Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015

Planning is one thing I do well. So when we made the final decision to homeschool our kids I started planning.  The first thing to do is start choosing a curriculum.  So I started reading about the ones that are out there.  Do you know how many choices there are?  I didn't.  And I know I have not found them all, maybe not even half of the  choices that are out there.

After reading and reading, I chose a box curriculum.  And then I changed my mind.  I didn't want a box curriculum.  While there are many aspects of box curriculums that I like, there are just too many aspects that I don't like.  So the box curriculum idea got tossed out.

I started looking and reading again.  And settled on a reading curriculum.  And then I changed my mind.  And so on and so forth.

But FINALLY I have made (almost all of) my choices.  I have not ordered them yet but plan to in the next month. 

For Madeline(second grade):

Reading will be All About Reading Level 2.  There is a chance this will be too easy for her and we will change to Level 3 but I'd rather start easy and work up than choose something too hard and have be be frustrated.  I will supplement with independent reading selections from Ambleside Online.

Math will be Rod and Staff grade 2.  I looked at many math curriculums and while I was not looking for a religious program for my children this one fits our needs.  It is straight forward teaching with an emphasis on facts and it contains the ability for plenty of review to ensure mastery of a skill.

Spelling will be taught through Spelling You See.  I have not given Madeline the placement test yet so I do not know which level she will start at.  But I like the approach that Spelling You See uses.

For Owen (first grade):

Reading will be All About Reading Level 1.   Some will be a review but this is a good thing for him.  I believe his reading curriculum at the public school moved at too quick of a pace for him and even if this new program involves a lot of review that will be okay. 

Math will be Rod and Staff grade 1.  We will also supplement with file folder games to review topics and add entertainment to the subject.

Spelling You See will also be used for Owen. He will start with the Jack and Jill level.  I like the Listen And Write level (the first level) but I think he is already at the phonetic stage of writing and needs more assistance with skills. 

For Ben (preschool):

I will use many aspects of the LOTW curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I have used it with Madeline and Owen before preschool and they enjoyed it.  We also read from My first steps into reading series.  I picked it up on craigslist a few years ago.  The kids actually love to read these books over and over again.

I also plan to use the FIAR series.  All the kids will be invited to participate in these activities.  I am not going to use every book in every volume but we will read as many of them as we can. 

He will also work on numbers through a variety of activities chosen from blogs I love and Pinterest. 

 For Wyatt (tot school):

A variety of activities gleaned from my favorite blogs and Pinterest designed to keep him happy and also to keep him from annoying Madeline and Owen as they do their work each morning.

Grammar will be taught with First Language Lessons.  I read about this book, read many blog posting about using the book and purchased the book myself.  I like the approach.  I am using the first volume for both Madeline and Owen. 

Science will be taught using  A Year of Hands on Science.  The link is for the newer edition but we will be using the first edition.  I own it from my own teaching days and after looking at the newer edition I could find no significant changes.  We will supplement the lessons with books from our library.  I plan to teach science once a week on average.  all three children will participate, and Wyatt will join as he wants to.

Handwriting will be taught using Handwriting Without Tears.   Both Madeline and Owen have used it in school this year.  My sister in law (an OT) recommended it.  So we will use it.  Ben will also do some handwriting work in his preschool curriculum.

Writing will be taught using WriteShop.  Owen will begin with Book A and Madeline will work in Book B.  They will also have journals to write in several times a week.

We will make plenty of time to read aloud.  A mix of picture and chapter books will be used.  But we will read aloud every day.

I do not have a social studies curriculum listed.  We have not chosen one yet.  I am torn between history and geography at this point.  Overall I am leaning towards supplementing with lessons through Ambleside Online.  I will choose the suggested lessons from one year and teach it to all the children at the same time and adapt it to each child's ability.

We also do not have an official curriculum for art or music.  Those choices I still need to make.

I am sure as I proceed through the school year (which will officially begin in August) I will make changes and tweaks as we go.  I am hopeful that I chose curriculums that will allow for the smoothest transition from public to homeschool.  And I am looking forward to giving my kids back some of the free time they have lost, age appropriate curriculum and the ability to play more often. 

I have included links simply to help anyone who may stumble upon my blog and be curious about a choice I made.  I also included them so that I have them all in one area.  That's it!

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