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Below are the curriculum and materials we used for our first year of homeschooling, both ones we purchased and free resources we found. I didn't get all my curriculum at once...I gradually added curriculum as the year progressed and I got a feeling for how my child learned.
We are still using all of these this year, though some of course at different levels.
READING AND LANGUAGE ARTS
Progressive Phonics is a site with free printable phonics readers and other tools. I discovered this mid-year when we were struggling with our ch,sh and, th sounds...and someone on a forum suggested this. It's a great program. Each section starts with an explanation of the new sound you will be learning. The printable books are full of rhyming poems you read WITH your child. The words your child should read are in one color, and you read the rest. This is easier for kids who struggle with reading longer sentences. I started switching back and forth with this and the Bob Books once I discovered this program.
All About Spelling
All About Spelling is SO EASY TO USE. It's one of those programs that you can open up, skim, take out the materials and start...with no prep. It's been wonderful for helping my child to learn the rules of spelling. They also have a reading program too, called All About Reading, which sounds wonderful, but was a little outside our price range. Their spelling program costs a little less, and much of that is one time cost for materials that are used at every level, like the letter tiles. It's also easy to find used materials online as most of the materials are non-consumable (not used up--reusable).
Print Path: Lowercase at Last
Before I was teaching my own child, I had no idea what the big deal was about different letter styles. I saw no issue with ball and stick letters (or others). Once I started teaching my son at home immediately I saw how the "ball and stick" style was causing problems with how he formed his a, g, d and several other letters. I realized I wanted to teach him another way.
At a local Mardel's bookstore I found a copy of Handwriting Without Tears and loved how the letters were formed and the instructions on how to form them. But since my son only needed help with a few letters, I thought I might be able to find something cheaper on Teachers Pay Teachers to practice with (and of course started by looking for something free). I found the A Free Sampler from Lowercase at Last by Print Path that had all the letters I was most concerned about. But as I worked with him I learned he was iffy on some other lowercase letters too so I bought the whole Lowercase at Last Set for less than $5 and it was worth every penny. I really wish that he was taught with this style from the beginning because it's so much harder to re-teach something a new way, but I feel like this is helping him in the long run.
Math U See
Math U See helped my son understand place value, which he really struggled with. The way they teach it is very visual and hands on, and even incorporates a story (a bonus for an imaginative learner like my son). And once he learned place value it helped him with counting larger numbers too.
We got the program later in the year after winging math for a while, so we are still working through this book. Actually, when we got to addition, we took another direction because my son, who had struggles with memorization, had a "learning burst" where we were able to memorize addition facts by jumping them out, so I dropped this for a while to focus on that.
I did find that the lessons, while excellent, did take a lot of prep. Not "gather things up" prep, but watching and reading prep. Math U See is designed to help teach you how to teach your children, which is what I wanted, but sometimes I had trouble taking the time to do the learning I needed to teach him this way. Some people just show the videos directly to their children (which are designed to show how to teach the lessons). While I see where that might make things easier, it didn't work for us.
So, I'm not sure whether I'm going to keep using this or try something else.
This year we focused on three main science topics: Dinosaurs, Weather, and Caves (which touched on a lot of other subjects...food chains, geology, life cycles, etc.). We didn't use a curriculum for these, just made our own with a combination of activities we found on the internet, library books, cheep dollar store workbooks, museum trips, etc. I'll be sharing the Unit Study we did on caves here on the blog some time in the future (still writing everything down).
Foreign Languages For Kids By Kids
When I got my membership, it included online access to the videos, workbooks, and a few online games. We only really used the videos. The workbooks and games all required reading, and my child wasn't reading yet. I got a really good deal on a year's membership, but if you buy it at regular price I think just buying the videos are a better deal.
Though the deal I got them with is gone, these products are still less on Educents right now than on their main site.
This post contains affiliate links (links though which, if people purchased products, I receive commission) to Amazon.com, All About Learning Press, and Educents. All oppinions are my own.