Hits and Misses 2016

Hey everyone! I was reading through some old posts trying to look for information on Sonlight, and I started reading a post from 2015 about hits and misses for the year! It was really interesting and informative! I thought it might be fun to do it again this year - 2016. :slight_smile:

Homeschooling! - I quit K12, and schooling was so much more fun this year because of it! Less stress, less pressure, more time for fun and family.
History: Story of the World, and Harcourt Social Studies. We really liked both of these.
Math: Teaching Textbooks. My kids are not that strong in math, so this was a nice fit!
Science: Apologia - kids picked Botany, and Zoology 2 - about Marine Life - they enjoyed it, and seemed to learn a lot as well!
Art: We did art along with history, and that was just plain fun.
Literature/ Reading: Lots of living history books, which the kids just loved! It brings history alive! Also, I enjoyed K12 lit, so I searched Amazon and eBay and bought all the required reading and teacher guide. Good solid reading.

Music: Wish we had more time for this one!
Math: Started out with Horizons Math, the kids hated it. Way too much to try and do in one day for them. So, we had to switch to TT.
Grammar/Writing: Could not find a good fit for this one. We are trying Voyages in English next year.
Spelling: Tried Sequential Spelling, Building Spelling Skills, and one other one. None of them worked. Trying a new simple workbook next year: Spelling Skills.

Next Year:
We liked Apologia Science, but at the same time, missed being able to cover different topics during the year. May try out Interactive Science, or BookShark / Sonlight Science.
History: Also enjoyed History, but thinking about putting all my kiddos together and doing unit studies instead, so that we can do even more fun projects together, instead of me trying to teach 4 different histories, and then not having time for the fun stuff. :slight_smile:

So, what are your hits and misses for the year? I can’t wait to see how your school year went this year! :slight_smile:


One big huge miss this year was Sonlight P4/5. I thought that the books looked so great and was super excited to try this program out with my kids. Both my K and Pre-k kids love to be read to so I thought this program would be a big hit…The Bearenstein Bears Science book and Peter Rabbit were the ONLY books the kids liked. There were many books that had long full pages of reading with zero pictures. Quite a few books were older classics that had difficult language for small children to understand or were well over the heads of kids in this age range. The kids were so bored and distracted. (And so was I.) I wanted to love this program and it was expensive so I kept with it for 15 weeks. Fifteen loooong rotten weeks! Finally when both kids cried and begged not to do school I ditched it. I switched to free printables and projects that I found online, bought Leapfrog Letter Factory, bought some good and fun story books, and purchased some cheap workbooks and the kids are happy, learning, and liking school again. I really regret sticking with the program when it was clear that it wasn’t a good fit for us because my son in particular was so excited to start kindergarten and this just kind of killed his joy.

A hit this year was notebooking! We bought the DK Animal Encyclopedia and binders. I let each of the kids pick an animal each week and we read about them in the encyclopedia, watched youtube videos on the animal and chose a book from the library on their animal. I made our notebooking pages with actual pictures and space for them to draw the animal and write some sentences about what they learned and this has been the favorite part of their day! When dad asks what they learned each day they all talk about the animal we are currently working on!

My older daughter really liked Apologia’s, “Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him?”, book and notebooking journal. Math You See is still working out well for us too.


Ds12: Giving him input into our book selections for history, lit, and reading. Giving him input into the topics covered in history and science. Schoolhouse Teachers Daily Grammar 5. Spreading a math review over the week. Daily word problems.

Dd8: Lit-based history and science. Taking math slowly (no formal curriculum). Lit read alouds.

Art/Music-nonexistent this year
ABEKA Health (ds). Trying to do the books for grades 4-6 in one year became tedious. Switched back to topic-based study.
Spelling for both. Using the list 1000 Commonly Used Words but having trouble making time for it/finding best ways to use it
Reading (dd). Still trying to determine if she needs instruction in phonics or comprehension/fluency


I forgot to add a “hit”! We always do a rough job on finding a good music curriculum that we actually want to do. This year we are doing Easy Peasy All In One homeschool’s music. We are doing “Ancient Music” because it goes along well with our history and we have completed a lesson each week-and had fun!


Love these posts.
Here are my 2016 hits and misses:
Sonlight Core B (this was both a hit and a miss- more later)- I loved how we spent more time together as a family and enjoyed some amazing read aloud with books I would never have picked up myself. I loved how my children actually remembered what they had read vs when we had done textbook work.

Heart of Dakota- Little Hearts for His Glory and Bigger Hearts for His Glory- We loved this for sooooo many reasons. We loved the read alouds, the extension books, the History books, the arts and crafts (especially as I am NOT an artsy person and wouldn’t come up with the simple ideas myself). I loved the family time we had doing the projects together and how much history was learned (and REMEMBERED) in such a short space of time. I love the peace that we had and how quickly we could get a day done compared to what we used before.

Essentials in Writing- This was wonderful and really helped my children to learn how to write! YAY!

All About Reading- I LOVE this program, my DD did so well with it. She learned how to read and has found it fun. She finished Level 1 in record time after struggling when we started, suddenly it clicked and she did so well

Piano lessons- These went well and we were blessed with free lessons this year.

CLE Math- for one of my children this was a miss- we have pretty much used this all the way through, but because some concepts were not mastered the spiral approach spiralled out of control. (Pun totally intended lol)

Sonlight (see what we will be keeping section)

Reading aloud- Once Sonlight was done I struggled to find time to do 2 read alouds with HOD…

What we will be keeping this year:
Basically nothing except AAR and piano. Hah, sounds funny considering all the hits but I have many reasons for this.
We struggled with letting go of HOD in particular because we loved it THAT much. I knew HOD was like a break year for us, it was never going to be permanent. I thought we would stick it out especially for my youngest but the USD vs CAD made me change my mind. I had always wanted to find out more about the Heart of Wisdom method, and once I read the book on Bible based homeschool I KNEW this was the approach we needed to take so we are dropping HOD and Sonlight and we are going with Diana Waring’s History in it’s place because it seems to fit perfectly with the HOW method.

Sonlight we loved but we did encounter some things that were hard and that forced me to have some serious discussions which was fine but with 3 children at 3 different grade levels doing 3 totally different things I was not prepared to talk properly and felt it was a disservice. I LOVE a lot of the Sonlight books, George Muller being a favourite, but I doubt we will ever use it again, we will probably just buy a few of the books we think will interest us. Also with the USD vs CAD this is not an option.

Math- I may keep CLE for one child and not the other based on the struggles we encountered. I had written in my choices post that we were going with Teaching Textbooks but I’m not sure if TT or MUS will work better for this child yet…

Basically because I feel like our History will be teacher intensive this year I have decided to go with subjects that are computer based, independent or DVD taught for the other subjects so I can spend time with my 1st Grader (EEK I can’t believe it’s first grade already)
I was also looking for as many family based curricula as I could find. Learning as a family will cut down on $ and time and fits in with the HOW method perfectly.
Can’t wait to see the other hits and misses for 2016! :slight_smile:


I love these too! This was our first year HSing so a major learning curve for us :slight_smile: I had a 5th grader, 3rd grader and kindergartner.


Reading - AAR for my little kindergarten guy. He went to public pre-k last year and was STRUGGLING. We started in the pre-reading level and are about 1/2 through level 1 now and he is doing GREAT!

Math - Math U See, great fit for all my kids!

Art - Deep Space Sparkle and Pintrest, great projects that kept us busy all year.

History - Mystery of History Volume 1, really enjoyed this, going on to Volume 2 next year.

Bible - Grapevine, LOVE LOVE LOVE it! My kids enjoy it, all 3 can do it together and they have retained so much.

Handwriting - A Reason for Handwriting - this was enjoyable for all 3!


Spelling - Spelling You See, thought this would be great for my girls because they are older but my 5th grader struggles with spelling and 1/2 way through I was seeing ZERO progress. We dumped it and started with level 1 of AAS, zipped through it and are almost done with level 2 and LOVING it!!

Vocabulary - Worldy Wise. MEH, we finished it but won’t do it again. Plan on doing IEW Fix It next year which incorporates vocab and grammar.

Grammar -BJU. Meh, again finished but didn’t love it. Doing IEW Fix It and Writing Continuation A next year for writing.

Science - Noeo Science, this was OK. It was a lot more work on my part than I would have liked. We also finished this because it wasn’t terrible but we are doing Answers In Genesis Earth, Weather and Space next year.


Do you have a book you would recommend to learn about the Heart of Wisdom? I’ve never heard of this and I love to read about different methods of learning.

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Yes there is, it’s called ‘The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible Based Homeschooling’ by Robin Sampson. Funnily enough I think I bought the last physical copy of the book and I can only find it available as an ebook from Robins website store:
You can read more about the book there and should be able to see some samples. :slight_smile:

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I actually wanted to ask about the approach as well. I have read many of her posts and looked at samples from her unit studies, as well as read the 60 page sample of the book. I have been looking at this for the second time now and more in-depth.
What would you say will be the main changes that you will make in your teaching based on following her approach?
I would like to know from someone who has used HOW’S unit studies, too, if there’s anyone here that has? I am looking into the Wisdom one for now!

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This was my first year homeschooling and it was a big hit!! The improvement in my son has been remarkable!

BJU math, phonics & English, and reading ( just the readers- not the program itself)

AAR was a awesome!

Abeka social studies and think and learn were fun and light!

BJU reading- Maybe I didn’t give it a real chance but it seemed harder than it needed to be. We loved reading the readers though!

Science- Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding-my son was in kindergarten this year and this said it was good for kids K-2. I ended up dropping it because it was a lot of prep work and hunting things down to make it fun and engaging for him.

I felt like this year it was worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. My son did fine with that but i realized I need to incorporate more hands on stuff for next year

Overall it’s been a good year!!


Hi Proverbs31-
I was also interested in finding out more about this teaching method and did a quick search of the Michigan eLibrary (I live in Michigan) and and lo and behold they had a copy- just an FYI for others that might be interested.:wink:


Yes I have looked into her method literally for years and was always drawn to it but I was too scared to change things up. This year I knew we needed to go for it. I read the book which was SO enlightening and I decided that THIS was for us this year. So excited about it.
So the main changes would be this: Put God and His Word before all else, we study the Bible and we can branch off into other topics from there like copy work, spelling etc… you can even take your Science and History etc… from there.
Next- She has a 4 year cycle for History and Science. I will not be following that to a T as we had already decided our Science topics before I read the book but I will be following the History and some of the Science probably in our 2017-2018 year Gods willing.
Another change is individualized course of study. She gives examples in her book. But with the traditional methods etc… we do whatever the textbook says and go into depth where the book tells you too. But what is you are learning about Medieval times and the book is focused on William Shakespeare but your child is interested in what they wore, or what they had to eat and you never spend time on those topics? God has placed something in each child because He knows where they will go in life and what they will do, so working on the child’s strengths will better help them reach their goal.
She also discusses using a 4-mat system which is what Diana Waring does in her history which is what attracted me.
I also plan on purchasing some of Robin’s materials as they are quite inexpensive.
At first I thought that her method would be hard to implement when I read the excerpts online etc… but after reading the book and reading the accompanying scripture I realize just how doable it is and I’m so excited about this new journey.


Once you read the book let me know what you think whether you like it or not, still interested to hear! :slight_smile:

So glad you had a great year this year, especially for a first year! :slight_smile: Hope you have a wonderful year next year too!

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Will do :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your reply! It’s very informative. I have to continue to think on it and grow used to it. I believe in allowing the child to go deeper in study if they have an interest in something that is being studied. It’s like you said, God has something planned for them and has made them with their own inclinations.
Thanks so much for taking time to answer! Let us know how things go :grin:


I will do. It will take some getting used to for sure, but it feels right for our family, we had reached a crossroad and this is the path we are taking! :slight_smile:

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I’m excited for you! It seems like a wonderful path for any family :heart:

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Thank you @Proverbs31 !!


Great comment: “God has placed something in each child because He knows where they will go in life and what they will do, so working on the child’s strengths will better help them reach their goal.” I needed that just as a reminder!!! Thanks for that :smile: