A complete, free online Christian homeschool for your family and mine
(If you prefer a video to reading the below, here it is.)
There are two decisions you need to make to get started with this curriculum. One, choose your child's level based on their reading ability. Go to the English courses down on the right-hand side and choose your children's levels. This is your child's English and math. Look at the books they would be reading and choose a level where they can be successful. If you are unsure, have your child read a page from different books. If there are a few words they don't know, that's fine. If there are a bunch of words they don't know and have no idea what they read when they get to the bottom of the page, try a lower level. You can mix and match and have your child do a different level math, chosen from the sidebar menu. The course descriptions are at the top of each course page to let you know what they will be learning.
The second decision is to choose a "program year." This is what they will be studying.
Program Year 1 is ancient history and biology.
Program Year 2 is early American history and animals. (lots of lapbooks)
Program Year 3 is geography/cultures and earth science. (should be complete in 2014)
Program Year 4 is modern history and chemistry/physics. (lots of experiments)
Music and art relate as much as possible to the time periods studied and appear once a week in the curriculum. PE/health, computer and "thinking" are also once a week.
If you are using the full curriculum, just click on the grade level and find Day 1. All you have to do is click from there!
When you see an asterisks*, it means that there is something to print out. (*) means it is optional. I mark the day, the subject and then the specific item that needs printing. I did this so that you can easily look ahead and print out what's needed ahead of time. (I print out a week at a time, the younger the student the more to print.) As much as possible I have them do things online instead of on paper. Materials needed are written out in bold next to the day they are used. Hopefully soon there will be a full materials list you can refer to.
Answers come in two forms. There are password protected answer pages. You can email me through the about page and ask for the password. Other times I wrote the answers right on the page like this (answer: All you have to do it highlight it to see it.) The answer is there, written in white. Just click and drag and highlight over the blank area to see the answer. Try it now. Occasionally I put hints like that as well. Most of the answers are not hidden from your kids. I used it for English because I wanted to be able to check for reading comprehension. If you check the answers on the same computer and same browser that your kids are using, your computer will remember the password and show the answers in the future. You can clear your cache to have it forget the password and then start checking at least on a separate browser if not computer. Or, you might just want to tell your kids not to look at the answers.
Every forty days there are notes to the kids to give things to you to add to your portfolio, so you should have a record from each subject quarterly. I didn't do this specifically for first and second grade because my state, Pennsylvania, doesn't require portfolios until age 8, but I did leave some reminders on those pages if you would like to keep a portfolio.
Your child just needs basic tools: pencil, scissors, glue, crayons or colored pencils. There are links to "materials needed" lists at the top of each course page. I talk about putting something in your "Bible notebook" or something similar. I have all of my child's work in one binder. I have dividers for English, History, Science, Math, Other. They need to keep their papers somewhere. My oldest has composition notebooks for a few subjects. They will need to write things in their "notebooks" sometimes, which can just be lined paper or notebooking pages in their binders. Use separate binders, keep it all together, whatever, just keep it organized so that they can find their work.
The grade "levels" cover math, English, computer and "thinking." English covers reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, creative and non-fiction writing. I would say not all years are equal in their devotion to spelling, vocabulary and grammar. Spelling is covered the least. There is no weekly spelling list. That's not how I do things. They learn phonics and do copy work and when they are older, I just visit it from time to time. Vocabulary comes from the books they are reading. Again, it's not a weekly list or something. It's just here and there as we come across great words in our reading. Grammar follows more of a guideline. Each year I introduce a part of speech and review the others. They also work on sentence structure each year, getting more and more complex as they get older. Capitalization and punctuation is also done each year to varying degrees. It's a loose approach, but so far I haven't had a kid score lower than 98 on the language or reading portions of a state standardized test, but I make no claim for how your children will perform if they use this curriculum.
The program years are split into two levels. Level L is the lower level for grade levels one through four. Level M is the middle level for grade levels five through eight. I do plan on homeschooling high school. You can see the high school page for some links I've begun posting. You'll see that they are mostly links to online courses. (Here is an example of how I used one of those online courses as a base for one of my courses.)
It is set up this way so that all of your children can study the same things at the same time, everyone in your family should use the same program year. I just let my first grader study whatever he finds interesting from what the others are doing.
The youtube video urls under the embeded videos are for those in countries where youtube is blocked. Hopefully they can use a website unblocker (many can be found online) to get to the videos.
If you go to a link and it says that the page isn't found or it opens up to the wrong website, please email me. If the page opens but the game or video isn't loading, make sure you have installed and updated your Java, Flash and Shockwave players. If the page says that it's under construction, we'll probably just wait until it's back and not switch it. If you are using an ipad, you will need an application to allow you to watch flash files.
Finally, here is a Daily Progress Chart that you can print out and check off each day to keep track of where you are.
(Hint: to make the font bigger or smaller on your screen try hitting ctrl + or ctrl -)