Have you been to Target lately? Avoid the back corner of the store where seasonal displays are organized. Know what you'll find? Bins and boxes and shelves and racks of school supplies. Already!
Even though it's early July and we're in the midst of enjoying summer, I'm making time to get organized for a new school year. I'm not really sure when our school year will start - maybe August so that I can get a head start on some things since we have a lot of travel this fall. Or maybe not until late October once a majority of the run-around is over. Or maybe I'll kick things into gear during September and just plan to take school work with us when we travel. I don't know yet.
But, I do know what materials I'll be using in hopes of helping my boys learn a thing or two this school year. This is progress! I'm a self-proclaimed Book Worm, and very proud of it, so my hunt for what books to use with my boys was both wonderfully exciting and horribly overwhelming. With so much to choose from it was hard to make decisions. The good news is that if I stick with this homeschooling gig, I've got many years coming to choose different books and explore new resources. Although scanning through Google searches for curriculum isn't quite the same as moseying through Barns and Noble and enjoying the touch and feel and smell of books, it's a close second. And, a shout-out to Amazon for quick and free delivery.
So, for those that have emailed and asked or stopped me at church with questions, the following is for you. This is a high-level outline of the materials I plan to use. It does not include specific goals or outcomes I'm aiming toward; explain how I plan to teach my different-aged and different-learning-styled kids; why I am using the materials I am using; or detail how I'm organizing my time so that our home remains standing and my family is fed. That, friends, would require another 10 or 20 posts.
Bible (Grady and Micah)
- AWANA: This will serve as the primary guide for Bible memorization.
- "Proverbs: Draw to Learn" - Notgrass Publishing: Grady will read the appropriate passage each day, we will discuss it, and the boys will draw in their books based on what was read/discussed.
- "Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him" - Apologia Publishing: Grady and I will read this, discuss this, and complete an accompanying workbook; Micah will have the option to listen and participate but because the material is intended for elementary years it will likely be too much for him.
- "Everything a Child Should Know About God" by Kenneth Taylor: I'll read this simple book with the boys and we'll take time to discuss how we know these things are true, where we find support about them in the Bible, etc.
Science (Grady and Micah)
- "Earth Science for Every Kid" by Janice VanCleave
- "Teaching the Fun of Science to Young Learners" by Janice VanCleave
- "The Human Body: A Visual Dictionary" - DK Publishing
- "The Human Body: How Our Bodies Work" - Wishing Well Press
Math (Grady and Micah)
- Christian Light Education - First Grade
- Kumon workbooks to supplement with telling time (Micah) and counting money (Grady and Micah)
- Daily flashcard drills (addition and subtraction)
- Weekly skip counting drills
- Calendar, temperature, and weather work: using a calendar, understanding time/dates, reading a thermometer, etc.
- Manuipulatives, manipulatives, manipulatives!
- Grady will finish CLE around January, and I'm exploring using Saxon, Singapore, or Math U See.
Language Arts (Grady)
- Christian Light Education - First Grade: This involves phonics, grammar, and spelling.
- Pathway Publishers - First Grade: This involves reading, comprehension, writing, critical thinking.
- Box Car Children series: He will read through this series during daily independent reading time.
Phonics and Reading (Micah)
- Christian Light Education - Kindergarten: This involves penmanship, letter recognition and sound recognition, basic consonant blends, and word families.
- Scholastic Phonics Readers: This will supplement his reading until he is proficient and ready for Pathway Publishers: First Grade.
Penmanship (Grady and Micah)
- Copy meaningful literature into journals: Bible passages, portions of children's classics (fairy tales, poems, etc.).
- Pen pal letters: Exchange letters with Gospel for Asia-supported child and distant family members
History (Grady and Micah)
- "Mystery of History: Creation to the Resurrection" by Linda Lacour Hobar: Since this is covering the ancients, we'll draw specific connections to biblical times/people; explore dinosaurs (this will link to science); investigate mummies and pyramids (this will link to local museums and art projects); etc.
Social Studies (Grady and Micah)
- "Around the World in 80 Tales" by Saviour Pirotta and Richard Johnson: I will read these fictional stories to the boys and use the following two resources to give context for location and culture:
1. "Children Just Like Me" - DK Press
2. "Children's Illustrated Reference Atlas" - DK Press
- Missionary stories: I will read stories about missionaries to the boys and they will identify locations on the map and use the above resources to give context on culture.
- Name and locate 50 United States: While our focus for the next couple of years will be on world history and not US history, we will give some time to US basics (states, key cities, key landmarks, etc.). I plan to use a wall map, floor puzzles, and CDs with songs for this.
Art (Grady and Micah)
- Crafts/projects at home as they correspond to History or Reading or Science content.
- Monthly classes at Art Museum or quarterly classes at local studio or classes via a talented friend in her home.
Spanish (Grady and Micah)
- Memorizing basic nouns for household objects, people, colors, shapes, food, etc.
- Considering a Spanish class at a local Community Center, again, if it fits with our schedule.
Computer (Grady and Micah)
- I have a variety of sites the boys use to accompany different subjects.
Physical Education (Grady and Micah)
- Soccer practices and games (2x/week for Fall and Spring)
- Karate or basketball (Winter)
- Daily bike rides, trail walks, backyard play, playground fun, etc.
- Museums/Zoos: Our membership allows us to access numerous places and we'll visit as exhibits correspond to what we're learning or as time allows
- Farms: Local farms based on season for apple picking, pumpkin patch and hayride, petting animals, etc.
- Nature Center: Attend classes, as appropriate
- Library: Reading classes, as appropriate
In addition, I'm planning to do the following:
- Tour a local Recycling Center
- Visit North Carolina Transportation Museum
- Visit Schiele Planetarium
- Visit EdVenture Children's Museum
- Visit nursing home residents
- Sunday school: three hours each Sunday
- Bible class: two hours each Thursday
- AWANA: two hours each Wednesday
- Sports Practice and Game: three hours each week
- Outside classes: one hour a week
- Home school groups for field trips, playground visits, etc: weekly or as time allows
- Neighborhood friends: late afternoons and evenings or as time allows
When all is said and done, though, my main resource is the library (because it's free!) and my main focus is reading. My boys need to be proficient readers with the ability to comprehend what they read in order to appreciate any of the other subjects. History and science and social studies will be difficult and, gasp, boring, if they can't first read, process, and respond to that information.
So there you have it: my 2012-2013 curriculum... I think. What about you - what are you using? What are your must-have resources? What are your avoid-at-all-costs resources? This new-to-homescholing-mom is all ears.