Monday, August 4, 2014

If You Don't Use Textbooks, What DO You Use?

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I'm not sure how it happened, but it's AUGUST again! And on this blog, and many others, August means the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop

This week is Curriculum Week! Often when people ask me what curriculum to use, they are thinking of a "boxed curriculum" that has all subjects, and daily lesson plans, etc. And to that question, my answer is, I have no idea, we don't do that, you're going to have to ask someone else. And those who've weighed their options and know they want a boxed curriculum do just that. Others, however get a puzzled look on their faces . . . how do you do school without textbooks and stuff? The answer has varied a LOT over the last howevermany years (8 if you count from when my twins first said "Mommy, can we do school?" and we started a simple circle time). But here's this year's plan:

Lexie and Ashlyn, age 11 (approx 6th grade)
Math:  Life of Fred - Each of the girls is working through this, independently, at her own pace. We "paused" for awhile last year to make sure they memorized their multiplication facts, but now they've dived back into it and are progressing nicely.

Language Arts:  As always, "reading" is well covered by reading books of their choosing and assigned reading in other subjects. We are using Spelling Wisdom for spelling, and also discuss punctuation and other aspects while going through this.  I also am hoping to implement a "freewriting Friday" this fall, but haven't discussed it with the girls yet. Ashlyn is very interested in writing and grammar right now. She's currently reviewing Grammar of Poetry (watch for that review in the next few days), when she finished that, she plans to continue moving forward with WriteShop (which we "paused" so she could review Grammar of Poetry).  After she's finished both of those we'll re-evaluate what, if anything more she wants to do.
Art: We took a break from Artistic Pursuits over the summer so I will be encouraging them to continue through this curriculum. I'd also like to make time for the See the Light DVDS we have that we haven't used yet (God's Runaway and the Crossmaker). They will likely also join in with some of Little Bit's art (below). Also this winter I'd like to re-introduce a daily "tea time" in the afternoons and have one day a week focus on learning about various artists.
Music: Our main music "curriculum" will continue to be piano lessons for Ashlyn and violin lesson for Lexie. This winter, one day a week, tea time will focus on a composer. 

Little Bit, age 5 (approx pre-K)
My theoretical philosophy is to delay academics until age 7ish, however none of my children have agreed with that philosophy, so I take an extremely child-led approach to academics while they're so young. These are what I have available for her, but it's all "if she wants to".

Nature: We are reading through the Burgess Bird Book, a couple chapters a week. I try to print a coloring page to go with each chapter and after we finish reading the chapter we look up a picture of the bird(s) talked about in that chapter and what they sound like. We'll also do some fall gardening, and just general nature walks and noticing things when we're outside. I'd also like to start doing some Outdoor Hour Challenges, but haven't gotten organized enough yet. For all of this, sometimes the big girls join us, sometimes not.

We also have been enjoying Herb Fairies again this year, and that will continue, with one story per month, through next spring. Little Bit was too young to pay attention when we first used this, 2 years ago, so she's enjoying it, and the related coloring pages this time through, while her sisters are now old enough to be more interested in the recipes and such related to each herb.

Art: I have lots of art and craft ideas on Pinterest. My plan/goal is to look over the ideas and choose 4 or 5 that I have all the necessary supplies for to have available each week if she wants to "do art". As with the nature, the big girls can choose whether or not to join us.

Math: We've done a little bit with Gnomes and Gnumbers, and will continue to work through it, play with it as she shows interest. She also actually enjoys "workbook" type things so I have some little workbooks that she works on when she wants. And one of her favorite iPad games is a straight math drill type thing, silly kid.

All Three Girls
Bible:  Bible Road Trip, Year 2. This is a perfect fit for us! It is straight from the Bible, and someone else went through and "condensed" things abit (a few years ago we tried reading straight through the whole Bible and it went too fast and covered some rather "adult" topics, I COULD do my own picking and choosing, but since Danika did such a great job, I'm happy to, with much appreciation, use her curriculum!  Our "weeks" float abit because of days when school doesn't happen, but we don't worry about that, and just keep moving forward regardless of the day of the week (for the most part, you'll see the exception below).
  • Each day we review memory verses from the whole curriculum, using a Charlotte Mason approach to memory work, except I adapted it to use a notebook in Evernote, since that's my "brain", including all lesson plans. 
  • On the first day of each "week", all 3 girls draw a picture on the memory verse notebooking page (included with the curriculum), while I read.  The twins write out the memory verse as well. I print out a copy of the memory verse for Little Bit and she either just glues it on or, when she wants to, writes a few of the words and then glues it on. I don't want to push copywork on her so young, but I'm happy to let her practice writing when she wants.
  • Each day I read the suggested chapters of the Bible for grades 4-6. And we discuss them. I print out What's in the Bible coloring pages for Little Bit to color while she listens.
  • On Music Lesson Day I print out one additional notebooking page, of their choice, from the current, or most recently finished, lesson, and they do that during the other one's music lesson.
  • When chapter books are suggested I either read the suggested chapter(s) during our morning Bible time, or as bedtime story.
  • All 3 girls LOVE the What's in the Bible DVDs and are excited when it's time for the next one. We usually watch it during lunch, once we've watched it together, the newest one generally goes in the car for Little Bit to watch over and over and over (and over). 
We will continue to work with Laying Down the Rails to improve our habits and character.

History/Social Studies:
At the moment the big girls are finishing up their self-paced online course. Once that's completed (probably early in September, if they stay on track), we'll go back to our "normal" history: Story of the World, Vol 2 audiobook will be our "spine". To that I will add living books for read alouds and independent reading, videos, notebooking pages, lapbooks and hands-on projects.

We'll be using Apolgia's Exploring Creation With Astronomy once a week. I think this is the ONE year that I'll get by with doing a combined history for all 3 girls. By next year, even with adding in extras, I think the big girls will need something more advanced than Apologia's elementary science series, and last year when we used their Physics and Chemistry, while Little Bit enjoyed some of the experiments it was still over her head.  having looked over this one, I think it will be simple enough for her, but still give the big girls some good information. We'll also spend one day a week reading through Signs and Seasons, which I suspect will be over Little Bit's head. I want to try it first as a read aloud, just in case she finds it interesting, but if she doesn't, I might switch to having the big girls read it independently. Interspersed with these 2 "spines" I also have lots of ideas saved to Pinterest and in my science notebook in Evernote that I'll intersperse throughout and once a month we will do a lesson in our Star Chronicles study.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but for the moment, that's our plans!

1 comment:

Michelle Cannon said...

I love your plans! You're going to have a great year. Dropping by from the NTBS blog hop.