In Our Classroom: Elementary Edition (2014/2015 School Year)

In Our Classroom Elementary 2014

It’s hard to believe we already have two full weeks of school under our belt!

Kendall* (8) began third grade this year. I can’t believe she’s halfway through the elementary grades already! In addition to her schoolwork and chores at home, she’ll be taking dance classes (ballet, tap, and jazz), and participating in Awana.

To stick to my goal of keeping things simple this year, we’re going back to our homeschool “roots” with both Kendall and her younger brother (in kindergarten, watch for his update next week!).  We’re using Sonlight cores (which include history, Bible, language arts, and reading) for them both. We began our homeschool adventure with Sonlight’s original preschool program for Kaitlyn (16) back in 2001, and she used it all the way up until last year (I’ve explained recently why we decided to make the switch with her). It’s not a “light” curriculum by any means, but it is familiar and comfortable for me after using it for so many years, which makes it less stressful and time-consuming to use than new materials I’m not accustomed to. This leaves me more brain power to focus on new territory with my high schooler without sacrificing my younger kids’ quality of education!

Unlike in previous years, though, I’m doing two full cores: one for Kendall and one for Kade. With my older two, I had Kaitlyn do a full core, while Kyle tagged along or used something else that coincided with the same period of history at his level. Next week, when I share our kindergarten update, you’ll hear a little bit more from me on how that’s going.

In Our Classroom: Peanut doing math

With that background, here’s a peek at what Kendall’s doing this fall:


History/Geography: I chose Sonlight’s Core B: Intro to World History Part 1 for Kendall, to coincide with the world history programs her older siblings are doing. That way, when we supplement with Drive Thru History DVDs and historical documentaries, everyone is in the same general time period and we can all watch together. Since it begins with the Mesopotamian culture (presumably after Noah’s flood), I’m doing what I did when her older siblings did this core and doing a mini-unit on creation, the flood, and the Ice Age in the first few weeks.

Here are a few of the titles we’re using:

Ice Age unit

Literature: The literature selections are one of my favorite parts of Sonlight! We’re alternating read-alouds between the two cores, so we’re reading The Boxcar Children right now. The older kids are getting a kick out of listening in when they can, since they both loved it when they were younger! We’ll be starting Charlotte’s Web in a few days.

Writing/Spelling: Since Sonlight’s language arts takes a different approach than she’s used to when it comes to writing and grammar, I started with their Level 2, which I think she’ll move through quickly once she gets into the swing of it. It’ll be simple to move right into Level 3, since I already own it. After having tried a variety of approaches in the last several years, coming back to Sonlight’s simple, natural language approach based on Ruth Beechick’s methods is refreshing! We’ll also probably add All About Spelling at some point.

Math: We’re continuing to use and enjoy our CTC Math subscription. I love that she can do her lessons independently right on my iPad while I work with her younger brother! At some point during the year, I’ll transition her to Teaching Textbooks.

Science: We haven’t started science yet, and I’m still undecided on what to use this year. I’m leaning toward continuing with Considering God’s Creation, which we’ve done partially, and then moving into one of the Apologia Elementary programs (we own Botany, Zoology 1, and Chemistry and Physics).

Foreign Language: She’s been doing Mango Language lessons off and on, and I may try to do La Clase Divertida with her and Kade both, just for fun.

Biblical Studies, Life Skills, & Electives

Biblical Studies/Worldview: Sonlight includes Bible in its cores, so we’re going through Leading Little Ones to God and Missionary Stories With the Millers together. We’re also reading The Gospel Story Bible together, and she’ll be doing plenty of memory work in Awana. I’d love to fit in some of Apologia’s What We Believe series, but I don’t know if our schedule will allow it. We’ll see.

Life Skills: I’m reworking our chore schedule this year and will be increasing Kendall’s responsibilities. I’ll share more about that as the year goes along!

Art: I’m planning to go through several art appreciation books with Kendall and Kade this year, including Looking at Pictures and titles from the Come Look With Me series. I’d love to get her started on one of the Artistic Pursuits elementary volumes, but I’m not sure if it’s in the budget. I do have an older version of Meet the Masters that we’ll try to work through.

Electives: Her dance class, including participating in our local ballet company’s production of The Nutcracker, will be her main “elective” for the year.

I know we’re only two weeks in, but I’m excited about how the year is going so far! 

I sure love these silly people!

I sure love these silly people!

Did you miss this month’s previous updates? Click the links below to catch up!

Have you started your school year yet? What ages and grades are you teaching this year?

*I’ve made a decision to drop the nicknames and just use my kids’ given names this year! So, instead of Peanut, I’ll refer to her by her actual name from now on (although she’s still frequently called Peanut around here too!). 😉

Linked with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


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