Homeschooling Resources {Kindergarten Through 2nd Grade}

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You already know I finally enjoy homeschooling, and a large reason is that we’ve settled into our curriculum choices with confidence. I’m not even going to CHAP this year because I don’t want to be swayed by all the wonderful choices! It feels simply wonderful to keep moving forward without second guessing myself. If you’ve chosen your curriculum, fantastic! If you’re looking for some ideas for what to use with your babes, perhaps you’ll like some of what we’re using. Take a peek:

spelling workoutSpelling Workout

Easy, cheap, and effective. It’s $10 a book, two pages a day (no prep), and using it has massively improved my 7-Year old’s (who starts second-grade in the fall) reading and spelling. We’ve nearly completed two books and will continue on with the third this month (and continue through the summer). I will start Caed (my almost first-grader) on it after he completes 100 Easy Lessons (see below).

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Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

I have to admit, I did not like this reading program when I used it with Ella, and the feeling was mutual with her! We made it to lesson 84 and threw in the towel (it wasn’t sticking, and she was miserable). But Caed? He likes it, and sometimes he even does two lessons in a day. Go figure! Whatever works, right?

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First Language Lessons, Level 1 and Level 2 

I like the simple lessons, the copywork, the narration, the poetry, and the ease in which the building blocks of grammar are taught. It works really well with Ella, who has a brilliant memory and enjoys memory work. I’m going to give it a go with Caed in the fall (when he’ll be in first-grade) and hopefully it will work for him as well (although I’ll go much slower with the memory work – too much of it frustrates him).

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Math-U-See

I’ve used Math-U-See with Ella for two years now and will be continuing on with Beta in the fall. Caed is working through the Primer (he loves it) and will begin Alpha in the fall.

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Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times

My babes listen to this at night before bed, and on long car rides (I’m secretly tucking history into their brains). All three of them enjoy it, and how can you not with Jim Weiss as the narrator?!

Speaking of Jim Weiss, his Shakespeare for Children is superb!

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Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason inspired)

I love Ambleside Online and am so grateful for their articles, resources, and recommendations. We use their book lists and loosely follow their weekly reading recommendations.

As for science, I recently decided to forgo an official curriculum and follow suit with what my friend Laura has to say about it.

For other subjects and interests, we use the library.

And last but not least, we love Lamplighter Theatre (Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is our favorite). Excellent, excellent, excellent character building stories!

Okay friends, your turn! What are some of your favorite resources for homeschooling?

Love, SM

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  • Summer

    Hi Sarah Mae!

    I had a quick question about FLL and Writing with Ease. I was thinking of using FLL this year with my first grader, but saw that you were using both. Are they supposed to go together or can they stand alone? I saw both have copywork and narration. I really liked the sample of Writing with Ease that I saw, though!

    Thank you for posting your curriculum! I am still anxious about what I’m going to use. This will be my second year of homeschool and I’m changing things up a little from what I did last year. I get settled on something, then I see another great option and start second guessing myself. How did you finally gain that confidence in your choices?

    Thank you for your blog. I love reading it and it’s been such a blessing and encouragement to me. :o)

    Summer
    PS- Does FLL have picture studies and are they in color? Just curious. :o)

    • Nicole @ Living Out His Love

      Hi Summer! FLL teaches grammar, while WWE teaches writing … so they are different, yet similar, and work very well together. There is some overlap, so I will sometimes skip some of the FLL. And because we already do memory work with Classical Conversations, we skip memorizing the poetry. FLL does have picture studies, but they are b&w. You could use just one, but they cover different subjects, so you’d need to do something else for writing if you wanted to go with FLL. I really love using both of them together!

      Nicole
      http://www.LivingOutHisLove.com

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I guess I gained confidence by just going with what works for us, dropping what doesn’t, and trying very, very hard not to compare myself with anyone else. :)

      I dropped Writing with Ease because it was just not needed with the language lessons and having Ella use Write Through the Bible (what we’re doing in the summer). :)

      As for FLL, no color, but yes to some pictures.

  • http://www.kmlogan.com/ KM Logan

    Thank you for these. We’re starting Kindergarten next year, I’m concerned with getting my oldest reading and then choosing curriculum from there.

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

    We used that spelling with our son, Caeden :) Looks great. I enjoy putting together my own curriculum for most subjects, but am still figuring out what we’re going to do for reading. We’re probably going to call this year “pre-school” and start over with K next year because he’ll be 6 in August, but has been preliminarily diagnosed with high-functioning Autism, and that comes with a range of learning difficulties for him, specifically dyslexia-like symptoms. I’ve been looking at All About Reading when the time comes, so we’ll see how that goes.

  • http://adiligentheart.com/ Marlene

    Looks very similar to our school room! :o) We used FLL (just wrapped up level 4), we just switched to Math U See and Love Story Of The World.

  • http://ihaveitchyfingers.blogspot.com/ Jessica Jensen

    This is very similar to what we use with the exception of spelling. We use All About Spelling. This year I have 1st and 3rd graders. They are very different and have different strengths and weaknesses, but I have found that FLL and WWE can adapt for them both. I get major resistance if I try to do both at full schedule so we use WWE at 50% right now. And for my 3rd grader I’ve also taken some weeks off and used Imitation in Writing from Logos Press. If I do either writing program 100% she fights me. She likes to keep things a little different. I’ve found if I can make that happen for her, I can still keep her going at a high quality.

    We used Beautiful Feet Books Early American History Study Guide this year and it was great. We’re going to start SOTW next year.

    I have realized I like to collect book lists. I have several from good Classical Christian schools. I peek at Ambleside and Simple Charlotte Mason from time to time too, and Read For the Heart, of course. :)

  • Dawn Gray

    Isn’t it funny how our children are so different and one curriculum will work for one, but not the other? It blew my mind when my daughter started reading just before she started Kindergarten and we used the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons. Now my son is 6 and we just chucked that book and have started the All About Reading program and he is moving ahead much quicker and is already reading sentences in lesson 3!! He hated the other curriculum! We also use Math-U-See and love it! They are both doing well in it. My son is doing Primer and my daughter in 5th grade is just finishing up Delta. I’ve done Saxon math and Singapore with my daughter and we’ve finally found our fit with Math-U-See. We also use My Father’s World.

    • Summer

      Did you use MFW 1st? If so, how did you guys like it? I’m considering that for next year. :o)

  • antbib

    I so totally agree with you about the need to rest in confidence once we select our learning material. Sometimes we need to change for a different learning style, but often the same book can be adjusted to work well. I think our success has much more to do with our commitment and discipline than the perfect curriculum. I like your selections very much! My kids are a few years down the road and I am loving Teaching Textbooks for math. It was a great solution for me to not have to tutor math, thus having some teaching time left to make history and science what I wanted them to be. We are on our third year in Mystery of History and still love it! I have learned so much and we get into great Bible and character discussions while doing school! One more tip I’ll add for learning to read is an online program called Reading Eggs. A friend shared it with me and it truly saved the year for my son struggling to learn to read. I think it could be a complete curriculum or great supplemental work that keeps active boys busy and learning while mom teaches other kids. I don’t usually encourage electronics for young children but this is worth an exception!

  • http://twitter.com/sbowers1024 Sarah_piecesofgrace

    These are always so helpful – we started homeschooling this last fall and are going to continue, but I struggle with knowing what to do when, how much to do and so on. But it sounds like that is normal towards the begining of the journey!

    • PepperSeven

      It is very VERY normal to struggle with finding the balance of what to do when and how much. But don’t give up it just takes time! You’ll find a groove! You will find what fits with your family, goals, schedules and children’s learning styles. There’s been times that we have started with something(thinking it would be wonderful) and after a month or so of neither of us liking it, we “scrapped it” and used another curriculum. We were ALL happier :)
      The biggest thing to do is find what fits for YOUR family! Each year may look different. The awesome news is there is soooo much quality material to select from!!!!
      Remember in all of it to love on those sweet blessings of yours! Their hearts really matter more than which curriculum!
      Blessings to your family!

  • PepperSeven

    Great resources listed! We’ve been homeschooling for 6 years and have enjoyed using:

    Math: Math-U-See-We’ve have used Alpha-Zeta and next year my then 6th grader will start Pre-Algebra. I love that kids can go at their own pace! Plus, I am grateful for the DVD lessons so I don’t miss some tip or trick in teaching math.

    History: Story of the World. My kids think of it as Story time and like the plethora of activities they book includes.

    Science: Apologia for Kids

    Writing:
    Institute for Excellence and Writing – we enjoyed the DVD lessons in SWI-A and will continue next year with one of their themed materials. Probably the one that matches us with the Story of the World (history) I use next year.
    We’ve also used: Writing Tales 1 & 2

    Grammar: Jr. Analytical Grammar(3rd-5th) (you can do it with or without DVD) This teaches grammar in a very clear manner! It also reinforces previous skills learned without being overly heavy.

    WordlyWise for some extra vocabulary and I used it for spelling if needed in younger years.

    I have found that we favor the DVD’s in some subjects to add variety. They learn how to listen to another instructor, I get a little helping hand and helps make mom not the heavy all the time! Plus, with multiple grades to teach it is a life saver :)

  • http://joyceandnorm.wordpress.com/ Joyce (and Norm)

    It’s hard not to see all the fun stuff out there and just buy everything! :p We also use FLL, WWE, and SOTW. FLL has been so great because my girls really like memory work too, and it’s repetitive enough for both my Kinder and I to remember everything, and not really have to review. We also really enjoyed All About Spelling. I’ll have to check out that reading one. My 6yo learned to read on her own, so I wouldn’t know where to start with my almost 4yo.

  • Nicole @ Living Out His Love

    Great post! We use similar curriculums as well, with the addition of Classical Conversations! Our list of curriculums is at the bottom of my post here:

    http://www.livingouthislove.com/p/homeschool.html

  • http://twitter.com/KirstenJoyAwake Kirsten Torrado

    We’ve been using alot of the same resources this year and I absolutely love them: SOTW Vol. 1, Spelling workout, and Writing with ease. They’ve been great choices for our homeschool too. We’re in PA also, and I have to say, I’ve also forgone CHAP convention only b/c that many choices tend to get me overwhelmed. We’re sticking with these choices for next year too and not looking back : )

  • Jessicalynette.com

    I have either used these resources or they are on my list to use one day :) My boys listen to SOTW as fun listening too – I love it!

    Have you seen the Magic Treehouse books? I would describe them as giving children a wide breadth of knowledge on history, but not necessarily a super deep one. My boys have listened to all our library has (almost 40!) on audiobook and have a lot of pegs for building other knowledge as we come across the historical events and characters in our reading. (I would recommend them as audiobooks – and never to read aloud yourself!) Oh, and a few have ghosts in them, but the titles give that away.

    I love what we do, but as I am sitting here considering what books I’d actually recommend I can’t think of many. I have hodge-podged so much of what we do together from so many various things – we read lots and lots of books, have a lot of conversations, spend lots of time outside, find ways to serve others and commit it all to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes lots of times each day :)

    {sorry if this goes twice … it doesn’t seem to be working!}

  • Annette

    Omw! I’m using 95% of those! Love Amblside Online! I have a pre-k’er , 1st grade & two more littles!
    I’m so excited to start this year! We love Your Story Hour. :-)

  • Stephanie

    With the Spelling Workout link, do I have to buy the teachers book separately or do they come together?

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I don’t even buy the teacher’s manual!

  • Bonnie

    We used Spelling Workout this year for our 1st and 3rd graders. They contain a few errors so be careful. For example, one lesson in Level A was on picking out list words to finish a sentence. The sentence was “I have ______ two helpers.” The answer to fill in the blank was “got”! I emailed the publisher and let them know that “have got” is not correct usage, lol. Pearson publishes these. I hope they do better in the future because Pearson is taking over the curriculum publishing world! :-)

  • Lisa

    Perfect timing, happen to a link to this post after replying to your quiz. Thank you for sharing. Our homeschool is getting there, trusting that the Lord is leading me. Most days are spent at play, letting them be children. Hard to be scheduled with newborns in the picture, my children are 6.5, 5, 3, 1, and 2 months old. Anyways, I’m really glad I’ve stumbled upon this post. Thanks again.

  • Beth

    So timely since I am considering homeschooling for my daughter. So much excited about it. Thanks for these references. -Beth Ma

  • americanacademy

    The American Academy has the exact and correct curriculum, training, and tools to help in the education of your children. The Christian home school programs that we have will assure you that even if they have their studies at home, their spiritual aspect is still nourished.