Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Homeschool Hightlights of the Year

Well, I can hardly believe it.  The school year is over and we survived.  Thankfully, we thrived.

We read a few books (out loud) during the month of May, but the one that stands out the most to both Sam and I (even Sadie listened intently to this one) was Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson .  Sam was at first reluctant for me to begin reading it because the cover shows three little girls dressed in frilly old-fashioned garb.  He pretty much begged me to choose another book.  It took only minutes for him to change his mind once I started and he begged for me to keep reading every time.

In this book, a grandmother tells her granddaughter stories from when she was a girl.  Many of the stories recount a lesson learned and almost all of them made us laugh out loud.  Each short chapter is it's own story, so it's easy to pick up now and again when you only have 10 minutes.

As a close to our year, I want to mention my impressions of the different books/curriculum we used this year for my sake and yours.

Saxon Math continues to be a solid math curriculum.  It's a lot of drills without a lot of frills.  And that's okay with us.

We completed First Language Lessons this year although it's supposed to be spread over two years (1st and 2nd grade).  Let's just say there was a lot of language going on around here.  This book was excellent.  Sam has a great handle on the different parts of speech and even has the entire list of prepositions memorized (as do I!).  There are 46, by the way.


Exploring Creation's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day was superb.  It was our first experience with this series of science books for elementary school age children.  Instead of dabbling in, like, 100 different areas of science each year (like many a science curriculum seem to do), this one stays focused on one area and teaches it well.  It has a creationist perspective which we really appreciate and has optional workbook pages you can print off their website and optional experiments at the end of each chapter.  We can't wait to get our hands on next year's book.

Spelling Workout B was a good spelling choice (We used Spelling Workout A last year.)  We completed the book, but in the meantime, discovered Spelling Wisdom and can't resist switching to it for next year.  Instead of getting a list of words each week to learn, each day (or a couple times a week), your child is introduced to a famous quote or excerpt from a literary classic (Aesop's Fables, Robinson Crusoe, etc.) .  They learn to spell the words in that quote through study, copywork, dictation, and memorization.  Over the course of the two-year book, they will learn 12, 500 words (including the 6,000 most frequently used words in the English language) and impart wisdom galore through the words of Benjamin Franklin, Wordsworth, Abraham Lincoln, etc.  It will be a different format than we're used to, but we excited to give it a go.

After three years of using My Father's World, we will be making a switch next year for Sam.  We LOVED MFW's Kindergarten program.  I can honestly find no fault with it and I will be starting Sadie with it next year.  We LOVED MFW's Bible portion all three years.  I wish I could keep teaching Sam from their Bible portion, but I cannot afford to purchase a complete curriculum only for the Bible.  In first and second grade, we longed for more in depth history and more reading of books (read alouds and independent readers for Sam), so we're going to give something else a try next year and see how it goes.  Who knows?  We might be back.

We were pleased with the English from the Roots Up cards and will continue learning those next year (we did one a week).


It was a very good year.  I expect next year to be quite a bit trickier.  Sam's school day will be longer.  Sadie will require more time as we give kindergarten a go (I plan on possibly doing two years of K with her) and Miriam may be down to one nap by then and walking around the house on her own two (very sweet) feet.

I think I need to start praying about it now.  I'm not saying that flippantly.  I mean it.

One more thing.  A couple months ago I wrote about how we try to parent using habits.  Well, here's a little gift for you- a very concise, easy to read, practical, and FREE downloadable e-book from the good folks at Simply Charlotte Mason: Smooth and Easy Days.  Summer is going to be a great time to work on good habits- for all of us!! Pin It


  1. Thanks for this great post! As you write about Miriam, I am looking at my 3yo... wondering how I'll get it done... prayer, prayer, prayer. At your recommendation, I considered more closely, and selected, 'Exploring Creation.' Good stuff.
    I'm going to read up on the other items as well!
    Have a blessed weekend, and can't wait to hear about all the fun this summer, Laura

  2. As someone who is considering hsing next year (dd in grade 2) and researching curriculums, I'm curious as to what you are thinking of switching to (from MFW)?

  3. Deborah,

    I hesitated to write about all this because a know several people who LOVE My Father's World and I don't want to discourage people from trying it, but I can understand why it would be helpful to hear.

    We're looking into Sonlight for Sam (Sadie will do MFW K). We're planning on keeping Saxon Math, Exploring Creation Science and Spelling Wisdom for Spelling, but using Sonlight's Bible/History/Literature Core. It's expensive, so I've been consigning whatever I can and will be selling quite a bit of homeschool stuff we're done with on ebay. I think I might come close to breaking even this way:-).

    If you have other questions about starting out, I'd love to try to help:-). It's been wonderful for our family. My email is

  4. I love reading about your homeschooling experience...I live vicariously through you! You know how I feel about homeschool...and that I was considering it for my youngest...but he pulled all A's and a B in the 6th grade and wants to give junior high a try. He wants to wrestle and do we're going to let him. But I'm still open to the option of homeschool should it work out better for him.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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