Homeschool books for 2014!

It happens that we’re just about to start a new level in a number of subjects.  We’ll be starting Sonlight’s Core B (history and literature) for first grade in about a week, and we’re just a week into Sonlight’s Core P4/5 for pre-kindergarten.  Emily is finishing Singapore Math 1A and about to move on to 1B.  On top of that, we’re just finishing Sonlight’s Science B and we’ll be doing Apologia Astronomy next.  So, since we have all these fun new subjects that we’re about to start all at once, I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of our books and give you an idea of what we’ll be doing for about the next year.

First, these are the world history books (some are Sonlight Core B, others are supplements) that are general and cover multiple periods of history.  For the next year, we’ll be covering creation through the fall of Rome.

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Most of these are Sonlight books, but I added in “Pages of History” and “the Story of the World.”

I have a few books about dinosaurs and the Ice Age, not pictured (they’re from the Creation point of view, but we’ll cover macro-evolution at some point in a later year and discuss the arguments for and against).

We’ll be spending quite some time on ancient Egypt, so we have a whole collection of books we’ll be reading on it.

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Of the Egypt books, only “Tut’s Mummy” is actually a Sonlight book.  Some of the rest are from Veritas Press, others are just books that I thought interesting.  I keep going back and forth about Tirzah.  I think it’s a little complex/difficult for first grade, so I might end up holding off on it and doing it when we make our second pass-through of world history in 6th grade.  But we’ll see.  I might also consider just giving it to Emily as a reader.  I didn’t put it in the schedule, though.

Next is Greece.  The only Sonlight books specifically on Greece were the “Greek News” book and the Greek myths book.  I thought adding in Aesop’s fables, and (not pictured, as I’ll get it from the library) Mary Pope Osborne’s children’s version of Homer’s “Odyssey” would round things out nicely.  Between the three, they cover some of the major influences of Greek writing on our modern world.

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I’m really excited about the sticker book for ancient Greece.  My girls really loved the sticker book we used during geography (Usborne “Sticker Dressing Around the World”) and so I thought they’d enjoy it again during world history.  I bought “Usborne Sticker Dressing Long Ago” only to discover that all but one page were actually not ancient enough to be civilizations we cover during Core B.   So we’ll do that one page (Egypt) and then set that book aside until next year.  I did get separate sticker books for Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  The Greek one is particularly interesting to me, because it’s specifically a sticker book of Greek myths.  Not only that, but it uses famous works of arts as the illustrations for the myths!  So you get an introduction to famous pieces of artwork (paintings, sculptures, etc.) along with the Greek myths themselves.  I’m planning to line it up as much as possible with the Greek myths book, so that we’ll read one myth and do a sticker page that goes with it each day.  They don’t line up perfectly, but they actually do line up very well.

On to Rome!  Again, here, most of the books are ones that I added, with the exception of “Detectives in Togas” and “Roman Diary.”  I added “Roman News” because Sonlight uses “Greek News.”  

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So, that basically covers history.  I have some additional books that I’m planning to add in that cover other periods of history, like ancient China and India, but most of them are library books and so I don’t have them available to take pictures.

Along with the history books, Sonlight includes a number of books that are just literature.  A few are historical, but most are pure fun, just great children’s literature.  In later cores starting with Core D, a much higher percentage of the literature books fit with the time period that you’re studying.  But in the early cores like B, only a few are historical.

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Now that we’ve covered history and literature, let’s move on to science!  We’re almost finished Science B, and we’re going to do something different for a little while and try Apologia Astronomy.

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It’s the first book in Apologia’s elementary series, so we’ve never tried any before.  I’m not sure how the girls will do with studying one subject for a longer period of time.  Also, Apologia generally schedules science to be 3 times a week, I believe.  I’m inclined to try just doing it every day, and see if we can keep up with the amount of reading.  Some people who do it every day just cut the readings into smaller portions.  So, we’ll see.  We’ve often gone through science faster than scheduled, doing two days’ worth at a time, but Sonlight Science and Apologia may be different in whether you can do that.

Next is math.  Math is our main subject, so there’s plenty of math go to around.  Singapore Math is our main math and Emily does it every day, but she also does a second math session that alternates between other math programs.  She does Life of Fred two days a week–this is her favorite math–and other days she does a Kumon book or a critical thinking book (those are pictured with language arts).

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In Singapore Math, Emily is finishing up level 1A.  She’s actually finished the textbook and workbook, but as you can see from this picture, we also do the Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems books.  There are a number of review pages at the end of the Intensive Practice book, so it’s taking her a few weeks to finish those before we move on to 1B.  But I would anticipate that she’ll do 1B and 2A this year.  Since we add in those extra books, it does take us a little longer than the traditional semester to finish each book.

The Life of Fred series is really great.  They’re stories that follow a character named Fred, who is 5 years old, a math genius, and a college professor.  Yes, it’s meant to be funny.  In each chapter, he first discovers a need for some kind of math, and then does the math.  At the end, there are a few questions to make sure the child is following along.  Emily loves these.  So far she’s done Apples, Butterflies, and she’s almost done Cats.  I figure that she’ll probably do Dogs, Edgewood, and Farming over the next year.  Since we’re currently doing LoF 2 days a week, and there are 19 chapters in each book, that’s 57 chapters in 29 weeks.  She might end up getting to Goldfish, but I’m not sure.

Next up is language arts.  I was using Sonlight Language Arts for this, but I grew too frustrated over trying to match up Emily’s reading and writing levels.  So at this point, the only thing we’re using from Sonlight Language Arts is the activity sheets, which Emily really enjoys.  We’re almost finished with the activity sheets from LA 1, and we’ll be starting the LA 2 ones in a few weeks.

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Critical Thinking is a bit of math and a bit of language arts, so I’m a little irregular with how I schedule it.  There are two thinking skills books here, and I’ll probably do one and then the other.  The Mind Benders book is basically logic puzzles.

Emily is just starting cursive this year.  The Transition book has half in manuscript, half in cursive.  So she does cursive 4 days a week, then manuscript one day a week, just so that she’s still getting practice in it.

Language Smarts is a fun language arts book that has basic grammar and writing skill practice.  We skipped over the first 67 pages because it was teaching basic reading skills that Emily already has and was bored by.  I did have her start with compound words, though, as, while she can read them fine, I thought the activities were beneficial because of how it has you guess what word it means.  It has good activities like finding synonyms and antonyms, determining whether something is fact or inference, and formatting a letter.  I think it’ll be a good book.

Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons go together.  WWE alternates between copywork (copying down a sentence from a good book) and narration (listening to a story, then writing down a summary of it).  It draws the copywork and narration passages from a number of very classic works of children’s literature, so I’m planning to have Emily read those books as readers as we go along.  Right now, for instance, she’s reading Mary Poppins.  She’s also done Alice in Wonderland, some stories from the Blue Fairy book, and a bit of Adventures of Pinocchio (she hated that one, so I let her off).  First Language Lessons is more of a grammar book.  It teaches things like nouns and verbs, common versus proper nouns, and the like.  It also includes some poetry memorization.

Emily is also doing All About Spelling and All About Reading, programs I really like.  She’s really pretty far ahead of the levels that are currently available of All About Reading, but I’m having her go through it anyway to really learn the rules.  She’s near the end of AAR 2, so I used AAR 3 in this picture.

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We do have some extracurricular books, but to my eternal shame, we don’t get to these as often as I’d like.  We have a music program (the girls also take violin, this is more of a general music program), an art program, and we are learning Chinese.  While we’re actually about halfway through book 2 in this art program, ARTistic Pursuits, the first book has some art from various ancient civilizations, so we’ll probably go back through and do some of the art projects again as we cover those periods of history, just for fun.

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I think I’m going to end this here, because it’s late and I’m getting tired.  I have a few pictures of the pre-kindergarten and preschool books that my younger daughters are using, so I will try to post those next time.  But these are the ones that my first grader is using, or that will be used by the whole family.  I hope it might be helpful to some people!

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