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January 22, 2012

2011-2012 Curriculum Updates

With a new year and half way through the school year we are changing things up a little. I wanted to share with you what we are changing in our homeschool curriculum choices for the rest of 2012 school year.
Just a side note...we are planning on homeschooling year round but I will reevaluate when the "new" school year starts for the public schools.

We are following the memory verses in Heart of Dakota's Little Hearts for His Glory for memory work.  I read a chapter out of Proverbs that corresponds to the date during lunch.  Daddy reads a character story in the evenings for our devotional.

I feel like phonics is the one subject that I personally have a hard time with.  I think I was taught at the beginning of the "sight word approach" movement and honestly I didn't know what the word meant until I was looking into teaching the kids to read.  I know crazy, right?  So there has been a bit of a learning curve for me in teaching phonics, how much I should expect of the kids, and how quickly we should progress through the work.

Just what all we have used with phonics would take a whole post so I will just say that we have bounced around with our phonics instruction until now.  (If you would like to know more about exactly what we have used and my thoughts, send me an email or comment below and I can give you all the details. ;) )

Where We Are Currently At with Phonics
Spud and Lady are both at about the same point in their phonics instruction.  They both can sound out any CVC word.  I have gotten them both to look at the word, sound it out in their head, and then tell me the word without going through each individual letter sound.  Telling me the word without going through and sounding out each individual letter is much more challenging for them both so they are not fluent yet.  I do think that is something that will come with practice.

What We Are Using Now for Phonics
So for both Spud and Lady we are going to continue moving forward with Abeka's Handbook for ReadingHandbook for Reading Teacher's EditionPhonics Flashcards, and Letters and Sounds 1.  Abeka and I haven't really gotten along in the past...think tears and stress...but I have grown in the past few months in our homeschooling journey...I hope.??  So Abeka here we come.

I have listed that we were using McRuffy Color Math K on the list of our curriculum at the beginning of the year.  Well we did use McRuffy for awhile.  Days and days of pattern blocks had me start looking into other options.  Then Spud has been going through Chirstian Light Education Grade 1 and Lady was using Rod and Staff ABC series.  I like CLE but it is going pretty fast and three pages verses one of bookwork was a little too much for right now.  I have decided to go back to McRuffy Color Math for the rest of the year for Spud and start Lady at the beginning of McRuffy.  I know classic newbie here, the grass was green but maybe not as green for K. :)

We haven't been using a day by day curriculum for handwriting.  We either use the ABC Handwriting Book that I put together or use some of our Bible Copywork.

We are going to be using Beautiful Feet's Early American History program and add in the activities from Adventures in America when they fit.  I still really like Adventures in America but I wanted to use more picture books not just a page overview.

I have had 106 Days of Creation for awhile and really think that we can use it even with my kids ages.  I have gone through and written all the  other science books we have for extra reading.  I don't think that we will necessarily always read extra books but it is nice to know what we have that corresponds to the lesson if the kids are interested to read more.

We purchased the Outdoor Secrets ebook through Simply Charlotte Mason and I really have been impressed how the kids pick up little bits of information from a "living book".  Spud was thinking about the story of the Uninvited Guest (about an earthworm) after reading it and said, "So earthworms don't have eyes."  You will have to read it to see how that was good information for a 5 year old to come up with.

We are using the Year of Poems download.  I now realized that even though I thought it had a poem everyday for a year it actually stops at the 20th day of the month.  oops!  Oh, well 20 days straight of reading a poem is good enough for me.  We will just look back over the 20 poems for the month and pick favorites for the remaining days so that we don't get out of the habit of reading a poem each day.

Literature Read-Alouds
We have been reading many of the Before Five in a Row and will add in the Five in a Row books during our reading time.  I also have the Little House on the Prairie set to start some more chapter books.

Foreign Language
My mom had purchased a Spanish curriculum for us that has DVDs that only speak in Spanish so we will be watching one a week.  I do want to eventually come up with some flashcards to reinforce what they are hearing on the DVDs.

We also have some Signing Time DVDs that we will alternate with the Spanish.

Art & Artist Study
One day a week we will try to go through a lesson in an art book that I have that teaches very simple drawing.  We will do crafts when they are in the lesson plans with our other subjects.
I found the Come Look with Me books at a garage sale this summer and would like to add looking at one painting a week at snack time.  We will see how the kids like this.
Looking at this all typed out it looks CRAZY!
I will share how I plan to schedule these subjects as well as how often throughout the week.  I will also keep you posted if we are really able to accomplish my well laid plans with a 5, 4, 2, and 1 year old. :)

Have you changed up any of your curriculum for the rest of the school year?

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