Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Ever-changing Curriculum

Somehow this year is flying back and it's already August! And August means the annual Not Back-to-School Blog Hop!

This week is Curriculum Week, but I already gave you an overview of our curriculum choices, but amazingly (or maybe not, considering our chaotic life) we've ALREADY made some changes, or at least modifications.

As we approached the end of the review period for a America the Beautiful (watch the blog in the next few days for that review, it's here!), we began discussing what we'd be doing going forward for history this year. I feel pretty strongly that we NEED to finish up American history this school year. We've spent the last 2 years on American History and LOVED it, but I really feel that, by next year, we need to at least get started on world history. This led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth by my history loving MiniMe, who was horrified at the thought of not reading every possible book about every possible topic for the last century of American History, who CARES if we never get to world history, we might MISS SOMETHING! We discussed this for probably 2 hours (seriously!) and really got NOWHERE. I finally just had to say, I give you LOTS of input into what we do for school but this is something I'm not comfortable with, I feel world history is important too, we ARE going to wrap up American History this year, we'll re-visit it in a few years and maybe we can focus more on 20th century then, but for now, we're going to be moving abit faster through history than we have been. The girls went to bed, but MiniMe was still very upset. I always sit in their room for a little while to help Little Bit fall asleep. That night, after Little Bit was asleep, I noticed that MiniMe was crying, so talked to her some more and THEN she had an awesome idea! She suggested that, since the World Wars were really WORLD history, not just American history, and really most everything after that is also pretty intertwined with the rest of the world, we just focus on the end of the Civil War (where we are now) up to the beginning of WWI and then switch to World History, we can cover the newer American history when we get to that point in World history.  What an AWESOME idea!! Why didn't I think of that?!?!? So that's what we're doing. I have no idea if that means we'll be switching to World history mid-year this year, or not, but it DOES mean that we can slow down and not "worry" about it. We'll just keep going forward and whenever we get to WWI, we'll switch to World History.  At this point I'm leaning pretty strongly toward Simply Charlotte Mason for Ancient World History. I know I want a curriculum that integrates Bible history with the rest of ancient history, and this seems like a good choice for that.

The other thing I've added since my original post, is a calendar notebook for Little Bit and E (so far this month, J hasn't joined us for Circle time, if he decides to start joining us again, I'll see if he wants a book too. He's in an interesting spot of desperately wanting to do what the "big kids" are doing, but not being quite ready for the structure and "academics" of what they're doing).  I got the idea from this post.  We're starting small and I'll add things as time goes on, depending on the kids' interest. Most of the book is in page protectors, so we can use dry erase markers and re-use the same pages every day. Only the actual monthly calendar pages are done in pencil. An added benefit of page protectors, when not in use, the kids put their dry erase marker and pencil into one of the page protectors to hopefully keep from losing them.

For now, our pages are as follows: I have lists of the days of the week, and months on the front cover. To begin our calendar book time we sing a made-up song listing the days of the week. Eventually I'll add in the months, but I want the kids to have the days of the week down first.  Next we have our reusable pages, this has the day of the week, month of the year, weather, season, and "Today I'm Feeling". They circle everything.

After the reusable pages is the calendar page. At least for August, I used the one from the Preschool pack that traces the letters, I'm going to see how they do with it, and after a month or two, may switch to a blank calendar where they just write the numbers in.  I've also seen the suggestion of having them color the dates in a pattern, I may that add that in, especially if J wants his own book, I may have him do that, since he's not quite ready for tracing numbers and letters.

So those are our newest additions to this year's curriculum. I'm sure if you were to ask me about curriculum NEXT month, I'd have other changes LOL, but it's all good :)


Summit Ridge POA said...

It's ever-changing, isn't it? We are finishing up Civil War thru modern times in Am. History this year. I seriously pondered picking up the Notgrass text, but since we've already covered half, I decided to just stick to what we were doing already. Looking forward to reading your review. So glad M-M came up with a solution!

Sweetpeas said...

America the Beautiful is divided into 2 textbooks, one for each semester. The first one ends right after the civil war, so you could do something else for Civil War & then only buy the 2nd semester book. If you want the summary of a textbook (my kids are addicted to living books, so NO textbook would satisfy them LOL), I'm really impressed with this one. My review should be done within a few days (theoretically tomorrow, but don't hold me to it LOL)