Homeschooling: Our Curriculum

Here we are again, homeschooling! First grade this year! Last year we had so much fun learning together, that I am really excited to be homeschooling again. We are still working on our routine and rhythm, but I feel confident at least about our curriculum. It was an easy decision, as I went with the same curriculum we used last year for the most part. I like the basic scope of the curriculum, and its focus. It is also budget friendly compared to other curriculum out there.

If you are new here, Wyatt has been homeschooled since Kindergarten. He has cerebral palsy which creates the need for some creativity and accommodations with the lessons, which I feel is really well suited to homeschooling. I can keep working on things that we need to spend more time on and move on when we are comfortable, and go quickly through lessons that he picks up easily. I can tailor to his strengths at home, rather than try to make him fit into a system that may not work for him right now. I also found a Blossom and Root First Grade Cohort Group on Facebook! This group will move up together each year. It has been so helpful already!

For Language Arts, Science, Nature, and Integrated Art and Math, we are using Blossom and Root. Blossom and Root is all about wonder, discovery, creativity, books.. all things I value very highly and want for Wyatt in his learning. This year I had a choice of two different language arts programs through Blossom and Root, and it was a tough decision! The first choice was based on more nature based stories that were a little more old fashioned, and then more modern picture books as the second option. I went back and forth a few times before finally deciding on the more modern version. The scope is based on values and morals, like appreciating what you have, working together, and other character building traits for the first half of the year, while the second half focuses in on fairy tales and folk tales from different countries, introducing new cultures and geography into the lessons.

The Science curriculum covers so much about Earth and Earth science this year! I am super excited to dive into it. There are also extra “Book Seeds” that cover different topical events as well, such as climate change. The past two weeks we have spent discussing the rotation of the Earth, and how it effects seasons and daytime and nighttime, and we are moving on soon to layers of the Earth. The Nature part of the curriculum is more about observing and interacting with our natural world. Things like building insect sanctuaries, painting the weather, making nature necklaces, etc and then keeping a nature journal.

The Integrated Math and and Art … is more art I guess than math, so we supplement math with a more traditional curriculum but still do the lessons from Blossom and Root, more as art with some math involved. We are learning about Kandinsky right now, which is a lesson for me too, since I never learned about Kandinsky in school.

For history, we are using Passport to Adventures from Waldock Way this year. I didn’t see the need for a super intense history program this year, and I felt like this would introduce history in a fun way to Wyatt, which was important to me. I feel like kids get off on the wrong foot with history sometimes, thinking it is boring and I wanted to try to cultivate a sense of excitement about it. This curriculum is completely based on the Magic Tree House books, and we have started off slowly, doing only a few of the activities a week to start. So far so good!

For math, we are using Math Lessons for a Living Education. I feel like this is well paced for Wyatt, and he enjoys the stories and hands on activities that are a part of these math lessons. I also like that this keeps up to pace with the public school as well, just in case we decide sending him back to school would be more beneficial, although that is not where we are right now. For now, everything is going well with homeschooling.

I have to be honest though. These first two weeks felt a little off to me. Like we had lost our zest and magic. And I realized I was trying too hard to be “school” and leaving out what made us, us. I plan to shake things up next week, and add in those extras that made our school special.

Stay tuned to see where our year takes us!


My homeschooling journey so far – and curriculum reveal!

This is my life lately. Reading about education, researching different curriculum, talking to homeschoolers who have experience (Lisa) and those who are like me and taking the plunge this year for the first time (Whitney). I have attended two online conferences and have plans to attend a third. I have read about all the different styles, decided mine is eclectic (big surprise!), thought about Wyatt’s interests and learning style, then finally made my choices. Which was exciting but scary too! On some level I am like this is kindergarten, relax, but then I am also like, it’s kindergarten, the foundation of his whole education!

So after much deliberation, the materials have all been bought and printed. My husband brought it all home to me yesterday and I very nerdily enjoyed going through it all and placing it into different binders. It gave me that first day of school thrill that I always had when I would get all my new school supplies, all shiny and unused. Then I realized, Wyatt’s first day of kindergarten was going to be so very different than mine was. I was actually in the newspaper my first day of kindergarten – I had bad allergies and was holding a handkerchief, in my little smocked dress, holding my mom’s hand in the hallway, but I must have looked like a little bereft schoolgirl because that was how they captioned it, about being sad. Wyatt will have an entirely different experience. None of the first day nervous anticipation, no filling of the brand new backpack with shiny new supplies. I need to think about how to make that day special for him!

For math, I chose Math Lessons for a Living Education. I love that it has a central story read aloud for every lesson, and I know that Wyatt will enjoy that aspect as well. However, I bought the first textbook and it is a little low for Wyatt so we started it already, and I will buy the next level up around Christmas I think. He is enjoying it so far, so that is good! It is a Christian curriculum, which wasn’t my intention, but it works!

For Language Arts, History, Geography, Art, Music, and Nature Study, I chose Blossom and Root’s Kindergarten curriculum (which is 30% off right now). I am absolutely in love with it, and I am so excited to start it with Wyatt. There is a huge emphasis on reading and books and nature, which we love in this house. The history and geography section starts with the history of Wyatt, then his family, then begins to explore his place in the world, from our community to the wider world. I can’t wait to begin it with him. We also had to choose a few heroes to study, and Billy and I chose MLK Jr, Benjamin Franklin, and Jane Goodall. This program looks like it is all about joy and ease and beautiful art and language, all good things that I want to influence Wyatt’s learning. The art and music component is amazing as well. Wyatt is going to be studying some real masters this year, from Monet to Diego Rivera (I so hope that we can get in to the DIA safely to show Wyatt the enormous Rivera mural there) to Edward Hopper, and Bach and Joplin and Chopin. It sounds more intense than it really is, but how awesome that this is what he is being introduced to. I felt he needed a different math component though, which is why I went with Math for Living Education. Not because I felt the Blossom and Root was lacking, but because Wyatt needs a little structure in some areas.

I am also adding in the Chickie and Roo Kinder Nature Beginnings Language Arts program. If I knew what next year had in store for us, whether we are committing to homeschooling for elementary or not, then I might just stick to the Blossom and Root, but I wanted to add in just a touch more language arts as well. Wyatt I think needs just a little more reinforcement and structure, and he loves to do table work.

I will also be adding in some mini-science unit studies of my own as well throughout the year. Wyatt and I are going to be so busy – but in a really good way. I am super excited for this school year, and I hope that he will love it too!