That new CPSIA law has been on my mind a lot lately and is struck me that I had counted on purchasing at least some of my curriculum secondhand and that I would really need to take homeschooling seriously this year. My previous excuse, “she is still too young for formal schooling” has passed somewhat, or will have passed by this fall. At least in my daughter’s case, she is ready for kindergarten. Now, before the delayed-start people jump down my throat, I assure you, I plan to take this very easy. Yes, I have developed a curriculum and I am planning purchases, but I will not force my daughter to do anything she is not ready to do. The thing is, in our house, I need something formal to sit down and “do.” This gives me guidance and the plan helps me realize that I’m getting everything covered that she would otherwise cover in public school kindergarten, minus the gay sex education and whatever other “playground lessons” she would learn.
So over the last few days, I have been doing some more research into what I would like to buy and why, what the costs are, what the value of the products are (an expensive math text that I can reuse with each student is better than a middle priced consumable workbook), and so on. I have been looking into methods and curriculums and I have come to the conclusion that homeschooling is largely a trial and error type of thing. There is only so much reading about the curriculum and reading reviews will do. Eventually, you just have to pick one and start it. There are several different programs I love. I love the idea of classical education, particularly The Well Trained Mind. I have always liked this method, from the very beginning. Maybe it is because I latched on to it so early on that giving it up seems like a sacrifice too great to bear or maybe it is actually a good curriculum to follow. Next comes Sonlight. I adore Sonlight. They do all the work for you for planning and prepping and finding all the components of a great curriculum and they are already Biblically based, so unlike WTM, they do have a foundation set. Then there are the two runners up: Charlotte Mason and Tapestry of Grace. I like TOG because it combines a little of the Sonlight (pre-planned curriculum) with the WTM (classical education) plus they are also Biblically based and there is some comfort there. CM seems like a good alternative simply because I know of two different online curriculums that are free using this method. It does seem a little bit like classical education and I think I could get used to it, but it is not my first choice.
So, my “curriculum” for this summer, yes you read that right, is going to be Sonlight’s P4/5 Core. I want to try to do this on my own, but Sonlight’s book selection and early development handbooks seemed too good to be true, so I am going to try it out and see if it it just perfect for our family. If it is, then I will consider purchasing their Core K this fall. Otherwise, I have selected:
Reading: The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and the Bob Book collection (along with plenty of library visits)
Read-Alouds: I have a very large list from several different sites and will just pull off from that list a week or two at a time. This is truly going to be the bulk of our homeschool time.
Writing: Zaner-Bloser. This font is just soo pretty, but if Jordyn can’t handle it, then we’ll switch to Handwriting Without Tears.
Math: Saxon K with manipulatives and these wooden pattern blocks. (Yes, this is an optional activity for my daughter…no pressure here. REALLY.)
Science: Everybody Has a Body: Science from Head to Toe and Mudpies to Magnets. (I think Jordyn will like these, but again…they are completely optional)
Other/Character Development: Polished Cornerstones, a character development for young girls, and Hymns for a Kid’s Heart (all four sets)
So there you have it! I also plan on getting out of the house weekly. Library trips are a good start and we’ll search out other field trips as time and budget allow. I think this is a particularly good start for homeschooling and a good test for me to see how well I’ll do with a multi-subject curriculum. I am looking forward to doing all of this and I know that Jordyn is too. If you have any recommendations or cautions, let me know…