Sunday, August 8, 2010

Homeschool Curriculum

Last year we used A Beka curriculum and I really loved it, but we reached a point with Aaron where it was too much. It was perfect for Logan, and if Joshua were homeschooling, it is probably the route I would take for him as well. However, with Aaron, we are still slowly working through last years books, and he isn't at a point where he is ready for me to order the next year.

He has come a LONG way with his abilities, but he does have certain learning disabilities, in addition to his physical issues, that make certain things difficult. After doing hours of research and flipping through last years flyers and catalogs from the homeschool conference, I decided to just do the basics for Aaron this year. I want him to be able to catch up, gain some confidence, and excel in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and I will throw in some science, geography, art, etc to fill in as we go. So, I stopped by Mardel last week on our way home from therapy, and found some of the items I was interested for in the store for less than the online price, plus no shipping!

For reading, we already have a closet full of books. I turned the linen closet in the boys hallway into a book closet, and it is full floor to ceiling. They keep destroying the order, so I think I am going to move them upstairs, but we have tons of books on and above Aaron's reading level, and can supplement from the library as needed.

For math, I decided to go with Singapore Math. I have heard great things about this method, and I discussed it with his therapists, and they agree that it might be just what he needs to really make math understandable for him. Mardel carries it, so I just purchased one semesters worth ($10!) to give it a shot. If it doesn't work, I have some other ideas on the backburner. I was partially considering this because I was considering the My Father's World package, but I don't know if he is quite ready for it. With his love of drawing, I think he would do well with it, so we are keeping it in mind for next year.

For writing, we are sticking with Handwriting Without Tears. We use some pencil weight foam like items from the OT to help him write with a normal #2 pencil, and we will continue to work on spacing, etc. He does the worksheets, and makes a "comic book" daily about whatever subject he wants. This is an "art" project where he can draw and decorate however he wants, I just require 2-3 sentences per page of writing for extra practice. I also use some Mead Early Learning Products from time to time to change it up. Often in September the stores will put their extra stock from Back to School on clearance, and I can stock up then for low prices.

We have a book on 2nd Grade Science Experiments that I got at the Friends of the Library for $0.25 (kids books are normally $0.05 so that is how we stocked their library). It has 52 weeks of lessons and projects that are on par with his interests, so we will work that in.

As for Geography, Social Studies, etc. we have tons of books here and at the library that I had planned to pick a theme and get reading/writing practicing in while leaving flexibility. I had heard of, and followed Download N Go for a while, but never actually tried it out. Recently they have had some sales and offered some free units for download, so I got one on Autumn, one on Davy Crockett, and one on China all for about $8. These are weeklong units with daily activites, and you can turn it into a lapbook. We haven't ever done a lapbook before, but it looks interesting, and I think Aaron will like it. It has spelling, vocabulary, reading, writing, etc. so if he takes to it, it might be just what we need to round out our curriculum.If you are homeschooling, think you ever might, or just want some fun activities for your kids, Download N Go is a really neat company. I'd sign up to follow them now, as the lessons don't get outdated, and if you take advantage of the free or super sale items, you'll be surprised at how much you accumulate. The intended age range is K-4 I believe, but depending on how you use it, can be for younger/older.

**UPDATE** Go to Download N Go on FB and "like" them this weekend to get the Mexico unit for FREE

***FTC Disclaimer*** I was not paid, compensated, or given any special incentive to write about or link to any company in this post. These are my honest opinions on the curriculum I have independently chosen to use. I have either paid for these items unsolicited or gotten free public access to them.

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