I'd like to share some curriculum choices we have used in past years, but no longer use. I have included my memories of what I liked or concerns I had. These are just my opinions and you could easily find a plethora of differing opinions. That's the beauty of it---we all get to choose what is best for our families and even what is best for each individual child. Part of the reason we no longer use some of these items is because they worked well for my oldest daughter (who has since graduated) but not so much for her sister after her. Everyone is different. Look for multiple posts on this topic under #curricula.
ABeka Curriculum--See, our oldest daughter attended a private school for a year and a half just prior to us homeschooling. The private school used ABeka curriculum and we were used to it. We knew it. I didn't want to change every single thing in her life all at once so we stuck with this our first year. ABeka has these materials displays in various locations where you can go look at and touch their products. We started the summer before by using their art books a few times a week. This was an excellent "dry run" at homeschooling together. My daughters were 7 and 3 1/2 and we sat together with their art books at the dining room table. They had to wait their turn for help, they had to listen to and follow instructions, and it wasn't hard. I highly suggest doing art projects together as a sort of training for homeschooling.
(Note: I realize this isn't truly Art, but just paper craft projects. The purpose of these is less self-expression and more following directions and making something fun.)
So when August rolled around, we used some of the 2nd grade books. ABeka's program will absolutely teach a child to read, but it isn't the best for dropping in mid-way through the program. Since our daughter had used ABeka in 1st grade, this was an easy transition for her. I loved that the curriculum was Christian-based, printed on good, quality paper (nice and thick for those times when erasing is necessary), was organized, provided you with a weekly schedule, felt familiar, was colorful and beautiful, and had everything you needed in one company. The downsides are the cost (although with only one child it wasn't too bad. I didn't purchase everything available for the grade level and you can find the non-consumables used) and the fact that it seems to be suited better for a classroom. The lesson plans were even written as though you were talking to an entire classroom of children instead of your own child across the table. That may have been revised now. If you did everything that is available for a grade level, your child would be doing school ALL day long. However, it is a very familiar, traditional approach to school and that is exactly what many families are looking for.
Arithmetic 2 (and yes, she DID tell someone that she didn't do math. Oops.)
Readers (there are several and I can't find a link with just the readers in it. We checked these out of our local library that year. They just happened to have a whole 2nd grade set.)
Note: Teacher's Editions are separate but at this low of a grade level, you might find that you don't need the answer keys. The lesson plan parts might be helpful.
Now, you might be wondering why I had the 3 year old at the table with us. It certainly wasn't because I felt the need to homeschool her. She wanted to be there and wouldn't leave us alone. She was GOING to be included if it killed both of us. Finally, I purchased these K3 books for her. She did a simple little number sheet and Bible coloring page each day and then skipped off to play, happy that she had "done school."
ABeka also has an online academy. I cannot imagine having a younger child sit in front of a screen that long each day, but for parents who must work and homeschool, it could be a big help. Older students could handle it and it would take a lot of work off the parents' shoulders.
Next time, I'll share some of our other former curriculum choices.