After purchasing our new curriculum for the new school year, I thought about all the books that I've ordered the past five years that we have used and loved...as well as those we never really got excited about. I'm not sure exactly what it is that we liked about some curriculum and not others. It seems to be a combination of hands-on activities, our love of the subject being studied, and the ease of use by student and teacher.
I thought that I would list our top 5 favorite curriculum choices and why we've liked those materials in hopes of helping some homeschool families make their curriculum choices. I love reading reviews of curriculum as it gives me a better idea of how it is used and if it will benefit my family.
- My Father's World Complete Curriculum. This was by far the easiest curriculum to use. We used it for three years until my oldest daughter started high school. At the time, the high school version was not complete, so we started to piece our curriculum together ourselves. My Father's World is great for first time homeschool moms who need help with scheduling their days and the year. It comes with daily activities already outlined, notes of specific instruction for each day, as well as a book list to choose books from your local library for the reading portion that complements the lessons learned for the week. It is easy to add or subtract activities whenever you as a teacher feel the need to slow down or speed up. I was able to use the same curriculum for both daughters at the same time. Each of my daughters used their own grade level math and language art books, but everything else was done together easily. We started with the One Year of Geography, "Exploring Countries and Cultures", and then did "Creation to the Greeks", and "Rome to the Reformation".
- Spelling Power - My girls loved the idea of doing spelling only fifteen minutes a day and not having to study words that they already knew how to spell. It was a little complicated at first to get the system down as to how to use the book, but after awhile we got the hang of it and even adapted it for our own use. It has worked well for us the past five years and we continue to use it today as one book covers spelling instruction to adulthood.
- Saxon Math - We specially loved the third grade curriculum as it was more of a hands-on curriculum with manipulatives, a clock, a thermometer...We've stayed with Saxon from the beginning as I liked the spiral method of learning and the review and drills that it provided. The third grade year took a lot of teacher involvement, but it gave my daughter a solid foundation for the subsequent years. Today, eighth grade, she does most of her math on her own.
- English from the Roots Up Volume I and II - We've used this for four years now as our vocabulary instruction. Learning the Greek and Latin root words has helped them to interpret the meaning of words they come across everyday. We do one root word a week using the root for different activities each day, including making a flash card for each root word. At the end of each week, we review all roots covered so far that year. We review previous years periodically so that they retain those root word meanings as well.
- Apologia Science - My husband and I are both schooled in the sciences. I love that my girls love apologia science. Jay Wile has a way of capturing the attention of my girls in the area of science, and I love that I don't need a lot of complicated stuff to be able to do the experiments. My oldest daughter did the Biology last year, she had a blast dissecting the specimens. Well, maybe mom had a blast watching as she dissected the specimens.