Thursday, February 12, 2015

Planning for Next Year's Homeschool Curriculum


This week is the final week of our next-to-last term for the year. After a quick break (hurray!), we'll be back in for a final six weeks before summer. (Though it may be a bit more this year, to make up for some time lost when our little one was born.) Time is getting close!

Our 2015 school year will start in May - and thus, it's time for some hardcore curriculum planning!

(Actually, I've been in planning mode for at least four or five months, but now it's time to kick it up a notch.)

And thus, to give you a glimpse into the (usually often sometimes sane) mind of a homeschooling mama, here are the ideas, issues, and questions that are currently bouncing around in my head.




For the coming year, we will have one student in third grade, one preschooler, and two babies (one by age and one by special needs).


Math

We found it, we loved it, we're sticking with it. (Christian Light math rocks!)

Handwriting

We love Handwriting Without Tears (review here). However, their third-grade book goes into cursive. And to be quite honest, our son's printing leaves much to be desired (and that's being quite complimentary). He is in no way ready for cursive when the world of printing is still so foreign to him. Thus, we'll be using a copywork book that I picked up for him at a curriculum exchange, and hopefully that will help his penmanship. Also, the English curriculum we have selected also includes some penmanship.

Maps

We love the Maps series by Modern Curriculum Press (review here)- we'll definitely be sticking with that.

English (a.k.a. Language Arts)

English (including grammar, spelling, and composition) is a new subject this year, and figuring out a curriculum choice has been quite a challenge.

One lesson that I have learned is how helpful it is to sit under my husband's leadership when it comes to curriculum choices (as well as all other life choices!). When I sat down with him today to go over our curriculum choices, his opinion was definite and decided - and sent me in the direct opposite way of that which I had tentatively planned. However, I am completely at peace with his decision, and I think it's a good one. It will also save us money!

Which English curriculum did we select? You'll have to wait till our 2015 Curriculum Round-Up post to find out! (Oh, the suspense!)

The English curriculum we have picked includes grammar and spelling, but not composition. To cover composition, we are going to try a "notebook" technique that I discovered while reading "Homeschooling for Excellence." We'll see how that goes - I'm pretty excited about it!

History and Science

As I mentioned a few days ago, our country studies this year have not been a great success. We're really not sure where we want to go next for history and science. Two things we do know: (1) We want to continue learning about history and science with as many real books as we can, and (2) We want to get back into doing weekly science experiments.

Literature

Our history/science read-aloud time has, over the past half-year, morphed into more of a literature read-aloud time. We have read lots of books this year! We definitely want to keep that up.

While we encourage the children to read as much as possible, and keep up a steady supply of library books (while developing our own library), we have not yet added any required reading to the schedule. Will we? That's another good question.

Bible

We already do morning devotions with mama and evening devotions with daddy. To that we are going to add required personal Scripture reading for the 8yo. We will use one of the many available through-the-Bible-in-a-year schedules (not sure which yet) and ask him to read the New Testament section only, and then to take any questions to mama or daddy.

Music Appreciation

A friend gave me a great idea for music appreciation - easy, fast, effective. Basically - choose a well-known piece each week, play it once a day, and have the children memorize the name and composer. That's it! I'm hoping to use this idea.

We also sing hymns in the mornings (most of the time), which is a great way to learn to appreciate classical and historical music.

Art Appreciation

We will continue to use Ambleside Online's Art Study. Easy, fast, painless!

Arts and Crafts

We hope to incorporate occasional crafts. However, I may leave this mostly for our breaks, when we have more time (and time that needs to be filled!).

Typing

I had originally planned to start typing in third grade. However, with our son's penmanship needing so much help (ditto with spelling), this is no longer the plan. We will wait to try typing until his writing and spelling skills are more well-developed, which may not be for several more years.

Piano

Maybe. Maybe not. Then again, maybe. (Another question that has to be answered!).

Foreign Language

Nope. I'll be satisfied to see him get English down, let alone foreign languages.


Areas of focus this year will be on our son's weak skills, As you can probably guess, his strong areas are reading and math (he reads voraciously and picks up math lessons effortlessly), while his weak areas include anything to do with writing (either composition or the mechanical skills of putting pencil to paper). He is also weak in areas of responsibility, so we're working hard on that as well.

In another month or two, I'll publish our final curriculum decisions.

How are your plans coming for the following year? I can't wait to read about them!

6 comments:

  1. So you've teased me into really, really wanting to know about your Language Arts curriculum. :) I'll be watching for the final reveal.

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    1. Mwa ha ha ha ha!!! The suspense! :)

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  2. I love reading g other families thoughts as they narrow down plans for a new year. Looking forward to reading the rest of your finalists later when you know them.

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    1. Oh, so do I! And I really enjoy reading YOUR curriculum choices, as much as they still blow my mind!! (I'm not on that level yet... give it another ten years!)

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    2. I may have gotten in over my head, we just added foreign language. Decided it was time. I will be teaching Latin... I took 3 years of it in high school, plus two years of Spanish in high school and two more years of Spanish in college. My goal is to make it through two years of high school latin in 4 years. Remind me in a few months that we have plenty of time to do this...

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    3. Wow, you are adventurous! But how fun!! I have several friends who say that Latin is their children's favorite subject, so I'll hope to hear the same for you all! I've never taken Latin but would very much like to - maybe sometime! :)

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