Monday, February 7, 2011

Homeschool Roundup

I love checking out what other people are doing when it comes to educating their children.  It keeps the creativity going.  So I figured I'd do a post on what we've been doing this year with dd1. She turned 5 in December so I guess this is her kindergarten year.

Dd1 has been reading for a couple of years now but here's two sources that I highly recommend if you're looking for a reading program.

Starfall: We used this for teaching letter sounds.  You can sit there with them and do it or if they are computer savvy they can do it themselves.  Reading Eggs is another fun web site for beginning readers and has a free trial.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons:  We didn't follow the book exactly. We skipped the writing part altogether because she just wasn't ready for that when we started and I didn't follow the script.  Lessons are very short for short attention spans!  In the beginning we did about 3 lessons each day for 10 minutes.   I think we did about two months worth (65-70 lessons) before she got bored with it and we stopped doing it.  A couple months later we noticed she was reading the weekly fliers.  Once they've figured out how to mesh the letter sounds together, it goes pretty quickly.

This year our curriculum consisted of;

RightStart Math Alpha:  I went back and forth between RightStart and Math U See for ages before finally choosing Rightstart.  You have to do the lessons with them for RightStart whereas MUS comes with video instructions.

History Odyssey Ancients:  I didn't actually buy this program.  They have free samples on their site and I used them along with the lesson index and lesson ideas from Satori Smiles (awesome blog) and Google to write my own version of the curriculum.  The program uses Story of the World and The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History as it's spines.  It's a secular program.  Story of the World has it's own program which is very similar but it's written from a Christian perspective. 

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding:  This book is written for a classroom setting so it does require some editing.  My only other issue with it is that the lessons are not in order. Other than that, it's a great book.  It's K-2 so can be used over several grades.

Creativity Express: My kids love the computer and are allowed to use it with limits.  Creativity Express is a computer based art program that goes over techniques, artists, art history etc in a cartoony way that appeals to kids.  MAC compatible. 

The Usborne Art Treasury:  The book covers several artists and their works and has instructions for replicating the techniques involved.  The projects can be repeated over several grades.

BrainQuest Grade 1:  This is just a book full of worksheets meant to loosely cover what they learn in Grade 1.  Dd1 did the kindergarten book over the summer.  The grade 1 book requires a lot of handwriting which is why we use it.

For health we haven't really done anything specific.  There are a couple of books laying around the house that we read like;  Smart Lab Explore It Human BodyDK First Encyclopedia Human Body, Me and My Amazing Body and It's So Amazing.

For sporty stuff, dd1 is in bowling and obviously she plays outside. We'll do soccer in the spring.  For reading, well she just reads.  She'll read anything, including my blog (no more posting about presents).

The great thing about homeschooling is that you can tailor it to your child's pace and learning style.  So far we're loving it!


  1. We went with public schooling for our 5 year old, figuring she being an only child in an area with few kids needed socialization over education. Good thing we went in with that attitude because the curriculum is appalling, the expectations low. Our daughter can't read yet other than simple repetive sentences formed from sight words they memorize. It is 1950s all over again. Not sure if we made the right decision.

  2. Are you sure there are no homeschool groups around? Sometimes they can be tricky to find. We are involved with a homeschool group and then of course the general extracurricular activities, like the sports leagues takes care of the friend issue.

    As for socialization, kids learn how to interact with society through their parents and other adults in the community.

    I hear ya on crappy schools. I heard recently that the ones here are terrible and there are no advanced classes for gifted students, which would be an issue for us.

    Just remember it's never too late to change your mind.

  3. Thanks so much for posting these! I have been thinking that it's about time to start teaching my son some phonetics and I'll definitely check those out.

  4. I live in Nova Scotia...on the north mountain close to the bay of Fundy and I am seriously considering homeschooling our children. We have a son who is 4 ,a daughter 2 and a 6 month old baby boy. I am looking to get together with someone that homeschools..I have lots of questions and I'd love to join a group of other families to go on "field trips" etc.

  5. There are a couple of homeschool groups in the area.

    Greenwood Homeschoolers post their events here;

    Annapolis Area Homeschoolers have a Facebook group;!/group.php?gid=149706458379867

    And then there's a general NS homeschool Yahoo Group;

    I'm in Bridgetown and have kids that are similar ages; 5, 3 and 6 months.

    I started homeschooling this year but have been researching/planning it for about 8 years or so.

    If you want to chat further you can email me at