Jul 30, 2012

Plotting and Planning

Welcome to all who are here from the Blog Hop!
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is planning out the next year. I love plotting and thinking and scouring the Internet for great ideas that we can do. I love having lists and copies and new books all lined out and ready to go.
This year, we get to experience a lot of new things... not just new grades and new topics and new plans, but a new schoolroom, new homeschool group, and new curriculum. Because I am changing some things this year. I am hoping these changes breath new life in some subjects that have gotten a little stale and also make things a little easier on me as we move firmly into an elementary household.
So, here are our plans for the fall...

5th and 4th Grade:
(Long-time readers know that Kaytie and Nate, although in different "grades" have always worked together and do basically the same work.)
MathUSee Delta I am a little freaked out to be starting division because it is the beginning of the end of my comfort zone in math. By the end of this year I will be learning and struggling right along side of them and that makes me incredibly nervous.
2nd Grade:
Daniel will finish up MUS Alpha and then move on to Beta. He is my eager math kid and I am being careful to teach him with joy and enthusiasm.
1st Grade:
I was pleased to find a copy of MUS Primer at our Homeschool Lending Library for Abbie to work through this year. We are starting in the middle and she will move on to Alpha when she is finished.

I borrowed Easy Grammar from our Homeschool Lending Library, along with Daily Grams for the 3rd Grade, so we are going to try it out. I'm hoping we learn a lot and sail right through it. If it doesn't work out, I have Rod and Staff Level Four ready and waiting.
Not really, but we are doing some fun Grammar as a group. The kids have enjoyed our group foray into Painless Grammar Jr. I have it on my Kindle and we do it orally. It is quick, easy, and mostly fun.

Kaytie will be doing copywork from Happy Scribe. I just so happened to catch an awesome sale on Currclick and have enough copywork sheets to keep us busy for many many moons. I know Kaytie, especially will love doing these themed sheets.
Nate will be starting cursive with Handwriting Without Tears.
Daniel will be doing A Reason for Handwriting A. He loved K last year. He made amazing strides in his handwriting (everyone did, really) and while A does not look like it is as much fun, I think he will do great.
Abbie needs to finish up Go For the Code, the third book in the series, but then she will move on to A Reason for Handwriting K. She is excited about this book. She loves to color and every other page is a coloring page. She was jealous of Daniel all year because of this book. We don't use the teacher's guides, just the workbook.

I am happy to have Keyboarding for Christian Schools. It's an awkward name, but it is a perfect typing program. The kids ask to do it which makes it happen, and they are learning from it, which makes it a success. The plan is to go back to their last review lesson and go from there. We use the Elementary Version and you can read our review about it here.

5th/4th Grade:
We are still plugging our way through All About Spelling Level 2, but when we finish, I have Level 3 ready and waiting. Spelling is not a hard subject for us, so when we are having a rough day or happen to be in a time crunch, Spelling is the first to go. This habit, when continued over long periods of time, tends to slow our progress. But really, they are both naturally average spellers and in these days of spell check, I am not worried about their ability to spell what they need to later on in life. I expect that when we finally do manage to wend our way through the last level of A.A.S. we will be done with Spelling as a subject forever. So... no rush.
2nd Grade:
Daniel is working his way through All About Spelling Level 1. It bores him terribly. He is a math guy, not a language guy. But I overlook his saggy bottom lip and inject enough cheer into the lesson for both of us.

5th/4th Grade:
We will, of course, be continuing Visual Latin. They love this. A lot. And I don't have to teach anything. I can just sit back and learn, too! You can read our review here.
2nd/1st Grade:
Daniel and Abbie will work together with Song School Latin (which we do orally because their reading and writing is not up to doing the workbook on their own). And our review of this is here.

We will be continuing with Apologia's Who Am I? This is another thing that we just simply love. We have the whole kit of this, which makes it just that much better. We reviewed this, too!

Creative Writing: Kaytie and Nate will be both be doing a little WriteShop Jr Level D, (our review here) but Kaytie will mostly be doing IEW Level A. She is my eager writer and I want to give her all the help I can. I love that IEW is mostly non-consumable so all four kids will go through this at some point. However, this will have to wait a little bit. I'm not going to be able to buy it until January. Until then, she will be working on Write with World because she wants to.

All Grades:
Bible Study Guide for All Ages. Of course. This is their favorite part of the school day and has been since we first started it. Kaytie has already mentioned that when they are finished with the intermediate level they just need to start over with the advanced. So. Here is an old review... probably the first curriculum review I ever did!

Kaytie is no longer reading aloud to me as a school subject. She does plenty of reading to her younger siblings, though.
Nate will be reading aloud to me from various books that have yet to be determined. Maybe Hank the Cowdog? Maybe a collection of non-fiction on topics of his choosing. His focus will be on s-l-o-w-i-n-g down and reading with expression.
Daniel will be working his way through the McGuffy First Reader and various library books. I am using the Sonlight Reader Lists for inspiration and have hoarded up all of our fun Easy Readers so that they will be fresh (and not lost in the depths of a bookshelf) and exciting when it comes time for him to read them. My main goal this year is to convince him that he CAN read. Because, although he can fly through sentences like "Jake and Jane will jump on the fish with the glowing stripe in the dark tank", he insists that he can't read a word. I am also going to continue pulling sentences out of our old copy of Phonics Pathways to introduce him to new phonics rules.
Abbie will be basically the same as Daniel. She is half a step behind him in reading, but is actually more confident and more interested in reading. I keep expecting her to take off and just read like Kaytie and Nate did at her age. But her memory is so bad that she still struggles a bit with some letter sounds and she doesn't assimilate words as quickly as they did, so she might not.

5th/ 4th/ 2nd/ 1st
As soon as we can, we will put the kids back into piano lessons. Until then, they will just practice daily with what they have already done. Abbie has never taken lessons, so she gets a "free period" instead of piano practice.

And now, all the subjects that will be Group Work:
The big positive about having four kids in four years is that there is so much that we can combine and work on as a group. It makes it easier for me and lots more fun for them.

We are still traveling around the world. We decided in the middle of last year that we should just slow down and take two years so that we could enjoy the trip. They enjoy learning about new countries, especially when we cook a meal. We use a "curriculum" that I pull together myself.

 We are still working our way through Artistic Pursuits as this is another subject that gets pushed aside a lot. I have three artistic kids and one not so much. The three will "do art" without me if necessary and the other one, well, since his strengths lie elsewhere I'm not going to stress too much if his art experience has gaps in it. I am going to try harder to do Nature Journals, though. Our backyard, nearby park, and Discovery Scope will aid in this, I hope.

This is the first of our big changes. We are pausing in our journey through our beloved Apologia for a year of earth science. We reviewed Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space last year and I decided it was a perfect fit for us. Less reading aloud and a lot more projects, experiments and active learning. Just what science should be. I have book lists ready and Pinterest ideas all lined up to give Kaytie and Nate a little more depth. The kids are excited. It's going to be fun. Our review is here.

Our other big change... ditching Story of the World. The kids asked to study early American History and I was weary of trying to find books at the library to flesh out our spine. I think American History should get a little more attention that we would have given it if we stayed in the SOTW cycle. I first drooled looked at Sonlight. But it was just simply more than we could afford. Then, My Father's World seemed like a good fit for us. But it, too, was just too much money at this time. So, I am doing "my own thing". I have a hefty book list, a schedule, and for each section of history, I have a fun list of activities to do and a notebooking assignment for each kid. I can hardly wait to get started...

Another change... I am hopeful and excited about Spanish this year. I found a book called Lightening Fast Spanish for Kids and Families that is all about teaching your kids a foreign language in a casual, conversational way, which is, I believe the only way it is EVER going to happen for us. This book was a free Kindle download when I stumbled across it, but knowing what I know now, I would pay for this book.
Toss in some flashcard work and some free Salsa videos (which we discovered last year and love) and we just might learn some Spanish this year!

We will be having some planned, but informal, conversations and practice on Manners, Safety, and good posture.

So that's our curriculum this year. I am excited and (almost) ready to go! We will, of course, also be throwing in some reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew just to keep things interesting. :) Thank you so much for reading!
This post is also linked up to the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop



Stefanie said...

MUS will make the division easier on you. I'm sure you'll have a better grasp on it by the end of the year. I know I did. Now I'm an ace at fractions too. lol

Our Side of the Mountain said...

What a great list of stuff! We're changing things up a bit for next year too! We're STARTING SOTW! LOL I'm thinking the kids will like it...and I think we'll get through 2 books next year? Maybe! LOL Did you do the Heritage History review? We'll head back to that for American History later on. My daughter love Christian Keyboarding too, so she'll be continuing that. Fun stuff! All the best for a great year!

Mary said...

Next to choosing curriculum, planning is one of my favorite things to do - and when plans come to fruition is even better! Great post.

LaDonna said...

Sounds like a fun and full year.


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