Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What the heck do we teach our children anyway???

The kids and I had a fabulous time this morning sitting at the kitchen table, laughing and joking and learning some spelling words.   It was one of those times where I sat back and realized how blessed I am to have such funny wonderful kids and being able to be at home and teach them.  The memories we are making sitting at that table will last forever.  I just wanted to take a picture.  So I did....

Many people ask me what resources there is available for home schoolers.  I also have people ask what curriculum I use.  That's such a hard question because I don't use one set curriculum.  It would be so easy if I could but in the 6 years that we've been home schooling, I haven't actually found one curriculum that works for my kids in every subject so I mix and match and make up my own curriculum.   I figured that I would write up a blog post on what we are using this year so that I can send the people who ask me online here to answer all their questions!

Let me just say first that we got off to a rough start this year.  Mainly because "T" for some reason thought that writing things out by hand was a form of torture.  Ya think he might be a product of his generation?  

But I stuck it through and eventually he realized that handwriting wasn't the end of the world and if he stopped complaining and whining about it, he could actually get through it pretty quickly.  Besides his complaining and whining wasn't getting him very far with me.

We are three and a half weeks into our school year and we have settled into a routine and things are going fabulous.  I'm actually way more organized this year and it's actually making my day go smoother!

Okay so what are we actually teaching anyway?  Well lets see.....

"J" is in 5th grade now... She is doing amazing at getting straight to work without so much daydreaming and being distracted.  She's like a completely different kid! hehe Here's what she is doing...


Switched on Schoolhouse Language Arts~ This is a computer based program.  We did Switched on schoolhouse for history and science last year but we didn't like it as it was too much computer time for her. We do like it for language arts though.

Explode the Code book 8~ This is a workbook that helps with grammar.

Canadian Handwriting Book D~  Just your basic cursive writing workbook.


We are doing some Canadian History this year. A complete Canadian History curriculum is very hard to come by so I sort of pieced one together.  Surprisingly when I started to plan what we were going to do, I found out that they all work together really well and the workbook had a teaching plan in it that included the two other materials!  "J" is also following along and participating in "T's" history lessons but more about those later.

Courage and Conquest~ A workbook by the author Donna Ward.  We have done other Canada study books as well as a Africa unit study written by her and have really enjoyed them.

Canada, A People's History~  I found this video series made by cbc and just had to have it.  

Discovering Canada Book Series!  There are about 10 of these books on different subjects.  They have fun little projects in them and lots of information.


Teaching Textbooks 5~ This is a computer based program as well.  It's great. It grades all her work and gives her lectures on what she is studying.  She can choose to just work on the computer or she can work in the textbook and transfer it onto the computer.  This year she decided that it is easier to work in the textbook and then transfer it.  This is our third year using this program and quite honestly it's such a relief to me.  We used to struggle so much with math before using this program.  It would take her 2 hours to do one page of math but since switching to this program, it takes her 20-30 minutes tops to complete it and understand it.


Exploring Creation through Zoology 1: The Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day ~ We decided to combine science this year with "J" and "T".  It's working out really really well.  "T" who is completely fascinated with animals of all kinds, loves this book and we are only 2 lessons in.  "J" is not quite so enthusiastic about it.  I think she's dreading the lessons on bats and insects. hehe but she likes the activities that we do and they are always asking to do Science and History first so that tells you something.


Switched on Schoolhouse Health Quest ~ Once again a computer based program. It's a health course.. not really much else I could tell you about it.  She's only done 2 lessons so far.  I won't bother putting a picture up since it looks like the language arts one.

Exploring the History of Medicine ~ This one was completely "J's" choosing.  We were standing in line at the home school curriculum fair waiting to pay for our books when she saw this book and wanted to do it. We haven't actually opened it yet since I kind of forgot to schedule it in but I think this will be one that she and I do together since it really interests me too.  

I have a french program for her also but I can't seem to get it to work on her computer so I am waiting on Jeff to help me get that figured out.  And that's what "J"is doing.  

"T" is in second grade and working well now.  He doesn't like reading practice or handwriting but he gets through them without too much complaint now.  He is very into science so he loves doing that. He is really good with math as well. He seems to be able to grasp a concept within minutes of it being introduced.


First Language Lessons For the Well Trained Mind Lvl 2 ~ We just switched to this language arts book this year.  Previous years we had been using Alpha Omega Lifepacs but the kids found them a bit too dry and it took them too long to do them.  With this book we spend about 10-15 minutes per lesson and he's really remembering the stuff he's learning.

Writing with Ease ~ This is a writing program.  He doesn't enjoy it but it's helping him to form full sentences so that's great!  

Explode the Code Books 1 & 2 ~ Again Grammar workbooks.

As I said "T" is very good at math.  He knows a lot of the grade 2 math already so I've decided to move him up to third grade math.   Right now we are using a grade 2 math workbook that I found at the superstore as a review.  He is breezing through it like no tomorrow.  He's already half way through the book and we are only 3.5 weeks into school.  

Teaching Textbooks 3 ~ This is the same curriculum as "J" uses.  Computer based.  It only starts in grade three but I really wish they made it for grades 1 and 2 as well.  "T" will start this after he finishes the grade 2 workbook.


The Story of the World Vol 1: The Ancient Times~  We actually started this program at the beginning of the summer and we are still working on it.  I love love love this program.  This is one that "J" and "T" are doing together and it's their favorite subject I think.. well I guess that's not true.. I just asked "T" what his favorite subject was and he said Math!  Anyway, it's excellent and we are having fun with it.

The Story of the World Vol 2: The Middle Ages ~  When we are finished with Volume 1 which will be the middle to end of October, we will start with Volume 2.  As I said I really really love this history curriculum!

And that's that.. I think... Oh and we use a variety of readers for "T" to practice reading such as the "Little Bear" series and the "Frog and Toad" series.    And this summer I found at a library sale a bunch of old novels such as Moby Dick, The Wizard of Oz, Pollyanna so "J" is practicing her reading with those.

Well I hope you like my blog post today.. I hope I didn't miss anything.... it took a couple hours to write what with getting the family supper and taking "T" to Karate but here you go.. now I"m going to head off to my dad's to vaccum my van out.. well that's after I get the kids to bed....

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