Hi everyone! We’ll we’re about half way through our 2015-2016 homeschool year, and I thought I’d do a mid-year review for you all since we’ve made a few alterations.


For the most part I’m happy with what we’ve chosen this year. And I think we did good as far as balancing teacher led, with student independent work as well. But we have changed up a few things as needed.

So here’s what we chose for the year and what we like or dislike, and whether or not we’ll stick with it for next year!


Miss Lady Bug: 1st Grade



So after going through our day, I realized that I loaded up Miss Lady Bug’s schedule pretty full. As a matter of fact it is almost too full, so we did drop some things to make it easier for her to get through her day, and make her schedule a little more realistic for what she’s able to handle right now.

She’s still doing everything with the exception of my Literature units, & handwriting. I had planned to use my Lit. units as read-a-louds, but we’ve really been focusing on her reading to me, so we’ve been spending that time on the couch with readers at her level. I’ll let her start my literature units next year, or maybe even the following year when she’s ready to do them more independently.

We also took out the BJU Handwriting. Since she’s doing Spelling You See an Abeka Spelling, I found the extra handwriting practice just wasn’t needed. The Spelling You See really doubles as handwriting for us right now, so it seemed like a waste of time to do another one.

I’m also waffling on the vocabulary for first grade, but we’ve been doing it a few times a week when we have time. She likes to do the book, and it’s actually really fast. She’s also starting to be able to read better, so that helps. But otherwise I’m reading and telling her definitions each day, so honestly I’m not sure it’s really sticking at this age. I think vocab might really be something that would be more effective next year.

She also switched from inline hockey this year to ice skating lessons. She’s loving it and doing really really well! She still swims, does Keepers, and is in a once a week options program.


Tinkerbell: 4th Grade


TinkerBell is doing exceptionally well with all of her things. I really haven’t removed anything from her list this year except my daily learning notebook. She says it’s too easy for her at this point, and since she has a full load, I let her give it up at the mid-year break.

Since Turbo moved to ice hockey, she decided she wasn’t interested in playing. Instead she’s taken up ice skating lessons. She participated in a holiday ice show that was really fun and cute, and so far she loves it. She’s also still swimming twice a week, and doing an options program once a week.



Turbo: 6th Grade


Turbo has also been doing well with his work. I did substitute the vocabulary workshop for him this year in lieu of the Word Build online program. He really hated the workbook, and since he enjoys doing things on the computer I thought he might enjoy that more. And he definitely does! I will say that depending on where you start, it is quite a bit easier than the vocabulary workshop books. But I wasn’t sure where to start him, so we just started with Foundations Level 1. Since I paid for it, I’m having him finish, but he’s definitely past that, and I probably should’ve started him at Foundations Level 3, or even Elements Level 1. I just wasn’t sure since he hadn’t used the program before.

I’ve also let him alternate between Book Shark books and my literature units and library book choices because he requested that. He wasn’t loving the Book Shark books, and honestly I didn’t totally love them either. So now he either picks one of my literature units, or a book from the library that interests him instead. He still does the Abeka Read & Think Skill sheets, so I’m not worried about his comprehension. But I want to foster a love of reading for him right now since he previously did not like to read. I find that allowing him to read books that interest him has dramatically increased his desire to read!


Strawberry Shortcake: 7th grade



Strawberry Shortcake has also been doing well with her picks for the year. The only thing I’m not totally loving is the BJU English 7. Though honestly we’ll probably use it for next year anyway. It’s a little more difficult because there aren’t really teacher lessons in the TM, its really just an answer key to the student workbook. Her workbook has the lessons she reads herself, then she completes the work independently. That makes it difficult for me to tell whether or not she understood a concept until I grade her workbook. I’m also not sure what she’s learning until afterwards either.

I think if we use this next year I might consider using their DVD lessons, though they look kind of goofy! She also finished the Foto Finch photography earlier in the year, so she’s done with that now.

Like Turbo, Strawberry Shortcake didn’t love the Book Shark list either. So she’s also been alternating between those books, my literature units, and library books of her choosing.



Extra-Curricular & Group Activities:

So far our group activities have been going well. I’m still really liking the IEW writing program, so we’ll stick with that. We’re also doing my Expedition Earth curriculum as well and everyone is having a lot of fun!

We’ve been a bit bad at getting to the Time Traveler’s history units. I’m finding it difficult to do both that and my Expedition Earth at the same time. So we’ve mostly been doing EE instead. I did finish the unit from last year, but haven’t moved on to Renaissance & Reformation yet.

Contenders of the Faith is taking a break, so he’s currently not doing Contenders.

DI Instant Challenge Co-op: The moms for this group had high hopes, and we’ve been getting together once a month for almost 4 years now! But with everyone’s busy schedules, it just wasn’t working out. So we’ve decided to take a break this year. I’m not sure if we’ll pick it up for next year or not. If we don’t I might try to institute the DI Challenges at home, but for now we’re pretty packed!

Here are a few other things we do on the side, and I’ll post our schedules by grade as well soon!

  • Options: This is a once a week co-op that we go to through our school district. Classes for my younger kiddos are mostly elective types like Spanish, science, art, music, & PE. Strawberry Shortcake has cool things like speech & debate, drama, computers, yearbook, literacy in film, home economics, and game theory.
  • Keepers of the Faith
  • Contenders of the Faith
  • Co-Op: DI Instant Challenges This is a once a month group of friends who get together, previously our LEGO group. We’re going to try making our own set of instant challenges for our co-op this year using the DI list as a guide.
  • Turbo: Hockey & Swimming
  • All Girls: Swimming & Ice Skating



And that’s all folks! For the most part I didn’t make too many changes to our year after the Christmas break. I think what we’re doing for now is working well.

One thing I’m going to do for next year is make Strawberry Shortcake’s curriculum a little more independent. That means she probably won’t participate in group science/history activities. She’s getting to a point where she prefers doing things on her own, and I think it will benefit her to start reading and studying on her own instead of doing everything as a group.

I’m also going to try and plan a little bit less next year as we’re pretty booked this year. However everyone is holding up to the schedule well for now, so we’re going to finish out the year as planned!

Did you make any changes this year? Leave a comment below!


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    1. Yes, it’s offered through our local public school district. They go once a week and do a variety of subjects based on their grade level and what is offered that year. It’s good and bad. For one I lose one teaching day a week, but I also get a day off. They also do things like science dissections, choir, Ameritown, etc… that I don’t do at home so that’s nice. And the kids get a day with friends too which is fun for them.

  1. Thank you so so so much for the extensive information you give. I’m into my first year homeschooling my twin boys and we are wrapping up kindergarten. But, I seriously could not have gotten started nor kept going with out looking at your website constantly. I’m thankful you have Ladybug who is a year older than my boys, so I can go through and see what she’s done for the year and plan for them for this next year. We chose the Sonlight curriculum for kindergarten because I was referred to it by a friend and the appeal of it being an all-in-one for this first timer was huge. But there are several things I would have changed that didn’t fit that well for us. So I will be handpicking each subject this next year and your information on first grade and then follow up in the middle of the year is MUCH APPRECIATED. Thank you so very much!

    1. They are daily devotions for kids. They’re sold by grade level, and only take about 10-15 minutes to complete. They’re student independent, so that makes it easier on me too. And I like that they’re studying Bible verses on their own and answering questions based on their own lives, not based on me directing a study.

  2. Hi Erica, wondering if you have your 2nd grade curriculum planned out yet for the 2016-2017 school year? I cannot begin to thank you enough for all your wonderful resources…without your website there’s no way I would’ve entertained this journey! Thank you!

  3. Hi Erica,

    I’m wondering at what grade level you begin teaching grammar to your children? I have a kindergarten and first grader next year and am wondering if that is too soon?


    1. Most curriculum usually start teaching basic grammar like capitalizing sentences, and adding punctuation to the ending in first grade. The more in depth things like nouns, verbs, etc. and sentence structure usually start up more around 2nd and 3rd grades.


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