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!