April 26, 2011

Fall Curriculum

This is the end in a three part series.

First I shared how we save money on curriculum by planning ahead.
Then I wrote about our summer plans.

It is finally time I write about our decisions for next year. The process began as an analysis of what we were currently doing, what we should keep and what should change.

I will begin with what we will be keeping the same.

Math:
We use Alpha Omega for math: specifically Horizons Math.  We used Horizons for Z in Kindergarten, but felt like it lacked word problems and we thought a unit approach would be better for him.  So, last fall we tried another math program, but it drove us both crazy.  I realized that a kindergartner does not need word problems and that the spiral approach was actually very beneficial for Z.   So, this over eager homeschool mom took a step back to where we had been and discovered how well the original curriculum worked. In the fall, Z will begin second grade math, T will start the second half of Kindergarten math, and J may or may not begin the first Kindergarten book.

Handwriting:
We will continue to use A Reason For Handwriting.  It is simple, the kids really enjoy it, and it gets the job done.  Next year Z will be using book B (2nd grade) and then T (transition to cursive).  T started on book A this week and we will wait a bit to decide on J.

Science:
All of us have liked using the Apolgia  science book on Astronomy this year.  Next year we will study Botany.  These books are excellent quality, simple format, Biblically based, and very easy to modify.

Phonics:
T will keep working through her Abeka Phonics book.  J is already reading, but I have not begun her on the phonics book and readers because of her age (she is barely 4).  She will begin those sometime in the next six months.  Abeka tends to have a rigorous stereotype to it.  However, both Z and T have really enjoyed learning to read with their products.  Also, Z used their first grade Language book and he liked it a lot.   The curriculum gives the children a super solid base in phonics and writing.

Spelling:
I made up my own first grade spelling curriculum for Z this year as Abeka's seemed much too intense.  I plan to use the same lists and materials with T next year when she is ready.

Now for the new stuff:

Z will move on to Rod and Staff for grammar and writing.  I wanted to find a curriculum for the post phonics elementary years that teaches a bit more of the why and allows for application.  After reading some reviews and talking to some fellow homeschoolers we are going to give this curriculum a try. Z will begin with Rod and Staff Preparing to Build Level 2 in the fall.

This past year we used My Father's World for our history and Bible study.  There were some good elements to this curriculum, but it did not really suit our family.  I could write (and might, in the future) a review of the program we used.  But that is not for this post.  Simply speaking, we began searching for something with more reading, both aloud and for Z, more history content, less hands-on projects, and a deeper Bible study. 

In addition, I am picky when it comes to the contents of books.  Thus, I was looking for a company which was particular and careful about the literature they picked. 

We are going to be using Heart of Dakota this coming fall for history, Z's reading and spelling, Bible, and our read-aloud's.  Specifically, Z will be in the Bigger Hearts program.  The girls will probably listen in, but they will not have a formal history curriculum for another couple years.  Z will deepen his American history knowledge by focusing on biographies of important figures in our country's history next year. I am very excited by the strong literature and flexibility this curriculum appears to have.

 And we will begin with Drawn into the heart of Reading (also through Heart of Dakota) level 2/3 for his reading.  This curriculum guides the child through the nine different genres of books and helps them learn to be an active participant in their reading. 

If you happen to be interested in Heart of Dakota (or just curious) I would strongly recommend you request a free catalog from them. I was a bit confused browsing their website as to how it all fit together, but the catalog was excellent in layout and it really organizes the vision of the family who developed Heart of Dakota.  The website is very good, however, for looking at the books included in the various curriculum packages as it lists the reading level, book description, and genre.

We may add Character Building Kingdom Stories to our Bible studies, but we will wait and see how the Heart of Dakota's Bible works for us by itself.

I am sure there will be updates in the fall as to how this all turns out.  Between now and then I will continue to look for many of our books used and anticipate next year.

1 comment:

The Musacchio Project said...

So in three years, I will be coming to you for a list. Just an FYI.