Monday, August 2, 2010

"Not" Back to School Blog Hop ~ Curriculum Week

Not Back to School Blog Hop

When I saw a post on facebook about this blog hop, I knew that I wanted to participate, and I figured that this would be a good beginning for my new homeschooling blog.

I school three children ... the oldest is 10 and in the 5th grade ... the middle child is 8 and in the 3rd grade ... the baby is 4 and in kindergarten.  This will be the first year that I have homeschooled all three of my children.  I like to bring them all together for as many subjects as possible.  Of course, this is easier to accomplish with the older two, but even the little one enjoys listening to all of our read-alouds and I am always surprised by what he remembers.  For this year, the kids will be using the same history and science curriculum.  I will have to tailor the individual assignments and the tests to their grade levels, but we will all cover the material together.

Our history course for this year is Exploring American History from Christian Liberty Press.  History is one of my favorite subjects and was my minor in college, but, despite my love for history, I have not been extremely eager to tackle a complete history course with the kids before now.  I want them to enjoy learning about history and many textbooks simply steal that joy.  Up until now, we haven't done any formal history at all.  What we have done has included reading books about historical events and characters and this has worked well for us.  Exploring American History continues that format in that it looks at American history through the biographies of the men who helped to shape that history.  My hope is that this will gently prepare the kids for a more traditional history course beginning next year.

We have been using Apologia science for a couple of years now, and I absolutely love it.  This is one of the classes that the older kids take as part of our homeschool co-op and this year's course is Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology.  I am excited about getting started in this book.  The kids will be in separate classes this year and the work for the older class will be much more intense than for the younger.  We will do all the reading for each chapter at home and the classes will come together to do experiments.  I know that the teacher for the older class plans to have the students keep up with all the notebooking activities and I am glad of this.  I have been lax in having the kids do these in the past, but I know that if they are assigned for class, we will get it done.

These are the only two formal courses that we can do with both of the older kids at one time.  We do spend a lot of time reading together, though.  We usually keep one just-for-fun literature book going at all times.  We are just about to finish up Charlotte's Web and my next choice is Around the World in Eighty Days.  I am looking forward to getting to that one.  I read it for the first time this summer and I feel certain the children are going to really enjoy it.

We are beginning our second full year of using Math-U-See with both of the older kids.  Math was always the subject I struggled the most with in school and the teaching of it to my children has always intimidated me.  So, when I realized that our daughter was not where she should be in math at the end of her 3rd grade year, I began to panic.  As I searched for something to help her, several people recommended Math-U-See.  And, after watching the demonstration video online, I was sold.  It has been a great fit for us.  This math is taught the way I think math.  That may sound strange, but it helps me to teach them when it is being taught in a way that I can actually feel comfortable teaching.  Both kids have done well using this curriculum and I can see us sticking with it for a long time to come.

Our language arts is where the kids are totally different.  Both kids will be taking a literature class with our co-op this year, but the classes will be very different.  I am not sure exactly how they are going to work, but I am looking forward to getting started later this month.  I feel sure that the amount of reading and writing will be a stretch for my daughter (the 5th grader) but she will survive.  I think the younger class is just going to be lots of fun and will hopefully encourage a love for reading in the students.

We have been using Explode the Code with our middle child for several years now and it has worked well for him.  Because of his success, I plan to start our younger son on Get Ready for the Code this year.  I hope to move them both quickly through the books this year.  I supplement the 3rd grader with various language assignments from old A Beka books just to give him something different and keep his interest.

This year we are taking on a completely new adventure for our oldest child.  During the summer, she and I began working on Shurley English, Level 5.  She isn't sure that she likes it, but I love it.  I majored in English in college, but my focus was mainly on literature and writing, so teaching grammar is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I knew that I didn't want to teach her grammar the way it was taught to me, but I also couldn't deny her need for some formal grammar at some point in time.  This course, so far, is a great fit.  It is keeping her (and me) busy, but I can already see an improvement in her writing skills.  The fact that it also includes challenging vocabulary is a great asset as far as I am concerned, though I doubt that she would agree.

This is a pretty good overview of what we will be using this year.  I am still looking for the right Bible curriculum and I also want to add spelling for both of the older kids, but haven't found exactly what I am looking for (at least not that we can afford), so I will just keep looking.  I feel sure that we will throw in a few unit studies here and there just to keep things interesting and I think I'll try to find some good ideas for lapbooking to supplement our history studies.  I am always open to new ideas and I am looking forward to visiting other blogs on the blog hop to see what I can glean from other homeschoolers!

Be sure to come back next week for a look into where we do school ... and until then, click on the link at the top of this post to visit other homeschooling families and find out what they plan to teach this year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jennifer! I'm following you now because I saw this post on FB. This is a lovely start to your blog. :^) Can I ask how you came up with the name for your school? We call ourselves "The Hollenbeck Homeschool" for lack of a better alternative, but I'd prefer to get both our name and the word "homeschool" out of the title - because I prefer "home education" or "independent education." But my hubby and I have not been able to zero in on a different name we both like so... Yours is interesting and different, so I'm curious. :^)

    Oh, my curriculum post for the blog hop is at