So, here’s the part that I really like, curriculum. I love new books just as much as G does.
After lots of research, thinking, and rethinking here’s what we settled on. (Note: I bought almost all of it through the Book Depository (the UK one) which has FREE International shipping! Sweet right?) True to form, after reading my friend’s posts on curriculum (hi, Brooke), I’ve got a list of things I wish I had added in. No problem, though, we’ll do it next year.
Bible Michael spends some of his morning teaching Bible and Science. He’s an amazing teacher, and it gives me a chance to do some language reviewing. This year, I got my act together and we are learning a memory verse every week. We are using the Seeds Family Worship CD’s which are awesome. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. As far as curriculum, Michael is teaching through the Old Testament (roughly following the History schedule, and themes from Building on Firm Foundations), he’s also using a set of Encyclopedia books called the Book of Life. They do a great job of including pictures and tidbits to make it all “come alive.” G AND J really love it, especially when it comes to fighting stories.
Science I went out and bought the whole Answers in Genesis Science curriculum. So we are set until 8th grade. When it arrived, I got a little nervous, what if I get fickle and want to try something else, like Apologia…we now have a huge stack of expensive books on our hands, and I might not like them. But, I shouldn’t have worried. It is so nice to have it all at our fingertips, and all set up for us. I find the first book God’s Design for Heaven and Earth: Our Universe a little advanced for Grey, and therefore a tad dry. But, I’m the only one. Michael and Grey both love it. One thing I like, the experiments are designed with minimal supplies, so its easy enough to do with what we already have on hand. Another minor complaint is that its very much an American curriculum, so we have to tweak some of the language for those of us outside of America.
I’ll get into readers, ipad apps, etc in another post.
History We are doing the Mystery of History and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! When we first got it, Michael sat down and read Volume 1 like a book. Greyson sits rapt through the reading, and begs to do the projects. Its fantastic.
We bought the book, Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World (fascinating book), Tim Dowley’s Student Bible Atlas, and the Ancienct History Go Fish Game. We didn’t purchase the timeline figures, because we find it fun to do ourselves. Next year I might rethink that…I am also thinking about purchasing the notebooking kit to go along with Volume 2. But I still want to do some more research. I’ll write another post about our timeline.
Math We are doing Mathematical Reasoning Level B with G and it is going well. I also try to do concrete projects to cement the numbers in his head, like lego math or making cookies, or counting out buttons. Ruth Beechick has an excellent little book called An Easy Start in Arithmetic that I get ideas from. We also use some concepts like the hundreds board, and the pink tower (ours isn’t pink) from Montessori. I am still not sure that we wouldn’t like Math-U-See, or eventually go back to Horizons…but for now the low key approach is working for us. G loves math, but he speeds through his pages, so sometimes I wonder if it is challenging enough.
Reading We are continuing on with Explode the Code. G is supposed to read a chapter book every evening, our favorites so far are the Little Critters readers, the Richard Scary readers, and Dr. Seuss books. We still need to work on cementing rules, endings, sight words, even a few sounds…so I’ve made up flashcards and 3-part cards to add on to Explode the Code. We are going a different path with J…I’ll get into that in another post.
Monday: Music I am not at all musical, but I would like G to learn rhythm, the basics of reading music, instruments (and instrument grouping), and music history. And I’d like it to be done up with nice graphics. I haven’t found anything that fits the bill just right. In the meantime we are reading through The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine. It’s a nice book about the major composers, instruments, and the make up of an orchestra, all with good graphics. We are working a bit on learning to play a xylophone (that helps with the basics of reading music). And I also have Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra Album from itunes. It includes Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, and a guide to the instruments. Also excellent. I’d like to work on (or find) flashcards or three part cards to go with the instruments and coloring pages for peter and the wolf. But, I haven’t found anything yet that fits the bill for nice graphics. Maybe I’ll eventually develop a notebooking set to go along with the album. Anyone have any advice?
Wednesday: Art Let’s Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchars. Excellent book. Just what I was looking for…too bad there’s no version for music. It has artist history, fun projects, and projects that teach you to really look at the object you are drawing (most important of all). It is advanced for 1st grade, so we don’t do all of the projects, or we tweak them a bit. But, there are many great benefits, even if it has to be tweaked. We also have a few readers on famous artists (like Action Jackson), and I’d like to add more.
Thursday: Geography I really feel that it is important for the boys to know Geography. And, we are blessed because we can actually travel to some of the countries that we study. Last year we studied continents. Now we are reviewing the continents, and studying some of the main countries on each continent by reading a few pages of The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World every week. We also, occasionally have a meal from the country we are studying…I’ve found that every time we have a meal, the boys remember much better where we are studying. I’d like to start doing continent folders and sign up for a culture swap. But, we haven’t been able to do that yet. In the meantime we are working on a Me on the Map project. I’ll show pictures when we are finished.
Friday: PE We usually either go for a walk or hike. Or the boys go swimming in the river with their dad (which they actually do almost every day…so its kind of a cop out to call it PE). If it is raining, we do the Fit Deck for Kids. We are especially trying to focus on G’s balance and coordination, and learning the foundation for exercising.