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New to Homeschooling Help!!


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I decided to pull my kids from public school and homeschool them this school year.  So we have been homeschooling all year but I still have so many questions and need advice as I choose our curriculum for next year.  My daughters will be going in to 2nd grade and 4th grade.  They both read exceptionally well for their age bracket.  DD1 is a very good speller too.  I don't even think she needs a spelling program anymore.  She is really good at most everything.  Her writing composition has improved since starting too.  


I am having trouble choosing a spelling program.  We tried Soaring with Spelling.  Even a grade level up it was too easy for the 3rd grader and not enough for vocabulary practice and my younger one just struggled.  I'm not sure why.  She gets frustrated very easily and doesn't like busy work.  But also rules that aren't always the same confuse her.  Like in math, she will learn a concept and then they will alter it slightly and she is all confused.  If anything changes at all it is almost like a totally new concept.  We have been doing Math Mammoth for her and had to slow it down quite a bit so she doesn't get so frustrated.  Might skip to Horizon next year.  The older one loves it and the younger one likes the way it looks and loves the drill work the older one gets to do. 


I realize now that I am rambling!  Can you tell I need help?  


We use SOTW and absolutely love it.  We have created history notebooks with a timeline and mapwork and do lots of projects.  The kids and I love doing history with this program!  The older one loves learning and expanding so much that it is really easy to give her a higher level of learning.


Reading and science are really my biggest question marks. I was looking at Mr. Q.  The kids have done elemental science for biology this year.  They want to do earth science next year.  They love hands on, so I want something that really gets them involved.  Anyone have any experience with this?


We have done Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing and have had lots of success with those programs and lots of learning.  We will be doing spelling with the younger and vocab somehow with the older next year.  But what do I need to do for reading comprehension?  They read great and read all the time, but don't I need to do some formal reading stuff?  We have been doing a read aloud together and doing narrations of our daily reading and a lapbook to go with it.  Just trying to see if I need more for next year.  Please help!!!


Thank you!!!!

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Supercharged Science is what we like.  Super hands on.


Spell to write and read-  We use this for spelling and it also helps with reading.  There is a learning curve to teach it at first, but it is very good.  My boys have actually been having fun doing it.  So that's a huge + for me :)  I was having such a hard time the first two years all the phonics for reading and spelling never made sense to me.  With SWR now they do!  yay

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First off, don't worry. Your children are young and it sounds like you are ding a lot with them. This first year is all about finding what works and what doesn't. When looking at next year I would start off by listing all the curriculum that you have used this year in three columns. 


Love and want to keep                         Okay                   Hate and need to replace


Just change the hate column first. I found that when I pulled my son from traditional school he had a 100% change of curriculum over night. I tried to change slowly after that.


It sounds like spelling is a big issue. For your older I would look at Phonetic Zoo. Here is a review I wrote about it. There is no busy work in it, and if she is above a third grade level she should do fine with it. With your younger you could try all about spelling, or if she also doesn't like busy work look at the natural speller. I have never used apples and pears (I think), but there are a lot of people on here who love that. Spalding spelling is also one I hear good things about. I don't thing you would go wrong with any of those programs.


I tend to shy away from things that try to teach to many things at once. We have always kept spelling and vocabulary separate. There are some great vocab programs out there, but I like the Evan Moor daily academic vocabulary and it is part of the teacher file box.


For Math, have you looked at Life of Fred? Some use it as a main program. We use it as a supplement. It is fun math, and the treat subject my ds finishes his day with. My children are both in different math programs as they both learn math in a different way. However, they both love Fred and the way things are explained in LOF Fred help both kids. 


Now, onto reading. At the top and bottom of the page you probably see a link to SWB;s MP3 lectures. I would pay the $3.99 and get the Literary analysis one. That is your reading program. If you are doing history and asking questions and discussing, you are fine.


Honestly when it comes to science. At this age, you can get kits and have fun. Go to your local children's museum. My dh is an incredibly well respected research chemist. He is very relaxed about the science that we taught during elementary school. He had me but away the books and play. He says that in elementary school they need to learn that science is fun, to ask questions and to experiment. I got the big bag of science and had fun. My older son is taking science classes now that he is in middle school (at our local science museum) and he is doing great.


Enjoy the elementary years. Have fun. I hope this helps.

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