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Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Curriculum Update

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Happy Friday! I hope everything is going well in your neck of the woods. (Is that a Southern thing?) It’s been a good week here and the weather today is incredible! It hasn’t even hit 80 degrees yet. It’s kind of hot in the direct sun, but in the shade there is a nice, crisp breeze. It feels like fall. I love it!

Small tweaks to our schedule are in our future. I talked to Josh and Megan, the only two I’m actively schooling since Brianna is tying up loose ends on her own, and they agree that we need to be getting an earlier start each day. Now, don’t misunderstand. We’re still not talking about most people’s definition of early, just earlier.

For years we’ve done the bulk of our schoolwork in the afternoon. Now that the subject matter is getting a bit more challenging with two middle school kids, that makes for a rather intense afternoon. They both agree that they’d like to get about half our day done before lunch.

Now, if I can just get myself up in time to do what I need to do in the mornings before school.

Oh, and speaking of getting an earlier start, I’m thinking that I might start posting the Weekly Wrap Up on my regular posting schedule of 6 a.m. (ET). Maybe. I thought that might make it easier for those who publish their Wrap-Up posts earlier in the day.

How about an update on our curriculum?

Easy Grammar and Daily Grams – We just love them. This is one area about which the kids have never complained. That’s saying a lot considering it’s grammar. We’re using Easy Grammar Plus this year. I plan on going through it slowly until we finish, since it’s the last book in the Easy Grammar series. After that, there’s just the Ultimate Series for high school, which is basically Daily Grams. It will be great for keeping all the grammar rules fresh in their minds.

Trail Guide to Learning – We’re on the 5th of 6 units in Paths of Progress. The first middle school book, Journeys to the Ancient World, is supposed to be available in digital format by the early part of next year, so I expect we’ll move on to that next. I never thought I’d be an all-in-one curriculum kind of gal, but we love it. And, of course, I still supplement partially due to Josh’s needs with dyslexia and the fact that, apparently, I have a very eclectic gene.

Apologia science – The kids aren’t crazy about it, but I’m just not sure there is a better option for science once we reach the high school level. I may look at Real Kids 4 Science again. Brianna used one of their chemistry books and enjoyed it.


Okay, I’ve got to tell you, I just went to their site to get the link for you and I got really excited about their middle school titles – especially astronomy and geology – and it looks liked they’re coming out with a line of high school science books. We may be trying it sooner than I thought. (As in, I just signed up for Amazon Prime and the books could be here in two days.)

I did find two really great resources this week for Apologia biology. I’ve got them bookmarked in case we decide to use it for high school. One is a Squidoo lens from Barb (Handbook of Nature Study) on making Apologia more Charlotte Mason friendly. The other is an Apologia biology flashcard app that looks really cool.

All About Spelling – Love it! Moving on to a new level on Monday.

WriteShop – The kids finished their first writing assignment this week since we waited until the second six weeks to add writing in. I was supposed to have edited them on Wednesday so they could write their final drafts yesterday. {ahem} It’s on my to-do for the weekend, so they can write their final drafts on Monday. They enjoyed being able to type them on their laptops, rather than write them out by hand.


This dog is so goofy. That’s supposed to be the cat’s basket. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted pictures of him in it before, but it still cracks me up. Brianna calls him Pinkerton when he’s got himself crammed in that basket.

Worldview study – We’re still finding this very interesting. This week, we started reading together the book Understanding World Religions in Fifteen Minutes a Day. We literally just started it yesterday, so I don’t have an opinion yet, other than to say that some of the concepts in the first chapter fit in very nicely with the worldview studies we’ve been doing.

The kids, of course, are doing math every day with Teaching Textbooks, which is still working well for us, and we’re doing Bible study everyday, including our Scripture memorization box. I planned to start chalk pastels with A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels this week, but we ran out of time. That’s another reason I want to be getting started earlier each day.

Now that I’ve got an iPad, I can talks apps with y’all. This week, I downloaded State Stack and Country Stack. Brianna, Megan, and I are hooked. Shhh…don’t tell them it’s educational.

I still haven’t found an online planner or app that I like and I’ve tried several. I really want to like Homeschool Helper. It’s so pretty, but it doesn’t do what I want it to do.

I want a planner that lets me print off a Week-at-a-Glance page for the kids in table format and have a checklist on my iPad for myself since I really enjoy the convenience of having everything there.

For now, I’ve just been copying things over into Evernote for me (and adding check boxes) and printing off our standard Donna Young forms for the kids. Got any better suggestions?

Tomorrow my baby turns 12. Only one more year and I’ll have three teens…and I don’t even want to think about the year after that when I’ll have a 20 year old. {sigh} Where does the time go?

How was your week? Be sure to post about it and link up. If this is your first time to join us, be sure to read the Weekly Wrap-Up guidelines. You can also follow the guidelines link to grab the banner code.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. My middle schoolers are using Elemental Science-biology this year. I’m loving it and so are they!

    I use the online Homeschool Tracker program and I absolutely love it!! My computer keeps shutting off on me and I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose everything so I switched to the online HT version, versus the one on my hard drive. It took some getting used to but it is so easy and flexible. I love it. It is pricey at $60/year but it saves all your lesson plans to use for the next child. Also, it allows two teachers and up to ten kids, so my friend and I put both of ours on and split the cost. We love it.

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

    PS_we’ve moved to getting started early in the day too. Last year it was ten or eleven and it was too late in the day when we finished. Now, we start at nine and we’re almost all done by lunch…..its awesome!!

  2. I don’t know which homeschool planning apps you’ve tried. But I really like Scholaric. You can print out a weekly chart or a checklist. It’s all online so you could access it from your ipad or computer. I only have one first grader on there right now and it works well for us.

  3. Great update! I love getting your weekly wrap up. It really helps my perspective and motivation. 🙂

    I had a quick question on Easy Grammar…neither of my kids have ever used it and because we were focusing so much on remediating their dyslexia issues and detoxing from a b&m school setting for 2012-2013 year, we neglected grammar, unfortunately. I understand there is a lot of review with this system. Could I use, say, Level 5 with both a 4th grader and 7th grader? My older is more advanced in grammar simply because she had more instruction in school before we pulled her but definitely behind by grade level and needs review. My younger picks up concepts extremely quickly and has a strong grasp of spoken language structure but hasn’t had formal grammar since 2nd…

  4. Thank you so much for hosting the WWU hop!
    I am really looking fwd to clicking to a few of the others who have linked. I’m really enjoying reflecting on my week and then gaining inspiration from other HS Moms too….

    Thanks for the great insight into your week and God bless

  5. We’ve been getting an earlier start to our days, too, to make sure we don’t have to cram so much in the afternoon. It gets easier as you go. =) I have seen Daily Grams and WriteShop both, again and again and again, but I have never actually looked into them.. I should..

  6. Hi! I just found your blog today and I love the name of your blog!!! I’m posting an article about socialization tomorrow and I added the name of your blog to my post because I love it so much! I’ll link to your blog too, so other people can come check it out 🙂

  7. I second the recommendation on Scholaric. It has the checklist ability and you can print (although I haven’t done that yet). Not the prettiest planner out there, but it’s not bad and is fairly easy to use. I’ve only been using it about a month, so I haven’t figured out all that it can do yet, but it covers my basic needs quite well.

    1. I looked at it and it does look interesting…I just can’t cost justify it since I can do the same things for free, just with a bit more effort. {sigh}

  8. I hadn’t found a planner that I liked either. So I made a template on the computer to fit my Franklin Covey and printed my own pages. I made it exactly what I wanted it to be, and the planner fits in my purse, so it’s pretty much always with me. I like it, so far it is really working for me. If I ever need to change it up, I can easily do so.

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