Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeschooling Schedule and Curriculum Debriefing

So... forever ago ;) I was going to tell you how I liked our schedule from last year and if we kept it up the whole year. And curriculum as well. I think just about everybody across the states has started back to school, except for us. ;) We are going to take just a little bit longer to settle in (we've only been back for just over a month a half!) and then jump in. :)

Things were so crazy before we left I also wasn't able to get everything ordered and even researched. But I'll get back to that after our debrief. Here is my post last year about our schedule and curriculum from 2012!

Let's talk about schedule first! (And I'd love to hear from you on some questions at the end of the post! :))

I didn't include in the schedule that I posted that in between each of BabyBoy's subjects I worked with Little in the same subjects and worked with Littlest too. At their age I do more learning through playing (through puzzles, blocks, flash cards, etc.) so they don't even realize they're learning. It's just fun! And I want to keep it as fun as possible with the others too.

We did not follow this schedule exactly the whole school year. We did not begin school at the exact same time every day. It is awesome if you can do that. We didn't. ;) Some days it would take us a little longer to get started and some days we were able to start earlier. I also did not end up doing Handwriting during naptime each day. It ended up being easy to just get it done at the end, didn't take long and I could have him correct things that needed to be corrected right then. That way he (and I :)) didn't have to worry about it later after naptime/quiet time each day. Some days, if he missed more math problems than I liked, then I would make up another worksheet for him to do or write something. Or he would rest or read.

Ok... curriculum! A tough subject. Ha ;) Get it? Curriculum. Subject. Pun. So many out there makes it hard to decide. Nevermind ;-)

1. Reading/Spelling
    All About Spelling*

I will continue All About Spelling for BabyBoy and All About Reading for Little and also start with Newest Edition. I had been teaching phonics and reading to our little people before we started these but I like how they teach the phonograms and concepts. It has been great to build their foundation and teach more "whys" and "hows."

2. Math
    Math U See - Alpha

I will continue Math U See for all the littles. I will start Primer with Little and do some of both Primer and Alpha with Newest Edition and continue Alpha with BabyBoy. I really like how you start off with a fun way of teaching place value which makes it an easy and not so daunting concept. I got a little concerned that BabyBoy was going to get too used to using the manipulatives and wouldn't be able to complete problems without them - even though I was told they eventually memorize and do not need them - so I started teaching him how to do problems without the blocks. We also made flashcards, which worked really well (I was a flashcarder all the way through school ;)). (I had to write new cards without the answers on the backs of the cards because he was getting them correct so quickly, I thought he could see the answer behind them! ;))

3. Handwriting
    A Reason for Handwriting

I like it and we will continue for next year. It is nicely laid out, they get good practice on each letter with each letter made fully out of dots and then just the starting dot. As I checked them, I would erase the ones that weren't quite there ;) and we talked about making sure he carefully made sure he was doing each one well. I am looking forward to Bible verses being the copy work in the next book and starting the rest of the littles on it too. :) 

4. Bible
    1. Book borrowed from a friend that has chronological Bible stories and while you tell the story the littles           draw pictures or build playdough to remind them what the stories are about.
    2. Memory Verses
    3. Devotional

I am in the market for a new Bible curriculum book. I've heard of another book where the littles draw pictures as you read but am not sure I found the one yet. I liked the other one I had borrowed as it showed in the book how the littles could draw each picture - what shapes made up each drawing. We didn't do the stories that used dough though we read many of them and made up our own pictures for some. We used and loved ABC memory verse cards that my dear friend Jill's sister made and posted about. Then BabyBoy started AWANA and we switched to learning those verses.

5. Geography
    Galloping The Globe
    Eat Your Way Around The World

I did not love Galloping the Globe. I liked the intro pages but it was just too much work for me ;) to get all of the supplemental reading/etc. together. I love the idea of reading books either based in, written by, or stories about the particular country we would study though I would like a curriculum that has everything laid out and included. As much as I would love to go to the library every week to check out all of the supplemental material it was just too much for me. I would rather purchase a curriculum that has a library with it, we will get plenty of use out of it! ;)

6. Science
    Discovering God's Creation
        (goes along with Galloping The Globe) (I purchased teacher's manual and student workbook from      
        Christianbook dot com for $24.95 but doesn't appear to be available at many retailers right now.)

I did not love this either. It can be connected with Galloping the Globe; as you do lessons it corresponds to Discovering God's Creation lessons. It just seemed a little busy for me. Too much text, a little jumbled on the student worksheets/etc. Maybe I didn't give it a fair amount of time. The few lessons that we did were neat, though it still felt like too much text and we didn't complete the entire lesson. I would love a curriculum that is succinct, easy to follow, lessons easily laid out, and connected to the Bible as much as possible. 

7. Reading Time
    We choose random books that we already have in our little library.

I would love to use books/literature connected to their other lessons. 

And the most important thing is aside from academics. I've mentioned before that I have always been big on academics but the most important thing is teaching Biblical/Godly characteristics. The academics will come and maybe easier too. The most important thing to us is teaching and fostering solid character, morals, and philosophy they need to live and love and spread the good news with servants' hearts. They can have both!

Now here is my question for you. Please don't leave yet! I have things in mind and things that I've heard and would love to hear from you!

What did you do for Language Arts in 1st Grade? And I am on the fence for curricula for Bible, Science, History/Geography. I have heard about Apologia for Bible and Science with notebooking kit, Story of the World, and Biblio Plan. It sounded like some are used together? It seems as though Geography would be integrated into History? Side question: How do you think those compare with The Mystery of History? I also heard of a Bible stories curriculum where they draw as you read each day, does that sound familiar, or have you found one you love?

Thank you!!

*I would love and appreciate if you used our affiliate link for the All About Learning series! It will just allow us to buy more curriculum! ;) Thank you!

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