Friday, August 12, 2011

Curriculum for 2011-2012

We've made it through our first week.  It truly wasn't as bad as I expected!  In fact last night when we were doing our bedtime "thankful fors" both girls told me how much they love their new history and science books (and that was after an evening of swimming with friends, so don't think the new books didn't have some stiff competition!). ;o)  That was--of course--music to my ears.  Jackson is a tricky little guy.  Sometimes he is excited and giddy to be working, other times he crosses his arms and the angry eyebrows come out.  I keep his lessons short and broken up with free time.  That free time in between allows me to help the girls out with their stuff.  It's all a grand juggling act, but we'll find our rhythm eventually.  The following is what we're doing this year--and if you don't homeschool it will probably be a long and tedious read--but I know I always enjoy seeing what other homeschoolers are doing and gleaning some new ideas.  So, without further adieu:

Truly a decision I agonized over this year! I was all set to purchase MOH (pictured below) but was talked out of it by a vendor at the homeschool convention due to the fact it is not as well organized as Story of the World.  So, then I was going to do SOTW.  But I really liked the fact that MOH is written with God's story being the central theme and how everything ties back to that.  I wavered back and forth.  Finally, I happened upon several blogs who made the switch from SOTH to MOH and loved it.  I decided to take the plunge.  It looks great! And I purchased these timeline figures--I love the suggestions the teacher's manual has for setting up your own (portable) timeline.  I am really excited to be learning about the early church up through the middle ages/reformation.  And I also ended up with the CD for all the printables, which has proved much easier than trying to maneuver my big book into my printer.  We changed up a few things to fit us better.  Instead of making a "memory card" for each lesson we do a notebook page (similar to what we did in My Father's World) and are setting up our notebooks in a similar fashion.  The girls really enjoy getting to draw an illustration for each lesson, so we'll just keep doing that.

I also have this for a history read--I'm planning on doing it as a read-aloud.  Marissa however found it and has been reading it all day.  She claims it is fascinating (obviously!). ;o)  And there will most likely be other books, but I haven't quite planned that far ahead yet.
I can say after a week of using it, we emphatically love it.  Science has always limped along for us, and I think that finally we have found something we will really enjoy.

I got each girl the notebooking journal full of really cool projects and applications for what they are learning.
And while Jackson will kind of tag-along with experiments and all, I determined the notebooking journals were going to be too advanced for him.  Instead he will be working on creating a replica of himself (and his innards!) with the pages from this book:

I know he is going to LOVE coloring in body organs and placing them where they go on a body outline!
Language Arts:
Marissa is doing Easy Grammar 4 and Isabella, Easy Grammar 2.  I was able to purchase Marissa's at the homeschool convention, but Isabella's I had to order from Christian Book Distributors.
We used this last year for Marissa and really liked it, so we are sticking with it.
In place of spelling I got Marissa this--
Spelling really isn't an area she struggles in, and spelling felt like a time killer last year.  So, instead she will be working on learning more vocabulary, the roots, using them in sentences, etc. And because she writes a lot I figure I can peruse her writing for words that are being misspelled and make our own spelling lists from that.
Both girls are going to be working on cursive (even though some schools are getting rid of it I still think it is important to know!!). ;o)  After a week of using this book I can't say it is laid out in the best fashion, but it will work for now.  I'll probably go to something else once we are through with this one though.
I'm trying out a different spelling curriculum for Isabella--just a simple workbook method.  We ordered this from CBD also (and Amazon is showing the old version, our cover doesn't look like this!).

We're sticking with the Singapore Math program.  I'm trying Jackson with the 1st grade book--I think it is probably going to move a bit too fast for him but so far he has loved it.  I also found a few little fun math workbooks at the $1 section at Target that he really enjoys--especially the one with the dot-to-dots. ;o)
We're using Andrew Pudewa's "Institute for Excellence in Writing" stuff.  It isn't exactly what Marissa hoped it would be (it's more report writing, not creative writing) but I think it will be a wonderful program for them.
Other kindergarten stuff--
Jackson is working through "Phonics Pathways" (linked up to the version I have, but a new edition came out this year). I used this to teach my girls to read. He is also working on "Explode the Code."  I'm seeing a definite need for physical movement as we attempt to sound things out and I'm kind of wondering if he may be more of a kinesthetic type of learner?? (Or maybe that is just all boys!??!) ;o)
How I keep track of it all?

Meet my nifty little grid.
Having one week under our belts I have to admit to some changes, like while in theory, alternating history and science seemed like a great plan it just proved to be way too much history on M-W-F.  So, instead we do a little each day.  Isabella is not going to be able to do cursive at the same pace as Marissa, and so on.  I give these sheets to the girls and they get to kind of track their own progress, crossing things out when completed or work ahead if they feel so inclined.  We always aim for a light Friday, but if they can finish everything in four days' time they get the reward of a three-day weekend.  And that's a win-win for everyone. ;o)   I may work on a smaller grid for Jackson so he can have the same satisfaction of crossing things off (don't we all love that?).

And those are THE PLANS.  Anybody still there?? ;o)


Anna said...

WOW, these all look like such great picks! heading to Amazon to check them out...

And praise the LORD for a great 1st week of school! :)

Kathryn said...

I stuck with you through the whole post and loved it! Looks like you've done a *great* job at pulling together your own curriculum this year (I'm not surprised! You're amazing)!

Tina Hollenbeck said...

I switched from MFW to MOH this year, too - didn't really consider SOTW because I wanted a God-focused program. We won't start our history until after Labor Day, but I'm so looking forward to it. I would love for you to join the new MOH Blog Roll I started - - and to share about it with other MOH users you know. :^)

Mike and Kirsten said...

still here ~ very interesting. Not sure how you manage all this Janna...fabulous! :)