Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homeschool Conference - Part 2 - Curriculum

As I look to next year, I realized that thankfully I didn't need much curriculum for most of my children.  Christopher obviously needed new things since he is my oldest and I haven't taught his grade yet.  Curriculum at the high school level is not cheap either!

I had thought some about what I would be purchasing, but had not done a lot of research on some areas.  As I entered the vendor hall, I wanted to make good use of my time and money.  One of the weak areas in our homeschool has been writing.  I have not had much confidence in my own writing growing up (not sure why) and have not done a great job in teaching it.  I tried using another program in 2006 and then when Eliana was born, it went out the window.  I haven't been able to get back to it either.  I thought perhaps a change was in order.  I went to a vendor workshop on Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I decided to give this one a try.  It looks like it is organized in a nice fashion and I like that there are dvds helping to teach the concepts.  I'm  planning on teaching it to several of my children and a friend's children at the same time and am excited about that!  As I've done more writing the last couple of years, I've grown in both the comfort with writing and also the enjoyment of it too.  I hope that my children can learn this at an earlier age than I did.  As a unit study mom, I love anything that brings us together to learn. 

Learning together.  Isn't that one of the perks of homeschooling?  Doing things together as a family - creating memories together and having common threads of learning.  I found a new (to me) curriculum this year that will incorporate our family - and I'm very excited about it!!!  It's called the Picture Smart Bible

Please click on the link to visit the site to get more details and a visual of how the program works.  In a nutshell, you will be reading through the Bible and drawing pictures to go with pieces of the story.  You will end up with a 1 page picture from each book of the Bible that tells you the story of that book.  Each child starts with an outline so that you will have room to fit it all on the page.  It was so neat to be able to see the pieces of the story just by looking at a page - and it also made it really easy to share it with others.  I think this will be a great way to get the flow of the story of the Bible and a visual help in remembering more of it too.  Did I mention that I'm excited about this?

I wasn't planning on purchasing a Bible curriculum and wasn't even sure why I wandered over to their table - other than the gentle leading of God.  (He is good!)  As my friend and I listened to the author of this program describe how it worked, I became very excited!  I shared it with Rebecca who was also very excited and asked if I was planning to buy this for our family.  This was too good not to share.  We told as many of our friends as we could about it.  Many of them are excited about using it with their families too!  This was a really neat find.  I'll be sure to share more about it as we start using it this fall.

Those are my only two really new choices this year.  We are using new levels of curriculum we have used in the past - MathUSee, Notgrass, Apologia, Handwriting without Tears, and of course Five in a Row (my favorite!!!).  I'll share more about what each child will be studying as we get closer to starting our new school year (in  August).  We are still trying to finish up a few subjects and are already enjoying some of our summer break.  I need a break.  We've been going without one since Christmas and I really need some down time - to organize, plan and prepare.  For that reason, I haven't planned a summer camp this year.  For the first time in probably 12 years.  I'm feeling a little guilt over it too.  Especially when one of my boys asked me tonight if we would be doing camp again this summer.  *sigh*  I may have to muster up some energy and do something!  We'll see.  Hope you are enjoying your week.




  1. I heard Andrew Pudewa (author of IEW) a number of times at CHAP and he was great! Made me look forward to the day when IEW will be right for us - in a year or two I think. And I'm off to go look at the Bible curriculum.

  2. Hi
    we have had such great success with Write shop. I like IEW but found write shop more easy friendly for mum.

    Hope you come across it.

    Love Leanne

  3. Leslie, I loved reading about your experience at the conference. We need more direction in writing as well. Michaela has many marks of a good writer -- interesting storylines, good character development and a tendencey toward very descriptive writing, but she needs help with sentence structure and organization. I love to write, but somehow I am not sure how to go about directing her yet. I don't want to kill that natural gift she has by making it too technical!

    I will look more closely at IEW.


  4. I wish we could have run into each other at the conference; that would have been fun! We are planning on doing the same Bible curric. this year in conjunction with GrapeVine Studies (which we love :). I am excited!

  5. That Bible program looks wonderful. I will have to store that away until my kids get a tad older. I have a few perfectionists who would want to do it just so and do not have the hand control just yet.
    Take a break this summer. You deserve it and your kids will have fun no matter what you do with them.

  6. Leslie,
    That Bible curriculum looks awesome...but I'm curious about how much time it takes. I'm not opposed to taking time to have the kids learn the Bible, believe me. :o) However, I'm wondering how long a lesson should take to complete. I looked at the sample lesson, and it's ten pages. All great stuff! But will you do all of that in a day...a week?? Just curious. :o)

    Also, for the first time ever, I actually took some time to look at IEW. I didn't attend the workshop at convention this year, but I did read through the magazine they handed out and it looks very interesting. I really want the kids to become better writers,...just not sure if all the IEW stuff is necessary. Thinking more on it. Let me know how it's going. ;o)

    Love reading about your convention time!! Missing you so much!

  7. Hi Lisa

    It is so good to hear from you!!! I miss you too friend!

    I'm not sure how long it will take *us* to do the Bible each day. The author told me to expect about 15 minutes per day to do one lesson in a week. That being said, I'm alright if it takes a little longer - both daily and in terms of how long it takes us to go through a book. He told us that many people will spend one year doing OT and another doing the NT. My curriculum is being shipped so we haven't started it yet. I'll be sure to share more about that when we do. It will probably be August before we start anything.

    Yes, I've been unsure about IEW. I bought another curriculum that I liked better a couple of years ago, but I haven't worked it into our days. I'm hoping that the structure of this and the dvds teaching it will be the push I need.

    I saw the note about your convention and so wish you could have been at mine instead. (A little far I know!) Love you and am praying for you!

    Hugs to you friend!

  8. Hi, I stumbled onto your blog while trying to get some information about work boxes. I saw that you posted about them last year. Are you still planning on using them this coming school year? Do you still think it works good for your family? Thanks!

  9. Hi Amanda,

    Yes, we are still using workboxes! They have worked beautifully for my family. They have helped me to get organized for the day and helped my children in knowing what is expected of them each day too! I love them! I will hopefully post more about our plans for using them as we start back to school later in the summer. I've started posts on using them with older children and also a very young child - but just haven't finished them. Thanks for the motivation to do that. Hope this helps!



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