My first year of homeschooling I used My Father's World for preK. It's a really nice program with lots of great literature, but it just wasn't for me at the time. I had Josh at age 4, John was 2 1/2 and Josiah had just turned 1. In theory it would have been great to curl up on the couch, read books and color pages or make crafts with glitter. I was stressed out and overwhelmed on a daily basis with it, so after Christmas I just put it away. We worked on our letters and numbers with Raising Rock Stars Preschool printables. We also had a Bible verse and easy activities to do with each letter. I loved it and so did Josh and John. It's what all the kids have used for preK.
The following year, I purchased a kindergarten package from Timberdoodle. This we really enjoyed as well and I purchased the package for 1st grade the following year. I liked the actual curriculum, but I really liked the extras in the box - puzzles, wrap ups, games - all kinds of fun hands on learning tools that the boys thought were just toys. I love sneaky learning.
This year, I actually didn't buy anything except our Horizons Math, All About Spelling and Explode the Code because, well, I'm a curriculum junkie and I had a ton of things on my shelf that I decided to use, not just collect. I had several great downloads from Confessions of a Homeschooler, including Road Trip USA, Great Artists, and a literature pack that we've really enjoyed.
A couple of things happened this year to make my "perfect" plans not so great. First, I took another job doing chart reviews from home. It was a great opportunity to make some money and not have to worry about a sitter or leaving the house, but I was overwhelmed. When you don't have much breathing room in your schedule to start and you add another twelve hours to your week, it becomes overwhelming quickly.
The other thing was that John really struggles with reading and writing. Really struggles. I've tried all kinds of programs and printables over the last two years (as well as a truck load of patience). This kid is smart - he can take apart and put together just about anything and he's so bright in anything to do with math. He just couldn't get his letters.
Once again, instead of fighting the curriculum, I chose to let it go. Someday we can come back to it, but in January I ordered Sonlight for all of the boys. Luckily they're close enough in age that they can learn most of their lessons together. I didn't have time to lesson plan well (or at all sometimes) and Sonlight does that for me. I just pull my books on Sunday evening for the week and we're ready for Monday. For right now, this works for me.
As far as John's reading, I ordered an older program on the advice of fellow homechooler and blogger Tracey, called Read, Write, Sing and Spell. Older as in VHS and cassettes older. But it's working. The author has a way of explaining how to make the letters that is clicking for John. It seems to not frustrate him as much as the other programs.
I think my homeschooling choices will always evolve as I also mature as a homeschooler. This is only my fourth year and I'm so grateful to have
It's not an easy life, but it's fun.
Don't forget to hop on over and see what my other homeschooling moms have to say:
Clockwise, from top left:
Lorrie @ Life and Lessons Learned, Selena at Campbell Clan, Kathleen @ Positive Adoption, Audrey @ Everything Beautiful, Charli @ WV Urban Hippies, Tracey @ Building My House, and Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home. Not pictured is Jessica @Redeeming the Home.