FAQ: What curriculum do you recommend?

Just a crazy picture of us!

Many people email me to ask what curriculum I recommend.  I don’t really recommend any particular curriculum or “philosophy” of homeschooling.  We’re eclectic in our choices here.  I have the belief that most curriculums out there are pretty good at what they say they teach.  For me, what weighs most heavily in my decision is price.  Since I was a teacher, I am comfortable taking on any curriculum out there and using it to teach my child.  So I just look for something used and inexpensive.  Having a curriculum to consult gives me a little guidance along the way, but even though I pick a certain curriculum, I won’t completely follow it exactly as it’s written, and I’ll skip some parts altogether too.  I am comfortable with doing things “my way.”  But for those who use curriculums from cover to cover, I’d say go for it – they’re all pretty good. There aren’t many I wouldn’t recommend.

In the past, our “curriculum” has been pretty eclectic, and not really “official” homeschool.  I’m excited about this year being our first “official” year of me buckling down and making lesson plans and following them.  This coming year we’re using mostly A Beka, following their Reading, Writing, Math, and Bible program for Kindergarten at age 4, with a random mix of other stuff thrown in here and there (arts/crafts, music, physical activity, and computer, plus other stuff I might find on the internet that looks fun to do).  I picked A Beka basically because it was the cheapest curriculum I could find (a homeschooling friend gave me some of her used books for Laynie with minimal pages torn out of the workbooks and I only had to buy a few other things from the company that I needed to go with it, making it really affordable).  Also, in looking at it, I was pleased with the curriculum plan and feel like it will be comprehensive, so well – here we go with it!  If I like it, maybe I’ll stick with it.  If not, we’ll just try whatever else I’m able to get my hands on for a good price next year!  (I’m not affiliated with A Beka at all, by the way.)  We’re beginning the week of Labor Day, and ending the week of Memorial Day.  We’ll be doing 4 days per week (like last year), and catch-up and assessments when necessary on the fifth day.  I’m also planning at least 6 “field trip” opportunities for her (which I’ll also be blogging about).  I plan to spend no more than 30-45 minutes total per day doing formal “school” activities.  The rest of Laynie’s learning will be fused into playtime and everyday living.  I still hold the firm belief that young children need ample opportunities for exercise, sunshine, and unstructured play, so I will allow plenty of time for those things in Laynie’s day, while also making sure she knows what she needs to know before K5.

What are you planning for your children this year?

5 thoughts on “FAQ: What curriculum do you recommend?

  1. I wish I had discovered you and your blog before today! LOL! Today I went to an A Beka Book materials display and forked over the dough for my son's K5 curriculum. (This will be parent-guided and not the Academy portion with the videos). I spent about $180 for the school year, which I still think is OK since I will use the teacher guide for my 2nd son (now 3 years old) and I'll only need to purchase a few workbooks for him. According to the A Beka rep the teacher's kit holds about 60% of the teaching materials as at this age much of what is being taught is verbal teacher-student communications along with their workbooks. (???) I've been told by friends that the teacher kit would be unnecessary, but I made the call to purchase it anyway (marking it up to a first-hand learning experience).

    We'll supplement the curriculum with regular library visits (computer time, leisure and learning books), field trips (Houston zoo, local zoo, children's museums, etc). I only have the two boys (3, 5) so it's relatively easy for me to run around with them. I'm nervous as all get-out (I'm slightly OCD/perfectionist and since we're living in a home that we're renovating a certain amount of disorganization and chaos is inevitable). 🙁

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience! Please forgive my rambling on (can you tell I'm excited?) and I hope to be able to explore your site and learn some amazing tips on frugal home-schooling! 😀

  2. Amy, I really wouldn't worry too much about preschool until next year since she's still got probably 3 (maybe 2?) more years until Kindergarten. Sounds like she's already ahead of the game. But if you wanted to start her out with something to keep her stimulated, I'd just focus on teaching her to recognize letters and numbers, colors and shapes. You can get some fun coloring and activity books for a few dollars at the drug store, or just play with toys to teach her those things. Only you know when she's ready. A Beka has a "Readiness Skills" workbook that she may be able to do. Feel free to take a look at my curriculum link (to the left) that describes what I did with Laynie at 2 1/2.

  3. Hello…
    My daughter will be 3 in December…which A Becka home school program would you recommend for me to use with her?
    I read to her everyday, she does sing the ABC song, and can count to 20. She has an 8 year old brother, who she loves to sit and do "homework" with. He is in 3rd grade at the local public school, but I am thinking of teaching her nursery school at home.

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