Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010-2011 School Year Curriculum

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Our curriculum for the year:
Math: Saxon really works for us. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" I've done Saxon with Daniel the whole time but only the last 3 years with Tera. She likes it so much better than any other curriculum I experimented on her.
Language Arts: Spelling and Handwriting- We use the A Reason For...series and have really enjoyed it, especially the Handwriting. We are finishing up the last few lessons from last year before we get new books. Spelling we are using some things I already have, but will be purchasing new A Reason for Handwriting books. Daniel will start cursive and Tera will continue in the 2nd cursive book.

Reading- We are using Abeka readers to start. Then we will move onto selected chapter books that they have showed an interest in.

Language- I never buy language curriculum. Over the years, I have picked up various random school copies of language curriculums. Each year, I pick a different one that is grade level appropriate and that is what we use.

Social Studies- This year we are focusing our study on the textbook Regions Near and Far that I picked up at the local library book sale. It takes us through US Geography. I am using it as an outline to which I'm adding the study of the 50 states. We are also continuing our pattern from last year of having 4 weeks of "regular" school and then 1 week of "fun" school (to borrow Tera's description.) We will study all our core subjects and extras for the 4 weeks and then on the 5th week have an intensive unit week. This semester we are studying the ancient civilizations during those times.

Science- I am using Lesson Pathways as a guide for our science this year. We have covered life science a great deal in the past few years, but not so much the physical sciences. So we have started the year, studying atoms and will spend a month on electricity. Then move on to magnets, light, force and motion, etc.

Some things I have added this year- These are on a daily basis: Memory work-(memorizing a short Bible passage and poem- 10 minutes a day), Bible (We do a great deal of spiritual training outside of school, but this is the first year I have incorporated an actual Bible curriculum. We are studying the book of Acts with the Nazarene Children's Bible Quizzing material), Instrument Practice (Tera- piano; Daniel- recorder for 15 mins. daily)
Other things that rotate on various days of the week: God's World News ( I subscribe to a Christian kids news magazine similar to the Weekly Reader we used to receive in school), Art Lesson/ Nature blog (every other week the kids will do an art lesson on a new program called Creativity Express or write a blog post for their nature blog), Getting together with a group of other homeschoolers for learning activities and fieldtrips, Mind Bender activities (these are Critical Thinking skills exercises), and Math Wall (I have picked 3 words a week from basic math terminology to go over, put in their own words and illustrate. For example, this weeks words were congruent, expanded form and sum. We discussed, wrote in our own words and illustrated)

I have wanted to incorporate the use of a timeline for the last few years, but have never come across a system I felt was right for us. I've decided this year to do a notebook timeline for each of the kids that as we study they can add figures, events, etc. to their individual books. I found the dates divided up into historical periods and printed them out. I then took a composition notebook and pasted the dates on two facing pages. If it doesn't work no big deal, but at least we tried.
Organization: Each week the kids have assignment sheets with all their individual work printed out. As they complete them, they highlight it on their sheet. I started this last year and it is such a wonderful thing. They know exactly what they are suppose to be doing and can choose the order in which they finish their work. I also use composition notebooks for each subject so that they can keep all their language, math and spelling work together.
This year since I have added some extras, I printed myself an assignment sheet for our "together" work. In the past a messy legal pad was my method. It has been so nice to have a neatly printed sheet to refer to. I also borrowed my friend's idea of a planning notebook. (thanks Sarah) Having everything together in one place is worth the effort and extra work on the front end.


We are barely into this school year, but I know already I'll have to tweak some of these things. But for now these are my grandiose ideas for the school year that I hope will all fall into place.


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