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Ready for the 2014 – 2015 School Year

school area2 2014We are all set for starting school this week and I’m too excited to sleep! To celebrate, we have a tradition of going on a field trip the first day of school. This year we will be visiting the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center.

The main attraction at the Exploreum right now is the LIVE African penguin exhibit! We’ve been looking forward to seeing them all summer, though I think I’m probably more excited about the penguins than the children are.

Our children will be in 4th grade and 1st/2nd grade this year.
Why the 1st/2nd grade? Because we started our daughter in K5 a year early, which put her doing 1st grade work last year. We went at a slower pace throughout 1st grade so she will still be finishing up 1st grade math and reading this fall, but is at a 2nd grade level in the other subjects. This is actually pretty common with homeschooled children. It makes the question “What grade are you in?” quite interesting. I expect her to be in the 2nd grade books by January or February, but we’ll go at whatever pace she needs.

luke 4th grade booksHere is the list of curriculum we’ll be using for our 4th grader:
Our American Heritage – Geography
Heritage Studies 3 – Social Studies (using this with both children)
Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary
All About Spelling
Horizons Math 4
Discover the Wonder – Science (using this with both children)
Daily Language Review – Language Arts
Easy Grammar 4
Phonics Plus
Reading 3 (finishing up some lessons from last year)
Cursive Writing 3rd & 4th Grade
View from My Window – Writing
Write on Track – Writing

Online curriculum:
IXLMath.com – Math
Easy Peasy Online Homeschooling – Typing Lessons & additional Social Studies lessons

*Side note: I’m aware a couple of the books in this picture are the 3rd grade level instead of 4th grade. I was feeling lazy and just grabbed the books that were closest to me. The covers are different colors, but you get the basic idea.

brooke 2nd grade booksOur 1st/2nd grader will be using the following curriculum:

Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary
All About Spelling
Horizons Phonics & Reading 1
Arithmetic 1 – Math
Horizons Math 1 (this is more advanced & fast paced so we’re doing this after the other book)
Grammar Skills
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Explode the Code – Phonics & Reading
Heritage Studies 3 – Social Studies (using this with both children)
Discover the Wonder – Science (using this with both children)

Online curriculum:
Reading Eggs – Phonics & Reading
Easy Peasy Online Homeschooling – additional Social Studies lessons

Our children are also enrolled in co-op classes that meet once a week. Our oldest will be learning about Alabama history, elementary chemistry, and grammar; while our youngest learns about science, geography, logic & critical thinking, and PE. The children absolutely love their co-op classes and I enjoy having them learn from different adults besides just boring mom all the time. 🙂

Do you have a question about curriculum or anything else about homeschooling? Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Curriculum

 

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Planning for the Upcoming Year

We are fast approaching the end of our “official” school year and I’m about finished collecting various materials I think we will need for the next school year.  Our youngest is starting K5 and our oldest will be in 2nd grade.  For those who might be interested here is a list of the curriculum I plan to use next year.

For our 2nd Grader:

  • Horizons Reading & Phonics (Alpha & Omega)
  • Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary
  • Shurley English Grammar
  • Horizons Math grade 2
  • Purposeful Design Science
  • Science for Christian Schools (BJU Press) – as a supplement
  • Abeka Social Studies grade 2
  • Story of our World (History) – after we finish the Abeka book

For our Kindergartener:

  • How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
  • Abeka flash cards & phonics book
  • Bob Books (early readers)
  • Explode the Code book C
  • No specific book for Math, but we’ll be working on Counting to 100 and beginning addition.
  • Abeka Science K5

I’d like to explain that though I’m using some Abeka books and materials, I’m actually not a huge fan of the Abeka program.  I feel that they have a solid phonics program, but their readers for 1st-2nd grade are severely lacking in fun & interesting stories.  The quickest way to discourage a beginning reader is to force them to read dull, boring material.  The Abeka science & social studies books that I’ve seen so far tend to be lacking in depth (in my opinion of course).  For this past year I used both the 1st grade and 2nd grade Abeka science books plus many books from the library to supplement.

I’m excited about our youngest starting Kindergarten and I’m sure she will continue enjoying to learn with her brother.  We typically do all of our science & social studies lessons together so she will have plenty of chances to absorb information that may be a bit over her head.

So, what are you planning for the upcoming school year?

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Curriculum

 

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What Grade Are You In?

It’s funny how adults always ask children the same type of questions.  You know, when the store clerk smiles and says, “Where do you go to school?” or when a neighbor’s asks, “What grade are you in?”  These are simple questions that any child should be able to answer without putting much thought into it.

Sensory Deprivation

Exploring sensory deprivation at Lynn Meadows Children's Museum

A few months ago our 1st grader was asked by a lady at church, “Where do you go to school?”  He responded with a big grin, “I don’t go to school….” (Then he left a long pause, while I’m standing behind him with my mouth hanging open…)  “I do my school work at home.”  I was so thankful that he added that second part on, but it sure would have been nice if he had just answered from the beginning that he was homeschooled.

Now in his defense, he is only six years old.  He took the question literally (as most children would).  If she had asked “Where do you do your school work?” he would have answered at home, but since the whole world has been conditioned to ask “Where do you GO to school?”, it’s like everyone assumes you have to GO somewhere to be able to learn.  We’ve discussed this type of situation several times since then and I have high hopes that if he were to be asked this same question tomorrow he would say, “Evergreen Christian Academy, I’m homeschooled” or some variation thereof.

An upcoming development in our homeschooling journey is the, “What grade are you in?” question.  I know many homeschooled children who are at different grade levels in different subjects.  For example a child who is advanced in reading and science may be taking 5th grade reading and 4th grade science, but they may be taking 3rd grade level other subjects.  Would this child be “in” 3rd grade?  We as a culture relate grade to age, so a 3rd grader would typically be 8 or 9 years old.  As homeschooling parents should we place much value on what grade a child is in?  Does it really matter what grade level a child is working at?  I personally believe as long as they are learning to the best of their ability and being challenged then that is all that matters.

I wonder how many children out there are stuck doing the monotonous work at their grade level because parents and/or teachers feel it’s “too early” to move them on to the next level for a particular subject.  This is something that is almost unheard of in public and private schools.  Why hold your child back?  Let them move forward at their own pace; whether it’s a slower pace or a faster pace it doesn’t matter.  You can’t force them to learn, you can only guide them and present them with a million opportunities to experience fun while learning.  Isn’t that what learning is supposed to be about anyway?  Fun?  I certainly believe so.

Our son is in a 1st grade class at church and gets a report card (that I fill out myself) which lists his grade level as 1st.  However, how do you classify what grade a child is in?  He is currently taking 1st grade English (grammar), 1st grade Social Studies, 2nd grade science, 2nd grade reading, and by the end of February will be starting 2nd grade math.  His music, art, PE and Spanish lessons aren’t grade specific so those don’t really count.  Technically our son is in the 1st grade (and I don’t plan on moving him up a grade at church or on paper).  At this point when he’s asked the “What grade are you in?” question he automatically says first.  Knowing him like I do though I’m sure that at some point in the future he will surprise someone by telling them he’s in 1st and 2nd grade or some similar confusing answer.

Deer Track

Examining a deer track

It’s our job as parents to prepare our children for these type of questions so they know how to give appropriate answers.  Some people may disagree, but frankly a simple one sentence answer that is planned out in advance is MUCH easier than having to go into a long dialog about how your child is working at different grade levels in different subjects.  Not all children of the same age fit into the same mold, and why should they?  God made each child unique and special, so let’s help them out.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in My Thoughts on Homeschooling

 

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