Well, I did it. I finally bit the bullet and purchased an official homeschool curriculum for next school year. I have it in my hands and am already reading through to get a feel.
Choosing a curriculum has been agonizing. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of products I’ve researched, decided on and then changed my mind the next day! It’s been a roller coaster ride. I am so scared that I’ll make the wrong choice, be too stingy, and end up ruining my kids for life. The biggest sticking point for me is price. There are so many great curriculum that I really, really want to use but just can’t afford them. I’ve read so many blog posts and e-books about homeschooling on a dime and while I know that it’s possible to spend very little money, that route also requires a lot of parental planning! I need something that basically tells me what to do and when. I’m fine adjusting the plans, but I need a plan!
I ended up purchasing My Father’s World Kindergarten curriculum used (meaning they didn’t end up using it so it’s all new, really!) at a really great price. My Father’s World combines all the different educational “stuff” I like — unit studies with a bit of classical education and Charlotte Mason thrown in. It is also all inclusive so I don’t have to buy a separate math, writing, and phonics program. I opted for Kindergarten curriculum because Ella still is not solid with her reading and I’d rather start at a lower level and whiz through than try to play catch up from the start. I am concerned that we’ll finish this year long program in less than a year because the only area where she’s not at a first grade level is in reading, but we’ll just start first grade mid-year if we need to. That’s the beauty of homeschooling!
Of course, as soon as Ella saw her work materials, she wanted to jump right in! But I’m holding her at bay until the fall. Meanwhile, this summer, we’ll be using Reading Eggs, an online learn to read program to keep up and hopefully improve her reading skills. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but my kids absolutely love it. In fact, they’ll ask to “play” school on the computer before they ask to watch TV. Ella is of course whizzing right along and even Miles, at 3, is able to do some of the games with help. There are two different levels available — one for pre or beginning readers and another for kids already reading. We’ve been using the pre-reading portion and I’ve been impressed with how well it follows along with most phonics programs I’ve looked at. Reading Eggs offers a free trial (for 30 days, I think) and it would be a great summer “gap” activity. I also got an email after signing up for a trial for 15% off if I signed up for the year before my trial was up.
So that’s it. My babysteps have led us directly in to full time homeschooling. I’m looking forward to our next steps!