Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum

After last years disappointment with Learning Adventures, we returned to our Classical roots.  I have to say that LA was really a great program - it's all inclusive, except for math, and would have worked wonderfully if not for one of our students.  This students is a predominantly auditory learner who does not enjoy reading at all:(  This curriculum relies on the teacher reading the "core" and then the students must do further reading in each subject from a selection of books chosen from the library on those set topics.  Again, fine for those who can handle the independent reading, but it became overwhelming for me - I was reading from each subject out of the "text" provided by LA and then having to prod the slacking reader or do more read aloud time to feel like we were on top of the scheduled topics.  I loved the flow of the curricula and it truly is well done - thorough and well planned.  It was so sad to abandon it!  However, this is one of the important lessons I'm learning in this homeschool journey.  You must know your students and know when to cut your losses and move on.  
So about mid fall I realized we need to make a change, and I again felt drawn to the Classical model.  And really we are eclectic homeschoolers - pulling from Classical mainly and throwing in a dash of Charlotte Mason.  I think the main appeal of Classical education, is the structure.  I need the accountability of a series of subjects to pursue and check off.  So, without further ado, our curricula for this school year:

Jack - Grade 6
Bible - family reading time, followed by independent bible study time
Math - Teaching Textbooks 6.  This is our first year using TT.  We have tried MCP, Saxon, and MathUSee, all with little success.  Jack is finally caught up grade-level wise, so I'm glad we did what we did, but he's really enjoying TT and I'm hopeful it will give him more independence in math this year.
Spelling - Building Spelling Skills book 6 - used last year to mixed reviews from the kids, but it's thorough and at Jack's level introduces so many different words it's been fun to learn along with him navigation terms, world capitals, and tree names.
Grammar - Rod and Staff.  Tried and true, the one curriculum we have never veered away from.
Writing - Writing Strands.  Jack loathes writing, so we started this program last year.  Still hates writing but the books are clearly written for him to follow along with little intervention on my part.  EK also uses this.
Handwriting - A Reason For Handwriting - more cursive practice, using scripture as copywork, so I stuck with this for this year.  
History - finishing up Story of the World Vol. 3 (Early Modern) then moving on to Vol. 4 the Modern Age.  Looking forward to finally getting into the major wars that I know will intrigue and capture Jack's attention.  He will continue to outline from these and the history encyclopedia, as well as do more independent writing based on the books he's checked out on specific topics.
Science - Christian Kids Explore Physics.  We started this late spring and so far it's been easy to use and the kids seem to enjoy it.  There are some fun projects/experiments which keep them engaged and they are not too complex or expensive which I appreciate.
Latin- Latin Christina.  We did Prima Latina over 2 years, but I intend to complete this one in one.  We will get into declensions and I admit I'm a tad nervous!
Logic - Critical Thinking, books 1 & 2; more teacher intensive this year, but I did see improvement in this are of Jack's test scores and I do think it's beneficial to his over all academic performance.
Art - weekly art study of some kind
Music - piano lessons, taught by yours truly.

bible - same as above
Math - Saxon 5/4 (what Jack did last year as remediation, but it's target for her)
Grammar - R&S4
Handwriting - ARFH
History - same as above with less writing and no outlining
Science - same
Latin- same
Art/Music - same
I am hoping to get her interested in the kids book club at the library and we will continue to learn knitting and sewing together.

Both big kids will continue memory work on the following:
Beginning of the Declaration of Independence
US presidents 
Major wars 1600-present
Preamble to Constitution
The Gettysburg Address
Amendments to Constitution
US states/capitals

All same as above unless listed below
Math Saxon 1 (he probably should be in 2, but I goofed, so we'll see how quickly he finishes the first grade stuff)
Language Arts - Primary Language lessons 1 - loved this for EK, and it's so homeschool friendly.  So far, so good.
He will sit in on history with us, but will only narrate to me and I'll write down what he remembers.
Science - we will study animals together.  Physics is too much for him:)

Continue pre-k activities but mainly just reading to him and having him participate in Family Math when we do that once a week.

Ok, I'm exhausted!  It seems like a lot and it is, but if we don't have set goals and schedules we wander.  I hope to let each big kid pick a small scale unit study for some of the weeks we have off from our regular school time - something that interests them but we don't have time to study fully yet.  

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