In light of the fact that I love hearing what other people are doing in their homeschools, I wanted to post our homeschool plans for this year (2013-2014).
Memory Work – First and foremost, we will be focusing on our Memory Work. You can read all about what we memorize and what resources we use in THIS POST. Of course we will also be using the My Memory Work Lapbooks as a hands-on project based way to review our CC memory work.
Reading – Our 4-year-old will start All About Reading this year. I have not used this program before, but love the All About Spelling Program that we have used for a few years, and have heard great reviews about All About Reading, so I am looking forward to using it. With the older two, I just created my own plans, but with trying to teach three of them, I knew I needed a more "open-and-go" resource.
Spelling – All About Spelling of course! The oldest two – my first and third graders are using this. (Level 1 and 3)
Grammar – Only my third grader does grammar, just as basic prep for going into Essentials in 2014-2015. Last year we used First Language Lessons Level 3, and she loved it – in fact it was her favorite subject – crazy! This year we will be using Shurley English Grammar Level 4 because I wanted more in-depth practice than we found in FLL. Only time will tell if this was a good change, or if we should have stuck with FLL. In both curriculums, we use the CC memory work information when it comes to definitions of things. TIP: We downloaded all the English Grammar songs by NoGreaterJoy on CC Connected for all cycles so that we have all of the CC definitions and can use them with our grammar studies.
Spanish – After a number of years of looking at Rosetta Stone and chickening out from spending the money, I finally decided to get it. The reason? I am originally from Arizona, a state with a high use of Spanish, and I feel like it is important for the kids to learn it. Learning other languages flexes brain muscles in ways that other studies can't. Our family wants to put an emphasis on languages. I just never know where the Lord will call my kids, or us as a family, and what better way to prepare to "Go into all the world?" Both the first and third grader will be using this system. The homeschool version allows you to pick and choose the components that you want to use. Since my kids are in the grammar stage, and they get lots of writing practice, I have chosen to skip any writing and grammar activities in the program to focus on vocabulary and image recognition. After they go through the program, I will have them do it again and use the higher-level applications that are available. While our family shies away from electronic learning, I am so glad that the kids can work independently on this subject!
Math – My first grader will be using Math-U-See (Beta Level). We love this program, especially for my hands-on learner! I used Alpha and Beta levels with my third grader in the past, and have been happy with it. We used Singapore over the summer, and it was good too. My third grader will be using Saxon Intermediate 3 this year. I have always planned to switch to Saxon 5/4 when they got to that stage. When I found out that Saxon Intermediate 3 is the same as Saxon level 3, but written in the 5/4 style (meant to be independent for the student), I decided to switch now so that she will use Saxon 5/4 next year. Since we complete two math curriculums per year, I don't feel the need to find the "perfect" curriculum, but rather expose them to a variety of ways of looking at the language of numbers, orders, and systems.
Writing – generally, we just do copywork. My first grader will continue in his Classically Cursive copywork books from Veritas Press. My third grader will be working through the Student Writing Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Again, this is in preparation for her entering Essentials in the 2014-2015 school year. I don't think this is neccessary for entering Essentials, but I wanted to take the year to slowly work through the ideas presented by IEW together with her, at our own pace so that she might be better prepared to work at the pace and level needed for Essentials. My third grader is an eager reader and loves to write so this should work great. She is looking forward to it.
Piano – I teach my kids piano from home – one less thing to run to lessons for. We will just continue working through our piano books and practicing daily. I have creative dreams of finding instruments that all of the kids love and having our own band (not for performing, but just a family pasttime where we enjoy time singing and playing together). Totally a bogus idea probably, but in the meantime we all love music, and it reiterates their math, english, art, creativity – you name it! Music is such a reflection of the character of God in so many ways, and I love discovering more about Him through this subject. Plus, it naturally flows into worship!
Timeline – I broke down and purchased the Timeline Resources from Homeschool in the Woods. While I don't think you need a fancy resource like this, I found that my good intentions of completing a timeline the last couple of years somewhat fell by the wayside since it required a lot of prep and organization from me. Now it should be easier to regularly complete it! We will also add the events from CC memory work, our Bible Timeline, and Mystery of History or other history information when we come across it.
Reading – the Bible and lots of great books! We also will be listening to the second half of Mystery of History Book 1 covering Greece and Rome. No formal study plan, just using it like a "read-aloud" when we have time. The way the author Linda weaves the story of God and His redemption and makes it so obvious to your study of history is beautiful! I just love, love, love it!
Projects – Art DVD's, History Pockets, and/or Resources from Homeschool in the Woods. These are purely extras for days we want something different and hands-on to do, or snow days, weekend activities, etc. We will always focus on our Memory Work, Math, Language Arts and read-alouds. Everything else is optional.
Outside of "class time, we will be creating projects to enter in the fair next year, making a focused effort to instruct the third grader in more advanced cooking and baking, and ensuring consistency and quality in habits and jurisdictions. Did I mention ensuring consistency and quality in habits and jurisdictions? Yes, this will be a focus!
I am so excited to start the school year and, as my friend says, to be "loving to learn and learning to love."