Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 - 2013 Homeschool Curriculum

Last year, because we pulled our son out of public school in October, I felt very disorganized and unprepared, despite having previously taught 2nd & 3rd grade for 8 years.  This year I feel better heading into the start of our school year.  I have been able to try out or preview several different curricula to decide what I think will work best for us and feel very good about my choices, though I must admit, the more curriculum plans I look at on other blogs, the more stuff I see I want to try!  I may just have to avoid doing any more reading about other curriculum choices!

So, here's what we're going to be using:

2nd/3rd grade (my guy is 2nd grade age, but using some 3rd grade material)

We do a bible reading every day, with a related craft or activity done twice a week.  We're using The Story for Little Children and will be reading a chapter a week.

We do formal Math instruction 4 days a week, and one day a week we do fun Math games and fun Math fact reviews (like Fact Baskets where I take him outside and call out a Math fact.  Each time he gets one right, he gets to shoot the basketball!)
Singapore 2B & 3A.  We used Singapore last year and were happy with it, so we plan to continue (although I'd LOVE to try Teaching Textbooks, but it just isn't in the budget.)  We'll supplement with Kids College (an online game for Math & Reading) and Xtra Math (a free online site for learning math facts)

We do Literature five times a week, usually reading one chapter a day for four days and then using the fifth day to review and summarize what we've read so far.  This year we're focusing on classical literature and will be creating lap books to go along with each novel we read.  We're starting out with Treasure Island.

Language Arts:
We do grammar lessons twice a week and Reading Comprehension Skills once a week.
For grammar, We're using Scholastic's Success with Grammar, Grade 2, and for Reading Comp we're using Carson Dellosa's Reading Comprehension, Grade 2.  We begun both of these workbooks last year and will continue with them until we complete them.  I'm considering going to BJU Language Arts afterwards, but we'll see.

We do short Spelling activities daily.  I'm creating my own Spelling lists each week, pulling from the Dolch list of words and other phonetics lists.  Most of the Spelling activities are done on, though we do enjoy spelling words with letter tiles and writing them in the driveway with chalk.

We do writing twice a week.  At the beginning of the year it will be mostly free choice journal writing but will progress to more formal writing as the year continues.  By the end of the year I hope that he can write a well structured paragraph with a strong topic sentence, supporting details, and good word choice, as well as being grammatically correct.  Writing is his biggest weakness, so we'll see how it goes!

Copy Work:
Each week we learn a new Memory Verse and so his copy work will revolve around this verse.  We'll do copy work 2-3 times a week.

Social Studies:
We'll do short geography lessons twice a week using 's Roadtrip USA.  We're also going to be learning about the history of South Carolina 3 days a week (rotated with Science units).

We're starting out with Weather as our first unit of the year.  We'll also be studying Matter, Rocks & Minerals, Human Body, and Animals.  We do Science or History 3 days a week and rotate between Science Units and History Units.

He'll be attending our local YMCA's Homeschool Swim & Gym class once a week for 3 hours as well as partaking in a karate class once a week for an hour and a half.  We also play outside most every day swimming, jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes, playing basketball, or just running around with neighbors!

For my 3 1/2 year old, we'll be using 's K4  program.  I won't be following it exactly, but will be pulling from it the things that fit my little guy the best.  We'll also be using Tot Boxes for some hands-on fun.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A few pictures from our Home Schooling Adventures

Since the addition of my 16 year old daughter to our homeschool, things have been busier than ever!  Here's a few pictures of what we've been up to, though!

Math in the driveway.  The superhero cape helps.  :-)

Writing time.
"Draw Write Now" for B, name tracing for the little.

Wetland Ecology Field Trip

Clay model of a "Magic Tree House" character

Math dice game with mom

Fine Motor Skills practice with
a golf tee game and cereal balls

Our daily practice of sitting still & quietly.
We're up to about 5 minutes!

Noah's Ark rainbow craft

Garden of Eden painting

...and the Garden in abstract  ;-)

Blessings from my home to yours!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three Week Menu Plan

I decided to go ahead and plan for 3 weeks this time.  I used to plan for a month at a time and liked it because it gave me an idea of what ingredients I needed so I could look for sales in advance, as well as taking away the need to plan every.single.week.  My family likes the plans because they like to know what's coming up for dinner each night.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My New Cleaning Schedule

My boys helping with laundry

Since we are now homeschooling, I had to find a better way to incorporate cleaning into my day.  I found that it works best when I focus on on area a day and spread out my cleaning over the course of the week.  I'm also a big proponent of the "1 load a Day" mentaillity when it comes to laundry.  I do a load of clothes Mon, Wed, & Fri, and then either towels or sheets on Tues & Thurs.  Sometimes Monday requires 2 loads of clothes to get caught up from the weekend. I also have chores assigned to my 3 children (16, 6, & 3) and we have a Chore Time each day when they get these completed.  Finally, each weekend I tackle one big cleaning task that needs to be done on a monthly basis, such as shampooing carpets or cleaning trim.

I love looking at others' cleaning schedules, so here's mine if you're interested!

(Click the picture to view larger)

Blessings from my home to yours!

I'm linking up here:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Novel Approach to Novel Studies

Since my son is already a proficient reader, I've decided to focus on novel studies during our reading time this year (we also have a language time where we work on grammar & specific reading comprehension skills, as well as a separate writing time).  He really liked a Magic Treehouse book we read at Thanksgiving, so I decided to stick with this series for our novel studies.  For the first 2 we read, he was simply answering questions online for each corresponding chapter he read...simple enough, yet B-O-R-I-N-G.  I decided we needed to spice up our novel study activities and remembered an activity a former colleague used in her was a BINGO type board filled with various activities.  The students chose which activities they wanted to complete, the only rule being was that they had to get a BINGO (5 in a row) when they finished.  I took this idea and adapted it, since I didn't feel like he necessarily needed to do 5 items in a row, but wanted to keep the idea of choice for him.

I ended up creating 12 activities that could be used with any Magic Treehouse book, or any book, reallty, if the names are removed.  

Click here for a downloadable copy of my activities
Click here for a downloadable copy of the character map I use

I then cut out each topic and taped it to a 3x5 index card.  I taped the index cards into the inside of a manila folder, 6 activities on each side, so that the cards could be flipped up. 

 After each chapter my son chooses an activity to complete and does so underneath the corresponding index card (unless the card prompts him to complete it somewhere else).  

For the activities that call for him to create something (like the Lego model), we take a picture and then tape it to the backside of the card so that he'll be able to look back at what he did long after the model is deconstructed.

B's Magic Treehouse model made from Trios

So far, we're both really enjoying this novel approach to Novel studies!  I hope that it blesses your family as well!

Blessings from my home to yours!

I'm linking up here:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Wow....It's Been a LONG Time!

So, I've fallen off of the bloggy bandwagon in grand fashion!  :-)  But, I do think I've had (semi) good reason, as there's been many changes in our home over the last several months!  We realized very quickly after the new school year started that things just were not going well for our 6 year old in public school this year.  He's a very bright kid, and an even busier one!  Apparently, those two things don't mesh very well at the school he was in and was resulting in numerous behavior problems for him, to which he always replied with something like, "But mom!  I finished ALL my work and got a smiley face on it.  So why can't I talk and play when I finish???"

I began praying about how to proceed and finally approached my husband with the idea of trying out K12, an online public school option here in our state.  Much to my surprise, he was supportive.   I took his blessing & ran with it, doing all sorts of research, phone calls, etc. But the more research I did, the more restrictive I found the program to be. Kids are expected to work for 6-7 hrs a day, lots of repetition, lots of computer time, very little tailored curriculum....basically public school, but at home.

So again, I prayed and then went to my husband with the thought of "doing it myself". He was supportive and said he trusted my decisions in regards to the kids' schooling, and that as long as they were learning & progressing as they should, I could handle it as I chose. I pulled out lots of my old school stuff and put together a few days worth of work. The week after Thanksgiving we kept him home for a trial run. By Wednesday he was begging to do "school at home" every day & cried when we mentioned going back to school for a few days. I googled & found a homeschool association and quickly joined so we wouldn't be sited for truancy and they handled everything in regards to withdrawing him and getting him "legal" within about 36 hours. They were fabulous.

Things were definitely a little haphazard and bumpy in the beginning as we muddled through our days, waited on curriculum to arrive in the mail, and figured out what worked & didn't work for us, but we've finally settled into a groove.  We're using a modified version of the Sue Patrick's Workbox system, very much like the one used at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  If you've never checked out her blog, do so.  Now.  It's fantabulous.

Oh, and I also quit my preschool position as of January.  It was just impossible to homeschool my son properly being away from home two mornings a week.  As much as I loved getting out of the house a little bit and enjoyed the extra income I was earning for my family, my husband & I believe that my place is at home for now.  There are only a few precious years to spend while the littles are little, and I want to be the main presence in their lives, teaching and guiding them each day.  It's been a blessing to be able to focus on my family and my home so much and I love every minute of it (or at least most minutes of it! lol)

I'll try to get back here soon and post more details of our homeschooling days for anyone that's interested!

Blessings from my home to yours!