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Our 2016 – 2017 Curriculum Plans

This school year our children will be in 6th and 3rd grade. Well, those are their “official” grades anyway. (More about this at What grade are you in?)

This will be our 6th year homeschooling; wow time flies! Before I list what curriculum we’re using this year, let me preface this by telling you I know some people would go crazy without having an all-in-one curriculum. If this is your first year homeschooling then I recommend an all-in-one curriculum for your sanity. The curriculum we’re using I’ve found to work best for our children’s learning styles.

For our 3rd grader we’ll be using:

easy grammar 3Horizons Math 3
IXL Math (online)
Khan Academy (online) for additional help & instructional videos
Switched on Schoolhouse Language Arts (trying this out for the 1st time)
Easy Grammar 3
Spelling City (online)
IXL Science (online)
Harcourt Science 3rd grade
IXL Social Studies (online)
Learn Our History dvds
Typing Teacher (online)

For our 6th grader we’re starting on:

math lukeSaxon Math 7/6 & Teaching Textbooks (haven’t decided which one we like best yet… they’re both new to us this year) *See update below
IXL Math (online)
Khan Academy (online) for additional help & instructional videos
Easy Grammar 6
Spelling City (online)
IXL Language Arts (online)
Reading Comprehension 6
IXL Science (online)
Science Is…
IXL Social Studies (online)
New World History & Geography (Abeka)
Switched on Schoolhouse Spanish (1st & 2nd quarter)
Computer Coding (online) (3rd & 4th quarter)

scratch games

IXL online consists mostly of practice questions/answers, but it’s a wonderful resource to assure we don’t miss an important topic. What’s even better is we have access to all of the grade levels at once! This is hugely helpful when a child is ahead a grade level in some subjects, but not in others.

For reading both children have daily silent reading requirements and read-aloud several times a week as well. Both children also keep a writing journal throughout the year. Their typical writing assignments include poetry, fairy tales, idioms, short essays, book reports, etc. This is simply what works for us.

This year our children are also enrolled in these classes outside of the home:

  • American History – co-op (3rd grader)
  • Plant Biology – co-op (3rd grader)
  • Literature – co-op (3rd grader)
  • Chemistry – co-op (6th grader)
  • World History – co-op (6th grader)
  • Art History & Elements of Art – local artists (both children)

***Update 9/2016: We’ve decided on Saxon math for our 6th grader. He didn’t like doing his math on the computer and now that he’s been using Saxon for a few weeks I’m in love with it. 🙂

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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in Curriculum

 

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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.

***This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for more info.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Curriculum

 

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Our Curriculum Plan for the 2013-2014 School Year

I wrote this post back in June, but due to vacations and summer events I’m just now getting around to posting it.

Since our children finished kindergarten and second grade I’ve been preparing their curriculum for the upcoming school year.  My husband and I believe in year-round education (because learning never really stops) but we still take several weeks off at the beginning of the summer so I have time to plan for the next stages.

I follow a loose schedule of teaching our children in 6 week sessions; taking 3-5 days off in between with a longer break at Christmas time.

1stgradecurriculumThis may sound like I’m pushing our children too hard, but we don’t do every subject every day. Instead we spend more time doing the things they are interested in. Some days are spent mostly on reading, while others may be science and art days.

By the time a 6 week session is over hopefully our children have had fun learning a variety of things. That really is the point isn’t it? To instill a love of learning for life.

Here’s my plan for our 1st grader:

MathHorizons Math and IXL Math at IXL.com
SpellingAll About Spelling
Phonics & ReadingHorizons Phonics & Reading and many actual books
GrammarShurley English (I don’t use all aspects of this book, but I love the jingles)
Writing – weekly journal drawing along with a sentence to go with it and Easy Peasy at allinonehomeschool.com  (online lessons & videos)
Science Purposeful Design Science
History
Heritage Studies

Art & Music – various books, cds and online sources

Here’s my plan for our 3rd grader:

Math – Horizons Math and IXL Math at IXL.com
Spelling – All About Spelling
Phonics Phonics Plus
ReadingBJU A&B Reading (I’m not overly fond of this book, but it was free)
Grammar – Easy Grammar
Writing Horizons Penmanship and weekly journal writing
Science Purposeful Design Science
History 
Heritage Studies
Art & Music – various books, cds and online sources

3rdgradecurriculumSomething I try to keep in mind when making my curriculum choices is each child is unique.  Just because I used book A for our oldest child doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best book for our youngest.

Many of the books I’ve chosen for our son this year are unfamiliar to him and me.  I may get half-way through the first quarter and realize a particular book just isn’t going to work for us.

It’s difficult for me to change my plan once I have everything all set.  I mean, it’s my PLAN and I can’t deviate from it, right?  Well… if I said it more like, “It’s MY plan…” then it’s easier to see where the problems can come in.  Just because a particular book or curriculum works for ME doesn’t mean it works for my child’s learning style.  I find that I often need to remind myself of this along the way.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2013 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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Ups & Downs of Changing Curriculum Mid-Year

I started off our school year knowing exactly what curriculum I wanted to use (and not use).  Then we hit a slump near the end of 2nd quarter.  The math curriculum we were using was just too easy for our 1st grader.  At least once a week he would ask me, “Why do you keep giving me work to do when I know all this stuff?”  I was trying to follow the scope and sequence of the book, but even going through it at a faster pace just wasn’t enough of a challenge for him.  I added in numerous math games and hands-on learning to try and make the boring math more fun, but as the weeks went by I could tell he was quickly losing interest in what had been his favorite subject.

Reading was a whole different kind of issue.  Our son who had been an on-target reader starting off the year had hit a plateau and wasn’t progressing at all.  We still read books every single day.  Some I read aloud, some he read to me, but it seemed he was stumbling over the same words.  I needed help teaching him the irregular words that didn’t follow the rules he had been learning.  Rules such as, “i before e except after c” and “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking” are not hard and fast rules.  There are exceptions to most of the rules in the English language and it’s not easy for a 6-7yr old to understand (it’s not always easy for an adult to understand either).

I started researching math and reading curriculum for 2nd grade and found Horizons by Alpha Omega that looked like it would be a perfect fit for us.  Well a friend gave me Horizons Math & Horizons Phonics & Reading for 1st grade so I began slowly introducing a few of those lessons into our weekly schedule.  The Horizons Math transition went smoothly but I realized real quick that this was a more advanced curriculum than the public school book we had been using.

Transitioning to the Horizons Phonics & Reading curriculum was actually very depressing.  As I looked through the book trying to figure out where the best place to start would be I realized we had to start at lesson 1.  Yes, that is correct.  We were finishing up the 2nd quarter of first grade and now I was starting my son on lesson ONE of a reading book.

Now you’re probably thinking what had I been teaching him up until this point?  Well apparently I had been teaching him kindergarten level reading according to the Horizons Alpha Omega schedule.  Don’t take this the wrong way, I LOVE the Horizons books, but whereas before I thought we were right on target, I suddenly felt utterly and completely behind.  Like half a year behind!  It took me about 2 weeks before I finally wrapped my mind around the concept that just because this particular lesson book is more advanced than where we are doesn’t mean that anything has changed from our son’s standpoint.  He is still reading 1st grade level books and he reads random items around the house because he wants to know what they say.

Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath, step back and look at the big picture. Is it possible for us to finish the Horizons Reading book before the end of the 1st grade year?  Nope, no way.  In the big scheme of things, does it matter if I finish a specific curriculum book by the end of the year?  As long as our children are learning, advancing, and enjoying the journey of learning this is more important.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Curriculum

 

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