Scaling back our 2014-2015 curriculum {again}

Scaling back our 2014-2015 curriculum {again}

This is definitely a pattern for us.

I shared our 2014-2015 curriculum in April of last year, and over the four months that followed, I continued to tweak and add to it. By the time fall rolled around, we had a VERY full schedule, one that took the big girls way too much time to complete each day.

We stuck to it for 6 weeks to be able to really evaluate what was realistic for us, but then I began to cut things, as I always do.

In the end, my list looks quite a bit different from the plan I laid out last year, and I’ve thought about cutting things further. I believe in the value of things like copywork and handwriting, and spelling and dictation, but I’m also leery of providing busy work that takes away from true, independent learning. Fortunately, those things don’t take long—and the girls are actually fairly enthusiastic about doing them—so I’m leaving them in for now.

Language Arts

kindergartener:

  • Explode the Code (We tried Logic of English Foundations for the first time this year. I really like this program, but it is just not a good fit for my kindergartener, who is easily overwhelmed and not ready to write, so we’re going back to the workbooks we’ve succesfully used with the previous 3 girls.)

1st grader:

3rd grader:

  • copying grammar charts
  • handwriting
  • copywork & dictation
  • Spelling Plus (using Spelling City for practice and testing)
  • WordBuild

4th grader:

  • CC Essentials
  • handwriting
  • copywork & dictation
  • Spelling Plus (using Spelling City for practice and testing)
  • WordBuild

Math

kindergartener:

1st grader:

3rd grader:

4th grader:

History

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Story of the World (3 & 4)

everybody:

Science

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Academics in a Box (I wanted to make the monthly STEM boxes from Academics in a Box work for us, but I haven’t been disciplined about making time for them. We still have a few to work through, though, so we’re going to try again.)

everybody:

Geography

3rd & 4th graders:

Languages

4th grader:

3rd grader:

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Classical Academic Press’s Latin Primer A (online)

Bible

1st, 3rd & 4th graders:

Extracurriculars

kindergartener, 1st & 3rd graders:

  • science & history enrichment class

3rd & 4th graders:

  • Ambassadors, the drama our church puts on each spring

everybody:

Do you fall into the trap of adding too much and then needing to scale back? What’s the best curriculum decision you ever made?

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. We don’t homeschool (although I have considered it), but I would definitely start with a too-long list every year because I kept finding things ‘I’ thought would be fun to learn!

  2. Yes, I had to scale down mid-October and focus on the basics! A ‘Year of Doodles’ looks like a lot of fun. I am surprised that LOE didn’t work for your kindergartner. This is the first bad review I have heard. We stared it when my little one was 4 and we didn’t focus on the handwriting. We waited until her fine motor skills were stronger. We did continue on with the phonics and phonograms though. I loved how the curriculum encouraged parents to not worry about the handwriting that early in the game, just focus on the phonograms. That gave me the confidence not to worry. I am not sure if Explode the code starts by introducing the lower case letters first, but after talking with many kindergarden teachers I think that is pretty important and something I was glad to see with LOE.

  3. I was surprised it didn’t work for us too! And I still love the program, so it’s definitely not a “bad” review. I think what was hard for us was even skipping the handwriting, she just felt overwhelmed by not easily knowing the answers, but that’s totally her personality. The pre-Explode the Code books (which do start with lowercase) are just simple activities like matching shapes/letters, tracing lines, etc. I think it gives her confidence to be able to do 5-7 pages in 5 minutes without struggling. I could see us going back to LOE *after* she finishes these first three books, but we’ll see what ends up happening.

  4. Ha! That’s why I homeschool, Cindy—so many fun things to learn with them! (Not entirely, but it’s a tiny bit of it!)

  5. We’ve never used Duolingo, but have been looking for a Spanish program. Tried Rosetta, but that didn’t work…maybe for later. With Duolingo, can you set up different profiles for each kid? Using the same email address?

  6. I understand! My kindergartner’s personality leans that way too. I have some extra workbooks that she can do several pages on her own and she loves the confidence boost that it gives. I might try the pre-Explode the Code with my 3 year old once he gets a little closer to 4, as a pre-curser to LOE. I totally recommend that you give it another try at a later date. My husband and I are truly amazed at how much understanding it allows young children to have of the English language. Not to mention how much I have learned just from teaching it! I have a friend who used Explode the Code before foundations came out and she like you, still really likes ETC for beginners and then switching to LOE a little ways in. Have you downloaded the Doodling Dragons App? We haven’t but, I plan to for our littlest. It is great for learning the single letter phonograms!

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