the reading was more on the boring side. We were also given Harcourt Science Grade 4 from a friend this year... there are many different lessons in the Science book such as: Living Things, Ecosystems, Space, Forces & Motions.. plus more. I have been taking a chapter a month and adding more "hands-on" learning to this curriculum and we have been enjoying it. Harcourt also came with a workbook and test book but that was a little too structured for us, lol!   

  • HISTORY - The Story Of The World Volume 2: Last year we did Volume 1 and loved it! This year we completed Volume 2 and loved it! There are so many great things I can say about TSOTW. This is a wonderful history curriculum and my boys love hearing the stories and learning more about our world! 

  • TYPING - Typing Instructor For Kids: I have to admit we haven't completed much of the typing instructor. It is a fun and educational software we have just been a little lazy (lol) on getting it done. We will be trying this again next year!

  • ART - I Can Do All Things: We used this art program for the last 2 years and we loved it! There is a ton of information from pencil drawing, painting... even an artist study. We have finally completed this book and I can't wait to look back years from now and see their drawings and what they learned.  

That is our 2014-2015 curriculum. Next year we will be changing things up.. look for a post in March about our new curriculum to find out more!! I Hope this review will help others with finding the curriculum that is right for their family! God Bless! 

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.


365 Moments Of Peace For A Woman's Heart - Book Review

I was given the opportunity to review the book, 365 Moments of Peace for a Woman's Heart - Reflections on God's Gifts of Love, Hope and Comfort. This book has been such a blessing to me. Being able to read these inspirational words daily is wonderful. 

At four hundred pages, this nice bound light pink, faux leather book targets those interested in daily devotions. Starting at the beginning of the year the book has the date and title listed at the top of each page. Several paragraphs are written about the topic and then a scripture and a prayer is included at the end of the writing. For myself I have been enjoying this book with my morning Bible study. Reading God's Holy word and the page for the day in this book. 

Many topics are covered such as: 
  • Heart's Peace
  • Am I Good Enough?
  • Who I Am
  • The Right Thing
  • and many more..... 

This is a sweet little book that I have greatly enjoyed. I highly recommend it to other woman out there in need of God's word! With Christmas right around the corner this would also be a wonderful book as a gift for someone special in your life. God Bless!