2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Plans

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Plans

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

It’s that time of year when homeschool families are planning out next year’s curriculum, and we’re no exception. However, we try to adjust as we go, and since we school year round, we don’t have any big changes planned for the new school year, other than the addition of Classical Conversations Essentials program for our 4th grader (more on that in a bit!).

That said, as I was making this list, I realized things have changed quite a bit since I wrote last year’s post, so here’s a peek into our plans (as they stand today). For more about our philosophy and methods, be sure to read through these posts:

This fall, we’ll have a 4th grader, a 3rd grader, a 1st grader and a kindergartener! Plus a toddler. Whew.

We’re very laid back during the first year of kindergarten, ramping up slightly during the second year (one of the benefits of fall babies is that we can take our time in the early years). In 1st grade, we increase the expectations a little bit more but still stick with the basic subjects, and 2nd grade is when we get “serious” about academics.

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Language Arts

Language arts is by far my favorite subject, and it’s the one we focus on pretty heavily right from the beginning. We’ll be rejoining our local CC community this year, but only for Essentials in the afternoon. I’ll actually be tutoring one of the Essentials class this year, which I’m so excited to do! Essentials focuses on English grammar, including the parts of speech, diagramming sentences and writing, and I think our oldest, who is already an amazing writer, will really blossom as we focus on the mechanics of good grammar.

kindergartener:

1st grader:

3rd grader:

  • First Language Lessons (Level 3)
  • daily copywork

4th grader:

  • CC Essentials
  • daily copywork

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Math

We started with Singapore right from the start (back when we were doing Sonlight), but we never really loved it.  When our oldest pretty much melted down at the beginning of 2nd grade, we moved her to Teaching Textbooks (which starts in 3rd grade but is on the easy side). Our 2nd daughter had just finished Singapore 1 at the same time, so we had her start Teaching Textbooks at the same time rather than continuing on with Singapore (which had been working for her up until then). Since that progression ended up working so well for both of them, we just plan to follow that same pattern with the rest. Math comes very easily for our soon-to-be 1st grader, so she’s just about done with the Singapore 1 books now and will start on Teaching Textbooks soon.

kindergartener:

1st grader:

3rd grader:

4th grader:

History

History is one of the areas we’ve made the biggest change. Although doing CC at home was working in the first part of the year, it became increasingly difficult for me to set aside the time to work with them on history after Jackson was born, and I began to feel like it had turned into busy work that the girls were just rushing through.

Instead, we’re using Story of the World following the model outlined in A Well-Trained Mind: reading a chapter, asking questions, writing a few sentences, a little bit of map work, an extra activity (occasionally) and reading related books.

While our little girls often listen in to our history discussions, I don’t plan to formally do history with them until they reach 2nd grade since that seems to be working for our older girls!

We are, however, still doing CC memory work, and I’m hoping to create some other playlists of memory work around the suggested lists in A Well-Trained Mind as well. The big question, which I haven’t answered yet, is whether to move on to Cycle 3 for their memory work or stick with Cycles 1 & 2 since those more closely relate to where we are in Story of the World.

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Story of the World (2 & 3)

everybody:

  • CC memory work

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Science

I shared a more detailed review of our experience in this post, but we plan to use the Einstein in a Box monthly STEM boxes for our science moving forward. I love the design of these boxes and that we’ll have a new theme each month, and the girls are really enjoying them as well.

kindergartener & 1st grader:

  • Einstein in a Box (K-2nd grade boxes, coming soon)

3rd & 4th graders:

everybody:

  • CC memory work

Geography

While most of the time we find ourselves scaling back over time to get rid of unnecessary busy work, I am feeling like I’d like to add another geography resource to help the girls memorize the countries and features of the world, but I’m not yet sure whether I want a book, a computer game or something else. We’ve tried using the CC weekly memory work, but it’s just not working for us right now. I’d love your geography suggestions!

3rd & 4th graders:

Languages

My big girls really surprised me this year with their excitement about learning foreign languages. Okay, they’re not quite that excited about Latin, which we’re doing anyway, but they each chose another language to study, and they’re highly motivated to learn more and practice their skills!

4th grader:

3rd grader:

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Song School Latin 2

Bible

Bible is the other area where we’re still struggling, but I think we may have finally settled on a system. It’s simple, but it seems to be work for us (of course, I said that last year too!):

Starting in the New Testament, the big girls read one chapter a day and then select a verse to copy into their journal. We then chat about what happened in that chapter and what they liked about it or learned.

That’s really it. I like it for two reasons: 1) It is building the habit of daily Bible reading. 2) It doesn’t rely on pretty pictures or fun projects to hold their attention but just puts the focus on the Word.

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum

Extracurriculars

kindergartener, 1st & 3rd graders:

  • art (while our oldest and I are in Essentials)

1st, 3rd & 4th graders:

  • biweekly piano lessons

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Ambassadors, the drama our church puts on each spring
  • ChessKid.com

everybody:

  • local field trip group, 1-2 field trips per month
  • individual ice cream & library dates with Dad
  • American Heritage Girls
  • books, books & more books

I think that’s it!

How about you? I love curriculum posts, so feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments! Do you adjust as you go or wait and make changes at the beginning of a new school year? What areas do you struggle with?

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