Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall Curriculum

We are making few changes this fall in our curriculum. We are using mostly stuff we have used in the past. We are perhaps focusing a bit more on getting through some things (Story of the World!), but overall, there are few new surprises this year. The big additions are a more formal science curriculum and more specific geography study.

Here is what we are using:

We are continuing with Singapore, and adding Miquon. Kutey will be participating at whatever level she can. We will also add in a bunch of math games. Kiddo claims he doesn't like math and that it is hard. That just means to me that I haven't done my job. We'll see if we can't get get him liking math a bit more.....

We are using R.E.A.L Science Odyssey: Life level 1 this year. We are really enjoying it (I mentioned we school year-round, right?). I like that everything is laid out clearly for me. I like that the supplies are generally easy to come by (or I already have them). I love that the author spells out the big idea, small idea--makes it easy for me to assess whether or not we are getting what we should be out of each lesson. I love that I could try it before I buy it. We are still working through the first units, so I haven't had to buy it yet, but I will in the coming weeks.

I have also downloaded Earth and Space Level 1. I was a bit torn about which one to do, but since Kiddo has already studied quite a bit about space (but wants more) and had asked to study the human body (which is in the Life curriculum, right away) I opted for that one first.

I am also hoping to throw in some fun science stuff, including experiments from The Magic School Bus Simple Science page. The kids love The Magic School Bus. We'll be watching a number of videos and reading a number of books to go along side our science curriculum.

Kiddo adores history. We have volumes 1 and 2 of Story of the World--the book, the activity guide, and the CDs. Kiddo has listened to both volumes all the way through numerous times. He knows a lot, but I want to be a bit more deliberate with this, since he is so interested in history. We have started reading the first book, one chapter at a time, doing discussion, and activities. Because I bought my copy of volume 1 used, I purchased the student pages download. Kiddo will be putting together a history notebook as we go. He adores the maps!

We will also be attempting to add in early American history. For that we will be using library resources--I hope. We started with Columbus, and we'll work our way onward. If you know of a great resource for this, let me know! I am not entirely fond of the thought of muddling my way through, but that is where I am right now.

Both kids are working through Explode the Code right now. For Kiddo, this is review, which means he is flying through the books. For him, this is good. He needs the confidence! It is also helping reinforce some spelling rules, which is great! I bought the first Beyond the Code book for Kiddo, but I am not sure how much we will use it. Kutey is just starting out in this. She is going very slowly through Book 1 right now. We skipped the Ready Set Go books, she just didn't need them.

If you are wondering if the teacher's guide is worth buying, let me say that I love it. It gives me so many new ideas! It extends the lessons a bit, reinforcing things a bit more, and gives more explanation of the RULES! I love the rules. I just don't know them all. The teachers guide fills me in.

In addition, each child has reading goals. It isn't so much about number of pages or number of books, or even amount of time. I just want them reading and improving, and challenging themselves. So they will each be reading a variety of books.

I haven't firmed this one up yet. I am currently thinking I will use this framework from Homeschool Creations (Thanks, T and C for reminding me about this site! I had totally forgotten about it!) We'll give it a go with Egypt, as we study it in history. Then I'll know better if it needs any tweaking or not.

That is what I have planned for the big things right now! We'll continue to do our weekly homeschool group gatherings, and our monthly trips to the Works and hopefully the monthly art class (it is up in the air right now. Not sure if she is offering it or not!)

This is a lot more structure than I have had for the last 2 years. I am not a structure person, but I am finding that if left to my own devices, we get less done than I would like and I spend too much time thinking, not enough doing. Hopefully this means we will spend more time doing!

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