2013-2014 Homeschool Curriculum

First of all, let me say that I LOVE planning out the new school year.  By Spring Break, I’m ready to be done with our current books and jump right in to next year.  Since that is not a good plan, I scratch that itch by starting my planning for the new year instead.  I usually order our new curriculum by Easter, and spend the next few months pulling together lesson plans and fun things to mix in with the books.  (I know, I’m weird.)


My organized mess
My organized mess

Now that summer is here, it’s time to kick the planning into high gear.  As you can see above, my planning makes for quite a mess of piles! Since I have a somewhat unpredictable work schedule, I like to plan as much of the year ahead of time as possible.  This allows me to only have to worry about making assignments and teaching each week.  I just find I don’t have the time I want during the school year to focus on long range planning.

I spent April and May reviewing the books I purchased to make sure that they were going to work, and I feel like I have the final list down.  Here is what I decided on: Note: some of these are affiliate links.  I will receive a small commission on purchases made through affiliate links.  

For my daughter (8th grade)

Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Through Physical Science  I also use this lab kit – it makes life so much easier!!

Math: Life of Fred Pre Algebra 1 & 2  The Life of Fred Series has totally changed our math experience.  LOVE THEM.

Grammar/Writing: Lightning Lit  I haven’t used curriculum from this publisher before, but I am very impressed with what I see!  I did not buy the individual chapter books.  Some I already own, and the rest our library has.

Logic: The Art of Argument  Last year she finished Fallacy Detective, so now we are moving on to more detailed study of fallacies.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary From Classical Roots A  She finished the last Spelling Workout last year, so this year we are concentrating on Latin and Greek roots for our English words.

Home Ec: We are using this series from Christian Education.  She begged me to find something like this just for fun, and she said she might start this over the summer.

For my son (6th grade)

Science: Apologia Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures  I also use the notebook journal and the lab kit for this one.

Math: Life of Fred Mineshaft, Percents, and Physics.  He finished the decimals book at the end of last year, and I wanted him to have a little review before diving into percents, so we are starting with Mineshaft for a few weeks.

Grammar: Abeka Language C

Writing: Wordsmith Apprentice  I really like the humorous and creative way this book approaches writing.

Logic: Logic Liftoff  Up until now we have been using the Mind Benders series for logic, and this year he will begin a more formal study.

Spelling: We will continue with Spelling Workout.

**Update: I’ve decided after more research to try IEW’s The Phonetic Zoo A instead. I think the science behind it is more what he needs than a visual way of learning. We’ll see!

Joint Subjects

We will also be doing several subjects together:

History: We are studying American History this year.  I am currently in the process of writing the plan for it now.  We will be using a combination of movies, original sources, and the History of US series to study our nation’s history.  I will be posting our lesson plans over the summer. I am using IEW’s US History Vol. 1 writing program along with this.

Geography: To go along with our history, we are studying US Geography.  I am again currently writing the plans for this.  It will be a mix of journal activities, map work, mission activities and food!

Latin: We are going to try Visual Latin this year, it looks really fun!

Bible Study: I am in love with these new books from Apologia.  We are going to do Who Am I and Who Is My Neighbor. Last year we did a study of each book of the Bible (who wrote it, why was it written, when, etc.) with Route 66, and this year I really wanted to focus on Biblical thinking and Godly character.  These books NAIL it.  I am also using the weekly verse from these books as a way for our whole family to memorize Scripture together.
What are you using this year?

This post is part of The Ultimate Homeschool Link-Up and Teach Them Diligently’s Curriculum Link Up.

Summer Planning Begins


After an unseasonably cool May, the heat has finally arrived here in Florida. Memorial Day has come and gone, and summer is upon us. This summer I decided to try something different around here and not let the next several weeks be a blur of laziness and boredom. While we definitely take some time to do ABOSLUTELY NOTHING, after a short time both the kids and I long for something better. Nothing too serious, but something with a bit of structure.

So I did a little digging around on Pinterest for summer ideas, and inspiration struck. I realized that we could have some laid back fun that would also accomplish some important learning. First, I loved the idea of having a different type of activity each day like Powerofmom’s do it yourself summer camp. I also got to thinking about goals after reading this post by Simply Convivial. So I decided our summer would be divided up into activities each day, and those activities would be ones that would work towards my goals for this summer.

My summer goals are simple:

1. Make sure that the kids are familiar and comfortable with how to act in a basic household emergency. For example, the upstairs toilet started to overflow a few weeks ago. The kids had no idea how to turn off the water. What if this had happened when I wasn’t home? Disaster. These are the kinds of things I want to address.

2. Make sure that the kids can handle basic home ‘duties’ without my supervision. The kids have their regular chores that they do fine, but neither one are totally familiar with all the functions on the oven or the washing machine. I’m not sure either one can set the delay on the dishwasher. So I want to be intentional about showing them these things.

3. Make memories. Isn’t that what summer is for? I want to visit new places, spend lots of time in the water, and lots of time with friends.

Keeping those goals in mind, here is the schedule I came up with. In future posts I will write out our specific plan for each week.

Monday: Home Management Monday. This is where we will cover goals 1 & 2.

Tuesday: Theater Tuesday. Our Regal has $1 movies during the summer mornings, and this has become a kind of summer tradition for us.

Wednesday: Wet Wednesday. Easy – mornings at the pool or the beach!

Thursday: Thinking Thursday. I’ve found some great sites that have simple but cool experiments we can do with things around the house. My kids love a good experiment!

Friday: Field Trip Friday. We are lucky to live within a few hour’s drive of hundreds of fun places. We’ll visit some local sites throughout the summer – some new, some old favorites.

Of course, the schedule is just a framework. There will be some days when the kids are off at a friend’s house or I have an unexpected meeting that will not allow us to do what we’ve planned. But that’s the beauty of summer, we can just go with the flow. The last thing I want to do is make summer feel like a chore!