For art, I purchased this Waldorf-inspired coloring book that helps you learn to draw simple figures more beautifully with crayons. We'll be doing lots of illustrating for history and during our reading, and Claire could use a few lessons in making basic forms (animals, people, trees, etc).
Here's an example of the kinds of illustrations that they teach you how to create in the book. I think they are really beautiful and simple and they teach you how to mix colors together to get pretty effects as well.
We finished the Old Testament last year in this Bible story book, so we'll continue to start the day with a story from the New Testament this year. I grew up with this book and it's great because it is thorough without being too much, I think.
We bought this language book last year and never really got it going. It's a very gentle intro to grammar, but it was almost TOO gentle because I kinda kept forgetting about it. This year I'll be more disciplined with it.
I used to try to teach handwriting without lined paper, (it's a Waldorf thing). The idea is that it helps the child learn how to write in straight lines without them actually HAVING straight lines to assist them. It did not go well for us because she was busy enough trying to learn how to form the letters themselves and it got pretty frustrating to her when they all started sloping downhill. So, we'll continue to use this book that teaches proper formation of letters on lined paper. It's Abeka, which is good for stuff like this.
Hopefully, she'll continue to do tons of reading on her own. She's devoured the Little House books and the Grandma's Attic books and now the Anne of Green Gables books, so I'm finding a few new series of books like the Betsy-Tacy books and the books that Lois Lenski wrote and illustrated about girls around America. We read her Strawberry Girl last year so we'll read the rest this year I hope.
My big sister introduces me to all kinds of great curriculum that I haven't heard of before, and this Christian Kids Explore science curriuculum is supposed to be really neat. Her and her girls will be doing Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, but I stuck with the biology version because I'm still trying to keep up with our nature notebook and learning things about plants and animals.
We'll add this book this year though, I hope, which my sister also told me about. It has cut-outs to make a life-sized paper model of the human body. I won't think about how un-Walorf it is to show children such grotesque pictures of the human body at this age. They'll get a kick out of it, I think. Look at Laura's blog to see her girls' creations from this book.
I bough this book by Anne Comstock last year to assist us in our nature notebook entries. In 1st grade we took our nature studies very lightly and mainly studied birds and trees that we found in our neighborhood. We also read a lot of library books on the subjects that we were into and made entries to our nature notebook from that. I'm hoping to keep up the notebook entries, but I wanted to kick up science a notch this year which is why I ordered the Christian Kids Explore book. Hopefully, these things will be complementary.
Last year we used the Story of the World history program and we plan to use it again this year. It's my favorite part of homeschooling actually because I am learning so much about history with Claire. Last year it was ancient history, but this year will be the Middle Ages.
I purchased this Biblioplan curriculum to go along with it as well. I'm not sure if it's going to be just what I was looking for or not, but I've heard that it helps you find Biblical references to go with what you're reading in history. It would have been nice to have it last year during Ancient History, but we'll see if it's good or not.
I really went out on a limb and purchased a somewhat expensive 3-year spanish program to start this year. El Espanol Facil compliments the Charlotte Mason theories on teaching foreing language (as well as the Waldorf ideas I believe) because it's a lot of listening to the language and not just tons of vocabulary memorization. There is an element of that, but it's not just pages of vocab words and verb conjugation. It cost about $150, but it's a 3-year program and it has CD's and stuff so hopefully it will be fun.
My older sister also introduced us to Song School Latin, which I'm excited to try. It's a VERY gentle intro to Latin that is mainly learning little songs that teach you some Latin roots. See Laura's video of her girls singing the songs here. Very cute.
I shouldn't have saved this for last because it is certainly not the creme de la creme of my chosen curriculum, but it's practical and it's working for us. Abeka math is pretty workbook-ish and doesn't have a ton of manipulatives or anything fancy, but Claire likes it because she can just take it into the other room and work on it alone unless she needs help. When she gets stuck, she comes to me and we learn the new concept that is being taught. I'm pretty comfortable with teaching math myself so this book has been fine so far.
***a few other things I want to do are art and music appreciation. Mt Hope Chronicles pointed me to the Garden of Praise website that has studies about different artists. She has lots of other recommendations on teaching art and music which I want to incorporate. Also, I found the Baldwin Online Children's Literature project where I hope to pick up some Aesop's fables, fairy tales, biographies, and Our Island History for free!