Monthly Archives: October 2016

Homeschool Year 2: The curriculum

No beautiful pictures here, though oh, do I have many! So, I obviously have little interest or time for blogs and computers. This online record of mine may or may not pick up again in the near future. I hope it does…though life is full, and screens are not a priority or as enjoyable as everything else that is going on. But in the meantime, here is our curriculum for our second year. I’m quite happy with it, and I don’t see it evolving much during the year.

Keep in mind that my children are often self-taught, or need minimal instruction from me. They also do not have television, video games, cell phones, I-whatevers, and other gadgets, so they do not need the entertaining texts that many homeschool and regular school curricula offer. They are 6 and 8, and would be in grades 2 and 3.

Math: Study Time series, grades 3 and 4. They each do one lesson per day, four times per week. We generally skip the weekly checkups, unless I feel like it’s moving quickly. Glory was doing Spunky, Grade 2, but it was rather repetitive (too much drill). Study Time definitely covers a lot, but they re-visit subjects extensively, which keeps the lessons from being too monotonous. A workbook plus test booklet cost about $16 per student (I didn’t get the teacher’s manual). This is not a scripted book, and is well-suited for the student who prefers to teach himself with minimal “teacher” intervention. There are no characters or entertainment (though I did make the apple pie recipe given as a word problem, which is my sort of entertainment).

Spelling: Practical Spelling, Grade 3 for Glory. This is a simple book of, well, practical words. She spends about 5-10 minutes per lesson three days per week, with a test once per week. (I also assign points for neat handwriting). Emmett does Vocabulary in Action by Loyola Press. This book has much more challenging, yet still useful, words. There are only perhaps 6 chapters, so we’re spending a month or so on each, and will finish early. Apparently there are online resources for students (such as crossword puzzles) but we haven’t investigated these. There are no tests (these come with the teacher’s manual?) so I have to make those up.  Again, these books are very inexpensive.

GrammarClimbing to Good English series, Grades 3 and 4. These books are great if you want your child to learn grammar well, and without fluff. There is also plenty of opportunity for practicing handwriting in the exercises. It is not heavily religious. It is not scripted, and is, again, well-suited for the self-taught who learn quickly. And yes, they are inexpensive!

Cursive: We use a 1980s textbook of the Palmer method. It is a basic book of worksheets, similar to what most of us probably did in school. They love practicing cursive! I got this book from the library, as it is way out of print, so it was free.

ScienceHandbook of Nature Study by Comstock .ISBN: 978-0801493843 Make sure you don’t get the print-on-demand version, which looks terrible and is incomplete. You can also download this book for free! As this is not a book one would read front to back, we use Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon to guide us with what to do each week. You could use one of these resources without the other. You could also revisit the same lessons in Exploring for several years, easily adapting it as necessary for your child’s level. We are aiming to study science two or three times per week, though we’re having a bit of a time starting up.

Art: This is informal. Being an artist, I’d like to structure it a bit more, having an organized art lesson once a week or so, but that is unrealistic right now. I have an art cabinet accessible at all times, and they make things literally every day.

Extracurricular: Piano lessons and Cub Scouts for Emmett, and a once-weekly art/craft/outdoor school that both attend. That is plenty for us! And, of course, we spend lots of time outdoors, at home, in nature, and at the park.

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