Thursday, August 9, 2012
Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week
Yay, I have so much fun with this blog hop every year! Though it's coming at a busier than usual time this year, so I don't promise to get a post in each week, but I'm going to try!
This week is the first week, so it's CURRICULUM week!!!
First a quick "intro" to those visiting as a part of the blog hop! We're super eclectic, made more so by the fact that we LOVE LOVE LOVE to review homeschool products and are blessed to get to review lots of things, so we keep our options open for whatever opportunities come our way. To add to our eclectic-ness, my husband's job includes quite abit of travel within the state where we live (PA), so we often tag along and visit museums and historic sites wherever he's working. AND my children are blessed with grandparents who love to travel, so we also tag along with them quite often. The girls' "Papa" (my dad) is very into the National Park Passport stamps, so we tag along and the girls earn their Junior Ranger badges while Papa's collecting his stamps :)
My 3 girls are:
Sassy and MiniMe - 9 1/2 yr old twins, and Little Bit a 3 1/2 yr old ball of energy, who insists on trying to keep up with her sisters in all things.
Since we school year-round, it's abit anti-climatic, it's not like we're starting "new" with everything this time of year, but that's ok. Here's what's going on in our "school room" right now:
Bible: Always my top priority! We have two Bible times each day. In the morning during our normal school time, and in the evening as a part of our bedtime routine. For the last while, we've been using the Heroines of the Past Bible Study for our morning Bible time and Apologia Who is My Neighbor in the evening. We finished Who is My Neighbor last night, so starting tonight we're shifting Heroines to evening. The girls and I will be leaving Daddy at home while we travel with Mama & Papa for the next couple weeks, so while traveling, we'll just use Heroines in the evening and not have a morning Bible time. When we get home, we're going to start Polished Cornerstones for our morning Bible time.
History: We are slowly moving through American History, using TruthQuest as our guide. We all love reading all the great books, so we tend to move pretty slowly. This past spring, I realized that because we were moving so slowly, we weren't going to get to the Civil War until sometime this winter. Which would be fine except that my parents live near Antietam Battlefield, and the 150th anniversary, and all the celebration that accompanies it, is next month. So . . . we talked it over, and decided to skip over "Westerward Expansion" and move on to Civil War, then we'll double back and learn about westward expansion when we finish the Civil War. I like to think that we will get well into the 20th Century this school year, but we shall see . . .
Language Arts: We don't have a "curriculum" or "time" for this. The girls regularly read for history, they have their own personal Bible time each morning when they read, they generally have at least one book (each) they are reading "just for fun". I just don't see a need to "assign" a reading book when they are reading anything and everything on their own. Most days at least one of our Bible times includes them reading at least a verse or two, so I regularly can see how they're doing with their reading. They are learning spelling while they read. How? By seeing words, spelled properly. If you ask me how to spell a somewhat difficult word, I'm going to either grab a pen & write it out, or flip to a blank something-or-other on my computer and type it out. (Swagbucks must really wonder about some of the words I "search" for, since that's my most common way of SEEING the word, and once I've typed it, I might as well hit "search" and get a few swagbucks out of the deal) Once I can SEE the word, I can almost always tell if it looks right or not, and see what looks wrong and adjust as needed. Why? Because I read tons of books as a child, and well, until I had babies. And even now I try to fit in SOME reading time (besides devotions, and reading to my children) every day. All that reading put a whole bunch of words in my head, even if I can't stand in front of an audience and spell them orally. Grammar, same idea . . . reading, or having read to you, quality things, helps instill basic grammar into them without those boring workbooks we all suffered through. Writing, generally comes in the form of notebooking for other subjects, or free writing they come up with on their own.
Math: This is a subject that I believe strongly should be delayed. I'm hopeless at keeping track of links to things, but when the girls were toddlers, I read about the idea of waiting until a child's developmentally ready to understand the logic of math, and it was just so . . . logical (sorry, couldn't resist LOL). Instead of trying to teach a pre-logic child math, which ends up being rote memorization, because they just don't get it, and then wondering why the child hates it so, why not just wait. Once they have those logic skills (this has been tested/shown) they can work quickly through the simple math and be at or beyond grade level in a year or less. So, we talked some, this summer, about when to start formal math, and we're thinking maybe this time next year, we shall see. For this year, we'll continue to reinforce fractions and such in the kitchen, and they love to have Papa teach them random math things, how many 9 yr olds can figure square root? I think, after using a math workbook for a review we were doing, they are also convinced of the value of memorizing their multiplication facts (they can calculate them, which is probably more than I would have been able to do at that age, but they saw the value in having them memorized to be able to do problems more quickly), so we may use some games or computer games to work on that. I'd also like to at least teach them the basics of long division this year, but we shall see. . . Lately they've been helping with the menu planning and grocery list-making, so we're building math and economics into that as well. Choosing items that are on sale or in season, etc.
Science: We've been learning about animal care, as we take care of the stray kittens we found in the barn near our house. Our overall plan for this year is to continue working through Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space. We reviewed this last year, and the girls enjoyed it, but we set it aside after the review period to focus on other science. Now they want to get back to this. We'll try to have science 2 days a week.
Music: MiniMe has her piano lessons. Sassy has requested violin lessons, which we will probably start in January. We are currently reviewing Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Writers, so that's giving us plenty of music theory. Once we finish reading it, I think we'll either continue with the Mr. Pipes series or try the Hymns for a Kid's Heart series. Probably one day per week.
Art: We enjoyed Artistic Pursuits last year, and are excited to get back into it. We'll plan to have Art one day per week.
Health and PE: We end up having impromtu health/nutrition discussions as we menu plan, grocery shop, cook or eat dinner. As time allows, I'd like to continue working through Vintage Remedies for Girls, probably one day per week. For PE, we are getting ready to start reviewing a family fitness program, so will go with that, at least for the time being. I'd also like to become more intentional about doing some simple Brain Gym exercises at the beginning of our school days, but so far I've been really bad about that, sigh . . .
Little Bit is only 3 1/2, but she desperately wants to be big, so when she was asking to have MY SCHOOL, I started a "Letter of the Week" program with her. You can get an idea of what we're doing here. We are currently on letter O, but will have some travel this fall that will likely slow us down (though sometimes traveling is a good week to do it, we can use the letter-theme to keep her busy in the car). We may try a few "number of the week" weeks too if we need to, and will just incorporate her into whatever the big girls are doing for holidays. Then, in January, I have a Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum (that I can no longer find online, I used it for the big girls when they were this age), it's very season-specific, so we'll need to start it in January. I LOVE Waldorf for preschool age because it focuses so much on art and nature and doesn't push the academics.
I'm probably forgetting something, but that's the general idea. All year long we have additional things adding in at least for a few weeks, while we review them, so sometimes the "planned" things get set aside.
Check out what other bloggers are doing here.