Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Homeschool Year in Review: What Worked and What Didn't {Homeschooling and dyslexia}

This was our first full year of just homeschooling our oldest son.  I thought I should do a wrap up of what worked and what didn't so hang on.

Oh the plans we make. 

I started out telling you about the curriculum we planned to use.

Then did an update towards the middle of the year.  If I could say one thing about homeschool is that you will change things - a lot.  Because you don't know what works with your child until you try it.  Never be afraid to change.  If a curriculum isn't working, find one that does.  I sell and buy on Ebay and Amazon so I never really lose much and sometimes I even make a gain!

Here is what did not work:

Konos - A newbie homeschooler should not use this curriculum.  It requires a lot of planning and I was not prepared for it. 

Math - Math U See.  We finished one level and got about half way through another level but there were just too many tears and frustrations and I knew we had to make a switch. 

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears - he finished it but did not retain it.  His handwriting was still pretty horrible the first half of this year.

Spelling - All About Spelling Level 1 - he went through this and did not retain most of it.  But I think it is an excellent program and we will go through the last half of it and go slower.  He probably could start level 2 but I want to be sure he has it first.

 Science - Supercharged Science - he was just too young for this but I'm keeping it to use later.

You are probably wondering what in the world worked.

Here is what worked:

History - Story of the World curriculum - We love this curriculum.  Absolutely love it!  He enjoys the stories as do I.  We did do it along with Mystery of History but I felt that that curriculum's stories weren't as in depth as Story of the World but we do use some of the biblical ones to use along with Story of the World. 

Phonics - Toe By Toe - We just recently started Orton Gillingham tutoring so I do Toe By Toe on our non-tutoring days.  He has improved one reading level and we aren't half way done with this book.  I can't recommend it highly enough for dyslexics.

Writing - Writing With Ease - I love this curriculum.  Also, my son's handwriting has improved with the copywork he has done while using this curriculum.  And he loves all of the condensed version of the classic stories.  Most of the time he begs me to finish the stories because they are usually started on Day 2 and finished on Day 4 so we often do those days together.

Grammar - First Language Lessons - I love this curriculum as well.  The lessons are short.  There is so much repetition which is so good for my son's short term memory.  Dyslexics usually have a bad short term memory.  It is not my son's favorite subject but I allow him to answer questions standing up or walking around and he is getting really good at remembering the poems.

Science - Science in the Beginning - I am really blessed in this area because I actually share history and science with my friend.  I teach history to my kids and her's and she teaches science to mine (and her's) and I love her choice of curriculum.  My kids are learning and applying so much.  I love this science.  Each lesson is short and almost every one has a hands on activity!  Perfect my kids.  And my kids love it too.

Math - Right Start Math - I cannot say enough good things about this curriculum too.  It has been wonderful for my son.  He not only gets the math problems right he can articulate the reasoning behind them and he often does it without me asking.  I am blown away at his progress!  And no more tears and he seems to enjoy it and I never thought I would say that about math.

Handwriting - Cursive First - this is great for really teaching cursive.  It shows you the movements of the letters by using a clock as a guide which is also good for my dyslexic.  We also write in salt first and then on paper.

Notebooking and dictation - these two things I use in almost every subject.  We notebook almost everything.  He retains it better and I can look back on it.   And since he is dyslexic and it is a little tougher for him to write, I write a lot of things for him.  There are times I have him write but I don't make him write over two sentences.  He will get better and write more but we are just going slow.  I don't want him to hate it.

We do other things too that are working well like Song School Latin and a typing book.  But I don't feel I have used them long enough to give a complete thumbs up.  I came to them later in the year.  Although we are continuing to homeschool in the summer.

Isn't it funny that it is technically the end of the school year I finally feel like we are in a good rhythm so I'm not stopping now! 

I also wanted to add that just because some of the above curriculum did not work for us does not mean it won't work for you.  Of course, each child is different. 

Tell me what worked for you and what didn't?

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


  1. Oooh! Thanks for sharing all of this! There are a few items on here that we do/or I'm thinking about trying for my children. More specifically, I have been eyeing RightStart math but I've been a little intimidated because it has a rep for being time-intensive.

    But it's math. I feel like a good foundation is important, and probably anything we do will be involved. So whatever.

    p.s. I'm also a Hoosier :)

    1. Oh yes, Right Start has that reputation but I would say that it isn't really that bad. The lessons are not that long and often enjoyable. It is all laid out so I usually just read over the lesson once or twice and gather my supplies.

  2. We love Story of the World, too. Thanks for the comparison with Mystery of History.

    1. You are welcome. My kids just liked SOTW better.

  3. After some more digging and watching webinars and such, I'm pretty sure we're going to go forward with RightStart level A for this coming year. I'm excited! The price is like whoa, since I have to get the manipulatives all up front. But. I have 3 kids. So the cost evens out. I guess. :)

  4. You will not regret it. Although I bought the first editions used for much cheaper and bought some of the manipulatives separately because I already had some. I bought the card games book too and we have loved that too.
    Also, I remember your blog - Sense to Save! I used to read that back in the day and really liked it.

  5. I loved looking at your list and your changes from the beginning of the year to the end! Amazingly, your ending changes are the same as my beginning choices my first year homeschooling...Then, we discovered we were more unit study people :-) I love how every family is different and how different things work for everyone!


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