Mama’s Homeschool Curriculum Choices: 2012-2013

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I had 36 {glorious!} hours to myself to plan our homeschool year over the summer.  It was me, my laptop, and all of our curriculum laid out in a hotel room.  Did I mention I was by myself?!

It was fabulous.

Prior to that planning time, I already purchased our curriculum. I wanted to have it in my hands so I could wrap my mind around what our year might look like.  I’m a very visual person, so I couldn’t just plan by the table of contents that was posted online for each curricula.  I wish my mind worked that way, but it just doesn’t.

So what did I actually plan during those 36 golden hours?  Here are my top picks for my kiddos during the 2012-2013 school year.  This year, I officially have a 2nd grader (7yo) and a Kindergartner (5yo).  I also have a 3-year-old who is thrilled to pieces she’s doing “Preschool” and a 20-month-old that tears our school room apart and marks on our walls.  Yes, I’d appreciate your prayers. 😉




Kindergarten Curriculum 2012-2013

My 5-year-old could not have been more excited about starting Kindergarten-type work this year.  She felt that she was “done with Preschool” and needed to move on.  I love her attitude!

But I’m not quite sure she’s ready to read, so we’re taking it slow.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages:  Since my 5-year-old is still a non-reader, she’s using the Beginner Level of Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  We skip around a little and don’t go through the lessons sequentially, but we’re mostly using Unit 3 this school year.  I wrote a short review of Bible Study Guide for All Ages if you’re interested in using it in your own school.

Horizons Phonics:  I used Horizons Phonics with my oldest and he learned to read very well with this curriculum.  The readers go along with the phonics worksheets and provide lots of reinforcement along the way.  I especially like how it isn’t handwriting-heavy in the beginning lessons.

Singapore Math Kindergarten A & B:  I originally intended to use Singapore Math 1A with my 5yo at the start of the school year, but after looking at the curriculum again, I realized that she needed something a little less intense.  So I ordered Singapore Math Kindergarten A & B and we’re working through a couple of pages each day.  I love these books because they offer teacher helps at the bottom.  When I don’t feel like being creative with manipulatives, those come in handy!

A Reason for Handwriting Kindergarten:  I just discovered this handwriting program this year.  I’m not a huge fan of Handwriting Without Tears and searched and searched for an alternative.  A Reason for Handwriting Kindergarten works at a slow pace and is just her style.

My 5-year-old tags along with her older brother and me to do history, science, art/music, and any other Unit Study-type things we’ll do.  For history, she reads our books with us and occasionally works on parts of the lapbook and reads all of our science and does the experiments.  I don’t require her to write anything for these subjects, but she occasionally narrates back what we’ve discussed.


2nd Grade Curriculum 2012-2013

My 7-year-old is an excellent reader and reads independently quite well.  However, in other subjects (math!) he’s definitely on a 2nd grade level, which makes it difficult to purchase a boxed curriculum.

Needless to say, I’ve always had to put together his curriculum.  But that’s one of the great parts of homeschooling – you can tailor your child’s course of study especially for them.  I love that!

Bible Study Guide for All Ages:  My son is using the Intermediate Level of Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  I like that the activities are varied – it keeps him on his toes to follow the directions!

Singapore Math 2A and 2B: Despite going all the way through Singapore Math 2A at the end of first grade, we’re going to go through it…again.  Sigh.  I wrote on my Facebook page that I wish I could start all over again in math way back in his Kindergarten days.  I would do things so differently!  It’s not Singapore Math’s fault that we’re having to go back and repeat the same 2A.  The teaching methods are a good fit for my son and I love the way it encourages him to think to actually understand math.  It’s my fault.  He’s my firstborn and the first child I’ve ever schooled.  He’s my poor guinea pig! I know to do better with my girls.  That’s a blog post for another day.

In addition to the textbook and workbook for Singapore Math 2A and 2B, I ordered the Extra Practice workbook as well.  And just because I’m a glutton for punishment (or desperate?) I ordered Visible Thinking 2A.  I wish I had used the Visible Thinking all along!  I’ve already seen such huge success with that and we’ve only been using it a week so far.

A Reason for Handwriting Manuscript A:   My son is no fan of handwriting and as a result, I didn’t force him to write letters correctly in Kindergarten and 1st grade.  Needless to say, that is coming back to haunt us and I see that he needs formal writing instruction.  While I would not go back and change how we did things (unlike math!), now is the time to nail down those letters correctly and encourage good handwriting.  I love the way A Reason for Handwriting is laid out – practice a certain group of words each day that pertain to a particular Bible verse and then write the complete Bible verse on the last day of the week.

Easy Grammar 2: I really had no idea what to do with grammar, but a mom in our co-op suggested this to me.  Easy Grammar 2 is simple and comprehensive.  Perfect for what we need at the moment.

All About Spelling Level 3: All About Spelling has been one of my favorite curricula since the beginning of our homeschooling days.  Each level builds on itself so well.  I stay impressed with how comprehensive it is.  It remains an excellent fit for us, so we’re working on Level 3 this year.

Tapestry of Grace Year 2: This is our second year using Tapestry of Grace.  During our first year, I just kind of limped along.  I felt bad that I couldn’t get to everything that was suggested.  This year, I think I’ve found my groove with it and I love that.  I’m such a check-list person that I have a hard time not doing everything on the TOG checklist.  But the writer of the curriculum stresses over and over that not everything is meant to be accomplished.  You pick and choose what will work with your children.  I heard that piece of advice during our first year, but I didn’t hear it.  I get it now.

Tapestry of Grace also incorporates our geography and literature studies.

I’ve mentioned this here at Mama’s before, but Bible Study Guide for All Ages and Tapestry of Grace started out of a mini-panic attack (how in the world am I going to teach 4 different time periods of history in years to come?  Or Bible? Or Science?).  Thankfully, TOG addresses this very issue.  It’s a beautiful mixture of Charlotte Mason in that it uses living books (and they are so good!  An excellent book list.) and a Classical Education with grammar/dialectic/rhetoric levels.  I’m so grateful to have found it in the early years of homeschooling.

noeo Science Biology I:  I stumbled through Science last year.  We were using an excellent curriculum which I highly recommend but the learning style just wasn’t a good match for us.  My son and I got tired of using the same book every single day. I have found that we both enjoy the variety of using a living books approach.  So after literally hours of reading forums and researching, I finally found noeo Science.  Relief!   Just what I was looking for!

Like Tapestry of Grace, noeo Science is a perfect mix of Charlotte Mason and a Classical style.  We are working through Biology I this year and so far it has been an unbelievable hit!  The topics are interesting and the chosen books are page-turners.  I don’t dread Science now and neither does my son.  The experiments are do-able and just plain interesting!


What are you using for your own children this year?  Have you written a post about it?  Leave the link below.  I’d love to take a peek!




I’m pleased to link this post to iHomeschool Network’s 4th Annual Not-Back-t0-School Blog Hop!

Disclosure:  This post contains multiple affiliate links.  I’d be grateful if you chose to purchase your curriculum through any of the links above.  I receive a {very} small amount as an affiliate of a particular product.  The opinions expressed are completely my own and not influenced by any other factors.  I never recommend anything I couldn’t whole-heartedly endorse.  For more information, visit my Disclosure Page.


  1. Looks like an exciting year….btw, my little one is so excited to use your worksheets this year!

  2. I bet you’ll all love the Noeo – we’ve used several of their units including Biology I for grade 2, and loved them all!

    • Lauren Hill says:

      We are 4 weeks in and absolutely LOVE it so far. Science is by far my son’s favorite subject and this is just perfect for him (and me!).

  3. Hi lady!! Looks like you have a fabulous year planned. Yah! So tell me what you don’t like about Handwriting Without Tears? Our tester for Evie this year suggested that curriculum for her. So I was going to purchase it. But maybe not now!

  4. Looks like a great year! We’re using Singapore math as well for both of our children. I’ve been initrigued by Tapestry of Grace, but we’re happy with what we’ve got for now, although I am thinking of looking in to it for next year so that maybe I can combine my two oldest. Hmm….

    I linked up with the blog hop as well. Here’s my post on what we’ll be using this year:

    • Lauren Hill says:

      Yes, if you’re happy with what you have then stick with it! That’s where our math troubles began I think – I thought the grass was greener.

      Thanks for leaving your link – will go take a look! :)

  5. I’ve always thought TOG could be fun and we love having our littles tag along with the older kids. It looks like you’ll have a fun year.

    I shared our plans for homeschooling with 7 kids here:

    Mine are age 11 years down to 6 months. It gets a bit crazy and our walls don’t need artwork thanks to the short little artists who love to decorate the walls for us…LOL!

    • Lauren Hill says:

      Oh how I understand the artwork! In fact I just took a picture of our school room wall today. My #4 is the worst (best?) wall marker we’ve had. Ack!!

      Thanks for leaving your link! Off to take a look. :)

  6. I’d also be interested to hear your reasons for not liking HWT. I know it’s all personal preference, but still I’d love to hear your thoughts on that program vs. others!

    • Lauren Hill says:

      Honestly, it is just my personal preference. :) I prefer to start introducing letters the IEW method: o, c, a, and so on. I like that it teaches curvy letters first and lowercase first.

      I’ve only done it the IEW way with my girls, and they seem to respond best to that method.

  7. 36 hours alone to plan! That sounds amazing! Wouldn’t work for me right now w/a nursing infant, but maybe someday… :) So sweet that your 5 year-old is so excited; motivation is a key that makes things much easier. Those look like nice plans and I’m glad you’ve got yours lined out already. We’re still working through the plans I lined out for the summer and won’t start what I’m planning out now until September. If you want to see my post for the hop, it’s at:

  8. Looks like a great year! thanks for sharing about A Reason for Spelling and TOG.
    Colleen a.k.a. Pinterest Mama
    Sunrise Learning Lab

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