How on earth do you pick a curriculum?! And what age is the appropriate age to begin your little learner?! So many questions, so many options, so many headaches! Whew, breath. I am one who gets way over excited and just wants to try all the things! But, no. It’s too much. Have you read Sarah McKenzie’s Teaching From Rest? Well, you must! You’ll find so much freedom and peace.
Curriculum is not one size fits all. And each homeschooling method is not the right fit for each family. For us, we are really still figuring out what works best for us. For instance, I love Charlotte Mason methodology, and I have taken so much away from her writings. However, I tend to be more of a structured person and I thrive on routine. When I thrive, my sons seem to thrive along with me. It’s ok to do your own thing and not subscribe wholly to one method.
So, back to the topic. Since my oldest turned 3 we have done a lot of educational activities. We have used A Year of Playing Skillfully and The Peaceful Preschool. I am the type of person who needs inspiration. I love having resources to help get my creative juices flowing. Did we follow these curriculums to the letter? Goodness no. I’d go crazy trying to accomplish it all. I picked the activities that spoke to me, that I felt would be best for my son, and went with that. The beautiful thing about these curriculums is that they can be used over and over again. A Year of Playing Skillfully hardly has an age limit and is just jam packed full of amazing hands on activities. Don’t know what to do with your kids today? Open it up and be inspired! Though my son is now 5, we still pull from each of these resources and soon my younger sons will get to enjoy them as well.
This year I chose to go for a more structured curriculum. Charlotte Mason recommends to wait until age 6 before starting formal lessons, however I felt this year was right for us to begin. So far, we have had success and enjoyed it.
First, we are apart of a Classical Conversations co-op. Check out their website to learn more and find a local co-op by clicking here, Classical Conversations. Honestly, my biggest reason for joining was to get plugged into a local homeschool community. It does have a price-tag, so I’m unsure if we will be able to sustain it with a large family, but we are really enjoying it this year. My son has loved making friends, I’ve loved meeting homeschool moms, and we are enjoying the content! My son is surprising me with his ability to memorize so much. So, we follow their curriculum for our morning memory work ( it includes weekly math, science, history, geography, Latin, and grammar facts) and its been a great addition to our day.My oldest son loves numbers. His daddy, grandparents, and great grandfather all have engineering degrees, so this is no surprise! We went with The Good and The Beautiful’s Math K program and Activity Box. This curriculum is gorgeous and comprehensive! It is gentle and slow and my son loves it. He literally said “yay!” the other day when I brought it out. I call that a win!! We ended up getting the Activity Box to accompany our books. Its full of manipulatives and materials to go along with the curriculum. You can definitely do this curriculum by collecting your own manipulatives and not using the box, but I knew I’d be using it for years to come, so I was ok with the investment.
We went with Foundational Phonics and Word Mastery by Little Seedlings Press. This is a two book curriculum, so we will likely use book two (Word Mastery) next year. The approach with this curriculum is very gentle and simple. It is quite repetitive, but I do think that is to the advantage of the child. I will say, this is entirely in black and white, so you don’t get the beauty of colorful pages. However, we are overall enjoying this curriculum and moving slowly through it! I have found that phonics can be frustrating for my son, something I absolutely don’t want, so we go slow. My son did read his first sentence successfully on week 7!! Such an accomplishment! The best thing you can do for phonics, I believe, is read aloud. So we do a little of this book and then we read, read, read. I do not have a goal of completing this book before the summer, but if we do, great! That’s the beauty of homeschool, right?!The last curriculum I bought for this year is Exploring Nature with Children. This is the first year I have really focused on a nature study. I didn’t know what to expect, but its one of my favorite parts of the week! This curriculum can be as surface or in depth as you choose to make it. I know we will likely repeat this curriculum yearly for a long time and go deeper with it each go around. I highly recommend this resource to help you get your kiddos outside, exploring, and intentionally observing! We are currently obsessed with nature journaling!
Happy homeschooling, mamas!