One of the best parts of homeschooling is the customization it allows. Over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to learn what I like in a curriculum and what works for our family. I’m sure this will change in slight ways over the years, but keeping these criteria in mind as a guide when making selections for our family is very helpful to me.
1. Easy to use – I like an open and go curriculum, if you will. Little to no assembly required.
2. Flexible – We employ the one room schoolhouse model in our home. If a curriculum can be made to work for children both slightly older and slightly younger than it’s intended audience, I’m grateful. It allows me to streamline our process and cultivate shared learning experiences.
3. Mastery driven – No hurry in our learning here. I want a curriculum that teaches and reviews, teaches and reviews till the knowledge or skill is second nature. You know, like riding a bike.
4. Classically minded – The model works if you work the model. We are more dedicated than ever to really working the classical model at home. I don’t want to use these precious foundational years on a myriad of approaches or busy work to realize in a few years that we don’t actually have memory pegs or any real ability to learn.
5. Simple – Bells and whistles need not apply. Learning is not necessarily overtly entertaining and I don’t want to fool my children into thinking it is. It is enjoyable, but that is an entirely different thing.
6. Complete – If it can be all in one and done well, then sign me up. This is almost the same thing as #1.
7. Bible-based – If the Bible was all we had to teach us about the world, it would be (more than) enough. To that end, when possible, we use a curriculum that is based on the truth of the Bible.
What did I find for us to use this year? For the most part, we’re using the same curriculum as last year. Once I find a curriculum that works for us, I’m hesitant to change it. I’m loyal like that. 😉 I also enjoy the efficiency of sticking with the same curriculum and I think my littles appreciate the predictability. We did add in a few new things this year, which fit my criteria and will hopefully work well for us. Classical Conversations is the base for all of our subjects. The curriculum choices I’ve listed below are in addition to our memory work with Classical Conversations.
Bible – First, we read the Bible together. Our daily Bible readings are based on the Year One schedule from Ambleside Online. After the reading, we “picture, ponder, pray” (based on discipleship book, One on One) the reading. Ponder – We discuss the reading. Picture – The littles draw a picture in their art book based on what they heard/learned. Pray – One (or more) of us will pray the Scripture we just read.
We also memorize Scripture based on our CC memory work and our Awana books.
Math – Saxon Math K, 1, & 3.
– Classical Conversations math flashcards.
Science – Ecology and Astronomy by Homeschool Curriculum
– Nature study
History – Story of the World
– Readings from Ambleside Online Year One
Language Arts – First Language Lessons 1 & 2
– Spelling Workout A & B
Handwriting – Prescripts by Classical C
Reading – Read alouds and independent reading based on Ambleside Online Year One schedule.
For Latin and English grammar, we are using Classical Conversations alone. Of course, lots of reading indirectly works to the advantage of both subjects. When my littles grow older, we will work on these areas more directly.
“Catching Classical” is a new series of posts I’m writing, which will include sharing how we’re taking our Classical Conversations material from our community day into our home and our schedule. Check back over the next week or so for the remaining posts!