Mid-Year Homeschool Reevaluation

We are approaching our 100th day of school, and, as I do every year, I am starting to get the itch to try something new!  I have to control myself, however; it's way too expensive to switch gears midstream.  But I have figured out what works and what doesn't...at least for now.

I have three children in three separate grades: a 10 year old in 5th grade, an 8 year old in 3rd grade, and a 5 year old in 1st grade.  So obviously each of these grades bring with them their unique challenges.  My first grader is able to read most instructions, but needs help with some of the concepts and requires more of my attention.  My older two kids work well on their own, but tend to get distracted if I am out of the room.  So I made a list of the curriculum I am using, and the pros and cons of each.

  • Picture Smart Bible -- This is by far my FAVORITE class, and all three kids enjoy it!  We start with prayer, and then we work on one book of the Bible a week, taking it slow to really absorb the information.
  • Mystery of History -- This is our second favorite because it's ancient history read in story fashion.  I teach outlining during this class, as we all take notes (the tests are mostly open-note tests).
  • Bob Jones (Math, Science, Heritage Studies, Reading, English) -- I love Bob Jones.  My favorites are the English, Reading, and Math.  I like the Science and Heritage Studies, but having so many classes going on simultaneously has sent me on the lookout for curriculum we can work on as a group.
  • A Reason for Spelling -- I love the stories introducing each of the spelling word lists; however, that's three stories to read every week!  (And they prefer that I read them, of course.)  Not sure if this alone is enough to deter me from using this next year, however.
  • A Reason for Handwriting -- Totally happy with this series -- the kids love it, too.
  • Rosetta Stone Farsi -- I haven't been able to find another option for teaching kids Farsi.  My husband is Iranian, and I am a third generation missionary to Iran, so it's critical that our kids learn the language of the people we love so much.  Rosetta is rather user-friendly, but I find that it's a bit too challenging on some levels for my 5 year old.  However, it might just have to do!
  • Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing -- I learned from dear old Mavis, and I've grown fond of her.  The kids love the kids' version of her famous instructional software, and it even plays fun music as they learn.
  • PE Plus -- We have the opportunity to attend a homeschool PE class that is literally down the street from our house.  The kids go once a week for an hour, and they love playing games with other kids in the area.
  • ArtPacs -- We haven't been the most consistent with art, as my kids tend to be artistic enough on their own, with paintings and clay objects littering my house!  But we turn to these books to learn specific art methods.
  • Misc. -- We have yet to start some of the miscellaneous curricula that I bought before this year began: Mapping the World by Heart, Positive Action for Christ, and our Nine-Note Recorder Method book.  Mostly because we either ran out of time, or I wanted to wrap up other things before we started.  But I am certain I will use them, as I'm very excited about them!

Next year, I might make some changes.  And you will find as many different lists as there are homeschoolers.  So don't be discouraged if your list looks different from mine.  All that matters is that you remain open to change as your children grow and develop, and that you are making choices that benefit the entire family, even if that means taking it slow or leaving things out.  My personal rule is that it needs to be the three E's: Effective, Enjoyable, and Economical!

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