2022-2023 Homeschool Curriculum Reveal!

If you have ever homeschooled, or know someone who does, then you probably know just how much time, effort, research, conversations, and comparisons go into picking the curriculum your child uses. Our position is unique – we do not need to choose something that will be effective for an entire school district of children all with different needs. We need only choose based on our own child and their educational journey. However, despite having a much, much smaller student body, it is just as important and just as time consuming.

After weighing Wyatt’s needs, where he is academically, and how he best learns, I FINALLY made my choices and started purchasing them, always with the slightest trepidation and anxiety about making the wrong choice. And then I remind myself, when I start doubting myself, that if it doesn’t work, then we find something that does. Wyatt’s education is probably our biggest expense outside of our actual bills, and it is something we sometimes make sacrifices for. But it is 100% worth it.

The homeschool world has so many options. Secular, non-secular, nature based, wildschooling, unschooling, roadschooling. We sort of take a little bit of everything over here, and have a very eclectic approach. The past two years we have used Blossom and Root for everything, for the most part, and then in January I decided Wyatt needed more structure in math and in grammar, so I added in another curriculum. We will be using bits and pieces from a few different curriculum this year, including one that I am designing myself.

This year for Math we are using The Good and the Beautiful, which is what we started using in January last year. Since we started using it late in the year, we will finish up from where we left off before moving on to Course 2. We both like it quite a bit, and math is Wyatt’s least favorite so that is a definite win! It is academically strong, easy to follow, hardly any preparation, and very aesthetically pleasing, which really isn’t important at all but does make it nicer. They also utilize a lot of nature themes, which we enjoy, and use inclusive and diverse images. Wyatt and I were very pleased to see one of the lessons included an illustration of a little girl with braces and crutches! Kids like to see themselves reflected in books and Wyatt definitely liked that lesson.

Since we are talking about The Good and the Beautiful, I will just say we are also using it for reading and grammar, for all of the same reasons. One other thing about The Good and the Beautiful – you can purchase the whole kit and caboodle, or you can get a download of the curriculum for free! I think this is spectacular. The program is fantastic, and I like that anyone can have access to it for their child.

We are sticking with Blossom and Root for science, as their science and nature program is very strong. It looks like this year is going to be learning all about the world of plants – which is pretty exciting to me as well!

I was looking at Michigan’s Common Core because I do try to make sure we follow along in our own way, and it didn’t look like there was much on there about history/geography/social studies. It seems to focus quite a bit on community so we will make sure to include that in our studies, but I also added in Traveling the States by The Waldock Way. I think it is perfect for where Wyatt is right now. It gives him a nice overview of the fifty states, and it looks like it is very fun and engaging. It was originally designed for roadschooling, but can be used in a home classroom as well, as we are doing. It would be neat to include some long distance field trips this year though! You can check out an inside peek video here!

Music! I always struggle with this one, as I am the farthest from musical anyone can be. So this year I am pairing music appreciation, learning about different instruments and genres, with our literature and art program. I am also looking for music lessons for him nearby, that will take special needs children. And Jeanie at Marmalade Gypsy has told me about a program at MSU called RicStar, and I think I am going to try to get him in to their camp next summer. It looks like something Wyatt would absolutely love!

And finally, literature and art. This is separate from The Good and the Beautiful program we are using to learn the mechanics of reading and writing. This will be all literature based projects and activities, based on the readings for the week, and will include poetry, geography, history, comprehension, art, vocabulary lists, copywork and narration. I am designing this myself, so I am super nervous about it but feel I have all his bases covered with the other programs we are using so it should be ok. This will just supplement everything we are doing in a nicely complimentary way.

As for physical education, Wyatt does go to physical therapy once a week, as well as occupational therapy and speech. However, I did find swim lessons specifically for special needs children.

And since I have made my choices and started buying them all, I have also begun planning – and have some awfully fluffy assistants.

And.. that pretty much sums it all up! I can’t wait to share all of this with you when we begin in the fall!

Homeschooling: First Week Back After Break

Hello friends! It was our first week back after our two week holiday break, and while the first day left us both exhausted, we had a pretty good week.

This weeks focus was on winter, which was appropriate as winter came roaring in fiercely the past few days, with weather temps in the teens and lower. Our curriculum, Blossom and Root, gave us the choice of three different books for our language arts this week – I decided to use two of them, Grandmother Winter and The Story Blanket. I had not ever read either of them myself before this week, and wow, I loved them! Wyatt enjoyed Grandmother Winter more than The Story Blanket, but I adored them both. We love using our storytelling basket this year, which is a new addition. Wyatt loves listening to the books and then using manipulative and figures and scarves and such to act out the stories. We put tiny paper snowflakes in a scarf and then Wyatt shook it, causing it to snow, just like Grandmother Winter does in the book. It was cute. Then we also added snowflakes to our Family Tree mural wall – and I snuck in a bit of OT while we were at it.

Since our books were winter themed, we learned a bit more about winter itself, from snowflakes to hibernating animals to just random fun facts. We of course did all of the “basics” as well, reading and phonics and math, and I found a fun “Forest Friends Math” that we have used in addition to our normal lessons as well.

Art this week was creating a winter themed fiber arts scene out of wool roving. This ended up being a collaborative piece as Wyatt did not enjoy the feeling of the roving. So he directed me and I placed it where he wanted it. He seemed pretty happy with the result.

Thursday was a cozy day of learning. We finished our work in the morning and in the afternoon, we read together and created another collaborative art piece. I call it our “kinda quilt”. It was a good way to spend a freezing cold afternoon!

Now, the resource roundup!

Books Read:

(This section contains affiliate links)

Rabbit’s Snow Dance || Winter Walk || Poe and Lars || The Snowflake || Snowflake in My Pocket || Walking in a Winter Wonderland || Snow || Sneezy the Snowman || How to Catch a Snowman || Little Owl’s Snow || The Big Book of Snow and Ice (this one is fantastic!! I highly recommend it)

Next week is more animals less winter, then after that we are beginning a few week long unit about Russia! I am extremely excited!! I took Russian language classes in college, and so so many Russian history courses as well. It’s going to be a good few weeks!

Homeschooling: Pirates, Raccoons, Magical Fish!

First, can we talk about how big this kid looks these days? What is happening? Where is my baby? Lol.

We have been so busy the past two weeks! We have established a pretty good routine – we start with Language Arts and phonics, then move on to math in the mornings. Then in the afternoons we rotate between history and science, along with whatever extra unit study I have thrown in the mix. It seems to be working well!

This week in Language Arts we were supposed to read Magic Fish but being me, I remembered we had a similar book, The 1000 Star Hotel. Wyatt absolutely loves this story, written by the Okee Dokee Brothers, whom he also loves. And even better, there is an accompanying audio for it! We were able to read it together, and then listen to it (for the 1000th time maybe but he loves it so it was perfect), before getting to work on our copywork/journal/narration pages and projects. The “fun” project was decorating a magic fish, which was supposed to be made from a sock, but I didn’t have an extra so I sewed these little felt fish instead for him to decorate. They turned out pretty cute! We skipped the rabbit trail suggestion of studying a specific fish, Wyatt just wasn’t that thrilled with any fish suggestions and I figured we had enough to learn about so we moved on.

For our extra study unit, that I will probably refer to as our nature study, we started a month long unit about nocturnal animals. Our animal for this week was the raccoon. It was a cute little study – we read a few books about nocturnal animals and raccoons, played a matching game, and then matched shadow pictures to the animal. Wyatt also completed his journal page about raccoons which I am going to put together in a book at the end of the month. I also felt quite clever in finding this craft. We are talking about simple fractions in math, and I talked about halves and equal sides and all that while I was showing him how to cut hearts out of construction paper. We have to do this sort of thing hand over hand, so I did a few as demo and then cut a few together before he assembled it all. I think it turned out super cute!

We are using The Waldock Way’s Passport to Adventure for our history unit this year, although I am doing a rather poor job of connecting the historical parts to it in our lessons. It is turning into more of additional language arts right now – although, one of the GLCE goals for first grade is about maps, and we made a treasure map, so I guess I hit one goal. This curriculum is based on the Magic Tree House series and this week we were reading Pirates Past Noon. These books are super fast reads and pretty cute! We completed notebooking pages and journal pages based on the reading, talked about pirate treasure, what Wyatt would choose to put in a buried treasure (fruit snacks, a Mickey Mouse toy, and a book), made a map, crafted a cute pirate puppet, and painted a treasure chest, which I filled with “treasure”. This was Wyatt’s favorite thing we did. I find him going through this treasure chest all the time, and putting on all of the jewelry. I think today we are going to watch Peter Pan, eat Pirate Booty, and hide the treasure somewhere and make a map for Billy to find when he gets home. We also have to make time for our art project today as well.

We did other things as well, like sight words (which we call cake words) and word family activities, learning about the layers of the earth, make a felt model of the layers, fractions, telling time, and all the other things you learn in first grade.

I will post about our nocturnal animals study in a future post, with links and activities for anyone who is interested! I am going to combine that post into multiple weeks as well, so I will probably post that information next Friday.

Next week is all about coyotes, mountains, turtles, and the Choctaw Nation! And with that, I better get moving! I have a lot to get together before Monday!