So, it’s that time of year again…curriculum planning time. I’ve been working on this for the last week or so and I think I finally have a plan. This will be our fourth year of homeschooling, with some trials and errors for sure. When I first started out, I thought that I needed to follow something along the lines of what they were used to in government school. Well, wasn’t getting them out of that kinda the point to begin with?
We used Rod & Staff for grammar last year and, although I love the program and Christian-based lessons, I wanted to try something different this year. I believe our boys are a good mix of auditory and kinesthetic learners. Worksheets just don’t, well…work. I also feel that one child may have a slight case of dysgraphia. Although, I hope to be able to get him evaluated at some point, I’m going to begin this school year with a different approach. We loosely follow a classical/Charlotte Mason mix of education styles. This year we will be slightly more Charlotte Mason. My favorite resources are The Well-Trained Mind and Simply Charlotte Mason. I really enjoy SCM because they have a lot of free resources and we are on a tight budget this year. Also, I teach my boys at the same level. If they had remained in government school, the oldest would be going into 5th grade and the youngest into 4th. However, one of the reasons I pulled them out was because the youngest wasn’t being challenged at his grade level, so it works for us.
Math – We have been using Saxon math since we began and really enjoy it. This year they will be continuing Saxon 5/4. I also heard about the Key to… series from fivejs.com and will be giving the Key to Fractions set a try this year as a supplement. We hope to catch up on our math this year. We got a little behind with selling our house and moving earlier in the year.
Science – This will be my first year teaching science. When we lived in Colorado, the boys were a part of a homeschool program that covered science and Spanish. I am going to start off with using 106 Days of Creation with Considering God’s Creation from the Simply Charlotte Mason site. Depending on how we progress through that, we will move on to a course from Apologia.
Copywork/Transcription – Due to my concerns about the dysgraphia, we will continue with copywork for most of the year with one child. The other will move into transcription and dictation right off the bat.
English/Grammar – We will be covering both Junior Analytical Grammar and Junior AG: Mechanics this year. Again, I love Rod & Staff and will continue recommending it, but it just wasn’t quite right.
Spelling – We will continue with Spelling Power this year. This is a program for all age groups and I like its learning techniques.
Typing – I will start the boys keyboarding practice by using TypingWeb.com.
Foreign Language – Like I said before, the boys were taking Spanish last year and I will need to pick up the slack for that this year. I hope to find Rosetta Stone on serious discount. I will also check into a tutor when we move again.
American History – We will be using a free program from the American Heritage Education Foundation. I want to cover American History this year, separate from our other history. Without getting into too much politics, it is so important for our youth to understand what this country was founded on and to learn about the great men that were a part of building it into what we have been able to enjoy for so long. If something doesn’t change (and we’ve already passed the 200 year typical lifespan of a democracy) nothing good lies ahead.
History/Geography/Bible – This year we are studying the Middle Ages. We will read The Story of the World, Vol. 2: The Middle Ages. We will be supplementing with books about people who lived in those times. Geography will involve map drills. For bible, we will cover the Epistles; James; Galatians; 1,2 Thessalonians; and 1,2 Corinthians.
Scripture Memory – I think memory work is important and what could be more important to memorize than bible verses? I will print out all the verses and the boys will work with one at time, moving to the next only once one has been memorized and recited for hubby and me.
Literature – I have a list of six books to be read throughout the year, reading one chapter a day. The books we plan on reading are:
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (the boys LOVE this movie, so I think they will really enjoy the book)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Poetry – We will select one poet to study this year, although I’m not sure which one yet. I have a Walt Whitman book already, so we may begin there.
Art – Artistic Pursuits. I have wanted this program since I attended my first homeschool convention and saw it on display. I’m finally getting it this year. Since we haven’t done any art appreciation or history, I’m not sure which level to begin at. I will be researching this and deciding within the next couple of weeks.
Crafts/Life Skills – I will teach the boys what I know of photography and let them play around with that this year. I will also give them the basics of sewing. Hubby and I have been following Dave Ramsey for some time and I will also start teaching them more about finances. We are making a chore chart that will list what chores they MUST do and which ones they can do to earn money. They do not get an allowance, but earn a commission.
Music Study – We will select composers to listen to and read biographies of. I will not focus on this too much, but rather have the music playing at various times throughout the day.
Shakespeare – We will begin with story-form of The Comedy of Errors and then move to the play. This will be something we all read together and will not have a set deadline for completing.
Wow! Typing it out really makes it seem like a lot, but a lot of the lessons are not long and not everything is covered everyday. I will post updates as we complete things for find out what works and what doesn’t.
For Baby A, I will be using Slow and Steady Get Me Ready. She is only 18 months old and, of course, needs no formal education.