The 2012-2013 school year is upon us! Some of you have already begun school, and some of you won’t begin for another few weeks.
We have begun school, but not in full force yet. Last year and this year again I decided to ease into school. What that means is that in July we started working on Math and then a couple of weeks later added a subject and a couple weeks later added another subject. We continue in this fashion until just after Labor Day at which point we should be at our full schedule.
I like starting school this way for a couple of reasons.
1. It helps ease Bradley (and me) back into school slowly. I don’t feel like I’ve gone from 0 to 60 overnight. It’s a gentle transition.
2. It gives us a bit more flexibility during the school year. Because we are involved in an all-day Monday co-op, we only have 4 school days each week. This really makes us pretty cramped to get all of our school work done each year. By getting a jump start, I don’t feel the pinch so terribly if we take a day off here and there throughout the year.
The following is our curriculum line up for this year (subject to change without notice!)
Bradley (my 8-year-old)
We will be starting the school year almost 3/4 of the way through Teaching Textbooks Math 5. Bradley has really been trucking through math! When we are done with this (probably towards the end of October or beginning of November) I will have to decide whether to move on to Teaching Textbooks Math 6 or switch to Saxon Math (probably 6/5). I’m currently leaning towards switching to Saxon, but that could all change!
We will also continue to use Xtramath.org for math-fact practice. Bradley still doesn’t have all of his multiplication and division facts down cold, and I hope we can be finished with that soon!
We completed Phonetic Zoo Level A from IEW the first half of last school year, so we’ll just pick up where we left off. Bradley is excited because I told him the plan was to finish this and then he was done with all formal spelling for the year. This should be a great incentive for him to work hard at spelling this year!
We’ll be using All Things Fun and Fascinating from IEW. He will be receiving instruction through Coram Deo, our local homeschool co-op, and completing assignments at home. I’m so excited the instruction and planning portion of this will be done for me. One less thing to be done during our school week!
We are using many of the literature recommendations through Veritas Press. We plan to read the following literature books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Faerie Gold: Treasures from the Lands of Enchantment, Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress, The Legends of King Arthur and his Knights, Mary Poppins, The Twenty-One Balloons, and possibly The Adventures of Robin Hood if we have time.
I also plan to have Bradley read the following historical fiction books which correspond to the time period he is studying in history this year: Augustine of Hippo, The Door in the Wall, Leonardo’s Horse, Raiders from the Sea, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed The World, and The Minstrel in the Tower.
We are using a few of the literature guides from Veritas Press, but I want to focus more on literary analysis with Bradley this year and not so much on “busy work.” Bradley does so much better when you get down to business and he’s never been much a fan of workbook-style work. He will get so much more from the books he is reading if I make a point to spend time with him doing literary analysis. The curriculum I’ve been watching this summer to prepare myself for educating Bradley is called Teaching the Classics: A Socratic Method for Literary Education. I’m really excited to begin implementing the concepts taught in this video series and will keep you updated on how it’s going!
We are once again using the Veritas Press online self-paced history course Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. Last year we tried this out for the first time, and Bradley loved it! It was his favorite subject. We know this year will be just as much fun. We will also be reading a number of the historical fiction books that go along with this (see the literature section for a list).
We will also be supplementing with some of the books available from Heritage History‘s British Middle Ages curriculum.
This was a tricky subject for me to decide on. I still may change my mind yet, but at the moment I’m planning to forgo IEW’s Fix-It this year in favor of doing Daily Paragraph Editing from Evan-Moor and also having Bradley complete the free online lessons at EnglishGrammar101.com. I don’t think Bradley is quite ready for the next Fix-It book, so hopefully this will be a good transitional plan and we will get back to Fix-It next year.
Daddy is teaching a science class at Coram Deo using Apologia’s astronomy curriculum. Bradley will do reading at home from the Apologia Astronomy textbook to supplement this class. This will be our first year of doing a formal science curriculum.
Visual Latin will be the basis for Bradley’s and my Latin studies again this year. We completed the first 20 lessons last year, but will start with lesson 1 and move quickly through the first lessons. I figure when learning something new like Latin review is always a good thing! Bradley might not need it after 3 months off, but I sure do!
We will also be incorporating Lingua Latina and other free Latin readers to help immerse ourselves in the language. I am also hoping to begin listening to the the Bible in Latin online a little bit each day. The Latin class at Coram Deo, though not based on the same curriculum, should also provide Bradley with some review.
Last year we also put Latin vocabulary words in our memory box, but that really made our memory time start to get long and tedious towards the end of the year, so I’m not going to do that this year.
Coram Deo is our homeschool co-op that we’re involved in. Coram Deo strives to provide children in the Shiawassee County area with a superior classical Christian educational experience. This has been an awesome group that both of my older boys look forward to each week.
This year Bradley will be taking Math Level C which is a supplemental math using the curriculum Hands-on Equations. It will focus on learning basic algebraic linear equations. He is also taking science, writing, art, physical education, and Latin.
Cameron (my almost 4-year-old)
Saxon Math K, I found with Bradley, is a great pre-school math curriculum. It’s fun for the child, uses manipulatives, and is very interactive. We started working on it this summer and it’s been the highlight of Cameron’s day. He asks each morning to do his math lesson.
This summer I’ve been using free printables I’ve found on various websites to reinforce letters and letter sounds with Cameron. Most of the printables are color-by-number and tracing. He has loved doing these worksheets! He is so much different from Bradley. Bradley learned his letters and to read very early, but not using worksheets like these. Bradley hated coloring and writing at this age, whereas Cameron loves it.
At some point this year I am planning to use another resource that is free online called Progressive Phonics, starting with their pre-school readers. After we’ve used it a while I’ll report back on how it worked out for us!
I plan to keep Cameron busy during the day with lots of puzzles, do-a-dot painting (he loves these), lace ups, coloring, and any other hands on projects I can find for him. What do you keep your pre-schooler busy with? I’m always looking for good ideas!
I’ll be learning Latin with Bradley and keeping him on task with all of his subjects, chasing after the twins, trying to keep Cameron busy and quiet (if you know Cameron you know this is quite a feat!), teaching a biology class at Coram Deo for high schoolers, and counseling part time. It makes me tired just looking at the list!