Our 2014-2015 Curriculum Choices

schoolbooksThough I’m a big believer in enjoying the summer these days. And feel one of the advantages of homeschooling is that I can start school after Labor Day like when I was a kid – a good indicator that its fall and time for school, I am in the throws of preparing for our school year.

With our recent move things are in a crazy mess but its coming together. We have fixed the scanner and printer, got the computers up and running and I’m in the process of unpacking and organizing the homeschool room.

However, I am aware that many people are starting their school years (or already have) so I thought I would move forward with sharing our 2014-2015 school year curriculum choices. This year I have a 4th grader, a Kindergartener, and a baby in tow. So, here’s the plan for another great Classical year.

(And be sure to scroll to the bottom and see what some of my IAHE friends are sharing about their upcoming school year.)

4th Grader

Classical Conversations – Classical Conversations is our primary curriculum. (Check out this post about why we love Classical Conversations and find it an essential component to our homeschool.) It involves Math, History, Geography, Science, Latin, English Grammar, and Timeline. We have one community day and the rest is working on memorizing the facts and expanding on some of the concepts.

Language Art– This will be our first year with Essentials program through Classical Conversations and we will be doing the very basics of the EEL and IEW programs to work on grammar and writing this year.

Math – Math U See Gamma. We took the summer off of Math. Saying that, we did work on math games and math facts online regularly. We will supplement with math fact games includes UberSmart Math and CTC Math Speed Skills.

History -We are reading from This Country of Ours and Story of the World vol 4 this year. Additionally, we are working through Diana Waring’s America: A Heart of a New Nation to learn folk songs that go along with various historical times we studying.

Latin – We are using Visual Latin 1 this year to step up our Latin studies. This will be our first year with this.

Chinese – We have been using Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese for the past 2 years. This year we are going to be joining an online class through CurrClick – Mandarin Chinese 1 by Mandarin Chinese Now. We are excited to do this as we have done a few short term classes with Mrs. Hong and found them to be excellent. We have decided that we want to add the conversational element to our Chinese studies this year.

French – We will continue using French Essentials this year. We started with it last year and then decided to take a break from French. My daughter has requested we start back with French this year.

Science – We will be using Supercharged Science to work through Anatomy and Chemistry components to correspond with Science sentence in Classical Conversations.

Keyboarding – We are still determining our plans for keyboarding this year. We are considering Keyboarding without Tears as we have used the free BBC Dance Mat Typing in the past.

Handwriting – We use copywork from our Classical Conversations sentences to work on handwriting. Cursive has been our focus last year and this year, though we will continue to work on printing as well.

Bible Study – This year we will be working through Bible Study Guide for All Ages. We are excited to start back up with this and include both children in the same study.

Music – In Classical Conversation we study orchestra, various classical periods and pieces, as well as famous composers. We have a subscription to Classical Composers Monthly that we will use to focus our studies. (Review coming soon.) We look forward to using this to expand our music studies. Additionally, our daughter will be taking piano lessons again as well as continue her studies on the tin whistle with classical conversations.

Art – In Classical Conversations we study art, art periods, famous arts, and work on different basic art styles. We will continue this practice at home after being introduced on community day. My daughter has a love for art and we are considering other avenues to develop art but haven’t made a final determination yet.

Free Reading – We will have several books we plan to get through this year. She will have time to read some that she picks from the library as well as go through a list that we have made for her to read this year. She is a great reader and this is her favorite part. From time to time she is asked to do a presentation, report, or paper on a book she has read.  Look for a post soon about our reading list for this year.

Home Economics – My daughter is joining American Heritage Girls this year so we will be working on badges in our spare time. She will continue working through her 4-H cook book as well.  She has taken up crocheting and she is hoping to keep working on it and expanding her sewing and crocheting skills.


Our son is starting Kindergarten – this is very exciting and I’m looking forward to the new challenge of integrating him into our day more.

Classical Conversations – Classical Conversations is our primary curriculum. It involves Math, History, Geography, Science, Latin, English Grammar, and Timeline. We have one community day and the rest is working on memorizing the facts and expanding on some of the concepts. Including geography drawing and science videos and experiments at home.

Math – Our son started working on Math U See Primer at the end of last year and will continue working through the book. We will likely wrap up Primer and begin Alpha before the end of the year.

Bible –  This year we will be working through Bible Study Guide for All Ages. We are excited to start back up with this and include both children in the same study.

Chinese – We are using Muzzy Mandarin Chinese videos for Chinese. We also you You Tube for additional Mandarin videos (see how here.)

Handwriting – We are using handwriting sheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler to work on handwriting.

Science – We are using Magic School Bus videos that correspond with the science topics. We did this with my daughter her 1st grade year when we did Cycle 3 with Classical Conversations last time and it worked out great. We are looking forward to doing it again. (Look for my science pair up posts to follow through the year.)

Reading – We are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for reading. We are about 1/4 through the lessons at this time and plan to finish up before the end of the year.

Extras – We use ABC Mouse for extra fun practice as well as Ubersmart Math and Reading Eggs from time to time. My son enjoys computer time and earns computer time by doing his other chores and school.

Whew – It seems like a lot when you write it all out but actually its pretty low key. About an hour a day for the Kindergarteners and about 3 hours to 4 hours a day for the 4th grader. They will do Classical Conversations memory work and games together. Magic School Bus videos are usually what we watch at lunch time together.  They will do Bible Study together in the morning. We will have reading lessons during the baby’s naptime because that takes the most dedicated time for me. During that time my daughter will be doing her independent work. She will have my dedication attention after reading lessons while my son is playing and, God willing, the baby is still sleeping.

I’m looking forward to a great year. I’m excited to watch my son grow and my daughter develop into a strong student. This is going to be a great year for sure.

Overall we didn’t make any drastic changes this year (other than drastically adding to the day with a Kindergartener :) ) but otherwise this is pretty much what we have been doing. We have found a pretty good rhythm. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works when we begin our year.

Did you make any big changes this year to your curriculum choices? I would love to hear how you teach children together with a wide age span.

Be sure to check out my friends’ (and fellow IAHE Bloggers) posts on their curriculum choices.  They will be linked below.


Be sure to visit the other IAHE Bloggers posts:

Random 5 on Friday – Parent Practicum

Random 5 FridayThis week was our Classical Conversations Parent Practicum It is a fun time of encouragement, enrichment, and great conversations. The parents attend workshops about classical education and the kids go to camps learning about fun things like art, geography, writing, and logic, to name a few. I always have a great time at practicum. This year I had to plan the practicum – that was a whole different experience for the practicum but a learning and enlightening experience. And I still had a wonderful time.

So for my Random 5 Friday post I’m going to tell you —

5 Random Things I Learned about Myself at Practicum

1 –Whether the group is big or small, you can have some very wonderful conversations. I had such a good time talking with other moms and families this week. Whether I was talking to the entire group or a mom or two at lunch, the conversations this week were so great.

2 – I love sharing my love for Classical education and, particularly, Classical Conversations. Each year I homeschool I find I am more and more impressed with the classical method of education. And Classical Conversations is such a blessing to our family and I love that I can share it with others who may find it as wonderful as we do.

3 – My kids love learning – especially when they don’t realize they are learning !!  It was such a great time watching the kids excited for camp all week. And the fact that they were learning while having fun is even better. I loved peeking in on them throughout the camps and watch them having such a good time and then telling me all the way home about the fun they had and what they learned.

4 – If we had to get up and go to school every morning, we would be EXHAUSTED! Funny…the practicum showed me that if we went to a traditional school every day and had to get up at 6am each day, get ready, pack our lunches, catch a bus, and head out to school we would be a mess. By day 3 were we totally over rushing out the door each day. Thank the Lord for homeschooling!

5 – Planning a 3-Day Practicum is hard work. But its fun to see everyone enjoying themselves and realize you helped with that. I have planned events in the past – in the military, in previous jobs etc. But this year was the first time I have done a full planning of a practicum. It was very involved and took a lot of help from a LOT of great people (THANK YOU to those of you that helped – you know who you are) and I am blessed with talented, wonderful people that made the practicum go well. I made a LOT of notes and hope that next year will go smoothly! But, overall it was a good experience and fun to see everyone benefiting from the practicum.

Be sure to check out more Random 5 Posts.

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials – Classical Conversations

homeschooling essentials 400x550As we wrap our week of 5 Homeschooling Essentials I will be sharing about why Classical Conversations is a Homeschooling Essential for us.

If you are not familiar with Classical Conversations, you can check out my post on things we love about Classical Conversations here. We are currently in our third year with Classical Conversations and I continue to be amazed at what the wonderful program provides our family and our homeschool.

So, why is Classical Conversations an essential?

We find that Classical Conversations keeps us focused on our educational goals, provides us with challenging and fun materials, and gives us the opportunity to spend time with other, like-minded homeschoolers, and gives the kids friends and peers.  Additionally, the opportunity to learn and discuss with fellow homeschoolers gives the children the opportunity to experience learning outside our home classroom.

Classical Conversations meets one time per week for 12 weeks in the fall and 12 weeks in the spring. This is great because it allows us to be engaged but doesn’t give have a major time commitment outside the home. The program can be used as a full curriculum or a supplement and is available for K4 through high school.

It is an essential to the success of our homeschool in that it provides such a complete and rich curriculum for us to follow. Much of the memorization for the Foundations program (the program for K4-6th grade) is put to music and therefore easy for the kids to learn and memorize. It is amazing how well they learn these facts and can recall them when prompted. It is an amazing thing to watch. I can remember my excitement (and frankly, shock) the first year we were in Classical Conversations and heard our then 2 year old singing the names of the 3 ships that Columbus sailed in 1492. It is just amazing!

Next year will be our first year repeating the history cycle (the history is broken into 3 cycles) and I am excited to see how much deeper we are able to go and how well my daughter retains information even as my little man starts his first year.

I can’t imagine where we would be without Classical Conversations and feel blessed to have found it.  I look forward to continue with Classical Conversations and see how it leads our children’s education. It is definitely an essential to the success of our homeschool.

You can learn more about Classical Conversations on their website.

Check out what other TOS Crew Members consider their homeschooling essentials and be sure to read the rest of the series of our 5 Homeschooling Essentials including:

  1. The Library
  2. Quiet Time
  3. Laminator
  4. Field Trips
And check out more of my Crewmates and their Homeschool Essentials here.
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