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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Real Life at Chestnut Grove Academy–Curriculum


At the beginning of the school year I posted our curriculum list and then a mid-year evaluation and I have to say things have still changed since January! 

Part of this is because of the amazing opportunity we have to be on The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  We are always bringing in new curriculum to try, and many we keep using, some we put aside to use later more thoroughly.  Unfortunately there is not enough time in the day to all the amazing things we try out!

One of my key bits of advice to other homeschoolers is to not be afraid to change things if they aren’t working!  I know it’s hard (especially when money is invested), but it’s so worth it!

So what are we using right now? (not counting review items…these are programs that have stuck!)

Third Grade

US History – Yes, Veritas Press is still going strong!  I even purchased from the earlier sale for next year!  We love Veritas Press!   Additionally I am doing some unit studies from various sources, based on subject availability.  This is working well for us. Although Veritas Press is a full curriculum, I like to be more involved with History and I like to have the other kids more involved as well.  This is the only reason I add to Veritas Press, otherwise it stands alone!  (Makes more work for me, but it works for us).  That and it is all of our favorite subjects, so we enjoy it!  We are using a Homeschool Legacy, Lewis and Clark Unit right now (for review) and will also be using Homeschool in the Woods Civil War unit after that

Math – We are just about done with MATH U SEE Gamma.  Only a few more pages left to go, then on to Delta! 

Science – We completely switched over to Visual Learning Systems Digital Online Science, and plan to continue it for next year as well.  I supplement some reading materials to go along with the lessons and other worksheet activities for the younger kids, if none are available. Science is probably second favorite for the kids, but the projects can stress me out, I’ll admit it.  I try though, I really try!

Spelling – Still using All About Spelling (and loving it!)

Language ArtsIXL.com is what we use most regularly.  We still love Fix-It Grammar by IEW, but when we have a full plate with reviews it gets put to the side for a bit.

Writing – We are not using a formal writing curriculum right now, we do a few things here and there, but try to just work it into what we are studying.  For HANDWRITING we are using Memoria Press New American Cursive.  It is going well and we will be sticking with it after the review.

Chinese – Rosetta Stone with the worksheets I have made for supplementation.  I’m behind though and need to get Lesson 3 done!

Skrafty Minecraft Classes – We do one lesson a week based on how the week goes.  This is our reward class.  I have found Minecraft to be behavior altering, so we limit it A LOT for this reason.  I noticed a huge difference when he doesn’t use it as often.  The classes are great though! 

New Testament – I am indecisive at this time on what to use for this.  I need to pray about it.  We just reviewed a great program, we were using a great program and I’m looking at another great program right now.  So lots of decisions to be made.   We do family study in the morning, but I really want him to have a personal study too. 

Computer school each day consists of – Chinese, A+ Interactive Math(for Review) or IXL Math, and IXL Language Arts.  On T, Th and F he also does Star Toaster (for Review), Veritas Press,   Additionally we do workboxes on ‘school’ days; These are 3-4 days a week (see yesterday’s post).

C has also started a once a month cooking class he loves! 


Reading Eggs and Math Seeds for Computer School 2- 3 days a week.

We also use MATH U SEE Alpha, I use lots of supplemental reading worksheets for CVC and sight words.  I have lots of Pin Boards with activities and worksheets on my Pinterest page.  We use Star Fall and other early readers like BOB Books.  I have him pick and read one a day.  Typically the activities I have printed for him coincide with the books I have for him to choose from. 

We also use Star Wars workbooks.  Mostly for interest factor, but he now uses these for letter and number writing.  We use the manipulatives from Handwriting without Tears go along with them.

For science and history he either sits in with my 3rd grader or I make him age appropriate related activities. 

I just made his workbox list a little more structured, as to HOW MUCH I wanted him to do each school day.  The first day went well.  We will see how it continues.


He misses the cut off for K next year as his birthday is the end of November.  I am super relaxed with him.  He has ABC Mouse, and then I make themed boxes, typically related around Animal Trackers Club or the science or history lessons my 3rd grader is doing.  He also has Star Wars workbooks.


All of my kids are in Swimming and Mixed Martial Arts.  They also have access to Brain Pop Jr and Brain Pop, as well as other educational apps that they use during their designated free time. 

All 3 boys also attend a local history class at the historical society once a month.  C is aging out so this will be his last year attending.

Music and Art is hit or miss – we use History through Music when it relates, we are doing some art curriculum reviews right now too.  We play classical during our school days. 

You can find the WORBOX Activities each week on Workbox Wednesday!


I have already started planning for next year.

History - As mentioned we have Veritas Press – Middle Ages – It’s for 2nd grade+ and Z will be 1st, (C will be 4th)…I plan to Chromecast the video and have C do the activities.  They like watching over his shoulder anyways…so this way they can just sit and watch it.  We will also be returning to Pandia Press History Odyssey for Middle Ages.  We really enjoyed their Ancients Curriculum. 

Science – We will be doing Physics and Chemistry with Visual Learning Systems Digital Science Online.  We will supplement with some real life books.

Math –We like Math U See, but I may change it.  I’m leaning towards a computer based program for C….not positive yet (We are doing a trial with A+ Interactive Math right now).  I may wait to fully switchover until after we finish Math U See Delta. I am thinking of Life of Fred for Z for first grade, it’s still up in the air.

Spelling – We will continue with All About Spelling. I won’t start Z on formal spelling until 2nd grade though. 

I’m planning to start a journaling program each day for writing.  Now that C is writing more (and complaining less), I’d like to work on his structure and content.

I might start Kinder with c (though he isn’t 5 until November), but time will tell, and it will be very informal, basically I’ll just keep doing what we are doing, but encourage him to ‘work’ a little more.

The rest is still in planning.  I’ll definitely put a  Our Curriculum post up over the summer, once it’s finalized!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop

This is part of a School House Review Crew Blog Hop, click the graphic above to see Real Life Homeschool with other Crew members.

Part 1 – Schedule
Part 2 – Curriculum
Part 3 – Our Day in Photos (Wordless Wednesday)
Part 4 – Homeschooling with a Toddler
Part 5 – Week in Review

Here are a few more of the 52 participating!
For This Season Unexpected Homeschool
For Him and My Family
As We Walk Along the Road
Growing in His Glory
Homeschool Coffee Break
Daily Life
There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining
Proverbial Homemaker
ElCloud Homeschool

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