Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Curriculum Choices '14-'15

Several weeks ago I did a several post series (almost entirely subject by subject) on what curriculum we'll be using come fall. I've decided that as the "official" start of the new school year is just a few weeks away I'd do a more streamlined version of those posts here. This time I'll be going student by student, grade by grade so that you'll be able to see what's going on more clearly. I'm also linking this post up to the Curriculum Week of the Not Back to School Blog Hop .

Peanut is moving on to first grade this fall after having done a combined school year last year with both pre-school and kindergarten (and having done a year of nursery school before that ... and when I say nursery school I mean she had hours of me reading and singing to her and two workbook/textbooks). She even began the first two of her first grade math workbooks (bought at the dollar store) back in April. Taking into account her personal issues with sight, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and ADD I've come up with what I pray is a good game plan for her...

Bible: This will be Peanut's first official year in catechism at our parish and much of what she'll be doing Bible wise will be learned there. However, here at home we'll also be doing our daily readings (from the following list: Each Day with Jesus (Rudolph F. Norden), Bible Stories (John R. Rice), and The Holy Bible (with daily readings taken from the list provided in our church paper). Along with that we'll be working intently on some of our prayer work in anticipation of her First Communion (2nd grade) and her beginning to do her rosary. We'll also incorporate Holy Heroes Advent and Lenten Adventures again this year.
Language Arts: Language 1 will be the spine of our Language Arts lessons, we'll be doing Phonics Pathways for our phonics and readings lessons (along with several new reader books and hopefully more that we already have on hand), poetry from the book list provided by Mother of Divine Grace ,  copy work from our McGuffey Primer and First Reader, and spelling from Spelling You See (which also provides copy work for those of you unfamiliar with their product).
Mathematics: First Grade Math with it's many bright and colorful pages and manipulative's 
Science: Zoology 1 with the Junior Notebook along with nature walks and nature studies in the Charlotte Mason style. (Apologia to be started in October)
History: A History of US book 1 and possibly 2 (History to be started in November) We'll also be doing our Michigan and Kentucky studies in September and October respectively.
Health: Health Safety and Manners 1 (started in November)
Gym: We're considering ballet or gymnastics for sometime during the year as well as at least one session of swim lessons. Other than that we are outside quite a bit and count that as gym frequently.
Art: We'll be working through some chalk pastel work and studying various artists from America, textile crafts to improve fine motor skills.
Music:  SQUILT Vol. 1 and children's drums (drums being her choice)
Forgein Language: Songschool Latin and Lyric Language French (French first semester and Latin second) ... both of these are song based and fun to do.
Geography: Road Trip USA this also includes history within it and we'll be doing a lot of map tracing. It is very possible that this curriculum will be used two years in a row doing 25 states per year.
Misc.: We'll be using Brain Quest 1st grade workbook for extra practice mainly with our Language Arts and Math throughout the entire year. More life lessons about the housework and cooking, working on being more independent in self care.

Younger Cracker Jack (YCJ) will begin her fourth grade work this fall. You'll notice that many subjects she'll be doing will be combined with Peanut this year. This is because we'll be able to work two separate levels of the same subject together, making this easier on all of us. Please keep in mind when noting some of the choices that YCJ has improved in her reading over the past year or so (and really taken off this summer) but she does have dyslexia and certain subjects are far harder for her to do than they'd be otherwise.

Bible: Catechism classes at our parish, readings (see Peanut's list), daily rosary, and Nicene Creed copywork.
Language Arts: Language A and Spelling You See ... spelling we'll be doing the same level as Peanut but instead of working through the student workbooks she'll be writing everything out in a separate binder for more practice. Poetry will follow along with what's provided on the book list from Mother of Divine Grace .
Mathematics: Saxon Math 5/4 we're hoping this will provide more challenge than our previous math curriculum.
Science: Zoology 1 making use of the student notebook. You'll notice this is also a combined subject for the girls. (to begin in October) Nature walks and nature studies to continue throughout the year.
History: A History of US book 1 and possibly book 2 (to begin in November) this is another combined subject for the girls. As with Peanut we'll be doing out Michigan and Kentucky studies in September and October respectively.
Health: Developing Good Health (begins in November)
Gym: YCJ is vastly interested in ballet and so we may begin her on lessons this year (as we were not able to last year) and at least one session of swim lessons.
Art: Chalk pastels and various artists from America, crochet, and begin learning cross stitch.
Music: SQUILT Vol. 1 and continued recorder work.
Forgein Language: Songschool Latin and Lyric Language French (French First Semester and Latin second semester) ... another combined subject for the girls.
Geography: Road Trip USA the final combined subject for the girls.
Misc. We'll be using Brain Quest grade 4 workbook throughout the year for extra practice in math and language arts. We'll also be working on life lessons such as cooking and housework.

Elder Cracker Jack (ECJ) will be beginning his seventh grade lessons this fall. Though we could have accelerated his learning and taken him to higher grade levels for both language arts and math we decided that for now we'll keep him in the same grade level across the board. He'll also be working about 95% of the time independently from all of us. I'll be making his weekly lesson list for him and allowing him to go from there. If he needs help I'm here for him.

Bible: Catechism classes at our local parish along with all the same reading the rest of us are doing (though he'll be doing his daily reading from the Bible on his own), daily rosary, and Nicene Creed copy work.
Language Arts: Grammar and Composition , his very own spelling curriculum (sorry, but I am unable to disclose more at this time than it is a new level of Spelling You See), and literature from the Classical Conversations Challenge A list (no we are not members of CC but I do own one of their catalogues and believe the literature choices to be wonderful). Poetry will be covered through the book list at Mother of Divine Grace and the works of Mr. Poe.
Mathematics: Saxon Math 8/7 depending on how quickly he moves through the work we may begin Algebra or pre-Algebra using a mixture of Saxon and Painless Algebra.
Science: Physical Science (begins in October) he'll also be continuing his nature studies as it's one of his favorite subjects.
History: Studies in World History Vol. 1 this covers from 6000 BC through 1500 AD. (to begin in November). Michigan studies in September and Kentucky studies in October.
Health: Sex, Love, and Romance (to begin in November) and although this would be an optional book we've decided to go ahead and include it with supervision.
Gym: At least one session of swim classes and the inclusion of gymnastics (due to his many flips, twists, and acrobatics that he does we decided that he needs at least the basics for safety reasons).
Art: We'll be working through some chalk pastels and studying the work of the artists involved in the time periods he'll be studying in history.
Music: SQUILT Vol. 1 and continuation of personal guitar lessons. We'll also look into some of the music from the periods of history.
Forgein Language: Latin for the whole year Henle First Year Latin 
Geography: Geography is covered in the History text that ECJ will be working through, though we'll be adding map work (from present day) so that eventually he will know the general map of all countries covered in the history book by heart.
Misc.: Current Events: CNN Student News Independent Study Project: yet to be determined

Why we stagger our subjects: I've had several people ask me why we stagger our subjects into different months the way we do. We learned last year that by staggering the subjects we're able to get everything done (usually) by the end of May and not overly stress ourselves. Science comes before "official" lessons on history through text books because it takes more time to complete. Our nature walks get fewer and fewer as the days grow colder and there is less to observe leaving more time for science study through texts and experimentation. We begin the year with our two state studies (the same every year) so that I may check them off the list. Though neither state we report to requires yearly state studies I find it interesting and beneficial to cover some aspect of both states history each year. We begin History in November due to the weather being truly crisp if we're in Michigan and we're spending less and less time out of doors. The health texts we utilize are meant to cover one semester (or less) and so we begin those in November as well so that we'll have more time come spring to be outside. This works for us though it might not for anyone else.

And I know many of you are thinking, "Why do they report to two states?" The answer is pretty simple actually... We try to spend from around Jan. 1st through May in Kentucky. Some years (like this one) we weren't able to do so, but we inform both states at the beginning of the year all the same of our intent to homeschool. We follow both states laws and are very careful record keepers. Neither Kentucky nor Michigan are "bad" states to homeschool in. Michigan requires very little of it's homeschoolers and Kentucky not much more at all.

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

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