I was recently asked what do we ‘use’ for homeschooling so I’ve compiled a list. It isn’t a complete list as it would take me forever to walk around the house and list everything that the kids use, or have used over the years. I prefer to use resources other than curriculum (at least I make this distinction in my head). When you use a resource you are in control, you use what you want, what you find helpful and what solves your problem and then you move on. With a curriculum we tend to have this inner commitment to use it all, to be solely dedicated to it, to be honour bound to it (obviously that is a bit extreme but there is a glimmer of truth there!) So we these are some of the resources we use:
Bible – I have not used a set curriculum for Bible though I have drawn heavily from Heart of Wisdom’s approach – read, discuss, research, record etc. We’ve done both chronological readings as well as topics. We cover a lot of our language arts in the writing/notebooking/narrations that happen in Bible. By older two (15/16) have been doing Bible independently for a year or so – they have used various studies but our main goal has been to teach them to use Bible study tools for themselves.
Character – we study one character trait a month and have done so for many years. We use primarily Character First material.
Language – We’ve used a variety of methods for teaching to read, but largely guided by Ruth Beechick (even if we were using a curriculum such as Jolly Phonics, or an Australian one – LEM) For writing we’ve used Charlotte Mason’s ideas of oral narration and then written narrations. We use notebooking or Lapbooks. Once the children are comfortable with writing we’ve used Institute of Excellence in Writing.
Science – this is one of my weakest areas. I have largely relied upon Magic School Bus dvds, and anything Peter (dh) wants to show them. He is the scientist. We have probably focused on Creation Science in the primary/elementary ages and used magazines, dvds, audios to help the children see the importance of this aspect of science. As the children have got older we’ve used Noeo Science and Apologia for different children. Next year I intend to use God’s Design for Life by Answers in Genesis as my spine/core guide. I also use Topscience intermittently – it also covers some math concepts.
History – Josh has used Diana Waring as a spine/outline. Jess is using Mystery of History. We read lots of historical fiction, biographies and non-fiction books. Notebooking is our primary output for history (and science)
Geography – another weak spot for me and a strong point for Pete. We do a lot of this by talking around the dinner table as well as taking notice of things in the books we read. Currently we are reading through Exploring the World around you by Gary Parker.
Each of our children pursue a variety of different interests and we’ve all sorts of curriculum and resources but this covers the main stuff.
If you are looking at curriculum and wondering, then this article may help you: Choosing Curriculum