What we're currently using...and what may soon change
Since we began our homeschooling journey, I have pieced together materials for each subject based on a great deal of research and, of course, some trial and error. I prefer this method of forming a curriculum of study rather than purchasing materials from one particular company--what is sometimes referred to as boxed curriculum. I have two main reasons for this choice: 1) Boxed curriculum usually does not fit all children. If a child is advanced or remedial in one or more subjects there is sometimes the necessity to tweak the curriculum anyway. 2) It's fun. I greatly enjoy researching and finding products that fit our needs well.
As Riley has gotten older I have had to do less research...as early research has paid off in the discovery of materials that have worked well for us. Consequently, I can just stick with a series or grade progression, as she moves on. However, she will soon be entering the logic stage which will require more research on my part.
Here is a glimpse into what we're using this year:
|Bob Jones Math 4 (2nd edition)|
|Christian Light Education Language Arts |
which includes grammar, spelling and penmanship
|Elementary Greek 1|
|Latina Christiana 1|
|Writing Tales 1|
We have also been using the Michael Clay Thompson Grammar Island series as a language supplement. It includes vocabulary and poetry. For history we have been using Memoria Press' Introduction to Classical Studies which combines readings from The Golden Bible, D'Aulaire's Greek Myths and Famous Men of Rome. We're also using the Sonlight 3 readers which are based on early American history as well as Mara Pratt's American History Stories. Riley is taking a class in science that is being taught by a wonderful retired science teacher. She also reads books on science topics. For art, we have taken advantage of the after school art classes offered by the Southern Cultural Heritage Center in town. She takes gymnastics and is also a girl scout.
I actually am pleased with all of these materials...some more than others, of course. The things that I am contemplating changing or at least tweaking are math and language arts. BJU Math has been the one constant in our four years of schooling. We have both enjoyed it...and yet, I feel the time has come to move to another math program. Why? Mainly because this year is such a crucial year for cementing math facts prior to moving on to higher maths. BJU has always met our needs, but this year I have found the mastery style too chunky for our needs. Though Riley is doing well with her facts, she still needs a lot of practice to build up speed in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. She has never had difficulties grasping new math concepts, but in order to practice them fully she must increase her recall of these facts. Because of that, I have decided we need to switch to a spiral math. After a lot of research, I have chosen to use Christian Light Education's (CLE) math.
|Christian Light Education Math|
Riley has developed into a voracious reader, and it has been a joy to be able to help guide her towards worthy and quality books. Of course, I let her pick books from the library, but I have spent a lot of time filling our own personal library full of books recommended by Sonlight, Ambleside Online, and other great reading lists. My grandmother recently gave us an old Elson Reader that she found at an antique store. We have started using this reader during our school reading time, and she loves it. She actually remarked after one reading, "They don't write books like they used to." :)
Actually, getting this reader propelled me towards looking at other vintage reading and grammar programs. I discovered, thanks to a cyberfriend, the Stepping Stones to Literature series that provides wonderful collections of great authors. The editor of this series, Sarah Louise Arnold, also co-authored a delightful grammar series entitled The Mother Tongue. Upon finding this grammar series, I knew that I wanted to find a way to work it into our studies. It looks like a fantastic way of developing great writing skills. Dan and I both have an affinity for writing, and Riley has been filling notebooks with stories since she learned to write. Consequently, a program that, in book 3, teaches composition by providing not only instruction but excellent writing examples from great authors was very appealing to me. This entire series can be found online at google books or at archive.org; however, being the old-fashioned gal that I am, I decided to track down and purchase a copy of the antique books to hold in my hands. As soon as they arrive, I will figure out how we can use them.