This past weekend was our local Homeschool Expo; I wrapped up the majority of my shopping for the upcoming school year while I was there! I still have a few miscellaneous books that I need to buy off of Amazon, but we are otherwise set for the year. I am pretty pleased with the way everything has come together, although there was a few moments there when I was planning and researching that my head was seriously hurting. 😛
We are doing year-round homeschooling, so although we have taken a couple of short breaks this summer, we have not had an extended one that would clearly mark when we “go back to school.” I am going to consider the beginning of September as our new year, since Haden is two weeks away from being finished with this year’s Math, although he won’t finish his Language Arts until around October. But whatever.
So here it is! A summary of everything we will be using this year. 🙂
Language Arts & Math
We will still be using Time4Learning, because we love it so much! I really feel like it is the best fit for Haden (& me!), especially because he is a pre-reader, and the online lessons are a great way to introduce new concepts to him without me having to walk him through everything. Then, using the Teacher’s Guide for each unit, I plan activities to enforce the things he has been learning and to make sure that he isn’t confused about anything. We use the recommended books list for each unit, and we have especially been enjoying some of the living math books.
Plus, I’ll be using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book: Problem Solving A to Z that I bought last year, since we never got around to really using it.
I’m moving AWAY from so much classical literature this year. This past year I used a book list of classical literature for his grade level and many of the ones we read, we just didn’t like all that much.We are going to continue pulling books from our Time4Learning lists, as well as other lists. Probably some of the ones I have pinned on Pintrest.
We did enjoy our Mr. Popper’s Penguins Literature Unit from Confessions of a Homeschooler, so I am planning to work in her units on Little House in the Big Woods, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Stuart Little.
We are picking up where co-op left off and doing Handwriting Without Tears at home this year. I actually sat in on their workshop at the Expo this past weekend (the only one I actually attended!), and listening to them talk more about the method behind the curriculum really solidified my choice for me. Their curriculum goes up through 5th grade and I highly doubt I will be using anything else. Along with the 1st Grade Teacher’s Guide & the My Printing Book, we will be using the Rock, Tap and Learn CD & the Slate Chalkboard during lessons. I also bought a big stack of their double lined paper for Haden to use on anything else that he does, so that he won’t have different paper line sizes confusing him and making writing harder.
If I had known that I might score freebies, I totally would have went to more workshops. 😛 I got some Pencils for Little Hands and a sample pack of FLIP crayons. Haden really loves the little pencils, they seem much easier to write with and hold.
I’m pretty excited about starting this one – Road Trip USA! Road Trip USA is a U.S. Geography/History notebooking curriculum, that uses National Geographic’s United States Atlas for Young Explorers as it’s core resource. The curriculum is broken down by state and includes state facts and history, famous people, fun projects that tie in, and cooking projects. I’ll keep you posted on this one! I really wanted to give it a try because it looked fun and it is very affordable, but I do expect to have to do some tweaking to it. I’m just hoping that it will be minimal. I plan to do this over a 2-year period. I bought a new wall map, a magnetic USA puzzle, Color and Learn: Colonial America & Wee Sing America to go along with it.
I pieced together our science this year after deciding that we wanted to focus on Nature Study, Astronomy, and Plants/Gardening.
The Handbook of Nature Study Blog has a bunch of great curriculum and if you sign up for updates, you will get tons of ideas and freebie notebooking pages. We will be working through her Outdoor Challenges, using the Handbook of Nature Study, by Anne Botsford Comstock and a bunch of Peterson First Guides.
Along with utilizing internet resources, especially Pintrest, we will be using these books in Science …
Gardening with Children
The Kids of the Night Sky: Official Book on Skywatching
National Geographic: 13 Planets
We will also be doing more Animal Classification this year as a tie in with our Road Trip U.S.A. Each state has animal cards that will be classified and sorted onto our “Animal Wall.”
Even though we are breaking from our yoga at the moment, I suspect that we will be doing it off and on throughout the next year. I really don’t worry too much about my kids getting enough exercise, because they are so active anyways! I have started doing workout videos most mornings and the kids have been happy to join in with me, so we will continue to keep doing that. So far it seems to go a long way towards making me feel better, even if I can’t make it through a whole workout! Skinny does not = fit. Just so you know.
Also, I printed out these P.E. cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler, which seem like an easy way to throw in extra exercise.
Draw Write Now: Book One (On the Farm – Kids and Critters – Storybook Characters) – Haden really wants to be able to draw things, but gets frustrated that his pictures don’t turn out as he would like them. The Draw Write Now books break down how to draw things in such an easy and simple way! I’ll be learning how to draw chickens and whatnot with him. 😉 If he enjoys working through this book, I’ll likely continue buying more. There are 8 total in the series.
The Usborne Art Coloring Book – This book is full of pictures based on famous works of art that Haden can color. I thought this seems like an easy way to dip our toes into art appreciation without doing serious studies on it, because he just seems to young for it.
We will be doing cooking projects of some sort once a weekish. Some weeks I will be using Road Trip U.S.A. for this, but on the weeks that we don’t have one from our Geography, I will probably rely on finding something on Pintrest.
Since Addison has been getting more involved in school, I decided to put together a little bit for her this year. Nothing extravagant, and mostly just to entertain and distract her. She has really enjoyed keeping her Yoga notebook, so when I recently stumbled upon these printouts for toddlers
on the 1+1+1=1 blog, I thought making her a Tot Time Notebook would be fun! So I did. 😛
I’m also adding Do-a-Dot pages, which are so easy to find for free on the net. Addison loves do-a-dot pages. And FYI, you can save money and skip spending $12 on a pack of 6 Do-a-Dot markers and buy Bingo Markers at the Dollar Tree instead. At the expo I bought I Can Paste!
and some new lacing cards for her, so I think her workboxes are pretty well set with things to occupy her when she needs it.
[box] So what are your plans for this year? I always love reading about what other people are doing![/box]