Monday, May 9, 2011

Curriculum Plans for the 2011-2012 School Year

I love planning out the next school year.

I love thinking about all the fun things we're going to do together; all the books we're going to read, all the activities we're going to try to do.  I get to escape to this wonderful little land of idealism for a few weeks, in which I plan out a perfect year of intellectual stimulation and creative pursuits for my wee little chicks.  Oh, warm and fuzzy homeschooling.

The reality of the situation:  The first week will go well, and then my kids will...well, act like children.  The warm and fuzzy stage is very short.  But it's nice to pretend that it has the possibility of being perpetual.

So, keeping in mind my idealistic state of mind, here are the plans for next year:

Bluebird will be in the Second Grade, Penguin will be in Kindergarten.

Math:  We're going to stick with Saxon.  I get a lot of pressure to switch to Singapore when I mention that Bluebird doesn't particularly like worksheets, but after glancing through the Singapore books I just don't like 'em. 

I like the structured, cumulative aspect of Saxon.  Singapore doesn't give off that vibe to me.  In my opinion, Math isn't supposed to FUN!  There are enjoyable lessons, but the purpose of Math isn't to entertain.  It's to think, rationally, and find the answer to the problem.  I think Saxon does the best job at teaching students the skills they need to accomplish that goal.
  • Bluebird will continue on to Saxon 2.
  • Penguin will continue with Saxon K and upgrade to Saxon 1 when she finishes K at some point during the school year.
Penmanship:  We'll stick with Zaner-Bloser.
  • Bluebird will continue with Level 2M and move into 2C (cursive!) at some point in the year.
  • Penguin will continue to work in the K level book.  If she finishes early, I'm leaning towards doing copywork before bumping up into the first grade book.
Phonics:  We'll stick with Phonics Pathways for Penguin.  I'll try to introduce Junebug to some phonics work.

Spelling:  I've considered switching programs, but haven't been able to get my hands on physical copies of other spelling programs.  It feels like Spelling Workout isn't "enough," but everyone else assures that it is enough.
  • Bluebird will continue with Spelling Workout B (2nd Grade).  I think she'll finish it shortly before the end of the school year and then bump up into Spelling Workout C (3rd Grade).
  • I will start Penguin on Spelling Workout A (1st Grade) once she reaches the middle of Phonics Pathways, whether it's in Kindergarten or First Grade.
Grammar:  I am loving First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind.  We'll continue with this, but Bluebird will get to the end of Book Two by the end of the third quarter.  I've read a lot of people's comments that they don't like the third and fourth books in the series, so I'd like to get my hands on physical copies of them so I can check them out before making any further decisions.

Writing:  Oh, I fought it, but eventually started using Writing With Ease this year.  I didn't want to be construed as a Well-Trained Mind "zombie" who just used everything that Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer published because I was in love with them or something, so I resisted WWE until it became obvious that I couldn't find a writing program that did what I was looking for.  (I actually won WWE at a homeschool curriculum swap night, which was right around the time I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to use WWE as our writing curriculum.) 

We'll have to spend a few weeks at the beginning of the school year to finish up WWE #1, but will then head into WWE #2.

History & Literature:  I'm going to stay true to those Well-Trained Mind roots and continue to use Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World series.  We'll move into Volume 2, which covers the Middle Ages.  Oh my goodness, I love this curriculum.  The Activity Guide is awesome!  I use the literature lists, the review question, the narration suggestions, the map work and the activity suggestions.  I cannot recommend this enough.

I just finished reading The Latin-Centered Curriculum this weekend and I'm intrigued by the literature list for Kindergarteners.  I may implement this list for Penguin, if only to give us more of an excuse to have reading time together.  It feels like I spend a ton of time with Bluebird each day for school, so I want to carve out some "individual attention" times for my other children in the year to come.  (I'm also planning on implementing a "Preschool Read Aloud Time" for Junebug, with the hope that Monkeyboy may enjoy some of the selections, despite his young age.)

Science:  We will begin using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey's Earth & Space, Level 1.  I chose this program because it boasted of its immense amount of experiments.  Kids like experiments.

The Space units look a little too easy for Miss Bluebird the Future Astronaut, so I've also acquired Astronomy for All Ages and 40 Nights to Knowing the Night Sky to use as supplements.  I'd also like to re-instate our membership in the Salt Lake Astronomical Society so that Bluebird can pursue earning the "Sky Puppy" observation award.

ArtI don't know.  We quit ARTistic Pursuits because it was just a little too much for the girls...they're not into learning the mechanics of drawing just yet.  We've had fun doing the projects in Usborne Art Treasury, so I'm trying to find another book similar to that.  (I do plan to bring out ARTistic Pursuits again in about three years.)

I'm finding that Art curriculum is tough for me.  We didn't like Drawing with Children either.  I'd really like to just find a big ol' encyclopedia of different art techniques that also include an appropriately-levelled art project to implement the technique.  That's all I want.  No biggie.

Music Appreciation:  This would go a whole lot better if I could actually remember to do it.  We need more Play-Doh for it to work, as our current stock is getting rather dry and crumbly.  It's hard to get them to sit still and listen if the Play-Doh doesn't hold their attention.

Girl Scouts:  I'm still recovering from selling cookies, and the idea of doing anything Girl Scout-related almost makes me nauseated.  Michael and I were discussing the possibility of NOT doing Girl Scout cookies next year.  It's a whole lotta work for not a lotta pay.
  • Bluebird will be a Brownie Scout!  She's very excited about earning Try-It awards.  I tried to match them up to things we would be studying, but that's a rather overwhelming task.  A number of badges will be retired before the beginning of the new Girl Scout year in October, so those badges are the first priority for us over the summer.  I'm putting effort into the Space Explorer and Wave the Flag badges first.
  • Penguin will become a Daisy Scout!  She cannot wait to wear that uniform.  It will be a special time, taking her to her first overnighters at the Trefoil Lodge.  I'm excited for her.
Religion:  We'll continue with our daily devotionals, which include singing the Primary song of the month, memorizing the scripture of the month, reading a chapter from whichever "Book of Scripture" Stories we're in at the moment, and reading a story from The Friend.  We'll also keep reading through the scriptures as a family in the evenings; and, of course, attending our Sabbath meetings.
  • Bluebird will be old enough to make the choice to be baptized when her birthday rolls around in February; Michael is planning to sit down with her a few weeks beforehand and systematically go through the missionary discussions with her to make sure she understands what this decision truly entails.
  • Junebug will become a Sunbean in January--officially a member of Primary!  I imagine some training in sitting still would aid her immensely.
Life Skills:
  • Bluebird:  Needs to learn to take full responsibility for her hygiene.  I'd like to start introducing her to cooking simple foods and cleaning up the dishes.  She's already sorting the clean clothes and folding her own clothes and putting them away in her dresser.  (Oh, it's nice!)  She also sweeps under the kitchen table after meals.  It'd be nice to teach her how to vacuum.
  • Penguin:  Will learn to sort clothes better and fold towels and rags.  I'd like to start teaching her how to sweep under the table so she can relieve Bluebird of that chore.  I'd like her to learn how to make her own bed.
  • Junebug:  It'd be nice if she could learn to dress herself.  We're still working on cleaning up toys, which will be the main focus throughout the next year as well.
So there it is.  I can't be bothered too much with it anymore, as I am completely wrapped up in Spring Fever.  I've got enough of the beginning of the school year mapped out to get us started, but I'll finish the specific year-long plans over the next few months.

1 comment:

  1. Happy 29th! You have accomplished so much by such a young age -- congratulations on figuring out adulthood and parenthood!

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