Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum Plans

It’s hard to believe, but we are 3 weeks into our school year already! After some encouragement from a reader I've put together our curriculum plans for this year. You'll find no paid endorsements here, so these are my honest thoughts on why we've picked what we've picked ;).

Bean – 2nd Grade

We used this program last year and I'm happily using it again. It is very different from how I was taught math, so sometimes I doubt their methods, but once we finish a lesson and Bean understands the concepts I mentally apologize. At this level there is minimal prep, so I typically look at the lesson between breaks, grab the supplies needed, and we are ready to go. They use lots of hands-on manipulatives and tons of card games for mastering math facts, so Bean rarely complains about math.

I don’t really like this program, but it’s free from our public homeschool support program. We used it last year and it worked, but I very loosely use their methods. At the end of the day she knows her parts of speech and can diagram basic sentences, so that works for now. Next year we will switch to IEW, which seems to be the program of choice for most of my friends, but I didn’t want to splurge on it just yet.


We’ve used this since preschool and are still very happy with the fun and creative way that they teach penmanship. If we can breeze through the 2nd grade book I’ll move on to cursive, which Bean is pleading for.

We use this as a fun supplement for copy work and a bit of art. The program teaches the child how to draw a simple object and then has them copy a few short sentences about their object. So far Bean really enjoys doing each lesson even although she’s not typically into drawing and coloring.


We did levels 1 and 2 of All About Spelling last year and I was happy with their approach. It’s hands-on and logical. The child is given a spelling principle explaining why we spell certain words a certain way, then the words for that lesson use that principle. Maybe I missed something in my education, but I remember spelling being a list of random words that you memorized and nobody told me things like “English words don’t end in “i”, so we use “y”. I was a terrible speller with this approach. So, I too am learning how (or more so WHY) to spell.

Reading Eggs is an awesome online program that has several components, including one for spelling. Bean is learning where the letters are on the keyboard, as well as how to spell with this supplemental program. Try it out for two weeks for free.

Reading Comprehension

After a child has completed the Reading Eggs component which teaches them how to read, they move on to Reading Express, which focuses on reading comprehension. Bean has been working her way through the program and sees this computer time as a treat. It has an avatar element where your kids can play games with other kids, just a heads up. We don't use it because avatars creep me out.

One day a week Bean goes to a public homeschool options program with other homeschooled kids and this is where she works on her writing skills. Other than that, I have her write stories once in a while, but nothing formal. Sorry, no real insight on writing here.

Classically Catholic Memory - Gamma Year 
For the following subjects we use the memory work laid out by Classically Catholic Memory as the backbone of our studies.


For more on what this looks like check out my Classically Catholic Memory tab for bi-weekly wrap ups.

Social Studies

Because we are studying North America in geography this year, we are focusing on one state each week until we've covered all 50 states. Here are the basics on my insane goal.

The textbook behind the project. We don't use the workbook, as it's for 4th graders, but the textbook has worked well for us.


We purchased Rosetta Stone last year and Bean made her way through the first 3 units. It’s an investment, but it will take her 6 years to get through it at this pace, plus Pal and baby Cotter will be able to use it as well. Dividing the curriculum out this way makes it about $20.00 per child per year and any other Spanish program would be more than that... not to mention I can’t teach Spanish. We did not get the homeschool edition, and I personally don’t think it is necessary.

This one is purely for fun… and it was free from our public homeschool support program, so why not. The kids think it's funny. I can cook dinner when they watch it. I like Muzzy.

Music, P.E., and Drama
We get these "specials" covered at our one day a week public homeschool options program. I can't sing, P.E. with two kids is awkward, and the only role I've ever taken on in a play is that of a poppy flower in Holy Spirit's 8th grade production of the Wizard of Oz. I believe I had two lines, one to the effect of "Girls, let stop arguing, we all know that I'm the prettiest flower in the field." That was important for my self esteem. 

Pal - Pre-K


We used these workbooks with Bean and are now using them with Pal. They cover all the main concepts a preschooler should be learning, such as basic math and alphabet skills, as well as concepts and reasoning. I like the set because it is affordable and often has the kids doing cut and paste projects. It's also christian, so you get church bells and bibles mixed into the exercises. Instead of doing one book at a time, we rotate through the books doing 2-3 pages total each day.


So far this book has worked as the starting point of reading for both of our kids. It is very easy to follow as the teacher and I love how comprehensive it is.

I adore these sweet little readers that teach lessons on virtue and the Catholic faith. They can be used as an entire reading program, but Pal only reads the stories in them for some supplemental fun.

Finally, Pal is using the main component of this online program for supplemental practice with learning how to read. It's also great for basic computer skills!

As a heads up, I have a whole post on what we've used for teaching our kids to read. Check it out for more ideas!


I mentioned this one above, and here is a whole post on it!


Another program from the fine people who created Reading Eggs, Mathseeds is a supplemental program that lets mom make dinner in peace... sometimes. It's really impressive and sometimes I want to watch him do it, instead of make dinner, because it is so entertaining.

So what does this look like in real life? Below is our weekly schedule. On a good week we get 95% of it in. Yes, sometimes we don't finished everything I've set out to accomplish.

Bean - Core
Monday – Rightstart Math, All About Spelling, Reading Eggspress, Shurley English
Tuesday – Rightstart Math, Skills Bank, Rosetta Stone, Shurley English, Handwriting Without Tears
Wednesday – Rightstart Math, All About Spelling, Reading Eggspress, Draw, Write, Now
Thursday – Rightstart Math, Skills Bank, Rosetta Stone, Shurley English
Friday – P.E., Writing, Music, Drama, Science (through our public homeschool options program)

Pal - Core
Monday – Reading Eggs, Rod and Staff workbooks
Tuesday – 100 Easy Lessons, Rod and Staff workbooks
Wednesday – Little Angel Reader, Rod and Staff workbooks, Mathseeds
Thursday – 100 Easy Lessons, Rod and Staff workbooks
Friday – Reading Eggs, Rod and Staff workbooks, Handwriting Without Tears

Bean and Pal

Classically Catholic Memory (2 weeks for each "week" of memory work)
Monday – Introduce or review all memory work for the week
Tuesday – Religion/Latin/Geography
Wednesday – Math/Great Words/Timeline
Thursday - Science
Sunday – History (with dad)

Journey Across America
Monday - Read Discover America State by State book, fill out scrapbook page
Tuesday – State craft or activity
Wednesday – State recipe, listen to state song
All Week – Read state literature books

There you have it friends!

Be saints, it's worth it!


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