It's that time of year again, I've been feverishly planning and organizing our school year and laying out our 2014-2015 curriculum this weekend! I have three in school officially this year with a 3 yr old and a 6 mo. old trailing behind, so we'll be busy, which is life as usual, but we're also making a few big changes this year.
Hero thinks it's funny, but I get just as excited about the new books and notebooks, and new crayons and colored pencils as the kids do! But there are also things like a clean slate progress report and attendance record that make me happy too!
Our 2014-2015 Curriculum Choices:
We have never really had an official art class before this year, so I'm excited but also a little apprehensive to know how it will go. I've decided to do it just once a week (to start with, at least). If it were up to Butterfly, we'd be doing it all day, every day, and you'd have to dig us out of a pile of hardened paints, glues and paper scraps by the end of the month! We're going to use I Can Do All Things by Harry Stebbing as our official curriculum (183 lessons) and I hope to supplement with some See the Light or Creating a Masterpiece DVDs that I picked up at homeschool conventions this summer.
We try to incorporate missions each year, as that is part of our life and part of what we want to be the heartbeat of our kids as adults. We love the Torchlighters Series of biographical DVDs. Each one is approximately 30 minutes of cartoon biography of the missionary, along with actual documentary information at the end, and their website offers free downloads of coloring sheets and extra activities. They're great for kids, but we adults enjoy them too, and it has a Spanish tract and subtitles so we can use it to share the Gospel when we get a chance to show it to friends and neighbors! We're getting John Wesley to add to our collection this year.
We're also adding missionary stories to our lunchtime read aloud list. Ron Snell has been a missionary in Peru, Mexico and Indonesia, and we're looking forward to reading his 3 book set, starting with It's a Jungle Out There!: Book One of the Rani Adventures.
Prior to this year we've had family Bible time and Bible based copywork/handwriting, but this year, we wanted a curriculum specifically focused on teacher good character. I had thought about doing We Choose Virtues, but decided to go instead with Dollie Freeman's Discipline, a Character curriculum using Scripture, because I already had it. It includes study time, prayer time, definitions, copywork and memorization as you concentrate on 12 different qualities for 3 weeks at a time.
I will enhance the discipleship study with stories from Portraits of Integrity- A Family Treasury by Marilyn Boyer (which I also already had) and I might add a Write Through the Bible course for the older ones if I see we need it.
In the last week Butterfly, all on her own, has come up with and executed 3 different entrepreneurial schemes: day 1: yard sale, day 2: teaching a Japanese writing class and charging tuition per person, day 3: selling original artwork… But even before that, we had decided it was time to do a Personal Finance class with them, so we'll be going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior curriculum, which we purchased with the story CDs at his studios when we visited Nashville, TN this summer. I'm excited to teach the kids the principles for working, giving, saving and spending that have helped us as married adults to much!
For Kindergarten Phonics with Sir, I will be using Alpha-Phonics: A Primer For Beginning Readers by Samuel L. Blumenfeld as the main text. It's not very attractive, but it is effective. I'm also toying with the idea of starting him on Explode the Code in the second semester. We'll see.
For Flower, we'll be using Phonics & English 1 Worktext and Practice books by BJU Press. And for Butterfly, I'm trying something new – starting her in on the Explode the Code/Book Four. I've heard about these for a while, but was turned off by the too-childish art. Finally decided to give it a try.
Not everyone can or should piece together their curriculum like I am doing this year. (Warning: It can make you crazy!) If you are doing something different, a package deal or video instruction or co-ops, or something else, I applaud you. You are doing the best that you can, and if something doesn't work for your child, you can change what you are doing. The important thing is to be involved in their life and to give them a good education.
I am sharing our choices with you because I know how helpful it has been to me to know what others are doing, and to get their feedback on certain resources. In turn, I hope to be that help for you. The majority of our curriculum choices for 2014-2015 are new (to us) choices, so I also want to ask for your input. If you have suggestions for any of the resources I've mentioned, please share in the comments. I'd love to learn from you.
And if you'll come back tomorrow, I'll be sharing our choices for Math, History, and Science. If we survive our first day that is!