Looking back at our 2014-15 homeschool year

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It’s hard to believe we are about to embark on a new homeschooling year.  I remember freaking out this time last year as we planned our first year of homeschool.  It was a challenging year, but we learned a lot about how to work with our special needs kid.

We spent part of the summer looking into private school options, because we received a scholarship from the state for special needs students that can be used toward their education, either pre-approved private schools or homeschooling expenses.  We are so grateful that she is a recipient of this Step Up For Students scholarship, it’s a huge blessing. However, by the end of July we realized that we hadn’t found the school we were looking for; one that specializes in special education and we could afford with the scholarship and that was close enough to home (so we could actually make it to class most days).   Therefore, we decided to homeschool for the 2015-16 school year.  I have been slowly getting back into the routine of planning, shopping for curriculum and organizing for the new year.

Before getting into what we have selected for curriculum and activities this year, I wanted to first make a list of the curriculum/websites/blogs, etc. that really helped us last school year.

Kate’s Top Picks for 2014-15

Touch Math– This is a top choice for special education for a reason.  I’m just bummed we got this late in the school year.

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Explode the Code Workbooks-  I couldn’t believe how much she enjoyed this simple workbook.  It’s a black and white workbook that offers plenty of phonics, reading and writing practice.  The best part is that Kate enjoyed working independently with this workbook.  We also got the online version, which she didn’t like at all.

Learning Ally is the best.  We enjoyed many audiobooks this school year, American Girl, other chapter books and even Wimpy Kid books.

Draw Write Now is a great copy work/handwriting and drawing practice book.  I never got any resistance from Kate when she got to work on this book.   It is a non-consumable book, which is a good value if you are homeschooling multiple kids.

Homeschool Spanish Academy was a fun and relaxing way to learn Spanish.  These teachers are highly trained.  How they managed to re-direct her and keep her focused for a 45 minute session is quite impressive.

Kate would say that All About Reading was a fun reading program.  Considering how challenging reading is for her that says a lot about this program. She especially loved completing the activities, which “tricked” her into extra practice.  We completed Level 1 and will start Level 2 next school year.

Summer 2015- enjoying a day out at the American Girl Store.

Summer 2015- enjoying a day out at the American Girl Store.

Kate’s number one pick for last school year is…SAINTS PE Program.  We were so blessed to have this program.  It was great for exercise and making friends.

Celebrating on the last day of PE program 2014-15 homeschool year.

Celebrating on the last day of PE program 2014-15 homeschool year.

Mom’s Top Picks

When you first start homeschooling you read every blog out there and it can be overwhelming.   I think there are many great blogs out there for every kind of homeschooling family, but these were my go-to blogs.

Simple Homeschool   Whenever I read this blog I feel inspired.  This mom is very knowledgeable and has a gift of communicating in a way that doesn’t alienate any homeschooler regardless of their homeschool style or preference.

Only Passionate Curiosity  This is where I go to read up and learn about curriculum that is out there for elementary students.  Her reviews helped us to find some things that worked for us last year.  She also has a huge list of free and low cost online resources for all subjects.

Homeschool Buyers Coop not only offered great prices on curriculum, but introduced me to many great resources.

Teachers Pay Teachers- great resources, cheap, quick downloads, teacher tested and kid approved.  I especially loved the materials for interactive math and sight word notebooks. They also have plenty of awesome freebies.

Next post we’ll detail what we’re planning for the 2015-16 homeschool year.