Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School: 2014-2015

So, today we officially started back to school. All the subjects. Whew. 

We started a few things at the end of last week, because I always prefer to get my feet wet (gradually) and not just jump right in. It works for me…and for our kiddos too.

This year, I have a fifth grader, third grader, and first grader. Crazy.

And because I love reading about other people's curriculum choices, I'm going to share ours again this year. (And I've also gotten a couple emails over the summer with requests to hear what I like, so I thought it would be nice to have a spot to refer people!)

We use Veritas Press (a company that approaches education classically) for our history, Bible, literature (mostly), and Geography.

For HISTORY this year, we are studying the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. Veritas Press has two approaches for each of their grammar stage history courses: 1) Teacher/Parent taught and 2) Self-Paced Online Course.

The past three years of history, I have taught the curriculum, using their guides. This summer, we reviewed the first year of history (Old Testament and Ancient Egypt) using the Self-Paced online course; we all really enjoyed it. This year, we are going to continue with the online course. I'm excited because the course is well-designed, fun, and cohesive. And it gives me a break to focus on some other subjects that I really need to devote more time towards teaching. I will continue with our history read-alouds and a few other parts of history that I really enjoy, like our timeline.

For LITERATURE, we will be using the first, third, and fifth grade read-alouds from Veritas, as well as some fourth-grade that we didn't get to last year that I'm excited about. The kiddos also have daily independent reading, from a selection of books at home and the library.

I love finding good books…I highly recommend Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson. These books are great guides and offer suggestions of books for different ages, interests, genres, etc. Sarah also has a great new website called Storyformed with booklists and book descriptions and a blog to encourage teachers and parents to instill a love of stories and reading in their children.

My kiddos love the Legends & Leagues GEOGRAPHY guides, Mr. Longitude and Mr. Latitude. This year, we're using the Legends & Leagues North Storybook and Workbook. I'm really excited that they have grown this curriculum in the last couple years!

This year, we're trying something new with SCIENCE. It's a subject they love but one that I had a hard time being consistent with because math and language arts have really been demanding in these early years of elementary school.

Locally, we have access to a classical Christian private school (with students attending two days at school, three days at home,) and we decided to join the school for science class this year. The school uses Apologia for their science program and our kids are enrolled in 5th grade Anatomy and Physiology, 3rd grade Zoology 3, and 1st grade Astronomy.

Despite being a little unsure about uniforms (Madeleine announced after her first day that she LOVED her uniform, after weeks of sulking about it!), they all had a great day, and I think it's going to be great for all of us. During the rest of the week, we will spend a couple hours completing their science assignments. I can tell that it's going to stretch them academically…and I'm excited to see it!

As for MATH, we are continuing with Math U See. This year, we're using levels Beta, Gamma, and Delta. And this year we will be doing a lot of fact drilling. A. Lot.

We are continuing to use Rod and Staff for ENGLISH GRAMMAR. (I still love First Language Lessons, and I think that Shurley English is a great foundation…but both programs weren't a great fit for everyone I was teaching. Rod and Staff is working for all of us.) I'm also continuing to use All About Spelling…but I'm still working to find a great way to make spelling successful for my three. I am a natural speller who married a very creative speller. And I think we have some creative spelling offspring. ;) But time (and more practice) will tell!

Piano lessons for all three this year will be a part of our MUSIC…and I'm always hoping to be more consistent (and fun!) with ART. I'm hoping to share more about those subjects in the next few weeks.

One last thing, as I wrote in a similar post last year:

There are so many great curriculum choices out there now for homeschoolers. But just remember, every family is different. Every child is different. What works for me, may not be the best fit for you. I've even learned that I have to alter some things to better fit each of my own children's unique style of learning. Other homeschoolers are a valuable source of information about what they've used...but make sure to focus on your own family's strengths, weaknesses, learning (and teaching!) styles as you consider what to use in your homeschool.

If you have any questions or want to share a favorite curriculum, I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment, and I'll respond within the comment section! 

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I'm so glad you listed all of your picks here because it will save me having to write things down! And then find it later. :)


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