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Need help! I am a Beginner Homeschooler & going to my 1st Conference

Prolife Mom

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I am heading to my first homeschooling conference this Saturday and my head is just spinning over what Math, Language Arts, & Science to choose for my darling daughter Mary for 2nd grade!


We decided until the end of her 1st grade year on Saxon 1 Math and Calculadder for supplementing drills.

Since my DD has gone from k-1st so quickly (Sept. to Oct.) in public school and then to being homeschooled (January) I noticed she is a bit all over the map when it comes to math knowledge. She can count and recognize her #'s, but, doesn't seem to grasp the concepts behind addition and subtraction. While I like Saxon, I find that we have to do 3-4 lessons at a clip. Preparing the lessons have been more challenging than I anticipated, and the lessons themselves don't appear to be challenging enough for my DD.


I'm wondering if I should just stick with Saxon in the hopes that it will get better and buy Saxon 2?? From what I hear, I should find a curriculum and stick with it. Since I am early on in homeschooling, I don't know if I should try something else and THEN decide to stick with something??

I was thinking about trying Right Start or Math Mammoth for her 2nd grade just to see which curriculum would be best? Any suggestions?


Also, finding Language Arts curriculum is doubly challenging! I need a structured program...Currently we are using

All About Spelling (for phonics & Vocab). It's OK.. not sooo thrilled with it.

Analytical Grammar--my DD found an error in their book & it's very dry.

English from the Roots Up--Not sure how to teach this, as I don't know any Latin or Greek. I have the flash cards//but no lesson plan?? This seems like a supplement to a curriculum and was thinking about getting Lively Latin or Prima Latina. I am leaning towards Lively Latin

Was wondering if I should give First Language Lessons a try?? Wordly Wise?



As for History, we are using SOTW and are very happy with that.

Science? Well, I bought the book: Exploring God's Creation (I believe Seton uses this???) Since it is spring, I'll do the "Plant/Botany" section!

I was wondering about Aplogia Science? It seems very expensive. And before investing, would like to know if it is worth the investment. Any other suggestions?


ANY information anyone can provide will be GREATLY appreciated!!!



~ProLife Mom of 2 beautiful girls ages 6yrs & 4months

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Well we use a smatter of things and really ENJOY and LIKE them all! Boy did it take a bit of rough roading to get here though....


We use...

First Language Lessons

Writing with ease

Apologia Science (We've done Astronomy and we'll begin Flying Creatures in the fall)

Considering God's Creation (used this for supplemental activities for my younger)

Math Mammoth

Handwriting without tears

All about spelling

Mystery of History

Galloping the Globe

Road Trip USA

Hooked on Phonics


I have a Ker and 2nd grader.


And when it comes to purchasing...I purchase used because new/retail is WAY out of my budget. So maybe use the conference as a place for you to thumb through things and then possibly do the purchasing through used homeschool curriculum sites. I know for me...Apologia was pricey when I first looked at it but I nabbed all but 2 of the books I got for $50 on a used forum! So it's worth looking used.

Edited by mamaofblessings
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I'm wondering if you could find a copy of Cathy Duffy's top picks. We did this prior to going to a convention our first year homeschooling. It really helped narrow down the choices and helped us determine what kind of learning style our children were and what type of teacher I was. I think I would have been lost had I not had a grasp on this prior to going. That said, I'm not sure if Worldy Wise and English from the roots up may be too much for a 6year old. As far as math goes, it is usually trial and error that works best. Just judging by what you wrote, if the fact that Saxon is to teacher intensive does not appeal to you I would look for something else. If the teacher feels overwhelmed, your student will sense it. You will always have to "teach" math in the earlier years but the level of intensity is different with the different programs. I have not used RS but from what I read on this board, it is very teacher intensive. My son used saxon in private school and for us it was a bad fit. I'm not sure if I've helped. Sorry:confused:


Oh, just realized on your post it says Apologia Science. These are meant for Jr./Sr. High School ages. The Exploring God's creation series is written in a similar format but are meant for the elemenatry grades. The Well Trained mind has a lot of good info in the "grammar"(grades1-4) section on what to use for all the different subjects. Also, Ruth Beechick's 3Rs has a lot of good info.

Edited by MyLittleBears
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For math, I'd give her the tests for the curricula you're interested in to see where she places. MM and RS are excellent programs. I've used both. Does she learn better via activities (RS) or does she prefer workbooks (MM)? I don't think Saxon is really going to fit your needs.


I'm planning to use Galore Park's Junior English 1 for grammar and vocabulary, as well as writing. We use Apples & Pears for spelling and I like it a lot. It's a lot cheaper and takes far less time to do than AAS.


I prefer to school secularly, so I don't use Apologia, we're using BFSU and GEMS with some nature study and Ariel enjoys science a lot.

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I wouldn't stick with Saxon. You don't like it and there are other good options. If you think you would like Math Mammoth, it's available only through tommorrow, 3/31, for $64 (50% off) for Light Blue grades 1 through 6 complete curriculum at homeschoolbuyersco-op.


In general, I don't think you can figure out the perfect curriculum combination for your family by shopping. There is some trial and error necessary because every family is different.


We are loving First Language Lessons 1/2 (inexpensive from amazon) and WWE1.

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I agree....picking out what works is gonna be up and down for a little while.


It took us 4 years to finally get what works for each of my children that are in school and I'm sure once ds is in the school age we'll probably toss somethings that worked for my other 2 children and get him something I would've never thought to even get with my other children because of their learning style.

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@abacus2 and @Ilovemykids

Thank you for the tip on homeschoolbuyer'sco-op website about Math Mammoth. Unfortunately, they are out of stock on the Light Blue series 1-6 complete curriculum :(


& @everyone else who took the time to reply: Thank you for your most helpful suggestions! VERY much appreciated!!!:)

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@abacus2 and @Ilovemykids

Thank you for the tip on homeschoolbuyer'sco-op website about Math Mammoth. Unfortunately, they are out of stock on the Light Blue series 1-6 complete curriculum :(


& @everyone else who took the time to reply: Thank you for your most helpful suggestions! VERY much appreciated!!!:)


The Light Blue series is available for purchase as a download - so no, I don't think they can run out of stock! Did you try the download instead of the CD? https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/index.php?option=com_hsbc_epp_order&Itemid=1447

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After my first convention, I typed up a list of tips that I would have liked to have known before I went:


1. Bring a backpack or rolling suitcase. A lot of people had a rolling crate with a long handle on it. Even if you just purchase a few books, they get very heavy in a bag by the end of the day, and it can be pretty far back to the car. If it's storming, you don't want to go back out to the car, either! You also pick up a lot of catalogs and get some free stuff, too.


2. Bring a lunch if they allow food. You really don't want to get back out to find food, and the food can be expensive if there is an option on site. Bring snacks and water, too.


3. Pick and choose seminars carefully, because they can really eat into your time to go to the vendor booths. If a seminar isn't quite what it was billed as, don't be afraid to leave. You might sit toward the back on the ones you aren't sure about.


4. Bring a small notepad so you can take notes at the seminars.


5. A lot of book vendors offer the exact same books at a lot of different prices. Shop around! I found some great deals at the Wholesale Books booth. Rainbow Resources had the next best prices.


6. It's perfectly fine to bring kids! They were everywhere! That being said, I think this would be really fun to do with a group of girls. The husbands and kids seemed restless by the end of the day.


7. Be sure to charge your phone before you go and don't accidentally take your husband's phone charger and have no way to connect to the world without borrowing a stranger's phone!! (Thankfully I was able to buy a charger and communicate again.)


8. As a newbie, you can get it all in in one day but you have to really push through and keep an eye on time, especially if you want to go to seminars, too. Time goes by faster than you think!



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THANK YOU for sharing your list!! Recommending vendors and ESPECIALLY for reminding me to charge my phone! Running to do that right now!! :auto:


I LOVE this forum and am deeply grateful for the wealth of information everyone takes the time to provide to "newbies" like me!


I hope to someday be seasoned & informed enough to return the favor!


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  • 4 weeks later...

We've used apologia exploring creation through zoology 1 and LOVE it. It is definitely geared for a 2nd grader so it may be a perfect fit! It has a lot of hands on activities. If you're trying to save money you can buy the textbook (shop around because you can find it cheaper than apologia's website) and then just print the notebook pages as you use them at home.

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