History seems like such an odd place to start when talking about curriculum because it is such an overlooked subject. For many, history is one of those optional pieces of the school schedule. For me, history is my guide. It is the spine for the … Continue reading Creating Your Own Homeschool Curriculum– History
I came across the Wild Explorers Club through Wild and Free. It seemed like a really good fit for our family. We don’t have the time for Scouts or whatever variation of that you present. With Wild Explorers, we could get outdoors and earn some badges in our own time. All the kids could participate. It seemed like a really good fit.
The program cost is $14 a month. You get a monthly magazine, which is really short but has no ads and very high quality paper and printing. My kids really enjoyed the magazine. You also get a patch when you enter the program and additional patches when you finish each level. You only get one patch per subscription, but can buy additional patches for additional kids. We did it as a family activity, so the family was earning patches, not the individual. The assignments come available one at a time once a week. If you get behind, no worries, the assignments are still there for you to complete.
Each assignment has a short video for the kids to watch. I was able to play ours on the TV via Air Play. There is also a checklist for each assignment, which you can print or view on a tablet or computer. The video quality is really good. The handouts are good quality and consistent in how they look.
There are 10 levels to complete. Our family has only completed the first two levels. With their old system, you had no way to look ahead and see what assignments might be coming. With the new system, I can sign in and see all the assignments, I just can’t access them until it is “time.”
My kids loved Wild Explorers at first. They were really excited about it and excited to get outside hiking and observing nature. However, the program doesn’t really have as much outdoors as I anticipated and I eventually decided to cancel based on seeing the upcoming assignments and realizing that some of them would be impossible for our family and there wouldn’t be as much Exploring as I initially expected.
There are 10 levels and the levels get longer as you go. I broke down the number of assignments and if they were indoor or outdoor. I also took note of assignments that would cost us extra to complete assignments, because we don’t always have extra money budgeted for these sorts of things.
Level One- Wolf- There are 4 assignments, so you complete your first patch pretty quickly. Two assignments are outdoors, one is indoors, and one is half in and half out. The first assignment did cost us extra because it is making your adventure pack, where they tell you all the things you might need and you build your pack. Even using backpacks we had lying around, we still purchased pocket knives, compasses, first aid supplies, etc.
Level Two- Bobcat- 8 assignments. Three indoors, four outdoors, and one half in and half out. We had already purchased a compass, so we didn’t need to buy one when we came to an assignment requiring it. But one assignment was to try an exotic food, so we did take all the kids out to eat, which is expensive. We could have purchased ingredients for a special exotic meal at home.
Level Three- Bear- 8 assignments. Five indoor assignments, three outdoor assignments.
Level Four- Elk- 8 assignments. Seven indoor, one outdoor. These included some things that would be very difficult to do. Sell something and donate the money- that is a lot of work on me as a mama. Find out how to help a child in need in another country. Go to an animal shelter. These may or may not be things you can actually do. I can’t actually go to an animal shelter because of severe allergies, so that task wouldn’t have been able to be completed.
Level Five- Fox- 8 assignments. Seven indoor, one outdoor. There was at least one assignment in this batch that we could not do. (Go to work with a parent.) One assignment was to do a behind the scenes tour at a museum, farm, or business- which could be cost prohibitive depending on what your chose.
Level Six- Bison- 12 assignments- All twelve are indoor assignments. One assignment has the kids start a book club. One has them start their own library. These are not things the kids can execute on their own and they may or may not be things I wish to begin in my home.
Level Seven- Beaver- 12 assignments. Two indoor, six outdoor, and four that could be either. One assignment would cost you money to go to a zoo or aquarium to see an exotic animal. Two others may cost money (a picnic and historical site tour) depending on where you live and what you have available to you.
Level Eight- Owl- 12 assignments. 11 are indoor, 1 could be either indoor or outdoor. One would cost money, since it involves taking a craft type class.
Level Nine- Hawk- 12 assignments. Nine are indoor, two are outdoor, and one is half and half. You’ll be buying and collecting a lot of craft supplies for this level.
Level Ten- Eagle- 12 assignments. Ten are indoor, two could be indoor or outdoor. This level would be completely cost prohibitive for us to actually complete. There would be no way we could complete it. One assignment is to apply for your passport. One is to go on a boating trip. One is to take a trip by train. One is to go to another country. One is to take a guided tour. You get the idea. If you are not already planning a trip out of the country, this one is going to be a bit ridiculous. Unless you happen to live on a border, go on lavish vacations already, or are already planning to leave the country- this one is just not achievable by the average kid.
Wild Explorers was an excellent idea. However, it ends up being something we just don’t have the money to complete and don’t really have the desire to do a lot of the indoor activities. I’m pretty bummed about needing to cancel, because my kids were very into it and we devoted the time and money in getting through two levels. But knowing the kids will never complete two of the levels, and knowing half the assignments are things we have done before or will be doing anyway, it just seems like a waste.
So, I’m going to have to make up my own version so my kids can continue their own Explorers Club. But Wild Explorers did not work for us. It is a really pretty program, but the actual assignments are just not going to work for our family and they just were not quite filling the need we needed them to fill.
Last Sunday was Sanctity of Life Sunday and I was lucky enough to get to preach at our church. You can click here and listen to the sermon.
I’m a big fan of fall. This time of year, it is just THE BEST! I’m trying to break out the sweaters, but the weather just won’t cooperate. I have a list of things I have LOVED this month.
1. LUSH New! Shampoo bar
I felt like I was the last person on the LUSH train, but apparently, I am wrong about that since when I posted on my Facebook about LUSH, I had a lot of friends who had never even heard about the brand. What? How can this be? I had to drive really far to get to a LUSH location. I saw a few YouTube videos about the LUSH shampoo bars. My hair has been on the thin side since Pip was born. And my usual Nioxin shampoo post baby just wasn’t cutting it. (I don’t know if they changed something, but it has always been a miracle cure and it did absolutely NOTHING this time.) I really wanted to try the NEW! Shampoo bar. (It isn’t a new product, it just makes you have new hair.) I drove the 50 minutes to my closest LUSH. (50 minutes isn’t really that far in Atlanta travel time, but it seemed far because I passed so many places you could buy high end shampoo before getting to the mall with the closest LUSH.) Now, you can buy from LUSH online. I totally should have done that because then you don’t see ALL THE OTHER stuff you just HAVE to buy. (Bath bombs, bubble bars, lotion bars…)
The New! Shampoo bar smells like cinnamon. It is also pretty inexpensive. Considering that I am usually a $50 shampoo person, $12 shampoo ($11.95, to be exact) just seemed too good to be true. I was thinking, I’m going to need one a week! No way will that last. But it did! Y’all, ONE shampoo bar lasted me 2 months! I wash my hair daily! Sometimes I double wash it! And one single bar lasted 2 months! That is like the cost of Pantene or something per month!
As far as how it works, my hair is the prettiest it has been in a LONG time. I just repurchased my second bar because this is MY shampoo now. Now and forever. It is a little on the drying side, so you do really need to use a conditioner along with it. I loved LUSH veganese shampoo. It smelled so nice and just the tiniest amount made my hair so soft and lovely. I’m also really digging the LUSH BIG conditioner bar. It isn’t too much and is a nice, light conditioner that leaves my hair silky without being weighed down at all.
I have tried a couple of the other shampoo bars. Currently, the Pastor is using Karma Komba and I did steal some of it when I ran out of NEW! It smells really nice. And it left my hair feeling wonderful, even when I skipped conditioner. But it isn’t as plumping for my hair. Imo is currently using Lullaby shampoo bar. It is nice and soft, even without conditioner. (She hates conditioner.) But the NEW! Is my favorite!
2. LUSH Dirty Toothy Tabs
I know, another LUSH product. I’m not at all getting free stuff from them. Don’t I wish. I didn’t even use a coupon! I saw the toothy tabs and I just had to try them. The concept was unique. And I am always looking for all natural oral products that work. I’ve been pretty disappointed with most natural toothpastes and such. I grabbed a bottle of these and hoped for the best.
I’ll just say it. They taste disgusting. I mean, the base is baking soda and cream of tartar and that is pretty much what they taste like. You grab a tab, chomp is up a little and then brush your teeth with it. It foams like crazy. It has a super strong spearmint flavor and that is pretty much what the aftertaste is. Not spearmint gum, but spearmint essential oil. So why are they my favorite if they taste so bad? Because they leave your mouth unbelievably clean and fresh! Your teeth will literally sparkle. It is a clean even better than a fresh from the dentist clean. They are amazing. I plan to try the other flavors soon!
3. Nyx Pump It Up Lip Plumper Lip Gloss
I have the color Elizabeth and it is the perfect pinky nude color. It isn’t very rich color, just a nice feeling lip gloss that is the perfect color and consistency. I’m a huge lip gloss snob and this stuff is my favorite. You can pick it up at the drugstore. It is so cheap, but so good. I found myself recommending it to a stranger in Sephora! It is good. It has a slightly minty scent/taste and is ever so slightly plumping. Not like, allergic reaction plumping. Just, my lips don’t look old and wrinkly plumping.
4. Nyx Lingerie Lip Gloss
I tried so many lip products this month. I was looking for something perfectly matte. This is it. I got the shade, Embellishment, and it is totally a 90s shade! (Which is in right now.) I swear I wore the same shade, only darker, in 9th grade. I love it. I plan to buy more colors in this line. This stuff stays put. Like, even a make-up remover has a very hard time removing it. And it is perfectly matte. I tried several “matte” products this month that didn’t even come close to being matte. My only dislike is the size of the doe foot applicator. It just seems really long, which is a little more difficult for my skinny lips. I picked this up at CVS for under $7. I have spent far more on far inferior products. You need to try this stuff!
5. CVS Nighttime Cleansing Cloths
These are lavender and chamomile make up removing cloths. They feel so nice on your skin and they smell so nice! I grabbed the off brand because I needed to replace some expensive ones I had been using until I could get around to getting more. But I am not going back to the others! These are so nice. It is like a small relaxing step before bed.
6. Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies
I’m just going to admit it. I love pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I hit that stuff so hard that come December, I am sick to death of pumpkin. But at the beginning of the pumpkin spice season, I am in love. I found these cookies at both Wal-Mart and Publix. They are the exact same both places. Soft pumpkin spice cookies with a cream cheese icing middle. SO GOOD! I will warn you, if you buy them, you will eat THE ENTIRE PACK, probably instantly.
7. Barre Exercises
I was never really into dance. As a kid, I took clogging lessons. That is as much dancing as I did. A new barre gym opening up near me. I considered trying it out, until I saw their prices. No. No. No. Just not at all something I could even think to afford. A week later, I get offered this Gofit Go Barre Ballet Workout Barre set to review. Yes, please! It is kind of inconvenient having the barre hanging around, and I don’t use the DVD at all. I just learned the moves from the book and I do it while I catch up on shows. It is hard in a good way. It isn’t high impact. I am loving it. It is exercise that I actually like. Plus, the home kit is cheaper than one month at the Barre gym. (This is NOT an affiliate link because I received this product to review.)
8. Scotch Expressions Glitter Washi Tape
If you don’t know what washi tape is, I don’t know where you have been. It is cute masking tape, usually thinner. You can use it anywhere. I love using it in my planner to make the weeks look a little happier. I found this glittery Scotch washi tape and it is just, amazing! It makes everything look snazzy. I’m not usually a glitter person, but this has just been my jam lately. I have gone through 7 rolls this month. (Shh! I know. Obsessive.)
This is going to be TMI. You may want to skip to #10. You were warned, so no complaining about it now. I bought this cup 6 months ago, expecting the return of my menstrual cycles post baby. (Mine usually return 11-13 months postpartum.) However, my cycles decided to stay away for a little longer so I have just now been able to use this cup! I’m late to the cup bandwagon, as always. I can say, I now know what the hype is about. So much easier. So much more comfortable. So much better. If you haven’t tried a cup yet, try one! I picked this particular one because of price and I was not the least bit disappointed. You can pick the color. Plus it comes with a cute little drawstring pouch for storage. I am now a fan. (This is an affiliate link.)
10. Bluegrass Covers
It started with a playlist on Spotify. I absolutely LOVE bluegrass covers of popular songs. And I have to admit, I am loving the covers of rap songs, probably way too much. Taylor Swift covers are also awesome. I’m just going to link some for you to experience this awesomeness. (They are just as inappropriate in bluegrass form, so be aware if you have little ears nearby.)
We are homeschoolers, as I am sure you are aware. This is the little geography program I put together this year for my kids. I do this for pre-k through upper elementary. I think it would work well for any age, though. I plan to continue this program forever.
My goal in geography was for the kids to know generally where countries are and for them to have a broader worldview. It is hard to fathom the world that isn’t right outside your front door. I want my kids to have the knowledge of geography along with a heart for the people of the world.
I start the school year going over the 7 continents and 5 oceans. We review this every single year. The older kids know it, but it gives the younger kids a chance to learn it every year. I use the Map Trek CDs to print out maps for the kids to color and label. This book and CD set is a little on the pricey side, but I use this so much year after year. Buy it. Use it. It is great. You can print out as many maps as you need. Historical maps. World maps. It is awesome. We’ll have some contests and such to learn all the continents and oceans with the older ones helping the younger ones. We usually only spend a week or two on this review. It is just an annual refresher.
Operation World is the next piece of our geography curriculum. Each week, we choose a country and commit to praying for that country for the week. I use my Map Trek CD to print out maps. Each child keeps a master world map in their notebook where they label each country we study that year. The Operation World book lists the basic stats for each country. Things like land size, population, climate, etc. We talk about those things and compare them to what we have here. Would we have more neighbors? Less? Would it be warmer? Colder? Operation World also gives a brief summary of the economy and politics of each country. Then you have a break down of the religions of each country. You’ll also find a prayer list for each country, including things to thank God for that are answers to prayer there.
We might make some food from that country this week. Or we might try some art that is known for being associated with that country. Or we might only do the map and pray for the country. Sometimes I’ll find and print out the country’s flag for the kids to color. The details change week to week, but the bones of the program remain the same.
(1) Locate the country on a world map.
(2) Label your master world map.
(3) Write the country name on the prayer wall and commit to praying for that country this week.
(4) Read about the country. What language do they speak? How many people live there? What kind of work do these people do? What challenges does this country face? How can we be praying for these people? Do we know any missionaries in this country?
The kids have really enjoyed this program and we’ve learned a lot about many countries. I chose countries where we knew missionaries first or we were learning about in history. I don’t think the order of countries is so important. Operation World is set up by continent, so you could go in that order and learn all the countries of one continent before moving to the next. I just choose randomly, though might go back and do the continent route at some point. As the kids get older, there is more discussion about things. What is the difference in a monarchy and a republic? What about a democracy? Why does it matter how many people are in poverty? How does history effect the current economic and political issues in a country? The little ones seem to focus on the climate and number of people. You can really delve deeper or keep it to 15 minutes reading the info in Operation World and locating the country on the World Map. It is really up to you and your child(ren).
**Post contains affiliate links. **
John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.
Leviticus 19:18 You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
Christ came for us. Not because it was deserved. Not because it was in his best interest. He came because He loved us. It was not for self when He laid down His life for His sheep. He gave us this deep grace. He offers it to us freely. Grace so surprising, so amazing, so abounding- that is leaves me speechless. Words fail when we try to express this ridiculously extravagant love that God shows us.
To quote Brennan Manning in The Furious Longing of God, “Are we responding to the love of Jesus living within us concretely and consistently in our love for one another?” This is really the heart of common courtesy- showing the love and grace that we have received.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We first come to this amazing realization that God loves us. For some, that takes a lot of faith. And for some, we accept what is around it, and don’t really bury that truth in our soul. God loves me. God love ME. GOD LOVES ME!!! Some may need to tattoo that truth on their forehead to embed it into their heart. God loves me. He does. He died so that I can be with Him in eternity and not separated by death. He loves me. We accept that truth, we accept the grace He offers, then what? Then we share this grace with others! That truth that God loves me, then we start to see the truth that God love you. And you. And you. So we start treating one another, not as miserable, faulty little creatures, but as God’s loves. We accept that we were created in His image, then look around us and find others created in His image.
We see it in the lives of the apostles, the lives of the saints, the lives of missionaries- this denying of ourselves and living for others. And we think, “I can’t do that!” But we can! We can! God is in the small things. God is in us. We can show those that haven’t felt the love of God deep in their souls the love of God! We can be mirrors reflecting His grace!
We like to bottle up and act like this grace we’ve been given is about us. It is all internal works. Outwardness doesn’t matter. After all, we can’t all be saints. But here is the thing, we will all be saints. “But my life doesn’t look like a saint’s!” God is making us all into new creatures. Who I was five years ago is not who I am now? Was I not a Christian then? Of course I was! But as I press onward, I find myself more and more conformed to this cross I press against.
I’m going to share with you a small excerpt from Dennis Kinlaw’s book, The Mind of Christ. In discussing Helen Roseveare’s call the Africa and her frustration in doing things she felt she wasn’t called to do, “At that moment, she realized God had not sent her to Africa to be a surgeon; He had sent her there to show the love of Christ. What did she deserve? Merely an opportunity to show the love of Christ. And she could not do that if she got what she thought she deserved.”
Maybe you don’t have some big calling, like going to Africa to be a surgeon. Maybe you do. Maybe you will. But however big or small you think your calling might be, you are called to be Christ in this world. You are called to be a servant to your fellow man. You are called to embrace those Christ would embrace. To take this grace and love deep into the darkness and light little fires in people’s souls.
How can common courtesy do such a thing? How can simply saying, “Hello. How are you?” really do anything? It is a simple act of love. One we don’t see often anymore. The extending to someone that you see them and they have value. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Oh, wait. That is Spiderman. Well, same thing applies. You are the recipient of this great overwhelming love and grace from Christ. What will you do with it?
Read Galations 5:22-23 at least once during the week. Read it daily if you’d like! We’re wanting the kids to memorize The Fruit of The Spirit.
Romans 8:25 is the memory verse this week. Read the memory verse at the beginning of each devotional time. The goal is to have each member of your family memorize this verse to the best of their ability this week. I also use the weekly memory verse in our handwriting lessons. You can print out the image above or make your own- just try to get the written verse up on your wall this week. (Image is sized to print 5×7.)
Day One: We Wait
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle
Waiting is hard work. Not very many people wait well. It seems we are all born wanting what we want right now. No waiting. Waiting is hard work. But when we wait, we get more in the end. If you are making a cake, and you don’t wait long enough, you just end up with a hot mess. But if you wait, you get a wonderful cake! Patience isn’t simply waiting. It is waiting without getting angry or upset. It isn’t really patience to wait while tapping your foot. Take a deep breath, and wait with patience, in peace.
Activity: Let’s play a game! Red light, green light is a great game to practice patience.
Day Two: The Farmer
In James 5:7, the Bible tells us to be patient like a farmer. Have you ever planted seeds? Did they sprout immediately? You had to wait to see the seed sprout. And then, you had to wait even longer to see the flower. And then, if it was a vegetable, you had to wait even longer to see the vegetables. You don’t get angry at the plant for not growing fast enough. You don’t try to rush it along saying, “Hurry, plant! Hurry!!!” You just wait. And when the plant produces the vegetable, you pick it and you’re thankful that it grew. If we tried to apply the same calm waiting, or patience, in our lives a little more, we’d see more fruit and be a little more thankful.
Activity: Coloring page.
Optional Activity: Grab some small pots and plant some seeds. Clover and beans tend to grow fairly quickly and pretty well. Plant them with the kids, say a prayer asking God to help them grow, and then wait. You’ll need to water them, of course, but mostly you just wait. You could make a show of yelling at the plant and trying to make it grow right now this instance to show that you really do just have to wait.
Day Three: What I Had In Mind
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” – Teresa of Avila
Sometimes patience means letting things work out how they are going to work out. It is hard for us not to get our way sometimes. We wanted to go to the zoo, but it rained. We wanted to go to the park, but it was too cold. And sometimes we want things to work out a certain way. We want things in a particular order. We pray and ask God for things. What happens if He answers us in a way we did not expect? Well, usually, we either get upset or we don’t even recognize He answered. Let us pray, and wait with patience for God to answer us. Let us keep our mind open to His working, it may not be what we expected, but God is working and He does answer us.
Activity: Play charades. Everyone put a word into a hat. Think about how YOU would act out the word you put in. Take turns drawing a word out of the hat. If you get your own, put it back and draw again. After the word has been guessed, ask who put the word in and ask if that was EXACTLY what they had in mind.
Day Four: Praise Him In The Hallway
Have you ever heard the phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens.”? What do you think that means? Sometimes in life, we sit in front of a door, praying God will open that door. It might be that the door is the door to a new job, a new school, a new friend. Sometimes the door is the door to healing, getting something we think we need, or help in a hard time. Those doors don’t always open right away. And sometimes we sit in front of the door we think will open, and miss the wide open door down the hall. If we don’t have patience, we don’t sit in front of the door at all. We pray that God will open the door, then we walk off to something else. How would you ever know if the door opened if you walked off? But while we’re waiting for God to open doors, we can praise Him in the hallway. While we’re waiting for Him to answer prayers, we can thank Him for what He is doing in our life today.
Activity: What big things are we praying for? They can be family prayers (a new home, a new baby, a new job) or individual prayers (a new friend, healing, individual opportunities). What are you thankful for right now?
Grab a piece of paper and some construction paper. Cut out a door with the construction paper. (Just a rectangle you can glue one strip down so it opens and closes like a door.) Draw one of those big things on the paper, glue the door on top, and then draw something you’re thankful for right now outside the door. Thank God for the thing outside the door and pray for the door to open, too.
Day Five: No Hurry
“Without peace, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.” – Mother Teresa
If we hurry through life, we’ll miss most of it. Let’s take a walk, watch a movie as a family, read a book together, something to slow down and not hurry through life. Take the time to listen and see the world around us. Take the time to listen and enjoy each other. Memories are made today.
Activity: Go on a walk, watch a movie, read a book- slow down and spend some time as a family. Try to take in as much as your senses can handle.
Activity 2: Did you learn your memory verse? Share it!
It seems like so many people are mad this week. Probably because of that thing which shall not be named. Those that are not mad about the thing seem mad that other people are mad about that thing. So, I am doing to the internet what I do for Emery when he gets really upset. Showing pictures of animals. Yes, when my 3 year old get so angry he can barely speak, I sit him down and we look at animal pictures. It works for him, so maybe it will work for the internet. All of these photos are my personal pictures. Enjoy!
This will be our third year homeschooling, unless you count those years before when we taught our babies at home, but didn’t call it homeschooling, we called that life. It is our first year having to claim our homeschooling status with the state. (Fortunately, Georgia makes that process incredibly easy these days. It is a great state to homeschool in, if you’re looking to move and need a pro in the “Georgia” column.) Our school year officially runs September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. I finally sat down and got our year planned out.
We’ve decided to take the entire Advent season off from official homeschool business and focus entirely on Advent this year. I’ll fill the month with Advent crafts and lessons, but no math, no writing notebook, no history lessons (other than the Biblical and Ecclesiastical ones). We’re going to focus as a family on the Incarnation. Yes, due to starting school later in the year, this month long break will put us doing history until July and Math through the summer, but I think it’ll be well worth it.
This year, we have 3 homeschoolers. I’m not one who like to place grade level on the kids, because they are all over the place with that. Officially, I have a preschooler, a kindergartener, and a first grader. And my paper plan and what actually happens are two totally different things. I make plans based on their pace when the plans are written. The speed up and slow down at times, so plans change. But, here is the general gist of this year.
I plan to pick back up with The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. Imogene will be working at a quicker pace, since she can already read. She’ll be working toward doing 4 lessons per week. Aidan will be working at a slower pace. He looses interest quickly and is just beginning to blend sounds.So, he’ll be working toward doing 2 lessons per week. Imogene will finish the book this year if she stays on pace. Aidan will work toward finishing it next year, unless he decides to pick up his pace. Emery will be starting letter recognition. If he gets that down this year, he’ll move into TOPGTR, as well.
For writing, Imogene will be using The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease. We’ll be doing Year One, which is broken down into 36 weeks, working 4 days per week. (I recommend buying the hardback edition linked above and not the workbook edition. The hardback edition has all four years included in one book. You just write in a notebook instead of buying the workbooks for each year. You don’t need both the hardback and the workbooks, you just pick one or the other. The hardback is a much better bargain and I’d prefer for their writing to be in a notebook rather than a workbook, anyway.) I’ll be evaluating Aidan throughout the year and working with him on some copy work, but he isn’t ready for a writing program just yet. We’ll be using The Write Start once a week with all three of my schoolers. It has lots of writing activities that can be tailored to each child’s ability.
For grammar, Imogene will be using First Language Lessons; Level 1. We’ll be doing 3 lesson a week from this book, which puts us finishing at the beginning of May, which is the earliest we’ll finish anything. I’m going to give it a couple weeks to see if the 3 a week schedule is too much, if so, we may back of to 2 a week and still finish within the school year.
For Math, Imogene will be finishing Singapore Math IA. At her current pace, she’ll be finishing Singapore Math IB and Singapore Math 2A this school year. (I’ve linked a mix of the workbooks and textbooks, but for each level of Singapore Math, you’ll need one textbook and one workbook. You need to buy a new workbook for each kid, but if you don’t write in the text books, which is doable, then you can save them and only buy them once.) Aidan will be finishing up Essential Math KB (Singapore Math Kindergarten). (For the Essential Math Kindergarten A and B, you only need the workbooks- there are no text books. Also, the Kindergarten and 1 overlap quite a bit, but I find that helpful at that age.) He’s scheduled to finish Singapore Math 1A and 1B this school year. (Kid loves math.) Emery may start Essential Math KA, but he’s not exactly the workbook type, so we’ll see.
We’re starting history this year! The Pastor will be teaching history, combining it with Biblical and Ecclesiastical history as they go. This would take me years to put together. It takes him a few minutes per lesson. We’re scheduled to cover a chapter a week, skipping Advent, which puts us finishing in July. We’ll be using Story of The World: Volume One, The Story of The World Activity Book One, and The Pastor‘s Brain. (And Bibles, of course.) All the kids will be involved in this, though Emery might skip the activities he isn’t interested in.
For science this year, I’m doing something completely different. I read Playful Learning over the summer and it gave me some great ideas. We’ll be reorganizing our home for schooling, as well as implementing a new science “program.” You know I love real books, so instead of trying to push the kids through some science curriculum that I’m not all that into, I decided to unschool for science a bit more. Each week there will be a new topic. (Some topics will stretch over a few weeks.) I’ll present the kids with a box of items for that week’s science discovery. They can peruse it and use it as they wish. I’ll be including books, tools, projects, etc. that they can do as their interest is piqued. (And I know my kids, each new box will be met enthusiastically and they’ll do absolutely every activity and use every available resource. They’re curious little things.) I won’t be “teaching” on these things, simply putting together thoughtful baskets and presenting them. I’ll help the kids as they discover the topics. I’ll post the baskets on my blog as we do them. It’ll be fun. (And I bet they’ll learn PLENTY!) Our first month and a half, we’ll be covering the human body. New topics each week, but the body is the overall topic.
We also have a pass to the zoo again this year, so they’ll be learning about animals and habitats as they explore the zoo throughout the year. We also have passes to the art museum for the year, so I’m sure we’ll be heading there from time to time for some art inspiration! If you live anywhere near things like this, buy year passes for your family if you homeschool. If you mention you homeschool, they often give you a discount. Even if you can only go once every other month, you’ll find that you get your money’s worth and your kids learn so much for these outings. (Particularly if you take the time to encourage them to actively learn. Teach them to ask the zoo keeper’s their questions. Bring along an animal encyclopedia to look up information on the animals. Talk to them about what you’re seeing. More than just, “There’s a monkey.” But, “Look at this monkey! I wonder what kind he is? How old is he? What does he eat? Where is he from? Why is his butt that color?” You’ll find that often the answers to those questions are on a plaque next to the animal. If not, you’ll find zoo keepers love answering those questions and more. (They’ll even tell you the animals’ names! Our last trip to the zoo, we had a fun time decided what we’d name a komodo dragon if we had one. The one at the zoo was Slasher. I thought something more middle ages would have been more appropriate. Imogene thought Pondo would be a good name. Aidan said “Fire” was the best name he could think of. And Emery decided a dragon should simply be called a dragon, since that was cool enough.)
We’ll continue doing art, though we won’t be using a curriculum. We’ll be doing it in the unschooling manner, as well. The kids love perusing our art books and recreating art they see. I keep plenty of mediums on hand for them to use. At the advice of Playful Learning, I’m going to attempt to come up with a designated art space with the supplies more readily available.
This is going to be a fun year! Yes, we have plenty to accomplish, but I think my plan is doable and flexible. I think the kids are going to have a blast. And I think we’re all going to learn a lot.