Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fall 2014 Curricula Plans: Rough Draft

   Yes, it's only February, but I've already missed one 25% off sale for something that was on this list. A decent plan will make it easier to take advantage of those without purchasing willy-nilly.

   Faith, first grade (How?!)

  • First Language Lessons (gentle, bite-size, oral grammar, snuggle-on-the-couch)
  • Continue the Rod and Staff spelling and Spalding hopping she does now
  • Copywork, daily
  • First Favorites literature volume 2, and More Favorites
  • Egermeier's Child's Story Bible
  • Horizons math 2
  • Geography - Cantering the Country? Beautiful feet? Merge with Grace? 
  • Animal, plants, and human body through living books (Getting to Know Nature's Children, Burgess Animal Book, Seed Babies, more tbd)
  • Song School Latin is waiting in the wings, *if* she starts noticing she's the only kid without a language

Grace, fourth grade

  • Rod and Staff English 5-6
  • Rod and Staff spelling 5
  • A mix of Wordsmith Apprentice and homemade composition?
  • A pile of children's classics, and more tied to geography for literature 
  • Language.... Latin Alive, slowly, with more Latin for Children in the wings if it just doesn't work out (LA was written for a 7th grader with no Latin, LFC is for 3rd-6th)
  • Straight Bible reading, probably starting The Book of Life series
  • Horizons math 5
  • Trail Guide to World Geography, with the art and food from around the world additions
  • science through living books, starting with animals (Getting to Know Nature's Children) and trying to branch her out into other science fields (Scientist in the Field, topical books on random topics)

Honor - sixth grade

  • Rod and Staff English 6
  • Rod and Staff spelling 6, his last spelling book, home stretch!
  • Wordsmith (composition)
  • Horizons math 6
  • Latin Alive (he has outgrown Latin for Children)
  • Straight Bible reading, volumes 2-5 in The Book of Life series
  • Adventures in the Sea and Sky from Winter Promise for literature, history, and science
  • Art of Argument for logical fallacies

Joy - ninth grade

  • English 1 (+1): The Power in Your Hands (composition), medieval literature with some heavy Lord of the Rings and other Tolien worked in(probably a few Omnibus units too)
  • Geometry (+1): Chalkdust?
  • Medieval World History (+1): Story of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer, and the guide
  • Physics (+1): Conceptual Physics by Hewitt looks like the best option for doing physics first, but she's less than thrilled with it
  • Latin 2 (+1): finish the Latin Alive series
  • Bible (+.25): reading a few chapters daily, and....?
  • Art appreciation (+.5): The Annotated Mona Lisa, Sister Wendy
  • Music: guitar lessons, half or whole credit depends on the time she puts in
  • P.E./health (+1): swim team, scout badges, something else tbd

Justice - tenth grade

  • English 2 (+1): Omnibus 2 or 5 (medieval lit tied to history), + something for composition
  • Geometry (+1): Math-U-See's older edition of combined algebra 1 and Geometry
  • Medieval World History (+1): Omnibus and the history textbook it assigns
  • Chemistry (+1): Chemistry 101 dvd course, extra reading, possibly a Teaching Company course
  • Spanish 1 (+1): Duolingo and ... tbd
  • Bible (+.25): straight reading and Omnibus
  • Medieval Mythology (+.5): Norse myths, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and I need to do more homework for this one
  • Geography (+.5): high school portion of Trail Guide to World Geography
  • Literature of C.S. Lewis (+.5): Inklings rabbit trails, Mere Christianity, Of Other Worlds, Surprised by Joy? This is a very recent idea and I haven't put much thought into it. I'm concerned it's going to look like we're padding his transcript with literature.

     Valor will be a 4 year old preschooler by fall. We're still calling him the baby! For the most part I expect him to be too busy playing with cars and trains to care about academics, but nearly all of his siblings were asking for their own schoolbooks at 4. Should he feel left out of the school book business, his first math book (Rod and Staff 1), Phonics Pathways, and Writing Road to Reading are all in the school closet waiting for the day he wants them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We Homeschool Too...

    Though one has to actually stay home for that. :P  Here's a schooling update on the younger kids.

Faith - kindergarten

    Faith starts her school days by snuggling up with me and a pile of books. We take turns reading pages from an easy reader Bible. Then I read aloud from a large volume from one of our sets (My Bookhouse, The Children's Hour, The Book of Life, fairy tale collections, etc.). After that she reads to me, usually half or all of a picture book from First Favorites or our Little Golden Book stash. Then I read a chapter from a classic to her. (We're still working through the old Winnie-the-Pooh books.)

   Next she gets her math book out and does a lesson. She's about halfway through Horizons grade 1. She hasn't been as excited about this as usual lately. I've tossed a little stealth drill practice her way, and magically the lessons are seeming like less work. Win-win. 

    She's reading well enough that we can review phonics rules as she has problems rather than daily drill. She goes back and forth between Spalding spelling practice and a Rod and Staff spelling workbook whenever she wants to. (I make no attempt to line them up.)

Grace - third grade (by age)

    Grace is having a great year. In math she's worked with long division enough that she's very comfortable with the process and really understands what she's doing. Her math book wasn't halfway done at the halfway point of our school year, so she has decided to do more than one lesson a few times a week of her own accord. Usually that amounts to doing one lesson at home and one on the bleachers at swim practice.

    Right now she reads at least one chapter daily from D'aulaire's Greek Myths, an NIV Bible, the Audubon Book of True Nature Stories or one of the older National Geographic hardback books, a volume of The Children's Hour, and a classic or literature tied to our Narnia literature. 

   I want to change gears with her writing. She is really good at fiction writing, but doesn't even know where to begin with nonfiction. I'll have her start collecting facts from one of the science books, make an outline, and write a paragraph with it.

Honor - fifth grade

    I have had so much fun with Honor this year. His math is picking up speed, and his comprehension is rock solid. He started the year moving slower than normal, and he's making up for that now. Grammar, spelling, and writing just keep plugging along.

    His daily reading stack this past week had D'aulaire's Greek Myths, an NIV or Message Bible, Cartoon Guide to Physics, Bill Nye's Big Blast of Science, and Dangerous Journey.

    Science is where he's spreading his wings and absorbing as much as possible. He took a sideways trail to complete the Cub Scout's STEM focused Nova program, and reads non-fiction science books for fun all the time. The New Way Things Work is one of his favorite books. Architecture had some material compacted, but he never missed a beat. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Honor the Lion-hearted and the Arrow of Light

    Honor and our whole family have made so many great memories going through Cub Scouts with him. He started in first grade as a Tiger, and has completed every rank along the way. He's earned every academic belt loop, about half of the sports loops, and around two dozen sports and academics pins. He collected every arrow point in Bears and Wolves, and all 20 Webelo merit badges. He met with his youth pastor weekly for 1.5 months to earn the religious emblem. He completed all four awards in the new Nova program, and will complete the SuperNova with a mentor before his registration transfers to Boy Scouts.

     When his second year Webelos den worked on Aquanaut he tried so hard to make his laps to pass the swim test, we finally had to pull him in with the hook, but he wouldn't give up. He was so exhausted he looked like it was all he had to hang on the wall of the pool, but his leader and I had to talk him out of going again. His leaders gladly awarded him the Aquanaut for doing his absolute best. The next week we took up the swim coach's offer to work with him alongside her team, and he gave it everything he had. Honor, Justice, and Joy all ended up joining the team. Honor now goes to swim practice four times a week. He can pass that test twice over for a warm-up, but he has no intentions of stopping anytime soon. At the Blue and Gold, two months after that Aquanaut night, his leader awarded him a special swimming patch for going above and beyond. 

    This Blue and Gold was Honor's very last one to attend as a Cub Scout. This time he received the highest honor in all of Cub Scouting, the Arrow of Light, and he crossed over to Boy Scouts. 

The Order of the Arrow performed the arrow and bridging ceremony.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Next Year

    Yep, it's February. The curriculum sales are already trickling in, and it would be easy to overdo it or not think purchases through if you don't have a plan.  I've been reflecting about our curricula for awhile. What worked this year, what didn't, where we're coming from and where we're going. What are each child's needs, strengths, weaknesses, and strong interests. Is there a subject we need to put a stronger focus on? Is there one that should take a backseat? What should *I* be learning more about? Reading in preparation?

    I'll have two high schoolers next year. Eep! The little ones will be in 6th, 4th, 1st, and preschool. For the first time we will not have a wee babe and/or toddler bringing up the rear.

    Our family history cycle would put us in medieval. The high schoolers are the only ones sticking to it though. Honor will be getting a survey of sorts from the earliest ships to spacecraft, and the younger girls will have a geography year. I plan to toss enough medieval books into Honor and Grace's reading piles to call it covered for the year, and they can all begin around Leif Eriksson the following year.

    Science for the high schoolers is a fairly easy choice. They have to keep transcripts, and get through at least the big three (physics, chemistry, biology) to keep future doors open. Justice started with biology, and chemistry is the next likely choice. He is a humanities kid who doesn't plan on doing any more science than is necessary. Joy likes to keep a foot planted on the humanities and STEM side of the fence, and chose a stronger route. She'll start with physics, then chemistry (her math is there), and then a strong biology course. This route will let her get into the newer bio-chem side of biology.

    Honor's science will be oceans and ocean life while he learns about ships, weather while he learns about planes, and astronomy while he learns about spacecraft. He is thrilled. The younger girls will cover animals and plants from around the world, and some basic human body.

    Literature doesn't have as many solid plans yet. We're working on it. Justice wants a medieval Omnibus, Joy wants Lord of the Rings and more tied to history, Honor's will be from his history/science program and some classics I add in, Grace will have tales from around the world, and Faith will stick with Favorites from Veritas Press until she finishes the series.

     Math and the rest of language arts will mostly just move to the next level.

     If our sweet little preschooler actually shows interest in academics, his first math book is in the closet, along with two different phonics programs, and plenty of tablet paper. I expect him to be much too busy playing with trains and digging in the yard to be interested in sitting down. :)

    Booklists later.