Aug 8, 2008

Curriculum and Planning Question

One of my favorite blogger mom's Fairyluver asked: "about your school year planning what curriculum do you use...if any, and how do you plan, I just ask because I look at your blog and your class days look like SO MUCH FUN, and your daughter looks like she has a blast too!!"
Well thanks so much! We try to have as much fun as possible!

As you may have figured out by now one of my favorite words is eclectic! My family is eclectic, my music selections are eclectic, so of course our homeschooling style is eclectic as well!
Deep down somewhere inside of me I really would like us to be unschoolers, but as I know I have mentioned several times in previous blogs we NEED schedules in our house and I am a bit of a control freak so...don't see it happening anytime soon. I do try my hardest to allow our curriculum and studies be led by what KM wants to learn about. We school year round and will not be going back to full time school until 9/29 as we wanted to take 2 full weeks off around mine and KM's birthday (which happen to be 3 days apart).
With that being said though here is what we are planning on using in Oct - must of the titles are linked to Amazon or other sites so you can actually see the book if you are interested! -

Math
- my favorite subject!
Daily Estimation Adventures - for some reason she can understand fractions, ratios, decimals, and conversions, but she just does not get how to make or use an estimate. We will be doing this everyday.
Math Problem of the Week - I can't find a link for this one, but it has word problems that you assign on Monday and then throughout the week there are hints and strategies to use to help the student figure out the answers. The student is suppose to need less and less of the hints throughout the year.
Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra - we are both very excited about starting this series! We will be doing this Tues - Fri most weeks. As we have our local coop on Mondays.

Language Arts
-
This is a difficult area for us because, as I have mentioned before, KM does not like to do writing. I have several different plans to try to address this area, but not sure how long we will do each or if we will get to them at all.
Writing to Inform
Writing to Explain
Writing to Persuade
We will be doing these workbooks in this order one page a day to help reinforce sentence structure and genre.
Spelling and Vocabulary - Houghton Milton - this is one that I am very iffy on, I am thinking of going back to the Wordly Wise series as she really liked it when she was in PS, but I got this workbook at a local book sale and figure I will try it. Worse case I end up going back and ordering the Wordly Wise Grade 6 set. (added note - we did end up getting this as KM really wanted to do it again this year! so we will be starting out with this, but it is only a 22 week program so we will fill in the rest with my original choice!)

Literature -
along with the immense amount of reading that she does each day on her own these are the titles that we will be doing cooperative reading with -
Dragon Slayer Academy Book 1 & 2
21 Balloons
A Wrinkle In Time
Hitty Her First Hundred Years
Island of The Blue Dolphin
Kira-Kira
Left Behind: The Kids Books 1 & 2
Number the Stars
Shiloh
Sounder
Strawberry Girl
The Giver
The Tale of the Despereaux
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
- We will be using efantasmic, resources from Scholastic's site and some lapbooks & literature studies from Currclick .

Science
-
Science Question of the Day
- this is just to reinforce learned skills and to supplement.
Classic Science: Elementary Life Science - I was pointed in the direction of this FREE curriculum and KM walked in while I was looking at and thought it was something that she would like to try so...we are doing this first. It has a ton of interactive aspects to it. I also have an Earth Science Curriculum in the makings for when we finish the life science or just in case it doesn't go as well as we hope.
Ancient Science - this is an experiment book that we will use along with our Ancient History studies.
Museum of Science - We got a yearly membership and plan on going at least twice a month, to research whatever we happen to be working on and to use their fantastic library and teacher resources!

History
- this is the area that I had the most difficulty deciding on a curriculum for so we are winging it.
I realized that all KM really knew about History was the Pilgrims, Native American and the Pre-revolutionary war. You see given our location on the South Shore of Massachusetts these are the hot topics. So I decided to kind of go with The Well-Trained Minds approach and start at the beginning. I have an Ancient History textbook that I got at a local book sale, that I will be using as kind of a guideline, but we are mostly going to use living books to work through history. Starting with the dinosaurs, cavemen and prehistoric periods and work our way to the ancient civilizations. I really did not like the way that a lot of the curriculum jump from time period to time period and there is no real sequence to them. We will be working on a time-line basis which goes around our playroom/classroom area. Here are some resources that we hope to do -
Mayans, Aztecs & Incas - thematic unit
Ancient China - thematic unit
Ancient Rome - history pocket
Ancient Egypt - History pocket
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths & the literature unit to go with it
We will be doing geography along with this and I have a lot of plans for lapbooks that we can do!
We will be doing science and history one full afternoon a week - each of the two days that I don't have SC here so that we can really focus on them and do the experiments without the little one running under foot!

We will also be doing the following Electives:
Exchange City - We are doing this for a second time, but are doing the curriculum with our Homeschooling coop group.
Spanish - we are going to be trying out the livemocha.com site.
Health - using this free curriculum -Road of Life - as well as a lot of websites.
Typing - using several different websites and programs - KM's favorite is Dance Mat Typing
Current Events - using thematic studies as well as Flash Five - PBS Kids News site.This will also cover the upcoming Presidential and Local Elections.
Art & Music - we will be using the Core Knowledge Book What Your 6th Grader Needs to Know as well as supplements for music history and of course lots of arts and crafts projects. I am also thinking of using some of the activities from How to Teach Art to Children.
Yoga once a week.
Cooking as interest is shown.

Now this may seem a bit extensive to some, but I like to be prepared and a lot of these things KM just really wants to do. How are day actually works will be different than how we did it last year and I am hoping that it will work.
Here is my plan for that:
Since I have SC generally three to four days a week we will be doing science and history one full afternoon a week - each of the two days that I don't have SC here so that we can really focus on them and do the experiments without the little one running under foot!
Mondays is our coop group so she will not having any other full subjects on that day - though she will be responsible for doing her daily math & science questions, writing, spelling/vocab & reading. However we may try to sneak in Health or Spanish on this day in the evening if it is workable.
Tuesday - Friday ~ she will be doing Math every day as well as the daily things mentioned above in the mornings.
Electives will be done in the afternoons on the days that SC is here. We will also try to include her in these activities if possible and/or do some while she is napping.
Literature reading will be done in the evenings either during dinner prep or after dinner.
We use Saturday Mornings for catch-up if we need it. This allows us to do field trips without having to adjust the plans too much.

Well I feel like I left a gazillion things out, but of course that is always the way. How can really account for everything that goes on in a household.
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