Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Big, Exciting Blog Post!

Yes, that's right! The one you've all been waiting for! (All three of you!)

Our choices of homeschool curriculum for the coming year! 

Oh, wait - you haven't been waiting for this? No matter, you're going to hear it anyway!!

And so, without further ado, here is our (current, soon-to-be-changed, I'm sure) plan for the coming school year:

Let's start with what we will not be doing:

Things We Will Do Later (But Not Now):

Formal Language Arts - We will delay this one or two years and pick this up after his reading and penmanship skills are good.

Grammar - This will be in late elementary school or junior high.

Map Skills - This was suggested by a friend (and veteran homeschool mom) who said that her kids love their map skills books. This is usually started in second grade, so I'm going to give it a go next year.

Spelling - Again, waiting for penmanship to be established first. Also, I am taking the advice of this blogger who recommends waiting for third grade to start formal spelling.

Formal History & Science - We will be doing lots of science and history, but it will all be from reading real books and interest-led studies. Formal textbook learning can wait for junior and senior high.

Typing - Not yet, but coming soon, I'm sure.

Music - I started piano at age five, but our six-year-old is not at all ready for lessons. We have not decided yet how to handle teaching music, but that will be for another day (thankfully!).

A Bunch of Stuff I Haven't Thought Of Yet - That covers the rest of the things I will think of later!

Things We Will Probably Never Do:

Vocabulary - I find that our son is developing an excellent, way-beyond-expectations vocabulary simply from adult conversation and reading good-quality real books. I can't conceive of a need to teach vocabulary as a separate subject.

Things We WILL Do This Year:

Handwriting - I used the Sonlight catalogue to read up on the reviews of their top three handwriting picks: A Reason for Handwriting, Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting, and Handwriting Without Tears. We chose Handwriting Without Tears.

Math - We will be using Singapore Math, as recommended by one of the most successful homeschool moms in history (who happens to be a friend of mine).
Phonics: We will continue to use Rocket Phonics.

Bible: We will use the Bible (duh!), Egermeier's Bible Storybook, and verses and activities from AWANA.

History & Science - We will be using book lists from Sonlight, "Honey for a Child's Heart," "The Read-Aloud Handbook," and "Books Children Love," and going off of those as interests develop (and also from interests that develop from life activities) in order to delve more deeply into various subjects. This was an incredibly successful (and completely unintentional) approach last year, and I want to continue it through early elementary. I am hoping to start doing notebooking with these subjects (see also here) one day a week. Notebooking will serve double duty as serving for a vehicle to cover artwork, narration, composition, and various other language arts skills.


- Social Activities - Church, AWANA Kids' Club, our MOMS Club activities, and two homeschool support groups (one which has activities every week, and one which has them twice a month)

- Field Trips - Last year we went on a ton of field trips, and this year we already have a bunch lined up. I am finally getting to know Phoenix! We will be doing a minimum of two field trips per month, most likely more, plus day trips, camping trips, and travel with the family. I try not to ruin the fun of field trips with worksheets and evaluation questions - right now they are just for fun and massive amounts of hands-on learning.

- Practical Skills - Constant work on things like (1) table (meal-time) chores, (2) around-the-house chores, (3) learning home repair/maintenance skills with daddy, (4) safety skills, (5) social skills, manners, courtesy, etc.

Various Notes 

- I am contemplating a modified year-round schedule - taking a month off during the summer to meet my emotional need for "summer break," and then taking the rest of our time off during the school year at more non-broiling-hot times of the year.

- Some goals for this year: To set up a running time-line going through our hallways, to find a globe, and to set up world and state maps in the hallway. Farewell, classy home decor. Oh wait, I don't have any classy home decor anyway. (For some reason, my house still has not decorated itself, despite the fact that we've been in it for almost four years. Strange.)


And that's about it, except for all of the stuff I've forgotten. I'd love to answer any questions that anyone has, or hear your input!!

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