2014/2015 School Plans
Normally by this point in the summer, I’m just about ready to start a new school year. This year? Not so much. I can’t believe it’s August already, or that I have a 6-month-old who’s just about crawling. Anyway, I just placed my last book orders this afternoon, so I don’t even have all my curricula in hand. I’ve done no kind of scheduling or planning on paper for a single subject, and yet we’re looking at a September 2 start date. I’m also trying to get my house ready to put on the market. Sigh. . .
So thinking about curricula is a nice distraction. The Well-Trained Mind is still serving us well as our overall guide to classical education, but I do enjoy the process of picking out just which books we’ll use each year. Grades listed are for simplicity’s sake as I try to teach each of them at the level they’re at. Here’s the plan, such as it is:
For E (age 4.5 and officially a pre-schooler this year):
- I failed pretty miserably at preschool last year (maybe having a new baby had something to do with it?) so we’re still only up to the letter J in our letter of the week plan. We’ll continue with that, or not, as he’s interested. I’d also like to do some Five in a Row books and also have some Kumon tracing books and the Explode the Code primers as he’s getting more interested in writing and learning numbers especially.
For D (almost 10 and in 4th grade):
- Singapore Math 4B/5A and Challenging Word Problems
- MCT language arts: Grammar Island and Practice Island
- Apples and Pears spelling (love that name!): This will be the year we learn to spell. (I say that every year though.)
- Writing? Big question mark with this kid still, but we’ll probably stick with Institute for Excellence in Writing’s All Things Fun and Fascinating
- Finish up Prima Latina and move into Latina Christiana I
For C (age 11 and in 6th grade):
- Singapore Math 5A/5B plus Challenging Word Problems and Life of Fred fractions for fun
- Copywork quotes in cursive for more practice from Presidential Penmanship and other sources
- Apples and Pears spelling
- MCT language arts: Grammar Voyage and Practice Voyage
- Writing will probably be Institute for Excellence in Writing and/or possibly moving into Writing with Skill (I really need to make a decision here.)
- First Form Latin: continuing on, he’s about 1/3 of the way through it
- Second Form Latin: he’s not quite half-way through this at the moment, follow up with Third Form when we get there
- Algebra! I’m not ready for this. . . but I’m going to use a very old copy of Dolciani Algebra Structure and Method and see how it goes, with some Life of Fred on the side.
- Copywork quotes in cursive
- MCT language arts: Magic Lens 2 and 4Practice for grammar
- Writing with Skill level 2
- The Art of Argument (which we hardly touched last year)
All other subjects will be done together, which include:
- Memory work: Using the Simply Charlotte Mason scripture memory system, we’ll see if we can be a little more diligent than last year at memorizing poetry and scriptures.
- Poetry: MCT’s A World of Poetry
- Art/Music: The big boys will all continue to take piano lessons from Poppa this year and E will attend Kindermusik once a week. I’m a cellist so they hear me practice and attend most of my symphony concerts and get a lot of music exposure that way. Beyond that, I’m just not committing to anything this year. I’ll just feel guilty when it doesn’t happen.
- Science: I’m going in a totally different direction this year and trying out Apologia textbook courses–Physical Science for A, and Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for C and D together. A is really into science right now and wants to be challenged, so I’m putting the responsibility for getting it done on his shoulders while I work with the other two. We’ll see how it goes.
- History: I’ll be the first to admit that last school year was less than stellar and I feel like we lost some of our enthusiasm, for history especially, as we dealt with a new baby and trying to move (which we’re still dealing with. Fun, fun!) This year we’ll wrap up our second 4-year cycle of world history using Story of the World 4 as our spine, supplemented with the accompanying Activity Guide, MapTrek, timeline, and exercises from Critical Thinking in United States History. But I want to do a lot more reading in literature and non-fiction books. Somehow we got away from reading a lot last year and it felt like we got a very shallow view of world and American history as we skimmed along. Story of the World 4 is a lot of war, war, and more war, which I want to cover without necessarily dwelling on too much, so I’ll depend on other books for a different view of the time period. When we hit the 1900s, I’m also going to add in activities from Homeschoolinthewoods’s 20th Century Activity Pak. We will probably do history club again with three other families on a monthly basis to share what we’ve learned. One family has stopped homeschooling though and we’re still figuring out if we have a good enough group that wants to continue this.
- Literature: So we want to read more and I just love the book lists in the Story of the World Activity Guides. In addition, A and C and I will also work through most of The Well-Trained Mind’s book list for 8th grade and some other books from the time period that I don’t want to miss. I haven’t finalized that list and we’re actually still finishing up the 7th grade list. We’ll also continue with our homeschool book club, mostly for fun, and we always have a book on cd going in the car.
- Last but certainly not least, Scripture Study: Everyone has their own personal scripture study time in the morning, but together we will be focusing on the Doctrine and Covenants this year as we follow the LDS Seminary 4-year schedule. We’ll use both the seminary manual and Scripture Study for LDS Families: The Doctrine and Covenants. I want them to learn from the actual scriptures but I don’t want to turn gospel study into just another workbook-y subject, so we mainly read and discuss together and it’s a great way to start the day!
This looks completely ambitious and I hope I’m up to the task! 3+ weeks and we’ll find out!