August 21st, 2008 Our Home School Plan
Several friends have asked me recently what exactly we are going to use for material in this home schooling adventure we are embarking upon. And while I joked in my previous entry about pretending to be prepared for our year, the truth is that I have been researching like a mad woman since April.
For the past five months I have eaten, slept and breathed home school curriculum, pored over catalogs, read countless reviews, asked every home schooler I know about their personal curriculum choices, compared and contrasted this and that program, and have really, really loved the entire process. Those of you who know me well are aware that I live to research – it is glorious fun to me. Surely someday I will figure out how to market this ability to obsess on something so singularly, but for now hopefully my family will enjoy the benefits of my having peeked down every curriculum rabbit hole I could possibly find in an effort to put together the best plan (that I could create) for our particular family’s schooling needs this year.
I will ask my hunk of a webmaster to post fancy links and permanent pics of our various choices over to the right so that anyone who might be interested can see info about our curriculum choices long after this particular post is gone from this front page. And while it sounds rather arrogant to presume folks might be even the littlest bit interested in such granular information, well, the fact is, I have answered this question several times already, so surely there are more people out there who maybe will benefit from being able to access that.
That said, here’s the rundown of our current choices in no particular order. It should be stated up front that much, but not all, of what we are using was guided by suggestions and curriculum structure outlined in Susan Wise Bauer’s (for those of you who are wondering, no – I don’t think she’s related to Jack at all) text, The Well-Trained Mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about Classical Education.
Bible: The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos
Math: Singapore Math
History: beginning the year with a short study of Texas History from various sources including State History from a Christian Perspective ; spending the majority of the year completing Year 4 of our Classical History Cycle “1850 to Modern Times via Biblioplan. Biblioplan is a literature-based history program which allows you to tailor your material to the ages you are teaching, and provides a huge list of “living” books at all levels to choose from. Our “spine” will be Joy Hakim’s History of Us, Volumes 6-10.
Latin: Mars Hill’s Latin Primer, 4th grade
Composition: Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing With Ease
Science: outsourced via the Heard Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
Art: outsourced via a local Co-op: Drawing I, 4th and 2nd grade; Young Children’s Art, K (I won’t provide links here, but email me for more information if you are local, and interested.)
Phonics/Reading for Nicolas: finish up 100 Lessons, begin Explode the Code, Reading Pathways, and ongoing memorization of all his phonograms to hopefully provide him a secure foundation for lifelong reading.
Literature: this is a vast subject so I will only skim the surface. and admittedly, I have not selected books for the entire year yet. Abigail (4th grader) and Jonathan (2nd grader) will study the same texts for the practical reasons of both time, and because Jonathan’s reading level and comprehension are almost equal to hers anyway. We will start with Five Children and It, follow that with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and also enjoy Dickens’ A Christmas Carol before Christmas.
Nicolas, while welcome to listen to these above selections read aloud, will enjoy literature on a much younger level, and I am choosing to concentrate on Hans Christian Anderson, Kipling, and Aesop with him.
I have not included every last piece of material we will use this year, but if anyone has more questions I will gladly answer those. Truly, we are all so excited about this year at home. The older two children have worked hard on summer math since beginning of July, and Nicolas has progressed amazingly in his reading level/awareness in that time as well. Aside from their scholastic improvements, we have already had countless opportunities to learn about how to better live together and love each other.
Though we have currently begun about half of what is listed above, the plan is to be at “full school” by Tuesday following Labor Day. I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.