Choosing our Homeschool Curriculum (2018-2019)

This is it. It's here... our LAST summer before we enter our "schooling" years! And honestly, I couldn't be more excited. In fact, I wouldn't mind at all if we just skipped July and went straight to August (talk to me mid-October and I may be singing a different tune). 

After one year of private school at three, and two years of "preschool homeschooling" at four and five - our oldest, Micah, turns six in September and will finally, officially be registered for Kindergarten! I will still be doing preschool with our 4 year old, Hannah, but Micah will be the only one reported to the state this year, so it definitely feels more "official." If you've been following our journey so far, you know that we have felt called to homeschool in this season. I went through every level of indecisiveness about this for years, and now I'm fully committed and confident that it's the best decision for our family. I could list all of the reasons out for you, and I may do that in a future blog post, but for now - if you are curious and have any questions for yourself about this option, please feel free to message me privately or comment below! I would love to try and help encourage you to do what God is leading you to do for your family, whatever that looks like! But for this post, specifically, I wanted to talk about how we chose our curriculum for this upcoming school year.


Step one: Gather Resources

First off, let me say, I knew nothing. Sure, I have heard the terms "Abeka" and "Saxon" thrown around whenever the homeschool conversations came up. But for the most part, I entered this homeschooling journey with no personal experience. So I relied heavily on the internet as my guide. I welcomed any and all suggestions from friends, compiled a list together and then did my research! These are special days we live in, where we have no shortage of information at our fingertips, so this was actually, really time-consuming! Youtube was probably one of my favorite resources. Being able to see the curriculum and hear straight from the people who have used it, helped a ton! Last year, my research led me to start with a literature-based curriculum called Sonlight. This was a really great starting point for us and it was worth the money alone in books! But I realized pretty quickly that my children - like most four and five year olds - enjoyed keeping their hands busy. We only lasted about two months following their schedule, until I scrapped it and just started doing my own thing. I thought I would need a schedule to keep me accountable (because "winging it" comes a little more naturally for me) but, I realized I already have a huge accountability built into me as their mother. I WANT them to learn. So however it happens, whether we do 2-3 hours of bookwork one day and 30 minutes the next day - you can be sure this mama's gonna make it happen!

Step two: choose subjects

Once I had gathered together a list of some of the top curriculum companies recommended to me - this is where I got overwhelmed. There are SO many good choices out there! How would I ever know which one would be just right for my children? I started by looking at the state requirements for Kindergarten and then making a list of subjects that I knew I wanted to cover. I categorized each curriculum option under each subject. Doing this helped me visually see that I had a TON of recommendations for language arts curriculums but not that many for math, for example. It didn't seem as overwhelming to choose our Math curriculum, once I saw the shorter list. 

Step three: compare value

The next step is important for our family - getting our money's worth. I think cost is a major factor for most families choosing to homeschool (since they often have to sacrifice one income) and thankfully homeschooling can be done on the most simple budget! There were a few companies that stood out to me specifically because of cost. I absolutely loved that the number one recommended curriculum to me this year, was also one of the most affordable! I also discovered that our top choice for a math curriculum offered a pastor's discount, so that pretty much solidified that choice for us too. 

With all that said, I am excited to announce our curriculum choices for next year... (drum roll please)

the good and the beautiful (Language arts)

I love that this Language Arts curriculum incorporate: phonics and reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation, literature and art all in one! I ordered the Level K course set for Micah and the Level K Primer for Hannah. They will only be one school grade apart, so it will be fun to teach them both at a very similar pace! This program also comes with mp3 songs to teach them the days of the week and months of the year (we've only listened to them a few times and my kids already have them memorized!) So fun! This is a newer curriculum and was recommended to me by SO many people, so I'm super excited to try it out!

Math-U-See (Math)

I haven't received the full curriculum yet (so no pictures), but we did receive a sample packet and amazingly my kids already loved it! We are ordering the Primer Curriculum set for Micah and adding on an extra Primer Student Workbook for Hannah. I can tell they are going to love the hands-on approach to learning math. I also appreciate that this program comes with video tutorials that can help me communicate the lesson, or we can even watch together! I really enjoy math, so it was important to me that I chose a math curriculum that would help foster a love for math in my children. This one has been around for many years and seemed like a perfect fit (it also comes with a pastor's discount, so win-win!)

The great thing about homeschooling is that I can work at the pace of each child's learning. I know a lot of experienced parents have told me not to rush the preschool and kindergarten years - that they learn mostly through play. And we plan to incorporate lots of art and crafts, explore days and music into our everyday life. Anyone who knows me, knows that those things come most naturally to me anyway! But my children ask to sit and do workbooks nearly every day (they don't care that it's summer!) so we go with it. I never want to stifle their love for learning. This is why I choose curriculum - to keep track of progress and stay on course. Each year we can evaluate and next year may look differently. These are fun times! And I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to get to do this schooling thing with my favorite little people. 

A Nature Walk in October

October marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year! Holiday goodness around every corner. A pumpkin spice latte and the smell of autumn wreath candles burning in my home is enough to put me in a good mood. I'm a simple gal.

Of course, born and raised in Florida, I have never experienced what a true "fall" looks like. Instead, October is just another warm month with some extra fun festivities! Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, fall festivals... we still get to enjoy all of those fun things. While sweating through our leggings. And praying for an occasional cool morning or evening to enjoy too.

Now that it's October, that also means we have made it two months into our first "officially unofficial" year of homeschooling. And really, it has been one of the best decisions ever. Of course, I still question if I'm doing it right... (because should school be this much fun?) and I'm still figuring out how my children learn best. Especially Micah. I don't put a lot of pressure on Hannah to join us, since she's still only three, but she usually wants to. And though I have tried to stay as structured as possible (by using Sonlight's pre-Kindergarten curriculum and a teacher lesson planner) we have drifted off the "textbook schedule" at times and took a few weeks off in September due to Micah's birthday, Hurricane Irma and going on vacation. But that's the beauty of homeschooling! Life happens, and we can adjust. 

Another beauty of homeschooling, for me, is the spontaneity of it. I love waking up and deciding that today feels like a good day for a nature walk! Which was exactly what happened today.

I printed out a nature walk worksheet I found online that would give them some things to look for while we were on our walk. And then, I improvised and used a brown paper gift bag I found tucked away in our pantry - cut it in half and stapled the worksheet to the front and a ziplock to the back of it for them to collect leaves and flowers that they found. 

They loved to "check" things off the list. :)

We took a break and ate lunch at a picnic bench, and then after our walk, we loaded back up in the car and headed to the local gas station for slurpees! As we drove home quietly enjoying our sweet treats, I thought about all that was going on in the world at large. The devastation that had just occurred in Las Vegas. And how, my children are still too young to really comprehend everything just yet. I felt the weight of the responsibility I am carrying like a ton of bricks. It hit me, heavy.

One day these little people will grow up to be influencers in this world. How do I prepare them? How do I teach them to love and value God's creation? And see very person as loved and valuable to God? A nature walk in October seemed like the right place to start. 

What a Wonder-full World

Have you ever wondered?

That’s not an incomplete sentence.
I mean it, completely.
Do you ever just stop and wonder, anymore?

wonder (v.): 1. Desire or be curious to know something. 2. Feel admiration and amazement; marvel.

As a little girl, I remember spending a great amount of time outdoors, swinging and... just wondering. About life, about my future, about what my friends may be doing in that moment. In fact, I spent so much time wondering that I would end up filling in the blanks with my imagination. I was known as “the daydreamer” of the family - losing myself in thought and often dreaming of what life may be like outside of the small town we lived in.

I have been thinking about this idea of “wonder” lately. And how we are ever so rapidly losing it in our culture today. In an age of instant communication and Google at our fingertips - there is rarely any question left unanswered. And rarely any patience left for wondering, anymore.

We are quick to silence our thoughts, by reaching for a device. And then we fill our thoughts with an abundance of information that we may or may not need. Instead of filling our curiosity on interests that make up who we are - we are letting culture transform and change our interests into what they want them to become.

Ignorance is our worst enemy.

Irrelevance is our greatest fear. 

And then, the only thing we are really left wondering - is why there is so much anxiety and depression? Loss of passion and desire? Why do we feel so empty, when our days and hours are so full?

Google doesn’t have the answers for that.
And believe me, I’ve tried.

When we stop and let ourselves wonder, I believe we find a world that is full of it. The wonder of creation, for instance, is something I will never get over. How did the mountains form? How do the clouds spread across the sky like cotton candy? How does every living thing have a purpose and function in the ecosystem?


Every single time I draw deeper into wondering and discovering the world we are living in, I draw deeper and closer to the God who created it. And I believe it was designed that way for a purpose.

For it is in the wonder that we find His fingerprints.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
— Romans 1:20