Have you heard of curriculitis? It is a common illness among homeschooling mothers, especially of the perfectionist bent. Patient presents with the belief that there must be a perfect curriculum out there somewhere, and the main symptom is the constant reading of homeschooling blogs, forums, and book publishers catalogs in pursuit of the ever elusive perfect plan. Another common symptom is regular changing of curriculum, semester after semester.
Now, I’m sure you can figure out how I happen to have such intimate knowledge of this particular syndrome! Sometime last year, my husband, a classroom teacher, remarked to me that he thought the most significant difference between his job and mine was that I spent the majority of my time agonizing over whether or not I was using the best curriculum for each child, and since he had no choice in what to teach, he spent no time at all worrying about curriculum. “Why don’t you just pick something and focus your energy on making it work, like most teachers do?”
What a concept! So I asked for his help in doing just that, and last spring, we agreed on a list of curriculum we will use for the elementary school years. We (I mean, I :-)) promised not to consider changing curriculum unless a particular child is seriously struggling for at least an entire semester (and some resistance or even occasional tears does not mean they are seriously struggling). For my part, I still enjoy reading blogs about what other people are using, but I do not click on links and read tons of reviews of other products. This discipline has seriously freed up my mental space and given me a lot more peace about our homeschool.
Here’s what we decided on for PreK-5th, following our philosophy of education. I haven’t included any links because it just takes so long to insert them, and the materials are easily Googled. Also, I posted a pretty detailed overview of last school year in June, which included links to just about everything here.
Reading, Composition, Grammar: Sonlight plus Saxon Grammar starting in 5th grade
Spelling: All About Spelling (younger kids), William–Spelling Workout
Penmanship: Handwriting without Tears
History: Sonlight books plus Story of the World
Religion: Sonlight daily Bible readings plus Ignatius Press Faith & Life books
Science: pick a topic to study in depth each year as a family, read good books and field guides, explore outdoors, keep a garden, and draw in nature journals. Past topics have been astronomy, human anatomy, oceans, and chemistry. This year we are studying Rocks and Minerals. We’re going to join the Houston Gem & Mineral Society and take the kids to their Youth Meetings, where they teach kids 5 & up to use the lapidary equipment. Also, and I couldn’t have planned this it was so perfect, my mother-in-law lives near an historic gold mine, which we were able to tour. After the tour, the kids could pan for gold and gems.
Each came home with a bag of rocks and gems ready to be identified and polished.
Languages: French story books (read by Papa), Memoria Press Latin beginning in 4th grade
Music: Start piano (taught by Mama) and homeschool choir in 1st grade
Drawing: Art with a Purpose
Fine Arts appreciation: Sonlight poetry and electives books
PE: walk the dog every morning, outdoor play, various activities and sports
This year we’ll have a 5th grader, 2nd grader, and two kindergarteners! It will be a full year. Now to finish unpacking our suitcases so I can get to the school supplies!