Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Homeschool Curriculum 2013

I share our curriculum plan here to inspire and encourage, not to guilt anyone into thinking they should do it like us.  Every homeschool family is unique and there are a variety of ways to homeschool and many wonderful resources to choose from.
This year, we are trying Classical Conversations for the first time.
This whiteboard, a fun freebie I scored when our church was throwing out old junk, sits on our homeschool table and contains all the info the kids will memorize each week.  Each week, every student is required to give a presentation.  For the little kids, this is like Show n' Tell, but for the older kids, it is more like a speech, requiring thought and preparation.

The Foundations guide is ONE book, containing all the info the kids will learn from age 4 until the 6th grade.  Each half-page contains the week's worth of memory grammar.  There are 3 cycles of information so my 3 younger kids will end up going through all of the cycles twice; they will know the grammar well!
(I jotted down some notes to remember which color I am using for each subject on the white board and where each subject is placed so that I can be consistent each week).

My wonderful director, Kristi, totally spoils her tutors with laminated schedules, maps, etc.
The schedule contains the plan for our 3 hour school time together each Tuesday morning.

Kristi blessed each of the tutors with monogrammed Thirty-One bags specifically for CC.  These totes are LOADED with fun school supplies and projects for the kids to do.

Our geography and history focus this year (Cycle 2) is Europe.

Kristi made up little geography folders for each of the students so that they can trace the maps each week when we learn our new geography grammar.


I borrowed the 200+ Timeline Cards from Kristi not only so I could show the kids the picture that correlates to the Timeline info they are memorizing each week, but also because we are thirsty for the background info contained in the Timeline song.  I played the Timeline song (on our CC memory work cds) on our family camping trip a couple of weeks ago and now the kids beg for it every morning while I make breakfast.  My husband has surprised me by getting really into it and he is always googling different events from the song to find out more.  Now we have the cards on hand to study as we learn the song!

We have a Fine Arts lesson each week at CC.  There is a 6-week focus on drawing, a 6-week focus on playing the tin whistle and learning music theory, a 6-week focus on orchestra, and a 6-week focus on studying great artists from history.

A friend gave me this book as a gift and I can't wait to delve in.  This will be our first read-aloud to enjoy together after lunch and before Rest Time each day.  It's not part of the CC curriculum but it follows along perfectly with the Cycle 2 work on the Middle Ages this year.
For Phonics/English Ali and Jer will each do 2 pages per day in the Explode the Code Series.
Ali will also do 2 pages in her Prescripts Cursive Writing Book.
Jer will practice handwriting by copying sentences from Bob books.
For Math, I have several Math workbooks we've collected over the years and they will each do about 1 hour of Math per day in their grade level.
Daddy reads a few chapters of the Bible to the kids each evening before they go to bed.  We will practice Bible memory work and do a morning devotional over breakfast.
For reading, we will be doing the Book-It program again, with monthly reading goals.  Ali loves to read, so it won't be hard for her to read a lot of chapter books.  Jer will continue to build his skills by reading aloud to a parent or sibling for 15-20 minutes per day.  One book that is perfect for first graders is the Bible reader from MFW.  I plan to have him read from that daily.  I will read aloud to the kids after lunch.
Justus will not be doing anything formal beyond his CC memory work and practicing a little presentation for school each week.  He recently taught himself to read simple words, so sometimes he enjoys reading word lists off the white board.  He likes to practice writing his name and loves the little electronic handwriting game we got at a yard sale this summer.  Katri will be coloring pictures, doing puzzles, magnet dolls, watching Dora, etc. during our school time.
Borrowing from the incredible wisdom I've gained from Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, this is how I plan to structure our school days this year:
Wake before the kids for prayer/Bible reading
Shower and dress
Kids wake and get dressed, make beds, use the restroom, and come upstairs
Play the Timeline song while Ali puts breakfast on the table
Practice Scripture memory and read a devotional while the kids eat breakfast
Meet in the living room to review the grammar for the week (use songs, review games, hand motions, etc. to make the memory work fun) approx. 20-30 min.
Work on Math lessons (1 hour)
Recess and snack
Phonics/Handwriting/English time (1 hour)
Reading (30 min)
Read-Aloud time
Rest Time
Free Time
Brief Review of weekly grammar (5-10 min)
We are on the online community of CC, called CC Connected, so I can go on and pull up the computer-version memory work tutorials.  Since my kids love computer games, this will be another fun way they can learn their memory work during their free time.  I'm glad that all of the memory work is on cds and online so that if I get sick, school can still go on without my voice being tortured, like last year!
Since most of the memory work is learned through songs, I don't feel the need to include extra music lessons.  Because we can't afford piano lessons, swim club membership, or ballet right now, our schedule is pretty simple and that's okay with me!  The kids will likely be involved in Lego Club and a creative writing class offered at the library this year, Ali will be in AWANA, and they will all be ecstatic about homeschooling swimming lessons this fall, but we will take each activity in stride as our schedule allows.
In my CC class, I have 8 students, ages 8-12.  Ali will be in my class this year.
My boys will be in my friend Lori's class with kids ages 5-7 and KK will be in the nursery with my friend Mindy and all the little tots in our group.
I haven't decided if we'll do school 3 or 4 mornings per week in addition to the morning of school together with our group.  I guess we'll see how things go.
I'm excited for a great year and can't wait to learn alongside the kids!


thehomespunheart said...

Yay!!!! So glad you are doing CC - we love it and have been so blessed! Week 2 tomorrow here :) Hope it is a blessing to you and your family. Monica

Thia said...

This looks great! Have a good year!

Michele Smith said...

You are amazing! I can feel the excitement from here! :)

Mrs. Taft said...

I was a CC tutor one year! :) Good luck!

LS said...

Did you enjoy being a tutor Mrs. Taft?

Anonymous said...

Kristi is amazing and we miss her in CA terribly! Congratulations on your CC journey. It really is a huge blessing!

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