Wednesday, 20 August 2014

School Year curriculum 2014-2-2015

So it is that time of the year again to write down what we plan to accomplish this year.  I have been much more stressed about our curriculum this year mainly because Firedrake is entering 7th grade and I have been attending "Getting ready for high school seminars" and they are really freaking me out.  Am I doing enough, are the kids really prepared for high school, are we doing too much, too little...It is enough to drive a person crazy and my husband has had to talk me down from the cliff a few times in the last couple of weeks.  Bless him, he is my biggest supporter and thankfully whole heartedly believes I am doing just fine educating our if only I would believe it:).

So here it goes...our 2014-2015 Curriculum choices -- Note we do not do everything on this list daily, I will post the school schedule on Friday along with how I am documenting and keeping records of the kids work.


We are concentrating the entire year on the body systems and sex ed.  I an going to use Real Science Odyssey as part of my spine for the human body.  But I have been gathering other resources such as books, DVD, lap books and science kits to help us in this area.  For our lessons in Sex ed I finally found a program that I like (after much much searching) using the book called Perfectly normal along with the free program from the Unitarian Universalist Association.   I will be gearing the science at each child's level expecting more of my oldest.


Again I tend to do history on my own.  I am using the books  The History of US by Joy Hakim as a spine but I supplement greatly.  My goal is to cover post revolution up to the end of the civil war this year.  We cover history by reading books, watching DVDs, lap books, map work, notebook pages and doing hands on activities and visiting historical sites.


Both kids are working on a mine craft server and we will be taking two classes this year covering US regions and the 7 wonders of the world.  I will also incorporate individual country studies as time permits.  Usually we are able to do three a year so that is my goal.  With our country study we do notebook pages, map work, DVD's, meal from that country and an country craft-- if I can find one:)


We are continuing with All About Spelling and I hope to have both children completed book 5 by the end of the year.


Last year we used Wordly Wise computer program and I really like it and saw some really great gains by the children in their writing, but am unsure if I want to continue to use the program mainly due to the time each lesson took (nearly an hour to complete).  I think this year I am going to try to incorporate vocabulary into our daily use and see if works.  If I find that isn't working I am considering trying Word Smart computer program or going back to Wordly wise again.


I am continuing to add at least one book a month for reading and am including more classical reading.  The kids are completing either a project, lap book, notebook pages or answering questions on the book they read.  I am still gathering which books we will incorporate in our year.  I often pick books that relate to our history lesson but sometimes I choose books I find on the classical book list for the children's specific grade level.

IEW - Writing SICC-B

I saw tremendous progress in both children's writing using the IEW method.  I have purchased the continuation program and will continue with this program.  Last year I kept both children on the same lesson which was really too slow for my oldest so this year I am going to have her work at a faster pace so she isn't bored.  Since my youngest is having more difficulty with writing I will work at a slower pace for him.


Growing with Grammar for each child based on their level.  Also working on the next Fix it story The Frog Prince.


Math U see -- Epsilon (we are halfway though this book) and Zeta books for the oldest
Delta for the youngest
In between these book we are using the Life of Fred books as the children enjoy them and it gives them a little relief from constant work sheets.


We are continuing to use the Meet the masters online program for our art lessons and art history.  We enjoy the short computer lessons and the art projects at the end of the class.  My oldest will either   take art lessons with a local coop or I will find an art class locally as she wishes to learn art techniques with a art teacher:)


We are continuing with Piano lessons where the kids are getting music theory and some insight on composers.  Every year I say I am going to do a more in-depth study on composers and I never seem to have time.  But ever the optimist I will once again have a goal of at least 1-2 composers studies (which is down from 3 that I didn't do last year:))  I am going to look into Easy Peasy music which is all laid out and free online.  I am still researching the program.


Both kids want to participate in drama and I am signing them up at a local coop for a drama class which meets once a week and has a live performance at the end of the year.


Right now we have not formal class so we are just doing things naturally at home i.e. swims, walks, hikes, wii fit, bike rides, playing basketball in the driveway and field trips to ice rinks, etc...


My youngest is beginning to work on cursive writing using Handwriting without tears
Oldest has already mastered cursive writing


My oldest is still interested in learning Latin and we dropped the ball last year.  However she is still interested and is working independently on Visual Latin.  My husband is taking over grading her work and following up on this program as he himself has an interest in learning latin
My youngest in not participating in this at this time


We had a wonderful private Spanish tutor last year, unfortunately we were not able to continue with her this year:(  So I am trying a class at a local coop and seeing if that works for the children.

I have been searching all last year to find a home school coop that will suit our family's needs for some middle school classes for my oldest.  Most of what I find requires statement of faiths that I can not sign even as a Christian. I joined a secular coop in the city that meets 8 Fridays a semester for various activities that we are going to try.   I have also finally decided to give the city coop which claims to be secular (but really not) and it does not require a statement of faith a try for the Drama and Spanish classes.  I have once again probably over scheduled and put too much on the children's and my plate.  However we need to find a suitable place for us to join in higher learning level classes that my oldest needs and that we feel comfortable with, so we will see what we decide to remain with in the next year.  We also need to find more friends for the kids (and me) as I have had no luck with the religious groups closer to me.  Once I find our niche things will slow down and we will have a regular rhythm that will make sense for us all, I hope:)


  1. First of all, you are doing enough! For vocab, my kids have always had a pretty good vocabulary just from reading a lot. I like to use Vocabulary from Classical Roots just because it helps them learn to figure out words that they have never encountered before. The one thing I have learned the hard way is to make sure my younger kids do more oral reading/vocabulary practice. My older kids tested super high in vocabulary on the SAT and so forth, but sometimes they say words with the strangest pronunciation, because they learned the words from books!

  2. Oh my gosh, talk you down from a kill me!

    Seriously, even though we don't see each other in the day to's obvious that you are super thorough! I'm sure you only blog a fraction of the stuff you do and yet even THAT is so full, comprehensive and balanced! I'd love to see my kids in your house for a hands on history or science maybe once a week! You do great stuff with them. I DO know your ambivalence though...I feel it myself. My oldest IS going to pub high school in a few weeks....and I actually worry too that I've covered enough....I truly fear he'll be sitting in class, a topic will come up in sci,hist, etc and he won't know enough about it or some crazy thing like that. I tell my hubby and he says, "Are you kidding? He'll be able to help the teacher out with facts and insight!" So, yes, my husband's a supporter here too...thank God for that, right? Emotionally, I'm the one who may need to be talked down in 2 weeks' time bc I KNOW that this is the right choice, but the whole transition and the recognition that our lives just won't be "the same" --- the slow paced reading for hours, the not reporting to or following someone else's requests/schedules...sigh....It will be hard to let go.

    About your it and finding it helpful! Thank you! I'm looking into the Real Sci now and I may be back to ask a ques about another thing or two you mention. I have heard so much about IEW but I'm hesitant to spend that much $$. It's silly to ask if you think it;s worth it bc obviously you do! Do you find it on amazon or ebay, cheaper than the IEW website's price? We have never used it before. If my son is entering gr 6, where would you suggest I begin? He is dyslexic, but I don't think that really "matters" in this case. I'll be using other materials to address his LD, work on reading, spelling, phon patterns, etc,,,, I have so many writing programs too that I hesitate to buy yet another one.

    One thing to mention to older son is entering gr 9 and has completed the Wordly Wise from level 3 through 10. His vocab is amazing due to this and of course, constant reading to him since birth. As you know, he got into the honors classes ( in all bu math--can't win 'em all) He has a summer rdg assignment for his Honors Eng...the Robert Fagles's trans of The Odyssey...Anna Marie, can I tell you this project is outstanding. The teacher did an fantastc job of putting together thought provoking ques, ( 85 of them!) a whole thing where the kids have to create a 5 to 8 annotattionsfor EACH page! And also, for each of the 24 books, he needs to create a "word bank" and do a whole ton of things with the words too for 5 words he did not know. Can I tell you...there are NO words he doesn't know. None. He;s working thru it and says, "I can't do the vocab part...I know all the words." My husband says, "There's no way you know ALL the words in this 500 page TOME. No way. " SO he randomly flips thru the book and shoots words from all over it...My son knows them, can define and use in a sentence. SOOOO my friend....keep up the Worldy Wise and all that reading..because I KNOW you see the benefits...But how great is that. He says to me, "Mom, you ruined me.....all this vocab and Latin gave me too MUCH knowledge. I can't do the assignment now!"
    ( We've used "Advanced Vocab from Greek Roots" and honestly, that has boosted my kids' vocab too)

    Well, friend, as usual I write a novel here! Your posts are always great and I always feel there's a conversation going on in the combox!!

    I found some Real Sci on amazon...the Earth and Space and the Bio...I'll look further into that and see about it as the year progresses...thanks for all the rec!

    I am spending the rest of the week finalizing the organization of our schoolroom....I'm way behind in this, this year.....
    Havea great day!!


  3. I am so amazed at all you are doing. I can assure you your children are doing really well. You provide so many wonderful learning opportunities for your children.
    My daughter does do the same Math program; otherwise I don't know what she is doing. I am sure how she is doing things now she is in Australia. I do know they will be taking more field trips.
    I love following what you do with your family; you are remarkable parents.
    Blessings to you all!

  4. Your plans look great, as always! If I could get my kids to go to even 1 of your adventures a month, I would love it and so would they so don't worry, your kids are learning alot! Now it's just me that is worried my kids aren't doing enough/learning enough! :) I guess we parents are all very similar when it comes to teaching our kids! We worry sometimes too much and don't give ourselves enough credit!

    My oldest is taking an IEW online class this year after spending the last 2 years in an IEW class taught by a local teacher. I'm hoping the newness of online classes will be a good transition for my daughter and me! Have a great school year!