Choosing curriculum is always an exciting process, or at least it is in my opinion. It can certainly feel overwhelming with all the different options out there. However, like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s so helpful to find your education style first and that alone will help to slim down the many options out there. Doing this allows you to focus on the curriculums that will best suit your children and your teaching style. Because I get asked fairly often about the curriculums we use I wanted to create a dedicated post to chat about the ones I’ve chosen for this school year and what we love about it, and/or why I’ve chosen to use it. Hopefully that will cover most of the questions I have received.
2nd Grade Curriculum
Language Arts | ABeka – For second grade we use Abeka’s Phonics and Language 2. I love ABeka’s Language Arts curriculum. I’ve been using it for 4 years now and have been very pleased with it. It’s thorough and easy to teach. ABeka does take an intensive approach to phonics. I really appreciate the time spent reviewing the rules of language. I believe their approach really establishes a solid foundation. This year we will be focusing on reviewing things learned in 1st grade such as long and short vowels, consonants and how to blend vowels and consonants together. This year ABeka will introduce consonant blends, diphthongs, digraphs, clue words, and expand on concepts that were introduced last year. In addition my son will also be reading some of their 2nd grade readers that correspond with their curriculum along with some other readers I have in our home library.
Handwriting | Printing Power – This year my son will be using Printing Power to work on his printed handwriting. It’s basic and we complete one page per day. I think he’ll likely finish this book before the year is up, and then at that point I’ll decide if I want the next level or if we’ll stop there and begin cursive next year in 3rd grade.
Math | Saxon – We are a Saxon family. Again I’ve been using this for 4 years and I love its simple approach. It’s easy for me to teach and both my boys seem to do really well with it. The lessons are thorough and I love how repetitive it is. There is a lot of review which I feel really cements the concepts into their minds.
Science | MasterBooks – Adventures in Creation – This is a fun little book which is exactly what I want for Science when it comes to second grade. I really don’t want anything super in depth, especially since we do a lot of hands on science in our weekly co-op. I used this book for my older son and its filled with coloring pages, memory work, intro to basic science terms and branches of science and fun hands on experiments.
Geography/History | Rand McNally Geography book – I found this inexpensive book on Amazon and thought it would be a perfect way to introduce geography to my 7 year old. The worksheets are basic and literally take less than 5 minutes. I can build onto them if I want to delve deeper. We also cover history topics in our co-op so I won’t be heavily studying it through workbooks at this point. He also listens along to the text and stories we read aloud for my older son’s history lessons, so I know he’s picking up bits and pieces from that which feels like more than enough at this level. At this age I try to focus on simple geography topics [continents, oceans, local and state information] We also like to learn about our community, community helpers/community service and learn basic history through books and simple art projects/lessons.
Fifth Grade Curriculum
Language Arts | ABeka Language – We’ll be continuing with ABeka this year for 5th grade. 5th grade continues to focus heavily on grammar and mechanics. We will also be using their Read and Comprehend Skill Sheets, Readers, and their spelling/vocabulary curriculum. I really like the read and Comprehend worksheets because it provides and opportunity for my son to work independently while I work with my younger son. Plus it’s helping to strengthen my son’s reading and comprehension. ABeka’s Readers are fantastic and I’m totally a fan. They offer a wide variety of stories from several different genres. Their spelling is intense and I can’t say it’s my favorite, but I also haven’t tried anything else. it works well enough so we’ve stuck with it.
Writing | MasterBooks – Writing Strands – I really wanted to try a different writing program to offer my son to help strengthen his writing skills. I decided to give this one a go after reading reviews and asking around. We have only done a few lessons, but so far my son seems to like it. I’ll be sure to update you and let you know how he likes it as we work through more of it.
Math | Saxon 6/5 – Like I mentioned we are a Saxon family so I stuck with Saxon again this year.
Science | MasterBooks Heaven and Earth – I’m so excited for this one this year! Probably more excited than my son, ha! As a kid I hated science as an adult I definitely appreciate it a lot more and find it more interesting than I did as a student. This program is geared towards 3rd through 8th grade which seems like a big age gap, but they include a separation of activities and questions based on two levels.This program will cover water and weather, our universe, and planet earth from a biblical worldview. It includes a teachers manual which has the student worksheets and answer sheets. It’s heavy on reading and “story” style learning which I enjoy. It also includes recommended activities and experiments for some hands on learning! Even though a lot of this is above my younger sons level he enjoys listening along and joining in on the activities.
Geography/History | ABeka’s Old World History and Geography – This is my first year using ABeka’s history curriculum and we are loving it so far. When I had polled people on Instagram it was definitely a split between people loving ABeka’s history and disliking it. I decided to take a chance and get it. I had already been given parts of it, which is what led me to considering it initially so I only needed a couple items to complete my “kit” I love the Biblical worldview that ABeka holds to in curriculum. This year we will cover the beginning of recorded history all the way to present day, famous explorers, leaders, and missionaries that pertain to the events covered. In addition to this we also will be covering American History in our co-op and I’m sure we will have fun activities to correspond with those mini lessons.
As far as extra, we will continue using these things throughout the year:
- ESV, One Year Bible
- Truth and Grace Memory Books for Catechism
- Our September and Co Character Cards
- Little Pilgrims Theology – It’s an online program
- Free Online Typing for my older son
- The Tuttle Twins Series – Teaches government/civics/economy
- Our Torch Lighters DVDs and Activity Book
- Liberty Kids DVDs for History
- Kiwi Co Crates – a subscription gift from their grandparents
I was also asked about suggestions for Biographies
- If you’re looking for books with missionary stories we really like The Torchlighters from Voice of the Martyrs
- These books HERE [Christian Heroes Then and Now] are also a great resource and there is a curriculum that I came across recently that corresponds with these books. I haven’t used it personally so I can’t offer a full review, but it may be worth exploring. I of course can’t remember what it’s called, but I’ll be sure to update this post once it comes to my mind!
- ABeka also has biographies that may be worth exploring even if you don’t use their curriculum.
- There is also a series called The Story of: A Biography Series for New Readers – again we have not read most of these books, we read one on Thomas Jefferson a year or so ago. For this reason I can’t offer a detailed review, also the authors are all different from what I can see so it may be worth exploring and possibly pre-reading before giving to your child…which I recommend with most books and entertainment anyway.
I hope that answered all of your homeschool curriculum questions, thanks so much for stopping by today!