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Category: Curriculum Musings



Since moving to our new rental home, we still have a learning loft area where Satori and I can work together, but the wall was too small to fit our huge 6’x4′ whiteboard, so we got a slightly smaller one from the same company. As you can see from the photo above, we use it to reinforce concepts, as a daily scheduler, and of course, just for fun too!

Okay, now for this year’s Curriculum plans! I plan to blog about each of these programs in future posts. Here’s a brief summary of everything we’re doing.


  • Singapore Math 3A/B plus Challenging Word Problems/Intensive Practice
  • Life of Fred – from Edgewood to Jellybeans
  • Beast Academy – 3A-3D

Singapore Math has been a cornerstone of our homeschooling since Grade 1, and we’ll happily continue with the program. I use the Home Instructor Guide and briefly show the lesson using manipulatives (sometimes she just wants to get at the Workbook). We hardly use the Textbook, but I still have it handy. We also have the Tests book, but no longer get the Extra Practice. To stretch the mind, we use Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems from grade 2. She doesn’t exactly love the latter books, but we throw them in when we can.

To spice math up a bit, as it’s not her favorite subject, we do a chapter of Life of Fred almost everyday. Little five year old Fred, math Professor at Kittens University, shows us how math is indeed used in our everyday lives. Interspersed with various  non-math related tidbits, we learn something new everyday with Fred. This program goes from Kindergarten all the way through college-level math. New this year for us, we are excited to finally do Beast Academy. The colorful comic-book style with the quirky monster characters strengthens math concepts in quite an entertaining way.

I am also thinking of loading up her iPad with apps like Hands-On Equations to teach algebra in an easily-graspable manner and Singapore Math related apps on bar models.


  • Sadlier Grammar Workshop Grade 4 and 5?

Satori has happily used Growing with Grammar up to Level 5, but I’d love to try something new to mix things up a bit. I purchased Hake Grammar 5, but Satori took one look and balked. There’s no room to write answers and it’s just solid text. I discovered Sadlier has new Grammar and Word Study books, with easy to read lessons, so that is what we’ll try next. I have to place the order yet though. For now, Grammar is on hold. Maybe I’ll reintroduce Grammar Island again, but for some reason Satori just didn’t get into that program like I thought she would.


  • Mosdos Press – Opal and Ruby
  • Literature books – reading aloud a selection and an independent selection from her choice from our home library

I guess you could say that this is a new subject we’re tackling this year. Someone on the WTM forums mentioned the Mosdos Press Literature series and I fell for it and purchased Opal and Ruby, their 3rd and 4th grade literature programs. These books are extremely aesthetically appealing, with literature of all types and from great authors, and includes a student workbook. I’ll post our initial thoughts once we start using it.


  • Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop – Orange (gr 4) and Blue (gr 5)
  • Vocabulary from Classical Roots – grade 4/5

Since Satori loves to write, formally studying vocabulary just makes sense to us.


  • All About Spelling – Level 6
  • Sadlier Word Study – grade 4?

This isn’t too important for us to get to each week, as Satori is a very good speller. We started with All About Spelling with Level 1 and it’s worked out very well for us. When Level 6 arrived last spring, I quizzed her on the words and she knew how to spell almost all, but there were still some words she got wrong. So we’re going to zip through the Steps she knows, and spend a day or two on the Steps with spellings that give her trouble. We are on Step 12 (out of 30) and reached her first major obstacle with the spellings of “CLE” words such as cubicle, icicle, bicycle and vehicle. So we’re taking this chapter slow, as the next one covers CAL words that have the same ending sound as the CLE words. The Sadlier Word Study is just something I may look into for this and future years, as we’ve almost finished the whole AAS program.


  • Elementary Spanish: Grades 3-4
  • Getting Started with Spanish
  • Mango/Duolingo
  • homeschool enrichment program

Going to ramp up the Spanish this year, as I want to refresh it for myself as well. Spanish is one of the two subjects taught at her homeschool enrichment program twice a week. We’re continuing with Senor Morris in Elementary Spanish – 20 minute videos we get from Discovery Education Streaming. I usually listen in on the beginning and end of the videos to sing a long, we both love to sing the Spanish songs while he plays his guitar. It includes an easy worksheet that covers one of the topics. I like this program as it gives her exposure to someone speaking in Spanish. The Getting Started with Spanish book we go through together and tackle one concept per lesson in just a few minutes. Super simple. We recently started this and went through the first 20 lessons in just five minutes, as there’s already much she knows. As we get to new concepts or things she needs practice in, we’ll of course slow down. Lastly, to reinforce Spanish she’s learned, we are using DuoLingo, which is online and free. I’m doing this too and we can see each other’s progress. It’s one of those motivational programs that reward you and keep you wanting to come back everyday. I find myself using it while I watch her doing her hour of gymnastics or half hour of piano lessons. Today we discovered Mango is free for us from our library! So we did a lesson from that program and are both excited about that as well. May seem like overkill using all these programs, but it is so much fun learning Spanish!


  • Story of the World – Early Modern Times

One of our favorite programs has always been Story of the World. We’re doing one section in a chapter per day, answering the questions in the Activity Guide. There are usually two sections per chapter, so on the third day, we do the mapwork, read the Usborne Encylopedia of World History, and related videos I find on Discovery Education Streaming or BrainPop. Then she does the test in the SOTW Test book, I let her use the book but ask her that she gets all the spellings right. History is one of our favorite subjects. We’re also slowly learning American History. For both, we like to read the Interactive History Adventure books that pertain to the chapters we read.


  • Mr. Q – Earth Science
  • science classes at her enrichment school program

Mr. Q. books have been wonderful for us the past year. She independently reads a whole chapter and does the related exercises almost everyday and enjoys it. We reinforce the lessons with extra videos and books sometimes. I just got a year subscription to the Happy Scientist for $10 through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. I just got that a few weeks ago and it looks to be down at the moment, but will be re-offered again next week. She also has science covered at her school program.


Other Subjects

For Geography and Logic, we use various workbooks. Satori loves doing workbooks. For art, we’ll start up the Meet the Masters program again. I just purchased all 7 tracks for Level 2 for three years again from the Homeschool Buyers coop. This program just rocks, it was a no-brainer for me to renew that subscription.

We haven’t found a writing program we love yet, as Satori gets insulted if they’re too babyish, but I think we’re going to try the new CAP Writing and Rhetoric – Fables program this month.


Almost halfway through the summer, I thought I’d give a little update on how we’re doing. Since we school year-round, we’re going strong in July, but have had plenty of vacation days. This summer is our transition from first grade to second grade, as that’s what many of our subjects are covering. First of all, I added a new page – Second Grade Curriculum 2011-2012.

Going into second grade, we are happy to report that all of our official phonics and phonics review programs have been completed. Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading did a great job systematically going through teaching reading and Explode the Code workbooks continued on with a great review for Satori. We finished ETC last month. All that’s left is to enjoy reading!

Math is going swimmingly with Singapore Math. What a relief to find something that really works for us and that we both enjoy doing. We have plenty of extras that will challenge her – of course the Singapore IP/CWP books, and some new ones that we’ll be trying out this fall. I mention them on the curriculum page.

All About Spelling is fantastic as usual, we will be ready to start Level 5 the first of August. There are only seven total levels for this program (the 7th is not even out yet), so I’m starting to wonder what we’ll use next.

We’re finally utilizing an actual writing program every single day, and two different ones to boot! Winning With Writing was just released and we’re one of the first users. We started with Level 3 and so far it’s a cinch to get to everyday, and only takes minutes. More about that in a blog post next week. We also succumbed once again to using Writing With Ease, a more classical method of teaching writing for young children. We actually finished WWE 1 in less than one month and will move on to WWE book 2 next week. We want to be ready to start the level 5 program in a year or so. I showed her the samples and now both Satori and I are extremely motivated to do what it takes to be ready for that. Later this year, we’ll include Killgallon writing so Satori can improve her style. Main writing goal for first grade? PARAGRAPHS!

Following the classical education timeframe, we’ll also be starting both Middle Ages history and Earth & Space science next month. We’re going to use our timeline more, and I’m getting that all setup now. I finally ordered the new Pandia Press Classical Education timeline, which seems to give more space to more recent times than their old timeline does that we have. Looking forward to using it!  We’re adding another science program – My Pals Are Here science. It was painful to slowly keep purchasing all the different components to this program – I originally thought we’d just use the $3 student textbooks! But, being the perfectionist that I am, I should’ve known I would get the full program.

Ooh, Adventures in America was just released today. We’ll be starting that program asap. 🙂

MCT Language Arts has been a refreshing change of pace for us in the LA department. We’re still working through Grammar Island and have started Music of the Hemispheres poetry. We only do this a few times a week but should ramp it up more this fall. Newly released just this past 4th of July weekend is their new literature program which will be in our hot little hands any day now. More about that as we start using it.

Vocabulary is coming along nicely. We mostly use Wordly Wise 3000 (workbook and online) and have just started Book 3. Satori just loves to use new vocabulary, so this is a big priority at our house. I also am earnestly working on expanding my own vocabulary and trying to use it in conversations with her. All this work has definitely paid off. We also are using Evan Moor Word a Day, but we do one week’s worth in one day and we probably won’t continue with that program. Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop intrigues me, but I really don’t want to extend my curriculum addiction even further…

Languages… Finished Song School Latin and I had Minimus lying around which caught our eye. I figured we’d zip through that quickly just for fun. People say their children enjoy it but don’t retain much. The book says its for ages 7-10 to get exposure to Latin vocabulary, which is what SSL did nicely, so I figure we could give it a whirl. After that, Lively Latin 1 is all lined up for the fall, which will be our first serious Latin program.

I recently blogged about REAL Homeschool Spanish. We use both that and online Elementary Spanish. We haven’t done much this summer with Spanish, but for sure this fall we’ll be diving in more.

For Geography I recently discovered the Evan-Moor Daily Geography Practice books and we’re finishing up Grade 2 this month and will move on to Grade 3. We used to zoom through independent geography books (tried almost every series out there), so I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this series. There’s more parent interaction, and I didn’t think I’d be up for that for geography. But I’m really liking this series so we’ll continue with it. We do other fun stuff for geography like puzzles, games, and more.

I should have just started out saying that we are having fun with every subject. Critical Thinking/Logic is no exception. We’re burning through a bunch of Prufrock Press books, good thing they’re inexpensive! Again, we also enjoy puzzles and games for this.

As for art, we don’t get to that every week, but when we do we thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

Both mom and daughter started Getty-Dubay Italics handwriting, but I’m not sure how easy it is to just be able to convert to a new style. We’ll chug along and see how it all pans out. After being all excited learning to type/keyboard this spring, we haven’t practiced that yet this summer. I can definitely see she needs practice, so we’ll have to start that up again. I want to see her blogging on her own again!

Satori continues to write like a maniac. Last week we ran out of blank books and she started freaking out, escalating to sheer terror yesterday. We made a few homemade books, but she started up a huge list of stories she was antsy to get down on paper. We both breathed a big sigh of relief when our big Rainbow Resource order arrived this afternoon, with 20 blank books! Also in the shipment was an ITBS Grade 2 Test Prep teacher/student book. I am curious to see how she’ll do in such testing situations. For Grade 3, we have to start taking this test for Colorado state requirements, and then every other year after that. This will be nice practice for that test, which she won’t have to take until two more years.

Apologies for the long post with no pictures, this seems to be one of those rare instances.

Looking back at last year at this time, it seems we’ve made tons of progress!  We look forward to what the upcoming year brings.


For some reason I have been overly ambitious about homeschooling this weekend. I’ve been putting our 2011/2012 year together. I’ve broken it into Summer 2011 and 2011/2012 year (September through May). I’d love to do a lighter load this summer (2 hour days). Usually I don’t have too much of a problem narrowing choices down into a reasonable day. But I keep running into curriculum choices I can’t resist, and I’ve been hit particularly hard with curriculum lust this week.

So far, here’s what our summer is looking like. Talk about Curriculum Overload! I need to narrow this down!

If I talk it all out on my blog, maybe that will help me drop some stuff. The numbers in front of the subjects are how I rate them according to priority groups. We’ve got 4 different priorities, with a few extras at the bottom that I just added and not sure what priority (if any) they are. Taking it from the top… I’ve crossed off the things with the most potential to drop, and added question marks to things we might drop next.

  • ETC 8: The first subject is ETC, which is a phonics/spelling/reading review for us. We’re on book 8, the last book, and following the above schedule, we should be done the first week of July. Then it’s over forever.
  • GWG/FLL 3: The next two are purely grammar programs. We’ve had no problem using both and I love how they complement each other. But if we end up having to drop one, we’ll drop FLL temporarily. We accelerated grammar because it does so much for my little writer.
  • Singapore Math: Our main math we love. In the fall we’ll go back to doing this 4-5 days a week. We’ll finish up 1B soon and dig into 2A this summer.
  • Math Mammoth?: The math that was supposed to be just our supplement, but I couldn’t resist the cute workbook format I made with the ProClick and we just got done doing a week of it on our Oregon vacation. I am not sure why I’ve scheduled it more than Singapore. But this is something I will definitely lessen and probably only do when we’re out of town.
  • Getty-Dubay Italics?: Satori wanted to try out a fancy new handwriting program. We started with their 2nd grade book B. The spaces to write are so huge though and it’s hard for Satori to get used to. She writes very neat and tiny. I’m not sure why we need handwriting anymore to tell the truth, so we possibly might drop this, or at least get to a more suitable book level.
  • All About Spelling: One of our core favorites, but we’ll only be doing 2 days a week over the summer, switching back to 3 days/week in the fall. We’re more than halfway through Level 4 and will start Level 5 this fall.
  • Writing With Ease: I feel so guilty flying without WWE on the WTM forums. Out of all our curriculum choices, this is one both Satori and I pretty much dislike. The concept behind it sounds great for young children, and I wanted to give it a third try. But we’ve got so much on our plate, this will be one of the first to drop, simply because we dread doing these lessons. I don’t know why, they’re set up as so easy to teach.
  • Write Source 2?: Since Satori actually does write, this is what we use to help her with her varying writing genre. This tends to get skipped a lot, so I’ve tried to break it down into manageable chunks twice a week. We only do the student text that focuses on writing and not the other parts. We may drop this if EPGY LAW (Language Arts and Writing) covers writing well.
  • Vocabulary (Wordly Wise and Evan Moore Word a Day): Satori loves to learn vocabulary and it doesn’t take long. We’ll skip the reading part of the WW workbook and learn the terms on the free online site, do the games, and do the exercises in the book.
  • MCT Island?: We’ve gotten our feet wet into the Grammar book and really enjoy reading it together, but we’ve already got so much grammar. We also have their Poetry, Sentence Island, Building Language, etc… We’ll see how it goes.
  • SOTW History: We’re a bit behind and wanted to take the summer to finish up SOTW 1 – Ancients in time for SOTW 2 this fall.
  • RSO Life: Wrapping up Plants this summer and easing into RSO Earth and Space this fall. Satori has taken an interest in biology, so we’re going on lots of in-depth rabbit trails in this area.
  • Geography: We use a variety of resources, including online geography games, puzzles, and workbooks. This summer Satori will memorize all the countries of the world. She does this easily, we are almost finished with Europe and will move to Asia next. For workbook, we’ll use the Evan-Moor Geography a Day 2nd grade. We whipped through tons of geography workbooks, this will be our first time trying this out.
  • Elementary Spanish: This is super easy to implement and adds lots of vocabulary. No problem there.
  • Getting Started with Spanish: Can drop this.
  • Song School Latin: Can drop. If not, we’ll finish up quickly and be done with forever. We’ll start Lively Latin in the fall.
  • Logic/Critical Thinking: We use various workbooks/resources, it only takes 5 minutes a few times a week, so we’ll keep this subject.
  • Meet the Masters: Love this program! The art projects that have us copy a concept from the artist slow us down though, so we’ll skip those and just focus on the art appreciation aspect. I’d love to go through the program faster so we can learn about more artists, yay!
  • Artistic Pursuits: We slack on this one, but it actually doesn’t take much time to do. I think Satori really enjoys it, so we’ll spend the summer and try to get through AP Book 1. No biggie if we don’t get to it every week, when we do get to it, we tend to do several lessons at once.
  • Read and Understand and Daily Paragraph Editing: The next two are both Evan Moor workbooks. Both these workbooks I’ll probably slash for this summer. The Read and Understand looked interesting, we could combine reading with another subject. The Daily Paragraph Editing is fun for Satori to take a red pen and slash and edit. Maybe we’ll revisit these this fall.
  • Singapore My Pals Are Here Science – This is one I just realized we could do this weekend. There is a HOTS component that might challenge Satori. This program looks interesting because there’s a text, workbook/activities, challenging book (HOTS), and other components. Kinda like Singapore Math, which we love!
  • EPGY Math and LAW (Language Arts and Writing): David really wanted Satori enrolled in this, so now we’re all registered and paid and ready to roll. I’m not sure what to expect.

If we actually do follow the above schedule, here’s what our days would look like in the next two months. Monday-Thursday averages 2.5-3 hours, with 2 hours on Friday, and 1 hour (of easy stuff) on the weekend days. I really want to get everything below 2.5 hours, with a 1 hour Friday.

The last few subjects were ones I only recently discovered and that’s what tipped the scale to be overwhelming curriculum overload for me. Give us a few weeks and we’ll pare our schedule down and let you all know how it’s all working out!

Screenshots were from the online scheduling program I use – Homeschool SkedTrack. Oh and one more thing that is overwhelming me – I wanted to program my own online scheduler to have all the features I wanted. I love web programming, but it would require too much out of me right now, it’s been several years since I was last active in programming.

Since Satori has such an enthusiasm for writing, I’ve been looking for more challenging writing programs, but they all require advanced grammar. The Latin programs I want to use after Song School Latin also require grammar skills above the Grade 1-2 level. Satori says she loves learning grammar and the subject does come easy to her, so I think we could go at a faster pace than normal. First Language Lessons 1 (which we finished last year) started out too gentle and slow-paced for us, even though we did up to 5-6 lessons per day. We were so glad to finish it and decided to keep FLL2 on the shelf for a bit while I researched grammar programs that we’d be able to do at an accelerated pace, suitable for a bright, early elementary (grade 1-2) child.

I believe this is my first post about using Growing With Grammar (GWG) program, which we’ve now been using since September 2010. Although I wouldn’t consider it the most rigorous grammar program, we’ve been quite happy with it for now, especially in the early years. The first two levels of Growing With Grammar consist of the Student Workbook with optional answer key and tests. I didn’t bother getting the tests for the first two levels, and we didn’t need the answer key. It is definitely a workbook type program, but Satori enjoys such workbooks, so this has been a pretty good fit.


GWG is a program that is super easy to do every day. We find ourselves even doing it on the weekends sometimes. Some pages require a small bit of writing a word or sentence, but mostly it’s circling, underlining type work. Level 1 and 2 both have 96 lessons each plus several review lessons. Each lesson is two pages (one page, both sides).  The first lesson page describes the lesson, and then has an exercise. She almost always does 2 lessons per day. Here’s a page from the Level 1 book, showing the lesson explanation.

The second page continues with exercises for that lesson, and often includes a short review problem.

Every major section concludes with a Review that takes up 3 lessons (in addition to the small review spattered throughout the normal lessons).

Here’s a sample lesson Satori did a few days ago in Growing With Grammar Level 2. (The complete Table of Contents is online on their site.)

Potential Disadvantages

Although we’re enjoying Growing With Grammar, it does seem a bit easy. Some people have mentioned their children don’t have good retention with the program. Kids can easily just fill in the blanks and circle without reading the lesson description. For children familiar with speaking and reading our language, some of the exercises are easy to figure out, even without learning the lesson.

Below is an example of Satori flying through a recent lesson without reading the instructions. I really make sure I sit down with her at the start of each lesson, read it to her (even though she could read it herself), and then set her loose. Every now and then we talk about the grammar we’ve learned, so I can gauge her retention.

GWG and FLL Combo

A few weeks ago we also started back in again with First Language Lessons 2. We’re now getting a great combination of oral grammar discussion/memorization and written practice. The two programs seem to complement and reinforce each other well. I love the combination of FLL and GWG. We still don’t take much time doing both programs, usually 10-15 minutes or less a day.

Growing With Grammar Level 3 program starts with diagramming and those books just arrived today. They look great. Our schedule has us starting Level 3 the end of this month, so later next month, I’ll blog about how that’s going. In the meantime, I’ll try to get up a post comparing a similar lesson in both GWG2 and FLL2.

Works for Now, But How About the Future?

I know Growing With Grammar isn’t for every family, no curriculum can claim that. For us, GWG has been working out great for now, we learn a little grammar and do some practice everyday. It gets done willingly by Satori and it’s obviously easy to teach.  I feel we’re getting up to speed in grammar very quickly (our goal for the year), and thus, we can start those advanced writing programs Satori needs. Once we have the intermediate grammar and sentence diagramming skills, I may be on the lookout for a more challenging program. Then again, we may keep doing Growing With Grammar alongside another rigorous program.

September 7 we started our official first grade, including all our new curriculum choices. I’ll go through everything briefly, following our curriculum list on the right side of this blog. One update already, we are doing three hours a day approximately, with a very light load on Mondays, in which we’ll be trying out OPTIONS (one day a week).

Explode the Code workbooks: We had just finished up ETC 4 and towards the end, the workbooks turned out to not be so independent as all prior books have been. We still really love Explode the Code, but now the vocabulary is a bit more unfamiliar, and of course the work itself was more challenging as well. I think all the three-syllable work at the end intimidated Satori, even though she could read them. We have never used the 1/2 extra practice books, but for some reason I did purchase ETC 4 1/2 just to look at, but didn’t think I needed it, so I put it up for sale on Amazon. Last week I quickly took it off Amazon Marketplace, and Satori started to use this for the extra practice. We’re doing four pages a day as always, even a few weekend days here and there. Our of curiosity, I have MCP Plaid Phonics B and Level C arriving this Tuesday, so we might try this out for awhile. More on that in a week or two…

Beyond the Code – Since we finished our official reading program, I thought we’d try the Beyond the Code series for reading practice. It’s okay. The first book is way too simple, and I wish we had started half a year earlier on these, or at least when we were on the ETC 2 and 3 books. Satori loves following the story of Zack the Dog, and it has enough coloring and writing to have her asking to work on Beyond the Code everyday. I totally skip some of the workbook pages, as they’re insultingly simple for her at this time. We’ll probably zoom through the series 1-4, as Satori is getting a kick out of the stories. I see I forgot to put this up on the side bar, I’ll have to do that, as we will be using this program for sure now.

All About Spelling – We’ll be on Level 3 book, Lesson 9 this week, and as always, it’s going well! I recently blogged about the spelling rules she’s learning. She often asks to do spelling lessons, and this is one of the subjects I try to slow down a bit.

RightStart Math B – I’m trying my hardest to do this four days a week now, and Satori is now doing the worksheets easily. This program just blows my mind how effective it is. I intend to give it the priority it deserves this year!

Math Mammoth 1A – We just started this last week and although Satori is not thrilled about the worksheets, she does them without complaint. The first worksheets are super easy, they are addition problems like 2+3 or 5+0. I don’t have too much feedback on this yet, but we’ll be doing these worksheets 2-3 times a week, with about 2-3 worksheets per lesson.

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive – Another amazing program. Satori is kinda teaching herself cursive, so I’m going to try to keep up with her interest by doing this 3x a week and doing 2 pages per lesson. We’re using StartWrite Worksheet Wizard quite a bit now that we’re learning cursive, it has the HWT Print and Cursive fonts!

Story of the World 1 – just chugging along, we have a great time with this program, as you can see by all the blog posts.

Write Source Grade 1 – This is one of our brand new programs, we had finished up WS Kindergarten, but First Grade is more indepth of course. Satori begs to do her new “grammar” program everyday, even though it’s mostly a writing program. She’s finally learning how to write, which is probably her most favorite activity in the entire world. The program does cover some grammar, which is why she’s been calling it her “new grammar program”.

Aesop’s Fables: My Book about Reading, Writing, Thinking – I recently realized I had this program laying around and that now is the time that Satori can appreciate it. It looks like a lot of fun for her, so we’ll be starting this next week. Sorry that I have no feedback on it yet.

Growing With Grammar 1 – I was really looking forward to a more independent program where Satori can write in a workbook (she seems to dig that kind of thing), but she just does it like it’s a job she doesn’t particularly enjoy. I’ll give it a few more weeks and write up more about our experiences. We may drop this.

Writing With Ease 1 and First Language Lessons 2 – These programs go too slow, so we do these 2-3x a week doing several lessons at a time. Not too impressed with WWE yet, but I do think FLL has great value for us. People on the WTM forums that I frequent love these programs, so they do work for most children. We may drop Writing With Ease.

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Life – We’re actually doing science this year and having lots of fun! The program itself makes it all so easy. I’ve made an updated list of books that are easy to find, as this program really benefits from reading additional books.

Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 1 – Satori still loves this for vocabulary, and we’ll be starting the Second Grade series soon, which is totally different.

Elementary Spanish – We bought a subscription to Discovery Streaming and this great spanish program is offered there. We’ll watch the 20 minute video once or twice a week (they seem to have great review built-in) and do the corresponding worksheets. Here’s Satori watching the first video for the second time and coloring her sheets. I normally download the higher quality 700kbps video and play it full-screen, but here we just watched it on the smaller screen as it was on my laptop and the Internet connection was slow that night for some reas0n.

La Clase Divertida – I had this program already, so we’ll be watching the videos and doing some of the activities, but I think Elementary Spanish will be our main Spanish program. I thought Satori would love this DVD, but she seemed a bit bored.

We’re really trying to learn Spanish this year, as in two months we’re going on an eastern Caribbean cruise and we’ll be hitting Mexico and Honduras!

Song School Latin – this is a very gentle, easy Latin program for young children. We did one lesson this week and Satori loved it. I posted the video last week of her singing her SSL song. 🙂 We just learned four terms, and she’s been using them all the time throughout the week.

Meet the Masters – really enjoying this program!

Artistic Pursuits – starting Book 1

Drawing with Children – have yet to get into this…

This summer has been pretty relaxed, and I have to admit, I’ve been pretty relaxed since we started homeschooling back in February 2009. I’ve designated Tuesday, September 7, as the date we really get serious with Grade One! I’ve spent countless hours researching the perfect curriculum for us and have planned it all out for the entire school year.

I’ve updated (and still need to make a few tiny updates) our First Grade 2010/2011 Curriculum page. Some new curriculum we’ll be starting and blogging about this year are: Beyond the Code, Write Source Grade 1, Growing With Grammar, Meet the Masters, Drawing with Children and adding math supplements (MEP Math and perhaps Math Mammoth or Miquon).

I’ve cleared room on this shelf for all the binders we’ll be using this year, a whole size/color array of my favorite Staples Better Binders! I tried to print out all the worksheets/paper stuff we’ll need for the entire year for all our programs. I’ve also stocked up two Staples Desk Apprentices that twirl around with our textbooks and workbooks.

I’m starting to map out our Art Appreciation read-along books to coordinate with Meet the Masters. I’ve done the same for R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Life, with a page on additional resource suggestions for RSO Life. I’ve linked to all the Elementary Spanish videos on our Discovery Streaming subscription.

The only things left to do this weekend is to map out two more subjects – Drawing with Children and figure out our music. For music I would love to give a light intro to Music Appreciation as well as start piano lessons.

Not Back to School Blog Hop
It’s time for the Heart of the Matter Not Back to School Hop, and this week it’s Curriculum Week! (Oops, I missed this week by a a few days, but since I wrote this post, I’ll just leave it.) I remember participating in some of these last year. Perfect timing too, as we’ve had a few months of trying out our new First Grade curriculum choices already, so we know how things are going to work out.

This blog post will summarize what we’ll be using for all our First Grade subjects, you can always see them at a glance on the right side of the blog. I’ve also created a First Grade Curriculum page where I can into more detail about our choices and how we plan to implement them. We do lessons Monday through Friday about 2-3 hours a day, year-long with extended breaks a few times a year.

The below schedule is what we’ll be following starting September 2010, even though we started first grade June 2010.

First Grade Curriculum 2010/2011

Reading/Phonics (we wrapped our our main program, Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, August 2010)

  • Explode the Code Workbooks 4-8, great review on everything, humorous worksheets
  • Beyond the Code – to start in September as a trial, may ditch this if we don’t like
  • Various read-alouds – both mom and Satori reading aloud to each other









  • Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 1 – after this colorful (but expensive) program finishes, not sure if we’ll continue with Wordly Wise 2+ (which is not as colorful but is inexpensive), but we’ll definitely be using something. Satori loves learning vocabulary and loves the Wordly Wise K-1 curriculum!


  • Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book Onefor general art
  • Meet the Masters – for artist study, just started this and love it
  • Drawing With Children – for realistic drawing
  • various art project books/websites – we really want to enjoy art this year!

Critical Thinking