Apr 16, 2008

Where does the time go!!!

Everyone asks themselves this question from time to time and some more times than others.

These last few weeks have just been non-stop running running running and the rest of this month doesn't look like it is going to slow down! Hopefully somewhere along the way I will find time to think long enough to come up with something half-way interesting to blog about!

Right now amongst all the craziness, the only thing that has been crossing my mind is next years curriculum.

I am venturing into creating my own curriculum for next year and am a bit nervous. I really don't have a choice in the matter as KM is getting frustrated lately with the Time4Learning site. It either takes forever to load, freezes up or doesn't give her credit for what she has completed. She likes the interactive aspects of the Math and ELA but social studies and science are soooo tedious. The science would be better if they gave the parents a heads up when they were going to have a lab that required certain materials. We really jumped into the program in January as it seemed to be aligned with what she had been doing in PS and you could switch between grade levels for different subjects, but she only has about a month left on the ELA and ELA ext. before that is completed and about 5 or 6 weeks on the Math section. So she will have completed their full year curriculum in half that time.

I got a recommendation to try one of those all-in-one curriculum in a box sets, but she is at so many different levels that I don't think I could find one to fit what we need. So I have been spending every free second trying to figure out what direction I want to take.

Here is what I am thinking:

Math - we are going to try the teaching textbooks - we both really liked their demo and the fact that it is like having a tutor sitting there with you if you have a problem is PRICELESS! Math is the one thing that she really really likes and feels confident enough that she doesn't need me to sit right with her for, so I am hoping that with this program this can continue. ~Don't get me wrong if she needs help I am always there, but I do like that there is more independence in this area. She is going to be taking the pretest next week to determine what level she should start at, but it looks like she is going to be at Math 7.

Language Arts - I am thinking I am really going to focus on writing. I got this great book "Teach Terrific Writing" by Gary Robert Muschla. I like it because it covers all forms of writing and teaches the kids step-by-step how to write, edit and improve their own writing. I also appreciate that is multi-leveled. I really am trying to get away from the grade labeling. I am really starting to see how deceiving it can be. For spelling I think I am going to focus on the words that she is always asking me to spell and adding some vocab - not sure if I am going to stick with the Wordly Wise series. We used it as she had been doing it in PS and liked it, but I don't know it seems to be more of one of those teaching to test things again. I may just incorporate spelling, vocab and reading all together into unit studies. ~ I broke down and purchased the year subscription to efantasmic, it has a great variety of resources for all subject areas and they keep adding more to it every time I go onto the site. I also like that they have a wide variety of selections.

Social Studies & Science - I think I am going to try to stick with unit studies. I figure she was only getting about 45 minutes every other week for each of these subjects in PS so anything is better than that. I also found this ridiculously awesome site a few months ago and got a ton of free curriculum plans from them -ABSOLUTELY FREE! The site is http://www.bscs.org/curriculumdevelopment/index.html I could not believe the info when I received it. I really thought it was going to be little pamphlets or something but this is full curriculum sets, three ring punched and ready for a binder. Some even come with CD-Roms and online extras. Then today there was a link in one of the newsletters to a site for free history plans - you can download or order a disc for free ~that site is http://www.americanheritage.org/elementary.html they have a huge selection as well. There are so many really complete resources online it is incredible! It makes me not feel so bad about splurging on some of the other resources.

Spanish - KM has always been interested in learning Spanish and we have done somethings here and there but I am in the process of trying to figure out a system for this, as she knows most common words and phrases, so I think we are going to go to a higher level on this one and learn it together. I also have a bunch of Spanish DVDs from when KM was little that we are going to be using with SC so that will work for reviewing to start with. I have heard wonderful things about the LiveMocha site so I am going to be looking into that some more as well.

As I am totally new to ALL this... if anyone has any advice or recommendations on anything here it would be GREATLY appreciated!

Good Luck with your own planning!
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