2017-2018 Kossack academy homeschool curriculum – laurenkossack.com

Please keep in mind that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of curriculum options to choose from and this was my first year as a homeschool mom. I do not pretend to know everything or even what’s best. Speaking of “best,” let’s chat about that for a moment. There is no right or wrong or better or worse curriculum. Each curriculum should be carefully chosen to fit the homeschool teaching style of the parent and more importantly, the student. God created each of our kiddos uniquely and that is one reason why homeschooling is such a blessing. We get to take the unique ways that God wired our kiddos to learn and find the curriculum that best fits his/her needs. Something that can’t be done in a public or private school.

I should also share that my oldest is a 3rd grader (often times doing 4th grade work).

My youngest is technically a 1st grader by Indiana’s cutoff dates, but a 2nd grader by Virginia’s cutoff dates. We struggled with him last year because he was bored and we worked hard to keep him challenged. This year I let him work at his own pace and we completed 2nd grade work, therefore, I’m going to refer to him as my 1st/2nd grader. He will be entering into 3rd grade this fall (2018). Our 2017/2018 curriculum choices: Math – Math U See

I really liked Math U See. The lessons are taught via DVD that comes included with the curriculum and the manipulative were easy to use. If you are just getting started and unsure what level to place your child into, there is a placement test on their website that will help guide you to the best choice for your child. My youngest tested into the Beta Curriculum and my oldest tested into the Gama Curriculum. Language Arts – All About Reading

This is the area where I was the most apprehensive because language arts/grammar was not my forte. However, these lessons were easy to teach with the teacher’s manual. Each lesson told me exactly what to say (praise Jesus) and included a fun learning activity or story to read. My little men enjoyed the stories that were included and looked forward to our Language Arts days. Unsure which level to place your child into, there are placement tests on their website for each level to help guide you to the best choice for your child. My youngest tested into Level 2 and my oldest tested into Level 4. Spelling – All About Spelling

I can’t say enough about the All About Spelling curriculum. The lessons were easy to teach and I’m sad that I wasn’t taught phonics and spelling with All About Spelling. I learned so much about our english language through this curriculum and I’ve seen my boys sound out big, new-to-them words while reading and doing so correctly. My youngest loves learning new phonics rules and applying them to new words. His face just lights up when he can explain why a word is pronounced the way it is because of a new rule that he just learned. That’s a win, if you ask me!

I struggled to know where to begin with my 3rd grader, however the literature suggested that everyone, no matter the age, start with Level 1 because there is no way to know what they may have missed and it’s better to start from the beginning to give them a good foundation. I was hesitant because I felt it was unnecessary. Boy was I wrong! I started both boys in Level 1 and we kept at it and by the end of the year we had completed Level 3. That was way more than I was expecting to complete, but they loved each lesson and picked up the phonics rules quickly. Plus, we loved the magnetic letter tiles. This one gets an A+ from me and yes, start everyone at Level 1! Grammar – Growing with Grammar

Half-way through the year I began to realize that the boys weren’t getting as much grammar as I was hoping. I chatted with a sweet, fellow homeschool mom who taught grammar/english at a local private school and she recommended Growing with Grammar. I trusted her suggestion 100% and immediately ordered the curriculum. This was just what I wanted for my boys. Vocabulary – Sadlier Vocabulary

One of the best ways to expand a child’s vocabulary is through reading, especially read-aloud time. They may learn how to use new words through inference while we read aloud to them, however, they don’t really know the true definition without looking a word up in the dictionary and using it in new sentences. I found the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop workbooks and we loved them. Each new lesson began with an online story using the new vocabulary words and followed by several workbook pages to complete during the rest of the week. My youngest was in the Red Level and my oldest was in the Green Level. Handwriting – PreScripts & A Reason for Handwriting

The boys joined an Awana Club this year and spent the year memorizing scripture and earning badges along the way. Awana is a global, nonprofit ministry committed to the belief that the greatest impact for Christ starts with kids who know, love and serve Him. We reviewed their scripture memorization daily and read a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It is one of my favorites! Classical Conversations

We joined a Classical Conversations community and fell in love. Classical Conversations is a nation-wide program that helps train and equip parents to provide their children with a Christian classical education. Classical Conversations covers 7 subjects each week: Science, Math, English, Latin, Geography, Timeline, and History. I’ll share more about Classical Conversations in another post. Writing – Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Student Writing Intensive

Writing is not my strong suite, so when it came time to pick a writing curriculum for my 3rd grader, I sought out advice from fellow Classical Conversations Homeschool Mammas. Since my 3rd grader would be heading into Essentials (Fall of 2018) in Classical Conversations (dialectic stage), I was strongly encouraged to get our feet wet with IEW because it would be used in Essentials and is an excellent program. Boy were they right! We loved IEW, well, I loved IEW and Christian, well, not so much. HA! Just the work we did and the writing lessons that Mr. Pudewa taught on his dvds that we watched every couple of weeks, I feel as though my writing education/experience is beginning to be redeemed. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! I can’t recommend IEW enough!

In addition to the above curriculum, we also used parts of Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Daily Learning Notebook for our Morning Calendar Time. Part of their morning routine also included “Morning Work,” which is a one page review that includes every Common Core standard for reading, language, math, social studies, and science. I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to cover the basics in each subject that they’d be learning in public school. This was a great solution to calming those anxieties and the boys loved the work. I used The Teacher Next Door’s 3rd Grade Morning Work for my oldest and Second Story Window’s 2nd Grade Morning Work for my youngest. I took the morning work to our local printer and had it spiral bound for the boys.

Looking over this list, it’s hard to believe that we accomplished all of these subjects this year. AND…I may have been a little overzealous in my curriculum ordering. HA! (Confessions of a 1st time Homeschool Mom!) #rookiemistake I’ll be doing some things differently for this year, but it was a great first year for us. I hope this helps you and answers some questions.

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