Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School in Full Swing--Curriculum and No Curriculum

The kids have been mostly cooperative with my back-to-school sneak attack. Since I'm combining Ambleside Online reading lists with our usual work, I feel like I'm doing more useful literature and also biting off a lot of work. Six hours is a very full day without touching on the extras (art, music, etc). So our curriculum this year:

9 year old (nominally 4th grade):
  • Language Arts:
    Grammar: First Language Lessons 3 (finishing up what we didn't do last year)--Thanks to LB for the recommendation! First Language Lessons 4 (on order)
    Writing: Writing with Ease (she actually hates this because it's not instructive enough. She really wants to know 'how to write' and narration, copywork, and dictation are just not cutting it. If any of you guys know a good 'this is how you write a sentence, this is how you write a paragraph, this is how you write a better paragraph, this is how you write an essay' let me know in the comments!)
    Spelling: modified lists based on Spelling Power with practice from Montessori-like spelling command cards I developed based on workbook exercises, Spelling Power practice recommendations.
    Vocabulary: currently she's writing words she unfamiliar with from her literature and I write the definitions and she copies them into her vocabulary notebook. I also have Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4.
    Cursive: writing little stories using a model alphabet we got at the Target dollar spot. I never actually had to teach cursive to this girl because she was highly motivated when we started homeschooling two years ago and taught herself through example and with only a few instructions on joining high-ending letters like 0 and b with the next letter.
  • Math: Singapore Math 3A (yes--we switched. I was very non-compliant on Saxon--I gave up on it by December and just flew by the seat of my pants for the rest of the year.) I purchased the textbook, the workbook, the home instructor's guide, and the intensive practice workbook. That's pretty much everything you can buy. I don't know yet if anything is redundant.
  • History: History at Our House: Ancient History upper elementary full live attendence
  • Literature and Poetry: Booklist from Ambleside Online
  • Social Studies: Books from my library or the public library to cover the social studies topics at World Book for grade 4.
  • Science: Books from my library or the public library to cover the science topics at World Book for grade 4 and the science course I'm running for physics through history for elementary students.
  • Foreign Language: I have Minimus for latin, but we really don't do it. Another great recommendation by LB, because if I'm going to do it at all, it'll be this book that makes it possible.
6 1/2 year old (nominally 2nd grade):

Note that I don't even plan for art and music. We have some great beginning piano books that lead you through reading music. If we have time, I'll try to do that for music. I also like to put on the Classical Kids radio program. For art, I'd definitely like to reinforce the color wheel and observation (sketching from nature or classic paintings or following the work here).

For reading comprehension I make sure to ask questions while I read aloud, have the kids act out specific actions from whatever story I'm reading, or have the oldest tell me about the story she's currently reading on her own. I find some of the most important points to touch on are descriptions of body language and facial expressions that convey meaning in the story. For instance, if the book says 'he shuffled down the hall with his head down,' I'll have the kids act that out and ask them why they think he would do that and what they think the boy was feeling. If they're really off-base, I'll let them know the author wants you to know the boy was sad, or ashamed, or whatever fits the story at the time.

For memorization, I've implemented the system described here. I use it for writing down parts of speech (like helping verbs for my oldest or common and proper nouns for my youngest) and plan to use it also for math facts, harder spelling and vocabulary, and poems (being an atheist, I don't have to worry about filling it up with scripture).

1 comment:

Shez said...

Thanks for the heads up on the memory work system. I think I'll give it a try. At the moment my kids are memorizing "Eletelphony" for fun. Shira is also memorizing "The Jabberwokky" just because she loves the poem so much. We're also using FLL (book 3) and HAOH lower elem full live classes. I'm busy working with Ben on speaking loudly and clearly. He tends to talk very quickly when he's nervous.