What were your hits and misses in your homeschool this year?

We had some hits and misses in our home school this year. There are some things that I will definitely continue with and there are some things that I won’t be doing again.

Using workboxes
Sonlight Curriculum
Grapevine Bible Studies
Math U See

-being out of the house two days during the week–it made consistency very difficult
-allowing my son to pick the order for his workboxes- he wants to do all of the reading first, which means that all of his writing is piled together at the end…I have started to and will continue next year to make him stagger reading and writing as he picks each box.
-Not enough art…my youngest son is always asking for an art project, but if I have nothing prepared, I tell him no. I plan to use and art curriculum next year, probably Artistic Pursuits
-BJU Science- my son didn’t like it

Anyone else want to share their hits and misses?

1 Like

Big miss: My daughter begged at the beginning of the year to do some school work on the computer. I was taking an online class at the time and I think she thought it was very cool and grown-up to work on the computer. I didn’t want her sitting in front of a screen all day and I like to do school work WITH the kids. I caved and bought her two subjects to do with Switched on Schoolhouse. IT. WAS. TERRIBLE. My daughter, who is a “Social Sue” couldn’t get through the day with these two classes. One month into school I bought a new science curriculum and then in January I bought a new History curriculum. I wish I would’ve followed my gut instincts and said no to using the computer for school. Lesson learned!

A school room miss this year was our activity table. I bought a table that was long enough for everyone to sit at! … But, it was too narrow and it caused some book shoving and arguments! :confused:

Some things that were a hit this year were workboxes. My kids think its exciting to use the workbox tags and I think they really like seeing that they are making progress as we make our way through the boxes. We also switched to Math U See this year and it went very well for each of the kids. A surprising hit was the Draw Write Now books.

Big surprising hit this year was moving our homeschool space out to our play room (I hesitated to do this since the toys are out there but it is a large room the size of a two car garage, and with a 2 year old to keep an eye on it made sense to have him nearby and able to play there)–the two older kids (K and 2nd grade) surprisingly kept attention well at the school table and the 2 year old was able to play happily nearby!

Biggest miss so far was actually last year–Pearson Homeschool Science. Paid $80 for it I think and we actually had to abandon it mid-year :frowning: There was just no saving that curriculum. It was in no way geared for homeschoolers, was dry, dull, impractical and we were just not going to make it through the year. So we threw in the towel and started fresh this year with Elemental Science Biology for the Grammar Stage for a Big Hit this year! :slight_smile:

Another big hit this year has been adding Better Chinese to our curriculum! We love it. I let my children pick what language they wanted to learn (thinking they’d choose Spanish or French . . . ) but out they came with “Chinese!” lol! Okay . . . Great curriculum, great resources, great fun, great learning! I can’t say enough good things!

And G.U.M. Drops (Grammar Usage and Mechanics) has been one more big hit this year with my 2nd grade daughter–she loves it and it is doing exactly what it advertises: teaching great grammar lessons while getting her super interested in reading the classics by editing excerpts from them!

1 Like

Donna Ward Social Studies for Canadian geography/history.We did “Canada my Country” Everyone was able to get involved, the lessons were short and fun and we finished so fast we have already started the geography series.
CLE Math- as much as it took time to teach at the beginning of each lesson, the girls are understanding it and they enjoy doing it independently. Plus if I’m busy they can still start the lesson without me and we were able to do the new concept after. They begged to do math each day.
Abeka Penmanship- independent studies, they didn’t really need me.

Apologia Science- We abandoned this very quickly and started Abeka science. With all the other curriculum choices I had made this didn’t fit in and I had never done note booking before which made it difficult. Now I am making some changes and understand note booking a little more we might try again.

Abeka spelling- we also abandoned this very quickly! Writing the spelling list everyday for 4 days and doing a spelling test each week was pointless as the girls only learned the list for the sake of the test and would quickly forget it. Thinking about doing AAS instead.

Art- hardly had time to get around to this as my other choices took too much time. I have a couple artists on my hands so this wasn’t working for us. Need to take deliberate time out this year for art (Even bought an art curriculum that we didn’t touch!!) :frowning:
Looking forward to a new year though to see how the changes work out for us.

I had high expectations this year. Higher than I should have with a new baby with lots of medical needs and Dr appointments. This just wasn’t our year to shine.

Misses: Elemental science, can be lots of fun, but required to much prep time and teaching time from me at this time.
Math mammoth, my daughter liked it, but she wasn’t retaining anything. May I could use it as a supplement to her other math.

@kathleennj This is actually a great question and I’m enjoying all the answers!

I’ve learned that it is ok to abandon a curriculum if it just isn’t working. Last year, I stuck with something the whole year, even though I knew by Christmas that it wasn’t working well for us. But I paid so much, I reasoned. But it was a far higher price to pay to watch my daughter struggle with something that she didn’t like and didn’t understand.

We will be doing a co-op on Tuesdays next year. I’m already aware of some of the class offerings and I will be using those classes in place of separate curriculum since I don’t want to double the work needlessly. My regret is that we didn’t join this year, opting to go with a more relaxed 5 mom co-op that just fizzled because of disagreements between a few of the moms. I just don’t do drama, and so we just left.

From a curriculum standpoint, we will continue to use Math-U-See, although we have adopted different techniques to teach some of the math. (For example, lattice multiplication has worked extremely well for my daughter. The MUS method of blocks for double digit multiplication regrouping just didn’t make sense to me or my daughter.)

We will also continue with grammar and spelling curriculums but will be trying out new science and writing ones. As I said before, the biggest thing I’ve learned is to let go of what is working - when I realize it isn’t working - and just continue upward & onward. :slight_smile:


I think this is a really good topic. As I thought about it we actually had more hits this year than misses, which is NOT always the case.

We took many more field trips this year than in the past. We got involved with a new homeschool group that plans 3-5 field trips a month so we pick and choose which ones we’d enjoy and put them on the calendar. This has been wonderful. No planning involved on my part! Yay!

Art-We go to an art class once a month. This has also been a nice addition.
Math- Teaching Textbooks-This is our first year using this and I think we’re going to stick with it.

Reading- Not only do they have to read at least 30 minutes a day, a book of their choice, but I have been reading them different books also and we have discussions over them. Right now we are reading about Harriet Tubman. We have read about Henry Ford,(and then went to the Henry Ford museum) John Deere, Mt Everest, and many more. We take about 2 weeks for each topic.
Doing school outside on nice days has always been a hit for us. Take today for example. It’s 67 degrees! Finally! We’ve had a lot of negatives this winter, so it was nice to get outside!

I have to say finding COAH was a BIG hit for us!

And last but not least, I think slowing down this year. Actually taking time to learn to learn. (if that makes any sense!) I think a lot of years its been a rush to get through a book and get done with a certain curriculum. I’m focusing more on really learning and understanding this year and if we don’t get through a whole english book or science book its ok! We have next year! (or the summer)

Switched on Schoolhouse Science for my 8th grader. We both absolutely did not like this! I always tell my kids they have to really give something a chance before you decide whether to like something or not, but this was a BIG miss within just a couple weeks. AND it was really pricey! We switched to Abeka Science and like that much better.

Easy Grammar Plus- Some people may really love this. It just wasn’t right for us.

I know I put teaching Textbooks as a hit, which it is, but I was having them do math at the same time and using headphones and I would go between them as they needed me. We’ve changed that so they each do it at different times so I can be totally focused on 1 at a time and they get my undivided attention. I know alot of people just let them go on this but I want to be present and know exactly what they are learning each day and what they need help on. It’ s too much to go back and forth and not be solely focused on one or the other.

So I guess that’s it! Pretty good year so far! I can’t believe we’re almost done with this year!!


We have had a great year. We have learned so much and had a lot of fun. We had some misses though. The biggest one being that i purchased Bookshark as our whole curriculum. I had to ditch it after a couple of weeks and scramble for something else.
BJU English
Horizons math
All about reading
All about spelling
BJU Science

Horizons spelling
BJU Reading
Harcourt science

This was our first year and I made lots of changes but in the end we have found our grove and are really enjoying our school year.

The whole Online K12 school. It was a complete drag this year. Too much testing. Too much pressure. Too much emphasis on completing curriculum and not enough on understanding concepts.
K12 writing curriculum
K12 Music (I hate it!)
Study Island

Me going rogue! Lol - At the middle of the year I decided I was just going to do it my way as much as I could until next year when I am free.
So now for history - my kids create a huge project book for each unit - instead of “writing an essay” on what they learned.
For Science - I have put them together to work on projects instead of trying to hold 3 different science sessions each week.
K12 Literature
K12 Art

I know my list is a little bit unique and different - but I loved the question and wanted to respond. :smile:

1 Like

Homeschooling period (it’s was dropped at our feet as our only option for our boys in October, because of some safety issues at school). We have made it this far, praise the Lord, and no one is killing one another (6 boys, 12 years old and under) or me wanting to pull out my hair, so that’s a huge plus. Yay for success, we can’t wait for next year!

Science, God’s design for life, we’ve learned more than we thought possible going through this, and the daily hands on activities have been awesome for my boys.

Seeing my boys excel and express themselves in ways I’ve never seen. We have an autistic son and his creative brain has been unleashed with the freedom to express what he’s learning in his own way. He made a whole puppet show for history (wrote the script, made the props/puppets, and performed for all of us). It was amazing and blessed me so much to see his own uniqueness and capabilities with out the restraint of public school. It seems we are having more successes, and more joy in school then we have in the last 7 years, and it’s such a blessing to all of us!!

Wordly Wise, I hate this program, and look forward to something different next year


Oh, fun topic!

Let’s see, hits:

MUS Stewardship and Geometry

Mystery of History 4 (really liking this!)

Total Health

Apologia Chemistry–mostly a hit, except me as the teacher is a miss!

Irasshai Japanese (3rd year for my son, going well)

Rosetta Stone Spanish–this is getting better. It’s never made my “miss” list on the whole, but there are parts of it that are misses at times! But I find that my dd’s written sentences have gotten much closer to the ones in the answer key lately, and that excites me!

Home school Speech Co-op–this has gone well but I’m slowing down–not used to having all the deadlines and leaving the house, LOL!

My daughter would really benefit from a chemistry teacher! I’m not keeping up and she’s having to dig deep and really study independently. I think next year I’ll look into a class, because she wants to do physics!

Rosetta Stone–great for vocabulary, but weak in grammar and I find I have to go over those parts more with my dd. It was almost a big enough con last year to make me think about switching, but the price was right (free! loan from a friend!) But I’m seeing improvement, so we carry on!

Although our speech co-op has been a big plus, I do miss doing Essentials in Writing…will have to see if I can add that back in next year.

LLATL Gold British Lit. It’s not so much that it’s a miss…it’s just not what I was expecting/hoping for I guess. If I had it to do over, I might still consider it, but I’d look at other things too. I’d more put this in the “it’s okay” category.

What are workboxes? I keep seeing this mentioned.

I use very little boxed/prepared curriculum at this time. Our hits/successes this year:

5th grader:
Spelling. After a year or two of trying one thing and another, including AAS, which we hated, I am using the 1000 most common words list. Next year I’ll put the lists into Spelling City so that he can do it independently.

Reading: letting him choose his own books may be a hit; I’m not sure

History: using living books for US History. While I have them listed in chronological order, I’m letting him choose the books as we go. For example, which book on Lincoln do you want? This book is optional; do you want this or move on to the next topic?

Geography: once a week we study state abbreviations

Language Arts. Story Steps from Write Bonnie Rose. The only thing is, he has difficulty getting his thoughts on paper. I was his scribe. All he had to write were the daily keywords. The only miss here is that we’ve used all of them. Maybe after we’ve finished his 4H work (which involves some writing), we’ll go back to the Lego prompts we used last year or re-use the Story Steps.

2nd grade:
Starfall, hands down. My daughter is VERY independent. Except for book time, this was the only way we could “do school” for most of the year. And she has learned a lot.

Giving her free reign with basic art supplies could be a hit or a miss, but mostly a hit. (I’ve had to hide the markers a few times b/c she forgets and writes on the walls). Her creativity has really flowed. She has taught herself to write and makes her own books. (Her spelling could use a lot of work, though). She draws a lot. With this in mind, I’m considering lapbooks for next year. I just don’t know which ones to do if she’s not interested in history or science.

File folder games. She is finally showing an interest in seatwork, so these are our math right now. I find most of them at filefolderfun.

5th grade:
AiG Human Body for Science. I let him choose what he wanted to study, but I chose the book. It wasn’t a good fit and we abandoned science for a few months. At the moment our science is preparing for a 4H contest. After this week, I don’t know what we’ll do. I bought some secondhand ABEKA (4th-6th), which I intend to use next year if we don’t spend the whole year on 4H Science. I may start that anyway, letting him pick and choose the chapters/topics.

Language Arts. We just couldn’t get into a groove this year. Started Writing 8s (Dianne Craft technique), but abandoned it. Started reading the World of Language series by Ruth Heller and circling the part of speech from a lit excerpt or his copywork, but he struggled with recognizing pronouns, so we abandoned that.

Art Study. We did that for awhile, but dropped it at my son’s request. There were weeks that I’d forget to do it, anyway.

2nd grade:
History and Science read alouds. I’m continuing them in the rotation, but I’m not sure she’s getting anything out of them. I had already put them off a year due to her delays.

Prepared copywork. She would rather do her own writing.

Language and Social Skills. Had all these ideas, none of which I implemented. Hope to try again next year.

1 Like

This link should help to explain how you can use workboxes! http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2013/01/workbox-system-video-tutorial.html


CLE Math - although I dropped the ball on some of her fact memorization and now we are suffering because of it. Time to ramp that up.
Heart of Dakota history and Reading - I really liked the readers and the living history books this year with HOD Beyond Little Hearts

Heart of Dakota Science, Language Arts, Spelling - I felt like the curriculum really lacked in these areas. I subbed a little with First Language Lessons, but still just felt like we were slacking in these areas.
Art/Hands on - A good portion of this year has had me dealing with morning sickness, and I feel like that got us in a groove of “just get it done” and we didn’t take time for some fun stuff/art projects like my dd would love to do.

1 Like


Read-alouds-we picked some great books to read this year together (Snow Treasure, King of the Wind, Year of the Boar & Jackie Robinson, Paddle to the Sea)

Science-Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day with the Jr. Notebooks. We love this curriculum! Its so easy to use and my boys love it! I do read it all aloud, which can be a pain sometimes, but I learn so much too in the process.

Art-Artistic Pursuits. So great!

Writing-Essentials in Writing and “Free Writing” with journals. This is an area I lacked in and am happy to have been able to finally fit it in.

Math-I switched both kids from Horizons to Teaching Textbooks this year. Although I love that it frees me up, I have found that one of my kids really misses the workbook aspect of Math. I am considering switching to CLE Math in the Fall.

MFW ECC-I didn’t care for this curriculum, which is too bad since it took up a big portion of our budget.

Sequential Spelling-This curriculum works! It’s great. But my 2nd grader HATES getting words wrong and really gets upset. My 4th grader really likes it though, so we will see. Maybe continue for him and move on to something else for my 2nd grader.

Easy Grammar-Short & to the point. But not sure it is effective

Love this question also!
Okay so hits would be:
Apologia science with the notebooks.
We love it. We are doing Astronomy this year. I have never learned so much about the planets in my life! I find myself telling my husband all the cool things I have learned lol.
We also do Apologia Bible series. We are doing Who is God and can I really know him. With the notebooks also.We are definitely going to be doing the whole series.
Having my son read a devotional outloud everyday to me and his sisters has also been a hit. It makes him feel good to have everyone around him listening to him read. Its boosts his confidence in reading and its his favorite thing.
Another hit is also being apart of our co-op again this year we look forward to it every week.

So misses now
One huge miss is having my bookcases break (I really dislike partial board ) and not replacing it. Our curriculum has been in a crate and it does not function well.
Another miss is Easy Grammar- cant stand it. Very thorough curriculum, covers absolutely everything and is very open and go. So why do I dislike it than? It is so painfully boring. When we do it, I have to remind myself that I am the teacher, and I cannot whine.
Lastly, would be not gathering all the necessary stuff to do the science experiments before the school year. I found that I never had what I needed when it was time to do a experiment. And sadly didnt do some of them.


@myjoyx8 Hi there! It sounds like you had an awesome year and I have so much respect for you schooling 6 boys under age 12! I have three children under age 7 and some days it is a bit overwhelming :slight_smile: I am so glad you mentioned God’s Design for Life science curriculum! We have been using Elemental Science: Biology for the Grammar Stages and have really enjoyed it, but I’ve been curious about God’s Design for Life. I was considering purchasing just one segment of it for comparison with Elemental Science, and I wondered if every child needs their own student textbook or if one is sufficient for the family to share? I have two children who would be using it next year (grades 1 and 3). I am thinking of purchasing the Plants unit only. Any feedback you could give would be much appreciated. Thanks so much!

My friend has a diligent 6th grader who inputs her own list into spelling city each week. One less thing mom has to do!

1 Like

@Lovinsid, may I ask why you didn’t like Bookshark? I’m considering it for next year with my kids so I’d love to hear feedback. There isn’t a lot out there to go on. Thanks!