2014-2015 Curriculum Thoughts (Looking Back)

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Back to  Homeschool Blog Hop This has been a hectic year. This has been an amazing year. I had a baby. I blogged books, quilts, cross stitch, and homeschool stuff. I also taught a combination of Tot School and K5/1st Grade. I found some new things to love, and I discovered some things that just weren’t an appropriate fit.

Love! (Backlinks of joy)

Memoria Press First Grade (Advice)

Memoria Press First Start Reading (Phonics)

Memoria Press Kindergarten (Series)

Creative Madness Mama Blossom School on a Normal Day

Logic of English Foundations

Lightning Literature

2014-2015 Wrap Up

Blog Hop Landing Page (Visit other bloggers!)

Last year, the curriculum that I chose was suppose to take AppleBlossom two years to complete. It was suppose to be K5 that merged into 1st Grade as time went on. However, she finished all of the First Grade materials, or is very nearly so through with them as of now. She turned six years old just a little over a week ago and is already a week and a day jumped into her Second Grade materials! Say, what?! The worst part is that it is not hard for her. But that’s enough looking forward, you’ll have to come back for more on that topic tomorrow. Today’s post is suppose to be about looking back on this year…

Memoria Press First Grade Advice

Advice before starting Memoria Press First Grade

In the 2014-2015 year, AppleBlossom for her K5 year completed the entire Seton First Grade Home Study Curriculum as well as the entire Memoria Press First Grade Classical Core Curriculum and we’re reading through book lists from Barefoot Ragamuffin’s Wayfarers Ancients as well as Sonlight Core A too. We’ve also thrown in some Apologia Exploring Creation sciences, Science in the Beginning, Evan-More’s Beginning Geography and others.

I did not complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge of who-knows how many books, but I have so far read 144 books this year. I’m well beyond behind in reviewing and sharing things that I want to post about, but I just keep getting carried away with Egyptians and Antarctica… oh wait, sorry, that’s this new year jumping in again… AppleBlossom loves school. She has gone from fumbling with phonetic readers to begging to read ahead in The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, and Harry Potter in the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling, as well as impatiently skipping beyond our nightly reading in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. She does read alouds with OrangeBlossom such as Curious George (Adventures of… Treasury), The House that Jack Built (Little Golden Books), and attempting to convince her baby brother to look at books and not eat them like Pete the Cat Wheels on the Bus by James Dean.

Creative Madness Mama Naptime

Naptime or Nightime – sleep required!

OrangeBlossom on the other-hand is a different specimen of teaching delight. She has the attention span of a butterfly and if it is not purple, pink, and/or sparkily or in some way referenced to a princess she is not remotely interesting nor intrigued. Yet she fills the room with twirls, giggles, spinning princess dresses, “I love yous” and kisses for all as well as a plethora of “You’re beautifuls” through out the day. She’s turning four today. My baby girl is four. Her sister was well into schooling at three, and she’s now four and not interested. It’s different. I have the books, but they’ll hold. Each day I’m going to offer, but as long as she’s not distracting, I’m going to let her twirling spirit glide and inspire our classroom (our life is our classroom btw).

~ Last Year ~


We had bits of Bible from our interaction of the Golden Children’s Bible as used with the Copybook 2 curricula with Memoria Press First Grade Classical Core Curriculum. As well as Religion 1 from Seton Home Study School. We enjoyed Religion 1, the structure, the reinforcement, but as a whole Seton was not challenging or really where we wanted to head as a whole with our curriculum goals. My favorite parts of Seton were the Religion and American History as well as English, but it was just a good book or workbook, and not enough. On days where we just did Seton we expanded with library books and were still left wanting more. We had even skipped a grade thinking it would make things more challenging and on her level, but it just wasn’t. Seton is more of a school at home diligent program, and we are leaning more toward a book thirsty Classical Christian Education approach. Long story short, we went with enrolling in Seton for the accreditation, but as of April this year, we found a new delight with accreditation… but then I’m getting ahead of myself again…


Memoria Press First Grade Literature

Reading, English Grammar and the like

As I mentioned above, this girl can read, and read she does. Sometimes she acts like she is scared of the big – what she calls – adult books, but hide the size by presenting it on her Kindle and she’ll knock it out and be finished before either one of us saw it coming. She says she’ll read princess books for the sake of aloud to her sister, but mostly she prefers non-fiction science, adventure, and heroes. I’m curious to see how her preferences will develop as we continue to introduce more books.

While AppleBlossom jumped beyond Logic of English Foundations before the next level was available, we are slowly working through it with OrangeBlossom when she asks for her “Dragon Phonics”.

StoryTime Treasures

Memoria Press StoryTime Treasures


Memoria Press More StoryTime Treasures

We’ve discovered that we love Memoria Press StoryTime Treasures and other Comprehension Guides. We also love the book choices and presentation of Lightning Literature. We read through all of the Beatrix Potter stories and are about halfway through the Just-So Stories going along with English Lessons Through Literature, Level 1 by Kathy-Jo DeVore. I think we’ll trek along with ELTL and see where it leads us. We’re about half-way through First Language Lessons, Level 1 by Susan Wise Bauer and while it’s good, I like the full reading choices and bits of ELTL more. I haven’t decided to toss FLL and have Level 2 ready to go, but I guess time with tell on that.

Both of us truly enjoyed the workbook aspect of English 1 from Seton. We learned nouns, verbs, and pronouns. It was attractive, fun to complete, and full of good sentences to fill with our hearts and minds. It just is too expensive on it’s own outside of the enrollment. This up coming year is going to be a different path, and that is yet to be seen… We will continue some of the previously mentioned, but not this one.


As I mentioned in a previous post, this one baffles me. But again, like I said, she’s still very young… so perhaps this is the place where we need to lapse. And if so, so be it, just let me know it! We have not finished New American Cursive 1, Copybook 2, although we started in New American Cursive 2 today. She is getting bored with just doing individual letters, but gets frustrated when she goes to write a word and cannot get every letter perfectly. I believe she’s a bit of a perfectionist and that’s been at least part of our issue. But I’m trying to make her understand that even if she is frustrated with how something looks, that avoiding it will not help her improve! She did finish Adventures in Phonics, Level A and jumped straight into Level B without even asking so I guess we’re continuing that one!


Have you heard me talk about how surprised I was to love Rod & Staff Arithmetic? We have finished Grade 1 Beginning Arithmetic and loved all of it. She delighted in doing it and when we discussed going a different route in math this year she begged to do Grade 2 Working Arithmetic on top of that! Last year, we got a few chapters into reading Life of Fred: Apples, but now I’m letting her go back and read it alone. I’m not sure how much she really got when I read it to her. As of now, I don’t really see the impressive hype. Talk about hype… We absolutely love IXL! AppleBlossom soars through activities and this is the one aspect where OrangeBlossom does really well in school. She may refuse to sit still, refuse to write more than one number or letter at a time, refuse to listen to more than one story (if not fairy tale enhanced) but she will carry around the Kindle Fire until the battery is dead, ask for it to charge, and do it some more until her time limit runs out on doing IXL lesson after lesson. They’ve added new things in the last few months than even I saw when I first reviewed the program, and it continues to be something we love and adore. We also enjoy CTC Math , but it is not as easy to access as with the Kindle Fire app. And a new joy for AppleBlossom is also Xtramath. Interest in Math Mammoth has gone slack, but with this last year consisting of “online math”, Beginning Arithmetic, and Seton Mathematics 1 I think we had things covered. Seton Math was probably her least favorite book. We actually haven’t finished it like all the rest, because whenever it’s math-time she just would prefer something, anything else. They explain some things differently and use different names, but in the end even if we never truly finish it – I think she’s claiming the necessary skills. She’s nearing to mastering her addition and subtraction facts and is getting acquainted with the idea of multiplication.


Memoria Press Science & Social Studies


Oh, my favorite part of these types of commentary posts! Memoria Press is my biggest favorite and I’ll scream it from the roof tops! The Memoria Press Enrichment Guides are amazing. One more time in a fun embolded font.

Memoria Press Enrichment Guides are awesome!

Sure we do religion, reading, writing, and arithmetic, but the Enrichment from Memoria Press is where I’m in love. Here is where we delve into classic, vintage, and incredible newly release (almost all in print) literature choices that have all been permanent shelf keepers. This is where we read, reread, and discuss getting a head-start in our Classical Education. These times in our day are when we listen and discuss classical pieces of music and their composers and the era in which they were written and what the composer was trying to portray. It is during our enrichment sessions that we pour over classical pieces of art be it painting or sculpture when we stare, talk about the emotions it evokes, the time it was created, and the talent and patience that it takes to make such a thing. It is during our enrichment periods when we snuggle and read Lord Byron or Stevenson or Mother Goose and discuss the emotions and messages hidden within poetry. Even more so, it is the time we expand on our already awesome literature selection and read non-fiction science topical books and discuss the world around us. And it is when we read an add-on book or two to learn about social studies and world cultures that interact with our previously mentioned literature selection and see how interactive history really can be.

Frankly for me, the Enrichment Guides are where our true schooling really is at it’s best!

Last year was fun and it is just the beginning. I look foward to doing it all again when OrangeBlossom is ready to get there, but I’m curious how different her learning styles will be. And who knows what the Rascal will endeavour to do. While we still need to get a hold onto our Preschool/Junior Kindergarten routine in the upcoming year we’ve just started… Our First Grade material went extremely well with skills learned and conquerored.

What’s the goal of First Grade anyway?

Learn how to read. Check.

Learn the beginning pegs for history and geography with a thirst for more. Check.

Learn addition and subtraction. Check.

Learn to write letters and numbers and beginning spelling. Check. (Even into cursive too!)

I think we got it. So this year… sure it’s Second Grade. Sure it’s First Grade. Call it what you want. My daughter is learning. Loving it, and begging for more. Creating a life long learner is what this is all about right? Training up my children to love the Lord, love each other, their neighbors, and to learn? What else could be better than that?

What do you see in looking back?

You can find an entire listing of other blogs participating on my landing page, or the Crew blog. But here is a handful you might want to visit today! But head back, as we will be sharing all week long. The Schoolhouse Review Crew will be joining forces with Homeschool Blogging Connection to bring you a week full of back to school encouragement. I recommend you to grab a cup of tea and take some moments to explore and get a gander at what our fellow bloggers are sharing this week in the 2015 Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Marcy @ Ben and Me

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.
  • Meg @ Adventures with Jude

    I’m on the hunt for a literature program for my son…I forgot about Memoria Press…off to research! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • You’re welcome! So far their choices in my opinion have been awesome. If you need more suggestions, I’ve got plenty of recommendations!!