It is time to plan curriculum for the new homeschool year. For the 2019-2020 school year, I’ll have a 4 year old ready for level K work, a 1st grader, a 3rd grader, and a 5th grader. This article provides an overview of my elementary level homeschool curriculum selections for the 2019-2020 school year.
Language Arts Elementary Level Homeschool
The Good and the Beautiful
We will continue to use the free pdf versions of The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts in the 2019-2020 school year. I have been happy with the program and feel it has helped build my children’s reading fluency and decoding skills. I have also loved the literature picked for lessons in each level. We do skip the spelling portion of the lessons and instead use All About Spelling.
All About Spelling
Daily Language Review
We started using Daily Language Review this year and will continue with it into the next school year. This product provides spiral practice and allows me to track specific grade level skills. I know which skills my children have mastered and which ones need additional teaching or review. CLICK HERE to read my full review of Daily Language Review.
I first heard about Easy Grammar in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks homeschooling book. CLICK HERE to read my review of Cathy Duffy’s book. We have been using Easy grammar for a few months and will definitely continue using this one for the next school year. The grammar lessons are short and provide clear explanations with practice.
I bought several reader sets last year to use with my middle children. My 5th grader is a very fluent reader and does not need extra practice, but my 1st and 3rd grader have definitely benefited from assigned reading over the last few months. We have the McGuffey readers, the Elson Readers, and the Pathway Readers. Of these three, the Pathway Readers are our favorites. The stories are interesting and my children enjoy reading them.
CLICK HERE to read about where to get free leveled readers for reading fluency practice.
Daily Reading Comprehension
Evan-Moor’s Daily Reading Comprehension series provide quick practice of comprehension skills. The passages can also be used for fluency practice and monitoring reading progress. CLICK HERE to read my review of Daily Reading Comprehension. We are definitely continuing with this curriculum into the next school year. If any areas come up that need further instruction, I will pull out Reading Comprehension Fundamentals to fill in the gaps. CLICK HERE to read my review of Reading Comprehension Fundamentals.
Last school year, I have used a mixture of writing products. Our core Language Arts curriculum (The Good and the Beautiful) includes some writing activities and projects. We also have used and will continue with 1) Evan-Moor’s 6-Trait writing series and 2) Writing with Ease, which systematically and gradually teaches the ability to summarize content. CLICK HERE to read my review of elementary writing curricula. I also purchased some paragraph writing curricula off of Teachers Pay Teachers. For my fifth grader, we will use a paragraph and essay writing curriculua from Teachers Pay Teachers in addition to Writing and Rhetoric student book and teachers guide.
For my 1st and 3rd grader, we will continue with The Good and the Beautiful handwriting curriculum. For my early Kindergartener I am using handwriting worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers. There are so many quality options available there. CLICK HERE to read about how to teach multsensory handwriting.
My 1st and 3rd grader are interested in typing, so we are using what worked with my oldest. We are going through the book, “Dr. Fry’s Computer Keyboarding for Beginners” using an Alphasmart. I like the Aphasmart as it is easy to move to where we are doing school and is free of typical computer distractions. I follow each child’s lead on how much they want to practice each day to keep the typing process and progress enjoyable. CLICK HERE to read elementary level typing curriculum options.
I will be adding in Vocabulary from Classical Roots for my 5th grader to focus on vocabulary skills.
My 4 year old has completed all of our preschool picks from last year and we have moved on to Kindergarten level work. She loves doing school work and I follow her lead on how much we do and if she wants to do it. We work at her pace and due to her age, I don’t require her to do school work.
For reading, we are continuing on with Edmark and an unpublished phonics program I received in graduate school. CLICK HERE to read my review of the Edmark reading program. When she is ready, we will either move on to The Good and the Beautiful Primer or K level for language arts. For math, we are using The Good and the Beautiful Level K math.
We are continuing on with Evan-Moor math products. We use Math Fundamentals and Daily Math Practice as our core curriculum. Since we do year round schooling, I also add on Daily Word Problems to extend our days of math practice. CLICK HERE to read more about why I love Evan-Moor math.
Last school year I used and enjoyed Miquon Math as a supplement. We have just finished the second book in the series. After looking through the third book, I have decided to discontinue Miquon Math. The concepts became pretty advanced for the first grade level in the second book in the series (multiplication and division) and I felt like what we have done was sufficient for introducing concepts and providing visual representations of numbers.
We will also continue to use Life of Fred as a fun story-based math supplement.
Additional Math Supplements for my 1st grader
I will be using Edmark’s Time Telling Program and Attainment’s Money Skills Program. CLICK HERE to read more about these supplementary math curricula.
Social Studies and History
Last school year we started with Story of the World. Once we finished the book, we moved on to The Good and the Beautiful History 1. The two history programs have different formats and it was nice to switch programs and get a different feel and perspective mid-year. I really like both history curriculums and plan on continuing with this pattern in the next school year. We have started Story of the Word volume 2 and will also do The Good and the Beautiful History 2.
Both of these history programs are too advanced to hold the attention of my younger children. For my 4 and 6 year old, we will be using Around the World with Picture books for social studies. Later in the year we may try introducing history with Notgrass American History. Depending on interest level, I may also use some of Evan-Moor’s history pockets to introduce history topics.
Last year, I tried Elemental Science for my preschool and K level children. Although they loved it, I just couldn’t pull it together consistently and gave up. I do better with open and go types of curricula. This next school year, I am going to do more units, as described in the Well-Trained Mind. It really helps both my interest level and that of my children to break things up and switch topics every month.
We are going to spend time studying Earth Science, Astronomy, Zoology, Human Body, Chemical Reactions, and Physics. I already have a lot of reference books and curriculum on each topic and will spend about 6 weeks on each one. Here are some of my favorite resources for each topic for grades 1-3:
Sassafras Science Adventures
My older two children do really well with story-type curriculum and we came across the Sassafras Science Adventures series. We will continue using these during the next school year. CLICK HERE to read my review of Sassafras Science books.
We have also used Evan-Moor’s Daily Science Practice series. These books provide teaching and quick practice with grade level science concepts. CLICK HERE to read my review. I will work these units in throughout the school year.
We started using the Berean Builders Science series last year and loved it and plan to continue using the series 1-2 times per week. My oldest child gets the most out of the lessons and I consider it too advanced for my young learners (K or 1st grade)
I have also used and loved the “Science A Closer Look” series. These textbooks double as leveled reading fluency practice as they are written at grade level for content and reading level.
The Well-Trained Mind Homeschooling book recommends covering animals, anatomy, and botany during 5th grade. Last year we spend too many months on animals and we all became tired of it. To keep animal studies more engaging this school year, I plan on doing shorter units focusing on relevant or interest-based animals. For example, learning about keeping chickens or about birds we see in our community.
Animal Book Resources
- Farm Anatomy
- A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens
- Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
General Biology Resources
Last school year I slacked off for a while in our art lessons. Later in the year we had a lot of fun doing Mark Kistler’s Mini Marshmallow art lessons (CLICK HERE to read my review). For the 2019-2020 school year we are going to continue working through Artistic Pursuits book 1 and start Artistic Pursuits book 2. We will also do lessons from artforkidshub.com and may try out letsmakeart.com
Art History and Appreciation
I also want to include more focused art history and appreciation lessons and activities. For Art History, I found the Art History for Elementary Bundle by Whimsy Workshop Teaching on Teachers Pay Teachers. For art appreciation, we are going to try, “How to Use Child-sized Masterpieces for Art Appreciation” by Aline Wolf with postcard sized art prints.
I bought the Casio 44-key mini keyboard and it has been perfect for teaching my younger children to play and enjoy playing. The little screen shows a staff and which note(s) the child is playing. We have had this almost a year now and the children really enjoy it. I originally bought it to use with a Piano by number program, but I am also using it with my 5 year old to learn to read notes. Amazon also has this little keyboard as a bundle that includes stickers for the keys, a beginning book, and a power cord.
For my preschooler/early K child and my 3rd grader with some fine motor delays, I will continue with the Piano by Number series. I just want to get them to enjoy playing while they develop fine motor skills and coordination. My almost 6 year old has made great progress. I am also using the Hoffman Piano series to develop music skills with him. To specifically teach note reading we are using the Michael Arron Piano course books.
My 4 year old expressed interest in learning the guitar. After checking with some Facebook groups, experienced music teachers recommend starting with the piano for music experience, but also using the ukulele first. A ukulele is easier for small hands to hold and manipulate. I have been really happy with the “Hola! Music” brand ukulele and recommend it. The company sent me an e-mail after purchase to explain how to condition the nylon strings to stay in tune. Also, I tune it using my Guitar Tuna app. We are gradually working our way through the Alfred’s Kids Ukulele course book. The ukulele has been great for working on rhythm and strumming skills.
I really want to include some music appreciation this school year. Many years we tried and liked Color the Classics book 1 and will revisit this curriculum this school year. Although I have not yet finalized my final choices for music appreciation, I am also considering Maestro Classics or just picking out one composer per month to study.
Last school year I bought Latin curriculum and then didn’t use it most of the year. We started really doing Latin lessons consistently in March, so we will continue with these books into the next school year and buy the next levels when we are ready. Latin for Children is great for 4th-6th grade. I’m using Prima Latina with my 1st and 3rd graders.
I read the 5th grade section The Well-Trained Mind homeschool book and decided that it would be fun to introduce the logic into our curriculum as recommended. I’ve selected Adventures in Reason and Blast off with Logic for this school year.
My children have really enjoyed the Matt and Molly series from Linguisystems and we go through these at least once a school year. CLICK HERE to read my review. We will also be reviewing the How to Talk with Friends curriculum that we used last year too. CLICK HERE to read my review.
Conclusion on 2019-2020 Elementary Home School Picks
I hope you enjoyed reading through my 2019-2020 Elementary Level Homeschool Curriculum picks. I will be adding reviews of curriculum I haven’t used before once we get through enough content to evaluate the programs. If you are on a tight budget, consider free homeschooling resources. CLICK HERE to learn more.
To see my curriculum picks from the 2018-2019 school year, CLICK HERE.