Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother trying to keep up with this blog. I gave up Facebook a few years back because it was just too much drama and was eating up my time anyway. However, I’ve appreciated all the help, resources, and inspiration I’ve found through others’ blogs. One of the main reasons I had for continuing was the desire to share our homeschool journey both as an encouragement for others and as a way for me to document the every day.
Well… I ended up being more concerned with getting Just The Right Pictures while doing our lessons, or getting grouchy when I was trying to sum up the week in a post and the kiddos wanted me to read a story. It was way too easy to lose focus of what really mattered. So last year I decided to forego the regular posting and I felt things went more smoothly. I’m always trying to find that elusive Balance, and that includes how much time I spend at the computer (blogging, reading, researching, working on digital photo albums, etc.).
I thought those of you who come here for educational ideas might be interested in my curriculum choices for the upcoming school year. It’s a decision I hemmed and hawed – and prayed – over for the longest time. Since Gwen will be first grade-ish and I finally have to report her to the local school district, I’ve been particularly nervous about what we decide to do for her first “official” year of homeschool (though I’ve been doing this for three years now).
Phil has been encouraging me for a while now to purchase a packaged curriculum, despite the fact that I like to create my own, piecing things together from lots of difference resources. See, it tends to be cheaper this way… but can also be more time-consuming and overwhelming. Here and there I’ve looked at curricula, always coming back to free, DIY programs.
Well, I started looking more seriously towards the end of this school year. I thought perhaps we would do Beyond Five in a Row since I’ve done my own version of volumes 1-4… but I think we need a change and I don’t think Gwen is old enough for that program. I eventually narrowed down my search to two Christ-centered programs – both of them inexpensive when compared to alternatives – and eventually chose Heart of Dakota (HOD).
It took a bit of time to figure out which of HOD’s programs would be the right fit, since their chart overlaps age groups. I finally chose Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory and was lucky enough to find many of the materials I need from Homeschool Classifieds. I’m still looking for some of the suggested supporting materials – like emergent readers – but I can always request those from the library.
Having read a number of reviews about HOD – as well as some for My Father’s World, my second choice – I was curious whether or not I would like the structure and content of the teacher’s manual and the way the days and weeks are laid out. Leafing through the book when I first got it in the mail, I actually got excited – I think I can do this! As other users have noted, it really does seem like an open-and-go curriculum, and although I have yet to put it into practice, seems easy enough to follow.
***EDIT 7.1.14 – Just thought I would add some of the supporting resources I will be using with the program, some of them suggested as HOD go-alongs and others that I’m throwing in with the mix.
The Beginner’s Bible
Big Thoughts for Little People
God’s Wonderful Works
American Pioneers and Patriots
Stories of the Pilgrims
Boys and Girls of Colonial Days
Frog and Toad Are Friends
Frog and Toad Together
Frog and Toad All Year
Owl at Home
The Princess and the Kiss
XtraMath (a free online program)
I’ll also fill in with the rest of the suggested emerging reader books and some of the read-alouds, which I will request from the library.
I know the Summer just began, but… If you’re homeschooling, what curriculum will you be using this year? Have you used HOD?