The School Skinny
Masses want to know just what it is I’ll be filling my young Thinglets minds with come time to start school.
Well, maybe masses is a gross overstatement but I decided it couldn’t hurt to share what it is that’s in my pea brain and let you in on my curriculum secrets.
The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing! I am the first of my friends to tackle the homeschooling adventure so I am the pioneer! For better or worse I will be plowing through and reporting back to them about what works and doesn’t. OOoo boy, I’m a guinea pig.
My crazy plan for this coming school year follows.
Moving Beyond the Page: a theme based, comprehensive curriculum that I will use for both 1st and 2nd grades at the same time. It is not a faith based curriculum but I like teaching in themes because throughout each unit I can incorporate any amount of additional teaching that I so desire. Though, with the new baby that plan was a complete flop last year! Themes like “community” and “animal habitats” give me a jumping off point and the workbooks have suggestions for older and younger children. This curriculum covers most of the standards I need to meet for the state of Idaho for Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and it includes Math and Reading. It does not however, teach a child to read and only introduces math concepts.
Abeka Phonics and Reading: I purchased the phonics flashcards and the Letters and Sounds workbook as well as half of the years readers. This will be my first year with Abeka curriculum and I have mixed feelings. The familiarity of having read those same readers as a kid might have contributed to my decision to give these books a try with my oldest. He is having trouble gaining confidence in reading and has an intense need to know something through reading so the Explode the Code workbooks I used last year frustrated him and created more of a fight than I felt necessary. Afterall our mission statement is “Develop the drive to pursue truth…”! The colorless, tedious phonics books I forced him to do last year did nothing for his drive so I choose something more up his alley. He tells me that his favorite school “subject” is the “I Learn About God” readers from Rod andStaff that I found at the thrift store. I am hoping the Abeka readers will help peak his interest and give him confidence as he works through a corresponding phonics workbook. Now I’m rambling but I’m thinking out loud since I’ve had close friends who’ve been on both sides of the fence with this curriculum. Some say it’s great, others felt that it is confusing and does not present phonics blends in a logical order. I guess I will get to see first hand. The other thing I know is that every kid is different, what works for one may be completely a flop with another.
Explode the Code: My helper teacher is one of the friends who does not prefer the way Abeka orders the phonics and therefore has encouraged me to continue with ETC so I will purchase an online subscription to give my son a little “break” from the traditional seatwork.
RightStart Math: I like the way that RightStart and other curriculum like it teaches math as a concept not simply as memorized facts. I did not learn this way initially so teaching it has been a bit of a challenge but I’m learning to group numbers for easy calculating and see concepts through play! My son who is going into the 2nd grade is already multiplying double digits in his head (though he doesn’t know that’s what it is). My Kindergartner understands the process of addition and subtraction just from playing the games with us at the end of last year.
A Reason for Handwriting: I’ve noticed that my oldest is not careful when composing his letters. I purchased this handwriting course in order to give him a “reason” to improve his penmanship. I am really excited about this workbook since it presents a verse a week. At the end of the week he will copy the verse onto a page with a border to color and he will choose someone to bless by mailing them his finished work.
Handwriting Without Tears: My Kindergartner is a hands on learning who is excited by shapes and loves to draw. I chose this curriculum for its interactive approach to handwriting. It is also good for the visual learner since it draws attention to the similarities between letters. For instance the “magic C” is used in G, D etc.
I have some incidentals to add as well but I will review the books and enter them in another post!
Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts, I would enjoy your support as well as constructive criticism since, as I said, I’m winging it! I am relying on the advice of others at this point since I have no personal experience to go off of yet!