Monday, August 2, 2010

Curriculum part 1: Kid's Curriculum

Once upon a time my kids were in public school and I dreamed of homeschooling. I read Susan Wise Baurer's The Well Trained Mind
and I was inspired. I planned weeks and weeks of lesson plans, activities, and field trips all alone at home while they were gone all day. When time came to start homeschooling the first few weeks went great; the kids thought it was going to be non-stop days full of fun. Then the reality hit that they were going to actually have to do schoolwork, that they were going to need to obey and even that they were going to be required to get along with each other! The plans I'd made still worked, after a few weeks  months of adjustment. We learned alot about each other and how to be diligent even when we didn't feel like it. They even realized we could work hard and still have fun.
Our next homeschooling year started somewhat uneventfully. I'd taken time that summer to make lesson plans and pull together another year of schooling with a classical approach. Our curriculum was ecclectic but I felt better about my grasp of my childrens' academic abilities. I had some weeks of lesson plans ready and a vague idea of how I would pull together the rest of the year's lesson plans later on. Then life got really interesting.
September found us weathering the storm--literally. Hurricane Ike hit the Galveston area and we rode out the winds and rain and electricity-free weeks. That was a bit of a hiccup in our schooling, but we read about hurricanes and talked and wrote about hurricanes. We took care of about a dozen tadpoles, we cooked outside on our deck to the tune of a generator keeping our freezer full of food going. We read many books from the library and didn't use any of the online resources I'd planned on using. I started feeling icky and thought it was food poisoning. It was our next hiccup in schooling plans- I was pregnant with a surprise blessing and in the midst of morning sickness. We did our best to keep school rolling through pregnancy, church ministry, welcoming our precious new baby home and moving from Texas to Kansas.
I know that this coming year will bring plenty of surprises and challenges. These are the plans we have laid for this year. I'm excited for our third year of homeschooling and my kids are too. I'm already amazed at how God is blessing us with school resources here in Kansas, like beautiful art prints to study from a fellow homeschooler.
We'll be using My Father's World and are beginning with the year "Exploration to 1850." My oldest son is in 5th grade and my daughter is in 3rd although they are both reading above their grade level. Math U See will be used by my girl for mastery of multiplication facts and my son will be using Horizons Math. We are trying the Primary and Intermediate Language books recommended by MFW, supplemented with a workbook from BJU Press. We'll be continuing with Handwriting Without Tears, Spelling Power, and English from the Roots Up. We saw dramatic improvements in Charles' writing after using Writing Strands. I want to use some online resources to reinforce all these subjects with fun activities. Art study and practice, music and composer study, foreign language and crafting also figure into our plans. We will be memorizing the book of James as a family as well as continuing family Bible and worship time. We will be regulars at our public library, but that is the same whether it is school time or not! As for organizing all that I have a feeling I'm really going to like MFW teacher guide. We will also be using a modified workbox system to pull it all together, and a posted daily schedule with a specific breakfast time for my girl who would rather sleep-in! The kids each have a student planner with their daily and weekly routines as do I based on those from Donna Young.
Whew! That sounds like a busy school year, but we are excited to get started! Heart of the Matter Online is not only the home of this blog hop but also hosts an incredible online homeschool conference that is coming up the second week of August. I attended last year and am still reaping the benefits of the wisdom shared then. I still haven't been able to attend a homeschool conference in person, but I really was encouraged by their conference last year.
My next curriculum post will be about the academic and personal goals I have for myself this year. I'm going to challenge myself to dream big!


Grace Wheeler said...

Corrie I'm doing the same blog hop! How cool! Looks like you have a great year planned! I'm gonna need your wisdom and advice when my kiddos are older...for now it's so great to see what you're using!

Mommy Reg said...

The hiccups last year showed you that you don't need text books to learn and get an education. I love how you were able to take life and turn it into school That is the sign of an amazing homeschool mom. I have enjoyed peeking into your homeschool journey as you blog about it over the past two years. The plans you have are great and I can't wait to see what God does during your journey this year.

Denise said...

I am enjoying checking out everyone's blogs on the blog hop! I am now following and look forward to reading more posts. Looking forward to a great year!