I thought I'd start out the review process by discussing what I have been using this year. This is the first year I've home schooled but I've been very pleased with most of the curriculum I chose. My personality lends me more towards a classical education. Please add your comments and/or questions to this posting so that others can read how you've used these curriculums listed below!
Spelling/Writing/Reading: Spell, Write and Read
I have been using with my daughter (age 7) the Spell, Write and Read program by Wanda Sansari. We love it! My dd has been very successful at learning all the phonograms and despite having a eye tracking problem, has been able to do the program successfully. At first, the program seems overwhelming, due to several step by step procedures. But once you've done the program consistently for several weeks, the steps become very easy to remember. The plus is that the child remembers! It is so neat to see my dd easily sound out words that she hasn't even been exposed to in her spelling lists. Grammar is intertwined as well as writing sentences. There isn't a need for an additional grammar program and it has been suggested that until you've completed all the spelling lists, you should hold off on the writing end as well. That way the child has a complete grasp on the English language. In addition to this program, for learning how to write, check out Cursive First. For more information on this program you can go to http://swrtraining.com/id23.html or to http://www.bhibooks.net/swr.html.
I was a little reluctant at first to use this program. My sister highly recommended it to me. Wow! What a great math program! It makes the child use higher level thinking skills and mental thinking skills. If your child is a hand's-on learner, then this isn't the program for you, unless you want to add to the program with additional manipulatives. I added color tiles for counting (although you can use anything for that). When introducing the clock, I still had my teaching clocks from the classroom. That was handy having a small miniature clock for my dd to use. Real coins are used for the money lesson. The main thing I feel is absolutely necessary when teaching the younger children is a white board or chalkboard. We utilize this every day! For more information, you can go to http://www.singaporemath.com.
Language Arts: First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer
This is curriculum is the best! Short concise lessons. Easy to teach! Lessons are all written out, even to the point of what you need to say. The best part about this program is the narration and dictation skills that are taught. Throughout the entire program, memorization of poetry is introduced. My dd can still remember the poem she learned in September! Grammar is interspersed throughout and is easily retained by the child. You may think initially that the lessons are too short, but don't worry it is just the right length for your young child. For additional information, you can go to http://www.welltrainedmind.com/firstlanguagelessons/.
History: Story of the World, Volume 1: The Ancients by Susan Wise Bauer
I have learned so much teaching history this year! I am an avid history buff, so this curriculum was right up my alley! Some may disagree with starting a 6-year-old in the Ancients, but mine has loved it! The program combines not only world history but a biblical perspective as well. It is easily used with a good timeline program. We use History through the Ages. You can purchase the audio cd's to give yourself a break from reading. My dd loves to listen to the cd's. After listening to the different parts of the chapter, review questions are asked and then the child narrates back what they learned. There are wonderful maps and coloring pages and lots of extra activities to add to each lesson. For additional information, you can go to http://www.peacehillpress.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=2
I use the classical approach to science. This year we studied animals for 20 weeks +. We are currently studying the human body and will soon move into a nature unit. I love the flexibility of being able to choose a variety of items to use with each subject. We check out lots of books from our public library, go on field trips to the local musuems and conservation departments or just use our own backyard to locate the information needed! The child dictates what subjects he/she wants to learn. Then I go digging for the books, projects, etc. I had in mind that my dd needed to learned the major animal groupings, but she got to choose which animals she wanted to learn about in each area. For human body, we will be learning the basic systems, but dd is choosing which organs she would like to learn more about.