In our family ordering math is a no brainer. We have been using Math-U-See since the beginning. You use manipulatives often and the idea is to get your kids to the point where the light bulb goes off and they get it, they understand the concept. You get the response, "Oh! I see!" We like this program for so many reasons but as a mom of many my top reason is because we order the DVD which Mr. Demme teaches each lesson. By the time the kids are 2nd-3rd grade they are on their own besides questions or Mom and Dad checking their work. So far it's been a good fit for all of our kids. Some have to slow down, so fly through faster but all in all it works well for everyone. We choose to buy new student text books for kids until 4th grade. At 4th grade they copy the problems out of the book just like we did in school. That way we can reuse them for all the kids (I hope). We love Mr. Demme and had the privilege of hearing him speak last year at a homeschool conference. We were a little nervous we were going to get a boring math lecture but he was fantastic! After speaking to him after the conference, if it's possible, we were more sold out for Math-U-See than ever. I know there are a ton of math programs and opinions out there but this is the one for us.
For Language Arts I've been shopping around. I am using Grammar Ace from Sonlight this year for Carter as a general overview of Grammar and I will do that for each child around 6th/7th grade. For Carter next year we will be trying out this workbook from Easy Grammar. I've heard lots of good things about Daily Grams and Easy Grammar so we're going to give this one a try. For writing and literature we are going to try two new (to us) things from Heart of Dakota. For the kids individual reading we are going to try their series Drawn Into the Heart of Reading. We get to pick the books they use that fall into 9 different genre for the year. It will then focus on different story elements and Godly character lessons. I like that it has three different levels of instruction to use with a big age range. This will help us dig a little deeper into our reading. I am still looking at a few writing programs to use with all the above. I found one that I like... but I can't remember it's exact name or where I found it! Now I need to go hunting in all of my papers! I'll get back to you on that one!
Needless to say, I am very excited to try out some new things this fall! My girlfriend and I were talking recently that in the beginning of homeschooling for us, the most annoying thing was "veteran" moms not giving us specifics of curriculum or schedules. We just wanted the answers! Now that our oldest children are hitting the teen years we're realizing why! It takes a lot of time to figure out what works best for your family. That's the hardest part (at least for me). Just letting go and trusting God to take you in the direction He sees best for your family. It's not that hard when sitting at home but if you hop online or talk to other families you quickly start to second guess if you're doing enough, too much, the wrong thing or missing something great. At times I wish I could do it all over again and be more organized and more structured, but I'm not sure anyone but me would know the difference. So far we've raised pretty good kids! They are smart, articulate, kind, sensitive to others and love the Lord... not sure what I think we've missed! I guess just the bragging rights that I've got it all together- nope... don't have that! Oh, well ;0)