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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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Curriculum Confusion

As a homeschooling parent who likes to research things to death, I find it so very difficult to decide which curriculum to use for next year.  It’s the sheer number of choices that always stumps me.  I want something fun, engaging and a little challenging to stimulate our children’s minds.

With 100s of different books to choose from, how does a parent choose one for each subject without having to buy and sell repeatedly to find something that works for their child?  I found this curriculum website to help me out, so maybe it will help you as well.

There are many curriculum choices that I like….. but then there are so many more that I don’t like.  One of my biggest pet peeves are the hard-core Christian publishers which feel the need to put Bible characters and Bible verses in every single subject.  I love Jesus and the Bible, but from a child’s standpoint, no child wants to copy Bible verses, read Bible stories and diagram sentences about Bible characters.  A simple daily Bible reading and memory verse is sufficient.

We are Christian parents and want to raise our children to know and love God, but we don’t want to bore them to death or shove the Bible down their throats either.  What child seriously wants to write out Bible verses?  I think it’s much better for a child to write about what they enjoy doing or places they’ve been.  Our son enjoys writing little notes to us, things like I love you Mommy or My name is Tom Riddle.  He recently put a note on the door to his room that read No more Legos for Luke (he wrote it after getting in trouble for something).  We didn’t ask him to write these things yet in writing them he is practicing his handwriting, sentence structure and spelling (he often asks us how to spell certain words).  I much prefer the more natural approach to learning.  Education shouldn’t be forced, but should be a kindling of a flame.  With time and patience a child will learn a love of learning.

So, you’re probably wondering what curriculum I plan to use next year?  Well, I already have Shurley English 2 for grammar and ABeka for reading, so we’ll most likely continue those.  For science I have ABeka, but definitely need to get something else to supplement it with.  ABeka’s science program is a bit too basic and quite repetitive from year to year.  I have no idea what I’m going to use for math, but it definitely needs to be something more challenging than what I’m using this year (Scott Foresman Math).

Feel free to share your thoughts on how you managed to wade through the choices in curriculum out there to find the ones that work best for your child.

Edit note 10/27/11: After taking some time to reflect on what I’ve written above, I feel the need to explain a bit more.  Our son is only in first grade.  So for this young of a child, I feel that writing out Bible verses and learning to read using Bible stories are not in his best interest.  For an older child (perhaps third grade and up) writing Bible verses may be a good way to help them with memorization, handwriting and spelling.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Curriculum

 

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