Talkin’ School – Electives

I have to be honest here.  As the school year has gone on, I’ve gotten more and more lax with getting these done.  The plan was to do a different elective after our main studies each day.  As my business (and the boys’ baseball season!) has gotten busier, these electives keep getting pushed off to another day.  I’m not worrying too much about it though because I feel like even our sporadic studies of them is more than they got in public school.


Art curriculum reviewHave you been on Erica’s site at  Many of her posts were a wealth of knowledge for me as I was looking into homeschooling for the first time.  Not only does she have a lot of great organization posts but she also creates many unit studies in different subjects.  The price is great and the kids love doing all the different activities.  We are using The World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1 Unit Study for our art program this year.  We buy the recommended reading books by Mike Venezia one at a time through  I look for used books and usually only pay a few dollars for them, including shipping.  The books are entertaining but informative.  The kids love the illustrations and artwork images.  Erica’s program and lap book are fun to do and the lessons don’t take up too much time.    I also try to plan ahead so I’m prepared on the days when we get to make our own art.  We’ve had some great discussions on paintings and works that we do or don’t like from Van Gogh, Pollock, and Picasso.  Having an art degree, it’s really fun for me to get to introduce my children to a field that I’m passionate about.  This is a great course for teaching some great artists to early elementary students.


Sample pages for composer unit study
Courtesy of

Again, I’ve looked to Erica for our music studies this year with her course – World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 1.  The format is basically like the art course with using a lap book and Mike Venezia’s books Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers.  In music, we’ve learned about classical era composers and have enjoyed learning about the orchestra and listening to some great music.  YouTube has been such an asset for this class since I’m able to simply type in the piece that is recommended for each lesson and many choices pop up.  Even though we haven’t gotten as far into this curriculum as we’d have liked due to lack of time, I think it’s a great course for early elementary students!

Science Experiments

Photo courtesy of

My kindergartener’s mix of books and activities came with a really cool science experiment set called “The Big Bag of Science“.  It’s colorful and eye-catching with some neat experiments that kids can do.  We’ve had a lot of fun playing with this set and learning some science.  However, it is a bit pricey and you don’t really get as many experiments as it says.  Many of the separate experiments in the manual actually go hand in hand with others and we tended to do several at one time because of that.  So you probably get more like 20-30 actually different projects instead of the advertised 70-something.  Still, we’ve really enjoyed what we’ve done with this set and it’s been memorable for the boys so I recommend it if you’re looking for something extra for your kids.


Photo courtesy of

The Electronics Learning Circuits set by Thames and Kosmos came with my second grader’s curriculum set.  What an awesome set this is.  I never thought that 5 and 7 year-olds could learn about electronics but they’ve loved this set.  They’ve loved building circuits that have different lights on them, switches, and even a siren that makes different sounds depending on how it’s hooked up.  The circuits snap together easily but I definitely recommend this set more for the 2nd grader than for the kindergartener.  I was afraid he might unknowingly break a connector but when he worked with his older brother, things went very well.

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