It’s that time of year again. Back to school is coming. At our house it will be upon us in about two weeks. Miss will be in second grade, Lass in first, and Sis in PreK4.
I’m simultaneously very excited and sort of scared to death. I’m not sure how it’s going to work to homeschool with a newborn in the mix. I’m banking on the possibility that he may nap every morning between 9 and noon. If that doesn’t happen, I’m screwed.
BUT, either way, I have my curriculum all lined up on my brand new pretty shelves and I’m so flipping excited about it I have to share.
I’ll start by telling you why we changed our curriculum from what we had last year, which was Sonlight. I picked Sonlight, hoping for a literature-based curriculum. Unfortunately, it turned out to not actually be what I consider literature-based. Usborn books about space and history don’t really qualify, in my opinion. A lot of the books were more textbook-y, and they seemed to bore my kids. I ended up ditching a lot of their selections in order to add in Five in a Row and The Story of the World. We didn’t like the math or the handwriting programs that came with it either. Plus, though I knew that their curriculum was not Catholic and that I would need to add in some religious studies to make it more in line with our faith, I wasn’t expecting to be so uncomfortable with the religious elements they did have. I ended up not using any of their religion choices and completely replacing them with Catholic Heritage Curricula’s study and lots of our own books.
By the end of the year, I was hardly using any of the sources that came in our Sonlight box.
So. That’s what we are not doing again this year.
Instead, I switched to Build Your Library as our main curriculum, and then added a bunch of stuff on to that. BYL is a secular curriculum that comes with literature, science, history, copy work, narration, and art study. You can check out BYL’s second grade package, which is the one we’re using, here.
I’ll do the science, history, art study, and literature read alouds with all of the girls together before they split to do their individual skill work.
Math – Miss hated doing math in a workbook. So this year I’m switching to Shiller Math, which uses a lot more brief lessons and hands on activities. I’ll also use Life of Fred from time to time and the IXL app for a fun change of pace.
Reading – We’re sticking with All About Reading. We all like it and it works. Miss is a pretty fluent reader, so mostly she just needs practice reading and reminders to sound out the words she doesn’t know. But I’ll finish up the AAR Level 3 with her and continue Level 2 with Lass. Later in the year I may start Level 1 with Sis, since she’s already finished the Pre-reading program, but I’m not in any hurry (she’ll mostly be doing typical preschool ABC, counting, sorting, coloring, cutting, pasting activities).
Language Arts – We’ll be doing lots of reading, narration, copy work, poetry memorization, etc. as part of our BYL curriculum. I’m also using First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, Level 2 for Miss and Level 1 for Lass, as well as possibly including some of CHC’s Language of God for Little Folks. We’re using All About Spelling and My Catholic Speller Level A for Miss and My Very First Catholic Speller for Lass from CHC for spelling.
Religion – We use the Faith and Life Series from CHC for Miss and Lass. I added some books for Miss since she will be receiving her First Holy Communion this year.
If you click the images above it will take you to an Amazon page where you can read more and/or purchase the books (They aren’t affiliate links, I’m just trying to make your life easier).
Handwriting – Most of Miss’s handwriting practice will be copy work, either from BYL or from the Catholic Heritage Handwriting Series Level 2. She has expressed an interest in learning to write in cursive, so I’ll start having her do that a little later in the year as well. Lass has CHHS Level 1 for handwriting, and Sis has an old Seton handwriting book that I never ended up having Miss do.
Morning Time – Our morning time will start with singing a hymn, prayer, the Pledge, calendar, and then read alouds (like science, art study, and literature; we’ll mostly listen to Story of the World in the car). This year I’m also going to include nature study, SQUILT music appreciation, some easy art projects, the Bedtime Math app, and the occasional poetry tea time. I’ll alternate these activities throughout the week. I got awesome ideas from the podcast Your Morning Basket for making morning time more rich and more fun for all of us.
There are a few more odds and ends here and there, things I hold onto to add in and change things up a bit from time to time, but that’s the gist of it.
I love this time of year. We have new notebooks and pens and binders. I’ve stocked up on lots of new art supplies. I’ve reread Teaching From Rest. I even got some brand new PlayDoh. We’re basking in the last few weeks of summer, and I’m looking forward to the excitement of our new year.