Here is a link to the curriculum I chose last year: Homeschool Curriculum 2012/2013. I'd like to go over what liked/disliked and also share what I am planning on using for the 2013/2014 school year.
Mystery of History: I chose this history curriculum so that I could use it with all 4 boys and not have to teach them separately. Also I got it for free from our local homeschool co-op! Pros: I liked the timeline poster that went with it and also the way they kids wrote out important points out on index cards after reading the material. Cons: My little's (2nd and 3rd grade) didn't get as much out of it as I'd hoped.
Apologia Science: I chose this science because I wanted my kids to learn more about God's creation and how He is the Creator of everything on this earth! Not some big explosion or a tiny microbe that evolved! I did Astronomy and half of Flying Creatures with the younger two. Colby did General Science and Tyler did Biology. We were blessed to have another mom in the co-op volunteer to do the experiments with several other kids Tyler's age that were also doing Biology. Pros: Creation based! Lapbooks and notebooking available that goes along with textbook. Cons: Was over the little ones heads sometimes, was more suitable for upper elementary/middle school.
Math U See: Still loving this curriculum and will continue to use it with Aidan and Jackson!
Learning Language Arts: I did like this curriculum for Tyler and Colby. I think they enjoyed it too. Pros: Literature based! Cons: I didn't think they had enough writing instruction, like for essays and such.
First Language Lessons: I will be using this with Aidan and Jackson again this year. Pros: short and and easy to follow lessons, memorization, scripted lessons. Cons: Some of the poetry selections are weird and harder to memorize.
Vocabulary: I did not find that Wordly Wise helped the boys. Pros: inexpensive. Cons: hard! For the 7th grade work sometimes even I couldn't figure out the answer without the teachers book. Doesn't make learning fun. Very textbook-y. No likie!
Handwriting: Getty Dubai didn't help all that much. Jackson's handwriting is not improved and Aidan did not like the way they taught cursive. Will have to find something else for next year. Pros: inexpensive. Cons: a strange way of doing cursive!
First Form Latin: My husband and I taught this to our 2 oldest as well as 2 other co-op students. Pros: Having a dvd instuctor! Cons: Moved rather quickly, not enough time on one concept before moving on to another.
So during this past year, Tyler and Colby majorly slacked off on their school work, doing the bare minimum and not finishing things. I think only having to answer to me and not getting "grades" really affected their work. SO Kyle and I decided to have them do K12 this next school year, where they will essentially be doing public school at home. They will have teachers, and have to send in their work every week and spend a certain number of hours doing school work. K12 provides them with their own laptops and printers. I really hope this helps them! Tyler will be in high school this year and Colby is not far behind!
I decided to not to do K12 for Aidan and Jackson this year. It would result in a lot more work for me, with all 4 boys doing different grades. I will be using My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures. I used this exact curriculum with Tyler and Colby when we first moved here, so I am already familiar with how it works. They have changed a few things since then and I am excited to try it with the little boys.
We really considered doing Classical Conversations, but we could not see paying $1200 for someone else to teach my kids for 3 hours a week. Even if we could have afforded that, the tuition skyrockets after the elementary years, costing almost as much as it does for my husbands tuition at seminary!
We've still got a little math to finish for this school year, but the past 2 weeks have been kind of crazy so we've gotten a little behind on that. The boys have been on the set of a movie (as background extras) that is filming in New Orleans this week so we haven't gotten anything done! Hopefully we can finish everything up in June and be done for July!