Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum

If you don't care about curriculum--don't read.  This is more for my teacher friends and fellow home-schoolers.  But first, here's a cute picture of Tegan doing an exercise on Noah and obedience/following directions...

and a one of him with his food chains that supposedly made him too hungry to give a good smile. 

Over the past month or so, many people have inquired about the homeschool curriculum that I am using.  The answer is not as simple as giving the name of a company or some program, so I've decided to just lay it all out here.  

We start every morning by watching Channel One and a Tumblebook online.  Channel One (http://www.channelone.com/) is a 12 minute news cast targeting middle and high schoolers.  I know that so much of it goes over Tegan's head, but he is already recognizing the faces of several of the US presidents, and can tell you all about September 11,  and the fires in Texas.  Tumblebooks (http://www.tumblebooks.com/) are online animated books.  If you link to it from your library, it's free (and is a good babysitter when the floor needs to be mopped).

The Bones:
The Core Knowledge (CK) sequence is a list of objectives to be mastered within each grade level.  This covers Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Music and Visual Arts.    What I love about this is that it covers Pre-K all the way through to Grade 12.  It is consistent and leaves no room for holes.  If you've ever heard of the book series What Every __ Grader Needs to Know,  the books come from this sequence.   40 of the states in the US have adopted this as their supposed standards (too bad they get caught up in teaching to the test, so the standards aren't really met).  I use this to make the basic outline of what needs to be accomplished.  It's not a curriculum, but a roadmap. The sequence can be downloaded for free from  http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=314.  *Disclaimer:  It takes a lot of work to initially "map out" the school year using this route, but it's well worth the effort*

Language Arts:
I'm using Abeka for phonics and independent reading, but other than that, I pull units from the internet based on the concepts that need to be taught.  All of the stories for read-alouds can be found in books we already have.  At the Kindergarten level, there are so many free worksheets for EVERYTHING, that I didn't feel a need to purchase an expensive set of material when I could print it (or make it myself) for free.  Also, my Kindergartener is pretty advanced and would consider the activities too babyish.  This allows me to adapt to his level.  A great resource for handwriting is http://donnayoung.org/penmanship/index.htm.  Instead of purchasing a handwriting workbook, I print out handwriting paper and make the pages myself.  I know that I can't be this cheap next year, but for now it's working great! 

I'm using Saxon math (which is GREAT, but a little slow paced).  We do about 8 lessons a week whereas Saxon plans for 12 per month.  The idea is that by the end of Grade 2, we'll be finished with the Grade 3 book.  Doing it that way, we'll be right on track with the CK standards. 

Scott Foresman follows the CK sequence very closely.  I'm supplementing some where SF doesn't meet all the objectives in the CK.   I'm also adding a little bit in on disaster preparedness in the Weather Unit and on hygiene in the Health Unit--those things aren't in CK or SF, but I think they are important.

Basically, I haven't been impressed with anything out there for history.  I would end up scrapping most of any curriculum, so I just find age appropriate units online with lots of activities, coloring pages, and worksheets.  Once again, it's cheap and easy, and I can make it fit our needs, and once again, the CK sequence.

I follow the list of songs in the CK sequence and hit one a week or so.  Tegan also takes drum lessons, so that covers a lot of the material too.

Visual Arts:
We do a lot of crafty things in our regular activities and see a lot of art in our storybooks, so I just take a few extra minutes here and there to talk about texture or style and things like that.  We don't have a set "Art class".

Good Book:
We are focusing on character development.  I found a great resource at http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/character.html.  Basically we have character trait and memory verse each week along with several stories that show examples of the character trait.  We also do a craft to reinforce it all and make it fun.  This won't last the whole year, so I'll have to come up with something else later.

The boys both have Chinese lessons 2 times each week.

It called Tae Kwon Do and means I don't have to get out there and run!  YAY!

I know this probably takes the cake for "Most Borring Blog in the World" but there it is.  Now if anyone asks, I can just tell them to read this.


1 comment:

Janine the Bean said...

You should look at "Story of the World" for History. It makes it come alive for kids.