We have six kids – one in college, two in high school, one in elementary school and two at home being homeschooled. Thomas just turned five and Muffa is three and a half. Muf isn’t really into the school thing, so with Muffa, I use the term loosely.
When we started down this road a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was doing. The first year was kind of hit and miss, more miss, but I figured what the heck, it was preschool. It was more of a test run to see if this was something that was worth pursuing long term. By the time that first summer came along, we knew we liked it, and we knew we needed to step things up a bit, so we did. In case you’re interested, here’s what we’re doing.
History/Geography – Our main course of study is The Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times. Really like it, but not totally thrilled. That being said, most of the map work, activities, and additional reading suggestions found in the accompanying activity book keep it interesting. It’s fun to see Thomas make connections between the various ancient civilizations. For geography, we do basic map work based on the ancient world and are working on knowing all of the continents and all of the United States just for ducks.
Science – We’re focusing on the living world this year. We began with plant study in the fall, and as we were knee deep in gardening it seemed like a good place to start. Then we moved onto the animal kingdom, and we’ve just started the human body. For our texts, we’ve relied on DK First Science Encyclopedia, First Animal Encyclopedia, and First Human Body Encyclopedia. Science is by far Thomas’ favorite subject. These books are well loved. I think we’ve seen every documentary ever made on big cats and have seen every single shark week episode at least a dozen times. We just finished up a week of study on the skeletal system, and he can label most of the major bones in the body. Sheesh, he knows more than I do.
Math – We’re working through the Math-U-See Alpha Level. Holy cow, I love this program. At little hands on, but not so much that you get lost in it.
Reading – We try and do a few extra books each week having to do with whatever history or science subject we are currently studying and a ton of reading just for the fun of it. Favorites this year have included Beatrix Potter and the Magic Treehouse series.
Grammar – We’re using Growing with Grammar Level 1, and I love, love, love it. The other day I overheard Thomas explaining to Muffa noun verb agreement. Not only can he do the worksheets, but he understands the concepts. Heck, I’ve even learned a thing or two.
Phonics – We’re using MPC Phonics Level A, and I can’t stand it. Definitely will not use this series again so I’m not even going to include a picture. I will say it is colorful and the cover is cute, but that’s about as good as it gets. There’s no clear teaching of the rules, it just assumes the kid should pick it up as he goes along.
Gospel Study – I had a hard time figuring out exactly what we should do with gospel study. We bounced around by topic for a while and that didn’t work very well. Then one day it hit me that I should follow the seminary schedule. By the time they graduate, Thomas and Muf will have gone through the stardard works three times in a very orderly fashion. Perfect. This year, we’re doing the New Testament (that’s the seminary curriculum for this year). We’re using the New Testament Stories book. We supplement with things from the Mormon Channel and random things I find on youtube. This is our current favorite. We sing it all the time.
Anyway, that’s what we’re doing. It’s work, but not overwhelming, crazy and fun. The hardest part was just starting. I’ve truly felt guided by the Lord each and every step of the way. What a blessing.