It’s June and we are officially in summer homeschool mode around here. It feel really nice to be in a more relaxed routine and we’re enjoying spending the extra time in our days kayaking after ducks and staying up a little later than usual to watch family movies.
We’ll enjoy this downtime while I contemplate whether we will begin our fall curriculum sometime in July, which is on the early side for us, or August, which is more typical but we have some a three week trip out west planned for early August which we’ll be focused on playing around with maps and exploring National Parks, not doing math lessons.
Since I’m unsure of when we will begin, I want to have everything ready to go for when we do, especially since last year things got back ordered, which is understandable, as it was a crazy kind of year.
Still, I prefer to be prepared, so I’ve actually already ordered our curriculum for next school year, which I’ll share with you soon, but first I wanted to do a recap on how our third grade homeschool curriculum and first grade homeschool curriculum worked for us this year.
I gave a curriculum update a few months in to third grade and first grade, but now that our workbooks are packed up and put away, it’s time to dive into what worked and what didn’t in our homeschool this year.
First and Third Grade Homeschool Curriculum End of Year Review
The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts
After using TGATB for Hailey a couple years ago, I was worried it would still be rather dry. However, my desire for an open and go curriculum won out and we chose it. Overall we were pleased with it. Read my detailed The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts curriculum review.
They’ve made some alterations to liven lessons up a little bit, whether it’s hopping around on index cards with spelling words or balancing books on our heads in between sentence diagramming. Level 1 has a lot of games that Kaitlyn has really enjoyed, and overall I feel it is a comprehensive guide through the mechanics of reading, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary with some literature, geography, and art sprinkled in.
The cons for The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts program was that the lessons were fairly long (for level 3), taking about 50 minutes to complete, including the independent practice portion. The lack of writing assignments was also a negative.
We really played around with math a lot this year. We used Singapore Primary US Edition for our core curriculum, but also used Horizons workbook pages for extra practice, played around with Beast Academy, used math board games, and used the apps Todo Math and Math Seeds (a math program available through Reading Eggs).
While I love playing around with math because different methods click for each girl and it challenges them to think and problem solve, at the end of the day, Singapore is still our bread and butter. It’s done really well for us and both girls grew exponentially in math skills and confidence this year.
The Good and the Beautiful Science
We made it about halfway through The Human Body Unit for TGATB. That would indicate that we didn’t like it, but actually the lessons are quite engaging and hands on and the girls enjoyed them a lot. I struggled with planning ahead and getting all the necessary supplies ready for each unit’s project, but overall I would recommend this curriculum and I could see us picking it up and continuing it next year.
Beautiful Feet History
Because of delays in shipping, we didn’t receive our full Early American History Unit until October, but we jumped right in with the Vikings unit and never turned back. We adore this literary-based curriculum. It engages us all and we often ended up researching more about a person or a time frame after each unit.
The lessons are a great length, about 15 or 20 minutes, which we often do while eating lunch since the girls love when I read picture books to them while they eat. It’s collectively our favorite part of our core curriculum.
Bonus Things We Loved in Our Homeschool this Year
- Mystery Science – We love Mystery Doug and the style of these videos. My kids devoured both the mini lessons and the full lessons and really retained so many of the facts because they are presented in such a fun Q&A style format.
- Read Aloud and Audio Books – We’ve now read through the 5th Harry Potter book and reading then having a watch party has been such a fun process for us. While I read that one we also listened to The Land of Stories, books 1-5 on Audible while we drive. Additionally we enjoy Epic for more audiobooks, borrow paper books and Playaways from the library, and in general, just keep ourselves surrounded by books.
- Codeverse – We are sticking with this through the summer as well since both girls enjoy it so much.
Things We Want to Adjust for Next Year
- We missed being part of a co-op – We hope to join a new co-op that my friend is starting up in the fall that will give us a steady group of friends, as well as some fun extras like art lessons, Spanish lessons, science experiments, and Physical Activity and games.
- Spanish – While we are hopeful the co-op will work out and we’ll have weekly Spanish lessons, I’m also signing the girls up for Spanish Academy, a program ‘ve heard excellent things about.
- Piano – The girls enjoyed their piano classes they took last year and have continued to practice with their beginner piano book, but we’ve been out of lessons for several months now. I’m looking forward to set them up for in home lessons next year.
And that’s a wrap on our 2020-2021 third grade and first grade homeschool year!