Yet another school year has started and we have made our picks for our Homeschool curriculum. We used quite a few free download options this year, perfect for a large family on a budget.
So Many Choices!
If you are new to the world of homeschooling or are a seasoned homeschool parent, you know the choices for homeschool curriculum are endless. Do you want traditional, in-school type curriculum, or maybe living books? Do you want to spend time preparing every lesson or do you want more open and go? What does the budget look like? Can you afford $500 or more per kid?
I can’t speak for everyone, but our kids just don’t learn well with the traditional style of school. Handing them a book and saying “okay, do this list of math problems,” just doesn’t work for us. Believe me, we tried that last year and it was a disaster. So what then? There is no way I can build it all on my own. I have 7 kids, I am lucky to get a shower these days.
The Good and The Beautiful Homeschool Curriculum
In walks The Good and The Beautiful with their amazing Homeschool curriculum that has FREE PDF DOWNLOADS(!!!!!) for the grade I need in Language Arts and Math. As I mentioned in my Best Homeschool Supplies for 2021 post I purchased a really awesome EcoTank printer a few years ago. I can print and print and never run out of ink.
This year I was able to print 3 Language arts books for each of the big kids (9 total), 2 math books for the twins and 1 for Gage (3 total). As well as the 2 History books, 7 science curriculums, handwriting for each (3 total), and our Arts and Crafts book before I needed to put more ink in. All that, well over 7,000 full color pages, for $30 worth of ink. I cannot rave enough about this printer. Add in the Walmart deal I found for paper and the spiral binder I bought a few years ago and I was set!
The Good and The Beautiful is a Christian Homeschool curriculum, though even as a Christian I do skip a few things here or there, or at the least explain how we feel and act in our family. One thing that a lot of people do not like about this curriculum is that that it was created by a woman of Mormon faith. This is our second year using at least part of this homeschool curriculum and I have only see a very non denominational approach to all things Christian. Some people choose not to support them for this reason, so that may be something you want to consider. We are using it exclusively this year.
We have decided to use the same Language Arts curriculum as last year, The Good and The Beautiful. The kids really did amazing with it. Gage had a lot of trouble reading and was really struggling prior to last year. Cameron had an IEP in public school for his trouble reading and the inability to focus. All three of the big kids were in “Title 1” for reading help in public school. I thought this was normal. A lot of kids were in Title 1, mine were no different.
The only thing was, at home, they had no problems. Homework was easy for them. They were a bit slow on reading, but not too bad. When we brought them home everything changed for them. We did “deschool” for a while to get out of old public school habits and they took off. Cameron is reading through all of the Harry Potter books and is reading Journey To The Center of The Earth. This kid, who was barely sounding out words, is easily reading 300-400 page books now. This homeschool curriculum is truly working for us.
The best part? The Good and The Beautiful offers levels 1-5 as free PDF downloads. With this I am able to to print our curriculum for almost free (with my printer and paper deal). The books themselves are not that expensive, however I do it the least expensive way possible.
Math Homeschool Curriculum
Again we decided to give TGTB a try for math. They redid their math this year to simplify it. From what I have seen, the old curriculum was very long and tedious. With the update they made it so much easier. The younger levels have small manipulative boxes to assist, though they tell you how you can put together your own. The older kids have a video they watch at the beginning of there lesson and it literally teaches them the lesson. They then go through on their own and complete the lesson. It is made to be done independently. I make sure I check all their work at the end and am here to answer any questions they have.
So far we are 17 lessons into this homeschool curriculum and it is working great. I was a bit nervous about the twins working on their own, but they are doing great. The hardest part so far is Olivia telling me she has completed her work for the day, then getting caught and having to finish it. It’s like she forgets that I check it everyday.
I chose to use TGTB for History this year. History is hard for me. I find it hard to get more accurate history curriculum. So much of it is changed by the Christian perspective. By no means am I saying that the Christian perspective isn’t valid, but I want my kids to see what British settlers did to the Native Americans from their view. I mean, come on, we didn’t get off the boat and have them welcoming us. We need something that will tell how the British treated them, the diseases that were brought over, how they were ran off their land. I am having a hard time finding this in a full history curriculum.
So in the mean time, I am using TGTB History 1 and filling in the spots as I see fit. It is the same with the story of creation. I explained the theory of evolution as well, told how their father and I felt, and let them decide how they feel on their own. I feel my goal in homeschooling my children with Christian homeschool curriculum is to give them the information, show them how to dig deeper, then allow them to decide what they believe in for their faith. I don’t want them to believe just what I believe, I want them to come to their faith on their own.
Science Homeschool Curriculum
Science is another thing that is tricky. We believe the earth is round, the earth is billions of years old, dinosaurs and humans did not walk the earth together, ect. Finding a science curriculum that teaches scientifically proven items, yet still acknowledges the gifts the God gave us is hard. TGTB comes pretty close. We have not looked into every one of their science curriculums, but so far I am a fan. We are currently doing “Energy” and it is explaining the science behind it, while still giving the glory to God.
TGTB Science is made more like a unit study. They are 15 or so lessons each and we do 2 lessons a week giving us approximately 5 science units a year. This year we chose to do Energy, Mammals, Marine Biology (FREE DOWNLOAD), Water and Our World, EcoSystems.
This year we have 2 10, almost 11 year olds. They are hitting, or getting ready to hit, puberty. As much as I hate to admit it, it is time to teach them where babies come from. This was something that I really had a hard time picking. We did go with TGTB, but I am modifying it. I have serious issues with purity culture, it always seems to come back and be the girl or woman’s fault. I want to teach them facts. No one should think that their shoulders are showing so they are ruining someone else’s thoughts.
My children need to know that their thoughts are their own. That they are not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts or actions. At their current age, I have decided that the portion on pornography can wait. I also don’t agree with how they talk about anything you do could ruin your body for your future spouse. I just don’t agree there so we are skipping that.
We also decided to do TGTB Safety unit this year. I think it is a good time for all 3 of the big kids to learn how to be safe at home, online, and in public places. Again I will be skipping the pornography section.
We have a few things that just don’t fit in with the other subjects. One of them in Typing. I think being able to type well is a necessity in today’s world so we are working hard on our typing skills. Each child is also doing handwriting. Both of these are great and I have really seen progress in all 3 of the big kids.
We also have creative writing notebooks for the twins. One of my favorite parts of school was being able to write, I want them to be able to enjoy that as well. I have bought and printed TGTB arts and crafts book that the kids can work through as they see fit.
These kids love read-alouds. The triplets will stop what they are doing and sit down with their siblings to listen. During read aloud time they are allowed to do quiet activities. If they find a way to keep the babies out of a puzzle, drawing, or writing they are more than welcome to do it.
I absolutely love books and have a serious problem when it comes to picking one out. It seems like I always buy 10 when I only needed a couple. I did fairly good pacing myself so far, though I do have about 20 more in my Amazon cart. Luckily my husband has the same problem so usually he is encouraging me to buy more. The following is a list of the books I bought for read-alouds this year:
-The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling (Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, 1)
-On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
-The Little Women Collection: Little Women; Good Wives; Little Men; Jo’s Boy
I purchased this homeschool planner this year, and so far it is working well for me. I am able to write in the notes for the week what all I need to pick up or gather for our science lessons. We are doing 2 lessons of science and history a week, 4 pages of handwriting, 2 days of typing, and a lesson a day of each math and language arts. This may change as time goes on, but for right now this working for us.
As the year goes on we will make changes, add in something, get rid of something, buy more books and I will give you a mid-year update on how things are going for us.
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