Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Calling homeschoolers!


Okay. Short version: B has said that with three kids, we could conceivably afford to purchase a curriculum package each year with the intention of keeping it to use for the younger kids (yes, we would have to go back and order the earlier grades that the Elf has already done). We can't afford it Right Now. But it's a good time to start looking, right? Maybe with all this looking we'll decide not to purchase a packaged deal. Who knows.

The help I need is this: what do you use? What works for you and your kids? What have you tried and disliked?

My heart loves Waldorf. But my head acknowledges that we aren't those people. We don't sing, we don't rise with the sun and put our kids to bed at 6pm. We don't have baking days. I cannot make myself joyful about all of our daily tasks (scooping cat litter is not something I can do with a smile on my face). I don't have the time (or capacity at this point) to memorize stories to tell to the extent that it would seem I need to. So I don't think I can do a pure Waldorf curriculum. That seems to rule out Live Ed and A Little Garden Flower.

We are not Christian. So I don't want anything religious (it seems silly to pay for a package that I need to ditch half of). I'm not entirely sure what that rules out.

I love the idea of a nature-based curriculum. Summers here are intense and it's often hard to go outside. Think deep winter in some places, only hot instead. And winter? Not so much. Yes, it gets cold. But my kids don't really understand what snow is.

The Elf (since I can't yet speak for the younger two) isn't all about the worksheets - at least not an endless stream of them though he does enjoy some. He also isn't enthused about reading straight texts. He reads above his "level" but is.. picky.. about what he wants to read. He's stubborn and willful and.. well, almost nine. But he's extremely smart. He asks the most amazing questions. At the same time, he doesn't always know the days of the week in order. He can't tell the difference between cities, states, and countries. He gets confused about the difference between months and seasons. I'm still not sure he knows the alphabet in order completely.

I'm looking at Ambleside Online because it was suggested to me by the lovely Wool and Chocolate. It's a lot to look through, so I haven't made much of a dent yet.

I'm open to any and all suggestions. B ideally wants to buy whatever we buy used (or extremely cheaply). I just want to make the right decision.

Thanks in advance! I'm positively drowning in uncertainties.


  1. dont drown mama.
    we took jack out of catholic school and i have been homeschooling since april/may with confused happiness. im doing a mix. i too love waldorf and am using melisa nielsens text as part of my curriculum. i'm also using a phonetics and a math book that came from the school....and teaching geography from my own brain along with art, science, etc.
    it may sound daunting..but its not so bad, really.x

  2. We use a combo of The Well Trained Mind and Charlotte Mason (aka Ambleside Online). The history books from the people that wrote TWTM, The Story of the World, are great and the maps + coloring pages in the back can be photocopied so each year I buy the next level for the eldest, then #2 uses the next one down and #3 uses the one down from that...by the time #4 is ready we should have the whole collection ;-)

    I don't buy boxed curriculum at all. I buy The Story of the World, did Handwriting Without Tears (they've all used it because I wrote each lesson out on lined paper so I wouldn't have to repurchase books), science we do units and they decide what they're interested in studying and we get books from library, we get lots and lots of books from the library every single week, and for math I buy Singapore Math. All in all, not terribly expensive. For teaching them to read I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and so far have used it with the older three children and plan to use it with #4 as well.

  3. I have used just about everything Amanda uses and loved it, especially The Story of the World. I like Miquon math for younger children and then Saxon Math or now, Math U See. Math U See uses blocks so the child thinks it's like legos. Yesterday's Child sells some wonderful reprinted books very cheap that you can use for science and history. You can also look at places like Goodwill or thrift stores for books. Learning Language Arts Through Literature is a gentle way to learn which you might want to look through. xx

  4. If you like waldorf but aren't fully waldorf (which I totally get!) you might like Oak Meadow- we've used it in the past and plan to use it for grade 5 this next year. It's very strongly waldorf inspired and definitely nature based but with a more mainstream approach than traditional waldorf. There is a suggested circle times and rhymes and songs, but you can take them or leave them. It's not set up in "blocks" but with weekly lessons. Each lesson is set up in such a way that you can ignore stuff if you want to, and do other stuff too.
    I like it.
    Good luck!

  5. We have been homeschooling for a little over a year and some of the tools I have kept are
    -Kumon workbooks
    -Singapore math
    -lots of maps and atlas books world, our city and neighborhood
    -trips to the library to get specific books for a particular topic
    -thrift stores and book sales are a great for children's literature, children's magazine (to read or cut up)and any reference material
    thrift stores have been helpful to creat a waldorf environment.
    -lots of empyty 1 subject notebooks to write or do math problems
    -collect scrabble games for the pieces. start a collection of just letters and then use them with flash cards or anything for spelling.
    Hope some of this helps.