The Curriculum Round-Up!

As we’re gearing up to begin our next school year, I thought I’d share our plans for the year.

This year I will have 3 “students” – my 7 year old daughter Eliza and my boys Judah and Caleb who are just shy of 6 & 4. I try to avoid grades, because quite frankly I just don’t think they really apply to the world of homeschooling very well. But for context, my 7-year-old is fairly advanced, doing mostly 3rd/4th grade work, my 6-year-old is reading and doing 1st grade math, and my 4-year-old will be doing pre-k/kindergarten work this year.

For those of you who don’t know me, I also have a 2-year-old and a newborn, which is quite a juggling act!

I thought and thought about how to best approach this school year. Last year, we took a very simple approach, focusing mostly on Bible, reading, writing, and math and only throwing in other subjects when we had time. But I know that my kids (especially my oldest) will need more than that this year. So I needed to figure out how to maintain a fairly simple, low-stress approach while adding in 2 full subjects: history and science.

So this is what I’ve decided to do. I am hopeful (and fairly sure) that it will work out pretty well for us. 🙂

First of all, we will be dividing our day into 2 parts: “couch time” and “table time”. Each will likely last around an hour.

“Couch Time” will be right after breakfast and morning chores. The oldest 2 will be required to participate, but I think the other 2 will probably want to join us most days. And the baby will probably be napping. 🙂  The format will be me reading aloud on the couch.

During “couch time,” we will do these subjects:

Bible – We are using The Child’s Story Bible, by Catherine Vos. I am really excited to go through this Bible together! It’s the perfect option for kids who are too old for a picture Bible and too young for a standard Bible. It’s divided into readings that should take less than 10 minutes per day.

History (only on M/W/F) – We will be using The Mystery of History, Vol. 1 this year, studying creation to the resurrection. We will be focusing on the read-aloud parts, and doing the timeline, but no quizzes.

Science (only on T/Th) – We will be using Exploring Creation With Astronomy (1st semester) and Exploring Creation With Botany(2nd semester). These books are a bit advanced for my kids, but I think they’ll enjoy them. We’re going to pick & choose what we do from them (and the activity notebooks) and go through each book in a semester instead of a year.

After “couch time,” we’ll break for playtime and lunch. Then I’ll put the youngest 2 down for naps, and we’ll do “table time.”

“Table Time” will be the time we spend on more workbook-type study. I also have a few pre-K/K books for my 4-year-old to do with us during this time, since he won’t have his sister to play with. 🙂

During “table time,” we’ll do these subjects:

Math – We use Singapore Primary Mathematics, which I love! We started using it when Eliza was in kindergarten and hating the math workbook we were using. I like the way the books work through the various math topics and builds on them each year. And the lessons aren’t overwhelming or redundant, so my kids enjoy them too! We go through the books at the kids’ pace, ignoring grade levels. Eliza is about a third of the way through the 4th grade level, Judah is about 2/3 through 1st grade, and Caleb will be starting the kindergarten book.

Language Arts – Language arts encompasses several subjects, and each child will likely do 1 or 2 per day, not all of them. I have 2 readers now, so I’ll have a year off of teaching how to read, unless Caleb decides to jump on it! I’m using Spectrum Language Arts for Eliza and Judah. For creative writing we’re using Just Write, book 1 for Eliza, and may be using their primer level book (Write About Me) for Judah later in the year. I like the way they give lots of guidance and ideas for writing. For spelling, Eliza will be keeping a basic notebook of words she doesn’t spell write, and review it regularly. And we’re going to use another book that I’m excited about, called Vocabulary Vine. It works through the most common Latin and Greek roots in a very clear way. For Judah, we’re doing Spectrum Writing in addition to LA, and he’s excited about a break from Handwriting Without Tears. 🙂 Also, for Caleb, we are using HWT Get Set For School and Spectrum Phonics K to teach him his letter sounds and get him ready to learn to read. If he takes it farther than that, that’s great, but no pressure!

Independent Reading – Each day I’ll expect my 2 oldest to spend some time reading to themselves or me. We frequent the library and I hope to fill this time with books that coincide with our history and science topics for the week, as well as great classics and other interesting books we find.

And that’s it! Four subjects per day, two after breakfast and two after lunch. Probably be around 2 hours of school per day, maybe a bit more with individual reading time.

I feel really good about our ability to take on this routine and the amount of playtime it still gives my kids. I’m a big believer in not “over-schooling” and I feel that this honors that conviction of mine while still giving my children the education the need in a way they’ll enjoy!

And last, but not least… my new planner!  I’m super excited about this beautiful book and it’s ability to help me track our children’s schooling this year!

This is The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, by Debra Bell.  Isn’t it pretty?!?  I like how flexible it is, and how it incorporates home management into the school planner.  Can’t wait to start using it!

What are you most excited about for this school year?

– Judy

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