Homeschool Curriculums For Teaching Multiple Grade Levels.

In case you’re just getting in on the conversation, we’ve been talking about the challenges of homesteading and homeschooling multiple children, and what some of my favorite educational resources are.

Let’s continue the discussion as we delve into workbooks, homeschool curriculums, and online courses. Without going into a tremendous amount of details, here’s what we use…

 

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculums For Schooling Multiple Children.

Math

1st-5th Grade. We’ve consistently used Singapore Math for first through fifth grade. Although I continue to look around at other workbooks, I find myself going back to Singapore every year for each elementary aged kiddo. The colorful pictures keep kids engaged, and the approach is very easy to understand, even for children who are just being introduced to mathematical concepts. Once we got to 6th grade, however, Singapore became harder to follow so we only use it up to 5th grade.

Sometimes my kids just don’t feel like doing math worksheets. When they seem to be overwhelmed, I switch tactics and practice mental math instead. For this I use the Rays Arithmetic Series. These books go right along with the McGuffey’s readers that I’ll talk more about in the Language Arts section.

6th Grade. For sixth grade we’ve used MathHelp.com and really loved it. In all honesty, math isn’t my strong suit. Once my oldest hit 6th grade I found myself having to watch YouTube videos to refresh my memory on how to do the problems, which was slowing us both down. I considered hiring a private tutor but this wasn’t an affordable option for us, so I decided to sign her up for online math courses. We used Mathhelp.com for a year and we both really loved it. My daughter was able to watch a video of a math instructor work problems on a white board, and then there were exercises for her to complete on her own. It was totally self guided, with a parent section where I could log in and see her progress and test results. The curriculum there is very well done.

7th-9th Grade. From seventh grade up we’ve been using the Ron Paul Math Curriculum. They offer a week of lessons for free, so we gave it a shot. I felt like the teacher was a bit dry compared to the Mathhelp videos, but my daughter, Jada, didn’t seem to mind. It was less expensive for us to purchase the math curriculum through RPC since we’d be signing up for several of their other courses, so that’s why we chose it. Otherwise I probably would have stuck with Mathhelp a little longer. The RPC courses are very rigorous, but definitely thorough.

This school year my daughter will be taking the 8th grade Personal Finance course through the RPC. I’m super excited that they’re offering this alongside Algebra 1 and 2. If you’ve got a rising 8th grader (or even older kids) you should definitely check it out. You can get the first five lessons for free.

Supplementary Books. All of my children have also been reading the Life of Fred books for Math, which are a fun addition to doing workbooks. They turn math into fun stories that kids can relate to. Check out your local library to see if they might carry the series.

 

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculums For Schooling Multiple Children.

Language Arts

1st-3rd Grade. For the lower grades I really like the Spectrum Language Arts books. I love how simple but thorough each lesson is. The worksheets aren’t heavy on wording, making it easy for younger kids to follow along.

4th-8th Grade. As of this writing I’ve got one rising 5th grader and one rising 8th grader. Both of them will be using the Ron Paul English Curriculum. For us it works best having the older children’s curriculum online so they can be instructed by qualified teachers while I’m free to devote my time to teaching the younger kids. The RPC is set up so that kids watch the instructor’s video lesson for the day and then print off the worksheet or assignment. The following day they go over the previous day’s assignment and the student can make the necessary changes to their answers. No scores are given. The child is very much self-led, though parents should follow along with their child’s progress. At the end of each week a test is given.

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculums For Schooling Multiple Children.

Reading and Handwriting

1st-6th Grade. We’ve really fallen in love with using the McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers. I first discovered them while researching what the Amish use in their schools, and after reading tons of reviews I ordered the complete set. The reading lessons start very simple, and gradually introduce different sounds and blends as they progress. Although the material is very old fashioned, I do love the focus on faith based morals taught throughout the stories.

Along with the readers I use printable writing sheets that Sherry over at Mom Delights has made available for free. These pages use the reading material in the McGuffey’s books to reinforce copy work (handwriting), narration, and dictation, as well as spelling. She has a fantastic video explaining how she uses her worksheets alongside the readers. I’ve found it to be extremely helpful.

7th-8th Grade. My oldest daughter has been working through the Spencerian Penmanship Copybooks. The worksheets are very monotonous, but her handwriting has come a long way through this practice. I’d actually love to order a set for myself to work through.

 

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculums For Schooling Multiple Children.

Science

1st-3rd Grade. I actually don’t formally introduce science with a curriculum until 4th grade. Of course they watch educational videos on the human body, ecosystems, the planet, space, plant life, etc. And we get tons of books from the library, and visit museums and nature science centers. We also spend a lot of time outside in nature, learning through observation. Whatever the children express an interest in we dive into head first. I feel like at this age exploration and curiosity best drive the learning.

4th-8th Grade. We are huge fans of Daniel Dignan’s science courses taught through the Ron Paul Curriculum. The subjects are so exciting and fun for the kids. My son can’t wait to start his 5th grade science this year. He’s already done all of the free lessons, and is dying for me to purchase the curriculum.

The 5th grade science course we’ll be doing covers: Food Science and Chef School, Art School, Space Exploration and Rocket Science, Photography and Electronics, the Science of Storytelling, and Filmmaking.

It’s not your typical science class for sure, but what is taught is applicable to everyday life and is full of hands-on activities. My oldest daughter became extremely interested in robotics after her 7th grade science course. Definitely check out the free lessons and lesson plans for each grade level. Lots of great stuff there.

My Favorite Homeschool Curriculums For Schooling Multiple Children.

Geography/History

1st-2nd Grade. As with science, we do not formally introduce a geography/history curriculum at this age. Instead we absorb information through videos, books, audio, games, and field trips.

3rd-5th Grade. So far we’ve enjoyed reading through the The Story of the World series. Sometimes it gets a little boring, but I love to include projects or crafts that reinforce what was taught in the reading, which helps keep kids engaged. Oftentimes we can find a YouTube video about the subject, which also helps.

6th-8th Grade. My oldest daughter has really enjoyed Bradley Fish’s history courses through the Ron Paul Curriculum. (We found the 4th-5th grade instructor to be less enjoyable, so we didn’t use RPC for these grades.) I appreciate that Mr. Fish approaches history from a Biblical standpoint, though the curriculum isn’t necessarily “Christian”.

High School

We plan on continuing with the Ron Paul Curriculum through high school, although I have some hesitation using any of Gary North’s courses after reading some bad reviews. We may end up looking for supplements to these classes. (Any thoughts from you guys?)

I think that pretty much sums up what I’m currently using for my kiddos! Hopefully it was helpful to you.

I’m always on the lookout for new homeschool curriculums and online resources. If you’ve got a favorite that your family has enjoyed, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles

A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

15 Comments

  1. Sorry, maybe this question is a bit personal, but would you mind sharing how much this curriculum, all together, costs per year for your homeschool?

    My mother homeschooled us before the day of online classes. One of her favorite resources was “Modern Curriculum Press”, and although I haven’t reached the gradeschool years yet, I remember that it worked well for me as a child. You can also access lots of math stuff at http://www.homeschoolmath.net/ (some free).

    Another thing my mom discovered was that many large-scale (public school) vendors would send you one free book sample to keep, because public school teachers would often sample one book then order a couple hundred if they liked them. Can’t remember which providers did this, or if it is still a practice with the availability of online book-previews nowadays.

  2. We started out with Weaver, which I really liked as it is designed to teach all the kids together and integrates everything except math. Eventually I started looking for some other options as the kids seemed to start showing some weak areas in standardized testing assessments. I used a mix of things for several years and we enjoyed a wide variety things. One of my favorites from this was Easy Grammar and Daily Grams. Then due to an unexpected pregnancy and several other major events, we switched to SOS for several years. Once things at home calmed down again we ditched this. The kids hated it. By the end I was extremely frustrated with it. The grading load for me was more for me than if was teaching something else myself. And it seemed that instead of the kids learning, it was more about “what do they want for an answer?” During our transition out of this, I stumbled across Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). It was a bit intimidating at first, but it has made my life so much easier than I could ever have imagined. After watching the parent video series, my first response was “why didn’t I learn this in college?” (I was an English Ed. major). It made teaching AND grading English so much easier – no more subjective grades. More importantly, it made it possible to easily integrate our subjects together. I can teach or review a writing skill and then assign an essay from the science, history, or literature they are reading. It is easily used for multiple levels at the same time. One assignment for multiple subjects results in less “stuff” to do and they do a better job on their work because they don’t feel so overwhelmed with the number of assignments they have. I have liked it so much that I am trying their primary materials this year for my first grader. I am currently using Saxon for math, Notgrass for history, and God’s Design (Answers in Genesis) for science. Since the science is aimed at elementary and middle school, I use it as a starting point for my high schoolers and have them find and perform extra projects or write reports to ramp it up to a high school level. For penmanship I found a really wonderful computer program from Rainbow Resource called “write start.” It works basically like a word processor, but for you to produce your own writing pages. It has cursive and manuscript, traditional and modern styles, and math options. For my kids that still have penmanship, I just give them pages based on their school work – usually memory work. My kids currently range from 1st-11th grade and I have 2 that have already graduated. I looked at the Ron Paul Curriculum after reading your blog. If I were starting out new, I might consider it, but we already have a system that works for us and after SOS, I am a little shy of anything that is computer based and has the kids on their own. The only thing I would do differently if I had it to do all over again is start with IEW. I think if I had had this in the beginning, I would have combined it Weaver and never left it.

    • MamaJedi, thanks so much for taking the time to share all of that with us! Great info for parents who might be looking for curriculum ideas. 🙂

  3. Awesome! I am going to be checking out several of these options:) Thanks for writing this post. I always love reading about what other people are using since there are just SO MANY options. I am using, as mentioned on a previous post :), Easy Peasy All-In-One homeschool curriculum online. It is free, which at this point in time, is about all we can afford. Our budget is so very tight right now that I have to try and really justify every single purchase. It will get better 🙂 But right now, free works for us and it is a very inclusive program and best of all, my kids love it! They feel like they are playing for the most part, but they are also learning. I always want to be able to do my own curriculum but I have come to accept that is just not who I am. 🙂 God is so good and thankfully lead me to this curriculum last year when I was wondering what the heck I was going to do with three kids needing books (granted there were a lot I could reuse, but the phonics was not working for us and there were just too many worksheets for my son!). I love that there are so many options for people to use and figure out what really works for them. I am definitely going to be checking out Ron Paul Curriculum and Robinson Curriculum. Thank you guys for the recommendations! Oh and I keep meaning to check out Life of Fred…going to make a note now!

    • Jessica, check out the free weeks offered in the Ron Paul courses. Even if you can’t afford to purchase a full year’s curriculum at least your kiddos will enjoy a few freebies! The Life of Fred books are really cute. Not a curriculum, but fun to read. As I mentioned, see if your library carries them or maybe a friend will let you borrow their books. They aren’t cheap, lol. 🙂 Happy homeschooling!!

  4. We’ve used a variety of curriculum over the 14 years we’ve been homeschooling. Apologia Science (by Jay Wile) is only science we’ve used. We love Saxon math (tried Teaching Textbooks and found the lack of review a problem). English was Rod and Staff in the early years, then outsourcing by middle school. We used Mystery of History or My Father’s World for the history and loved both.

    The word of advice I’d give to any mom of littles just starting her adventure: Pick a curriculum you love. Your enthusiasm will be contagious for your children and they will enjoy learning!

    • Wonderful advice, Kathleen! And also to new homeschooling parents… try not to be overwhelmed with so many curriculums to choose from. If you don’t like one, you can always switch! 🙂

  5. We used Singapore Math for the elementary years too and LOVED it. For the secondary years we are using Teaching Textbooks and it’s working out really well for us. Science is always Apologia – the kids love it and the books are entertaining. One book we used for penmanship is called Patriotic Penmanship. The content focuses around the Constitution and other patriotic stuff and it’s formatted into 30 easy lessons. Thanks for the good info, Kendra. I hadn’t heard of the Ron Paul stuff before. Will definitely check it out!

    • Thanks for sharing all of your favorite curriculums as well, Laurie! I hadn’t heard of many of them. There’s so much out there… I always enjoy hearing what other homeschooling parents are using! 🙂 You never know when you’ll discover something you love even better.

  6. This seems suspect, so much great curriculum out there, why would I use Ron Paul’s (possible) brainwashing stuff. Teaching textbooks, supercharged science, Bju & IEW English. (10yr HS veteran of 4 kids)

    • Hi Heather :). I’m not sure what you mean by suspect… I’m just sharing what we use. I’m curious what you mean about the RPC possibly being brainwashing??? There’s no agenda other than a solid education. 😉 Perhaps you haven’t had a chance to check out some of the free lessons on their site to get a better idea of what to expect from the curriculum.

      • By the way Heather… even though I’m not sure if you were trying to be condescending or helpful, I do appreciate you mentioning Supercharged Science. I hadn’t heard of this curriculum before and am checking out the website now. (BTW, I think as homeschool moms it’s so important that we encourage and support each other in a loving way. You never know what positive impact you can have on someone’s life by coming at them in love.)

        **Edited: Just checked out Supercharged Science, as you recommended. It looks good, but YIKES! $513!? Unfortunately, this is WAY out of our budget for just ONE subject.

  7. Some other ideas…

    We used Rod & Staff up until I found Robinson Curriculum. Before Ron Paul’s curriculum was finished they recommended Dr. Robinson’s curriculum. Robinson Curriculum is all self taught and based on the 3 R’s. I looked into Ron Paul’s curriculum but it was too much money for our household and I didn’t think it was as good. Dr. Robinson being a homeschooling dad, scientist, and college professor decided to do an experiment with homeschooling. He talks all about it on their website, but basically, he researched how historical figures that made a difference in the world learned. Turns out it was with the 3 R’s. Most were also self taught because they had developed a love of reading, which both also were keys (self taught & love of reading). As a professor he saw first hand students from all types of learning and those that did the best/were most successful had a love of reading and could teach themselves… didn’t need a teacher of video to teach them. They figured out the material they needed to learn on their own. By doing so, they learned a lot in the process and they gained a good type of pride, accomplishment, in their work, knowing they had done it themselves and that they are capable in doing so. All these things put together made Robinson Curriculum’s approach the best option for our household… and I never thought I’d find anything I liked better than Rod & Staff, which I loved and still do because in a way it fits into the Robinson style of learning in that I didn’t teach my children with it; I let them figure out the lessons on their own (self-taught). We do still use Rod & Staff’s math and a few other subjects here and there as I find one of my children needs, like spelling.

    I’ll add that we have homeschooled from the start in our family. I had 2 children accepted into college last week… one 15 and the other 12! I attribute this to Rod & Staff, Robinson Curriculum, and their hard work. My children lost a love of reading using R&S because it was like bring school home, while Robinson developed a love of reading by introducing the children to read actual classic books. Reading is no longer intimidating, nor boring to them. They enjoy it (even those of mine that didn’t like reading before) and realize it is the means with which we learn… at least in school and college. I hope this helps impart a few more ideas.

    • I should add that Robinson “teaches” things like science and history through the books on their reading list. The students actually read the autobiographies from historical figures, rather than a paragraph about a person from a textbook. The courses booklist can be found online at their website which is http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/. The Robinson’s are very free with their information and their curriculum is priced awesomely. Most importantly, the key to how everything is done (how Dr. Robinson implemented the curriculum) is spelled out in his Course of Study… that alone is worth the price of the curriculum!

      • Thank you for sharing about Robinson Curriculum, Michelle! I’ve never heard of them. I agree, RPC is very pricey. I justify it by figuring it’s cheaper than a tutor or a private school, but it’s definitely an investment. (Worthy, though!) I’m gonna check out the link you shared. Congrats on your kiddos excelling in school! I know you’re proud of their accomplishments. 🙂

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