I’ll have 4 kiddos doing “school work” with me this year. I haven’t filled out the Arkansas state required paperwork yet. I’m a procrastinator (oh, just pretend you’d wouldn’t have guessed that, ‘k?), so I have yet to fill in all the blanks. And since I start their “table work” with the rest of the kiddos whenever they show interest (usually just before 2 years old) “school” is just a way of life for us. Therefore, while chatting with a friend last night it occurred to me for the very first time that I will “officially” have 3 “in school” – a Kindergartener, a 2nd grader, and a 4th grader. “Officially” on a form, you know. Officially, officially I’m already teaching all 3 of them and a preschooler too.
Here’s last year’s “School Picture”:
Because I’m a little verbose, and the word concise is obviously not in my vocabulary I’m going to make my list not all simple-like as I’ve seen on others. I don’t know why I have to make everything so hard. I just do.
As I’ve added more children to our school work, I’ve realized I need to condense them into as many multi-level unit/read-aloud kind of studies as I can.
Geography, World History, Bible Study – Mystery of History Vol 1- Creation to the Resurrection – 4th grader, 2nd grader, Kindergartner, and preschooler. I’ll be using this curriculum mostly as a read-aloud and doing a few of the suggested activities at my leisure as reviews.
American History – A Beka’s History books. I do not use the Teacher’s Guides or any extras just the student text. I assign these as independent reading and have them tell me about what they read afterward. My 4th grader will continue in the Our American Heritage, Grade 3. My 2nd grader is excited to start his independent reading in My America and My World, Grade 1. I wait until they are able to read well to start, hence the level inconsistencies. My oldest also likes to watch Liberty’s Kids – all of these things together (with our Little House series and other read-alouds it just makes history real).
Science - Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorers)- 4th grader, 2nd grader, Kindergartner, and preschooler. We’ll also continue life and physical science lapbooks with the 4th, 2nd, and Kindergartener from Homeschool Share. We also watch SO many Discover nature shows, MythBusters, How It’s Made, and any other science show we can get our hands on. Which leads to discussions and “looking things up” on the internet. Not to mention all that hands-on fun we run across. Just Google kid science experiments and you’re all set to go!
For read-alouds – making lists from the Sonlight catalog. We’re currently reading By the Shores of Silver Lake – the plan is to finish the Little House series this year. All kiddos are included in the read-alouds for every level. Nobody’s too young or too old – we just all sit together. I’ll also be including other read-alouds that are younger focused along the way as well (also pulled from Sonlight’s catalog). I’ve conquered the library for the first time ever so we’re rolling through some books now!
For art – I’ll be doing this independently again. I’ll pick an artist and study them, their life, their works, where they lived, their favored medium and then create our own masterpieces in their medium. We may incorporate some read-alouds with this as well.
For music – same as above. We’ll pick someone or a style. Study the time period, listen to it, and talk about instruments and styles. We have lots of “pretend” instruments and make our own “music” way too often.
Reading (Phonics and Independent) – 4th grader is no longer doing any type of phonics (Yay!) he’ll be assigned and picking his own ability-based readers from Sonlight catalog (obtained from the library). 2nd grader will be continuing Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read Second Grade System. He’ll also start independent readers for the first time ever! The Kindergartener will continue Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read First Grade System (we’ve set aside Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons until she’s a little further along in the H.O.P. books).
Handwriting I really liked our Handwriting Without Tears last year, but I got a great deal on these three workbooks from one of my friends (thanks Tamara!) – 4th grader – Cursive Writing Practice Book (Flash Kids Harcourt Family Learning). 2nd grader – Italic Handwriting Series Book A. Kindergartner – Handwriting Without Tears – Letters and Numbers for Me.
Spelling – No “official curriculum”. I wasn’t happy with anything from last year. Decided against buying anything. I’ll be correcting their writing, assigning copywork, and playing lots of Scrabble Apple. Not to mention the constant conversational spelling discussions (“Mama, how do you spell ‘fly’ like the bug? Is it the same as when you ‘fly?’” “Mama, how do you spell ‘Kit Fisto?’” You know, the important stuff.)
Language Arts – After much debating I’ll be going light on this. After considering Brenda’s reasons and her suggestions, and scouring ridiculous amounts of workbooks and plans as well as what my kids already know – I’ll be using 2 workbooks we already own. Starting with Harcourt Family’s Second Grade Language Arts workbook and moving into SRA Kaleidoscope Level A workbook. I’ll be teaching the 4th and 2nd grader combined and assigning the same worksheet for both. The idea being to introduce (and continue reviewing lightly) and make concrete the basic concepts without worrying too much about it at these early levels. I’ll be supplementing with Wordly Wise 3000 online -I like going to the student section then to games – who doesn’t like a good game of hangman?! (thanks for the heads up, Brenda!)
Bible – A memory verse in the mornings. Copywork of that verse. Bible reading and discussion in the evenings as a family. I want to really focus on virtues/character traits as a unit study soon (got some good suggestions for this one?) And it is incorporated into our constant daily lives.
Math – Math-U-See. This will be the first “official” math curriculum ever for us. The plan is to start the Kindergartner in the Primer dvd and workbook – I’ll be working with her. I’ll start the 4th and 2nd graders well-below grade level – in the Alpha level – they’ll watch the dvds and do their workbooks independently with support from me. Just to make sure they have all the math foundations laid well. We’ll move however quickly they need. I’ll be ordering one Primer workbook and one Alpha workbook – I’ve heard there are enough pages to divide the work from one book between the 4th and 2nd graders. I’ll also be supplementing with Timez Attack.
I’m linking up with the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop – please go check out everybody else’s curriculum choices this week – it’s never too late to change your mind or too early to start making next year’s list!