This June we wrapped up our 7th year home schooling. 7! 1st off, wow. How can I be old enough to have a middle schooler now…. and how on earth did I survive 7 years of home schooling, in 3 different states. :) Lots and lots of grace and venting phone conversations with friends who got me and got the struggle haha. Home Schooling is without a doubt a blessing… but it is also one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Let me rephrase that. Maybe not the “hardest” … but one of the most challenging at times and one that grew me more and more with each passing year.
So how did our year 7 go? It went “so so.” If I was brutally honest, it at times was very overwhelming for me. During our 7th year we experienced yet another job change… months of unemployment again and the start of a new job. While all of this I have no doubt was in Gods perfect plan for our family… it did not take away from the fact it was extremely stressful and hard for us. Feelings of unsettledness were becoming my norm… and I was just very weary and tired at times. That teamed with home schooling 3 out of my 4 boys, was not easy.
Yet. We pressed on and got through it.
So this is kind of a wrap up post to share what worked and what didn’t.
What did not work. ABEKA DVDS for my oldest child. We opted to get Abeka DVDS for all our children this last year… only because I needed a break from teaching. Also because middle school math and language is starting to get hard. So hard that I only understand like 30% of it. Well maybe more like 60% but to teach something you are not “up to par” with, is difficult. Teaching fractions, percentages, and per-algebra type work is easier said than done when you haven’t looked at an algebra math book since your high school days. I needed help teaching these subjects with my oldest son… and so we just opted to get the DVDS. As much as I wanted to love them. I didn’t. We had issues with kids copying answers from the DVD at the end of the lessons… we had issues with the kids day dreaming as this woman taught on the DVD. The DVDS were just not a fit for our family… and so I would not recommend those again.
Mid year we added in Teaching Textbooks for my oldest and while we had used this back in 3rd grade for him and had issues with it. This time around, him and I both really liked TT. He is a visual person and the way that curriculum worked was really engaging for him and easy to follow. So, if you have a middle schooler that is visual… artsy… I’d highly recommend it.
Over the last 7 years I have tried the following curriculum….
- My Fathers World
- Mystery of History
- Sonlight Science
- Math U See
- Saxon Math 4/5 with Teacher DVDS
- Explore the Code
- Easy Grammar
- Reading Eggs
- Writing with Ease
- Story of the World
- Apologia Science
- Confession of a Home Schooler USA Road Trip
- Handwriting without Tears
So below is a little list of curriculum so far that I have loved.
- Abeka Math & Phonics for K-5th – As much as I hated the DVDS for Abeka, their workbooks and teacher books are easy to follow and work. Because I have used them for 7 years now, they are easy for me to teach. Im familiar with them. So Im a fan.
- Teaching Textbooks for Math 6th & up – If we continue to home school, this will be my go to math choice for older children. I don’t have any experience teaching a high schooler yet, so I can’t really chime in on how this is for that grade level… but for middle school, I’m liking it.
- Sonlight Science – By far my favorite science curriculum. Super easy to follow. I loved all the readers it came with. I would totally use this again for science.
- Saxon Math 4/5 – If I had to pick between Saxon and Math U See. Id pick Saxon. Not sure why but I just wasnt a fan of Math U See at all… Saxon to me was hard and a tad boring but it was very thorough, especially with the Teacher DVD Lessons. If I had to pick a math, it be between Saxon and Teaching Textbooks for older kids… and then Abeka Math for younger.
- Story of the World – We did nothing but Story of the World one year for history… and I loved it. SUPER easy books to read… engaging and fun. We’ve kept these even after we finished them, just to keep as readers. They are great history books. I prefer Story of the World over Mystery of History.
- Abeka Writing & Handwriting without Tears – While I used Abeka for most of my boys, Hand writing without Tears has some great early writing books that I really liked. SO its a toss up. I liked both. :)
- Reading Eggs – Great supplemental online curriculum for younger kids. I ADORED Reading Eggs for my 3rd born Owen. Owen has a slight delay with phonics and this has helped him tremendously. He loves doing it too. Highly recommend. They have 2 week free trials too. Just email them to get one.
- Easy Grammar – I didn’t use this but one year but the year I did use it, I enjoyed it. Super easy to follow. Great for Kids 3rd grade and up.
Curriculum I didn’t really care for….
- Math U See – Not sure why. I just wasn’t a fan. I didn’t like the way the guy on the videos taught… and I wasn’t liking the fact you needed multiputives (blocks). Just one more thing to keep or worry with my kids losing. Call me OCD but I didn’t need any extra stuff in the school room to make a mess :-\
- Writing with Ease – eh. Hated it. Enough said lol
- Apologia Science – While I wanted to love this. I didn’t. The books aren’t bad by themselves to read… but teaching about the solar system for an entire year got boring. I wish their science books were broken up a bit more and not all on one topic… They do make great readers though. The workbooks they sell IMO are a waste of money though.
- Explore the Code – Used it once. Not a huge fan but didn’t hate it. Think it would work for some but wasn’t for me.
- My Fathers World – This was something my husband ordered our 1st year in Atlanta. The year he was out of work for 11 months… and I worked instead.. He kinda dropped the ball with this curriculum and we did not complete it. I can’t say this wasn’t good curriculum. Its just not one I can really share much about. We never reordered though… so thats that.
- Confessions of a Home Schooler Road Trip USA – I wanted to love this… and possibly could. I just wasnt a fan because it had so many sources of books listed throughout that you needed to use in addition… and Im just awful at library runs… so it wasn’t for me. Love the Confessions of a Home Schooler blog though. She has lots of great and helpful information there.
Hopefully some found the above information helpful. :)
I know many are asking if we will home school next year. Year 8. Yes and No is my answer as of today. If all works out we plan to send our older two boys to a private school at our church. Its a wonderful school. One day maybe I can talk about that more, this post would be entirely to long if I did. So lets save that for later. If they pass and get accepted into the school (we wont know until mid July?), they will start at the Private School this coming school year. I will then only home school my 3rd born Owen, who will be going into 1st. Owen had to repeat Kindergarten this last year due to a slight delay in his speech… Thankfully he made great strides this year and so this coming fall we’ll start him on 1st grade work and hopefully he’ll just fly through it. I do look forward to being able to focus a bit more 1 on 1 time with him… and our youngest Reed. Reed will not start school this fall (hes only 4 and doesn’t turn 5 until Oct)… so I will some pre-school work with Reed who is still to little for kindergarten.
It will be different in the fall… but a change I look forward to.
Will our older boys ever be home schooled again? Its possible. Im not against it. I’m learning that with each year comes new things… and learning to be flexible is key. They may hate the private school and want to come back the following year… or they may love it and grow leaps and bounds. Im just taking it one year at a time….
NOW! TO WRAP this post up.
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