Monday, August 3, 2009

Homeschool - The Core Curriculum Edition

Our core studies this year will be Orthodoxy, Vocabulary, Math, Writing, Literature, and Foreign Language.  These are the areas that will be studied every day.  My process this year was to develop a basic outline of what I hope to cover in these areas.  Although I am hoping that this year will be a little more consistent on a day-to-day basis, it has been proven that life happens and rarely is one day like the next, much less one week to the next.  To assist my weekly lesson planning, I have completed a list of 180 assignments for each core area.  When we "officially" begin school, I then plug lessons 1-5 into the first week.  As assignments are completed, the grade will be recorded and then the next set of lessons will be "officially" assigned.  If for some reason we are only able to accomplish 3 of the 5 assignments for that week (for a legitimate family reason), then the remaining 2 will be assigned for the next week along with the next 3 new assignments.  If the assignments are not completed because of student issues, they will have to be completed on the weekend as "homework."  I don't have an end date for the school year, that will happen when the assignments are completed.  

The 180 assignment plans have been completed for Vocabulary, Math, and Writing.

For Vocabulary, we will be using Word Study developed by the makers of Singapore Math.  We used these some last school year and I found them to be enjoyable for the kids to use on a daily basis. Simple enough to be completed in 5 minutes or so but complex enough to strengthen their vocabulary.

For Math, we will be using Singapore Math.  I've been very impressed with Singapore.  Our math journey has included several different math curricula.  We have tried Saxon, Ray's, Keys to..., and MCP ( and there may have been others I'm not remembering at this  While all of these programs had much to offer and several strengths, I have found Singapore to be the best fit for all of us.  Nearly all of the math is taught as mental math.  I have seen a huge difference since we have switched, mostly, when I ask a math question, my children are able to answer without using their fingers (which is really good since one of them is about to start algebra...LOL!!!)  I can't say enough good things about this program but it does have to be right for the student using it or it will be very frustrating.

For writing, we will continue to work our way through Understanding Writing.  I love this program although I have found with our homeschool, we have been able to skip some things. This curriculum is for grades 1-12 although my daughter in kindergarten was able to work along with us.  My plan is to cover several years this year by skipping those lessons which are repetitious.

For Orthodoxy, Literature, and Foreign Language, I will be working off of my yearly plan.

In our study of Orthodoxy this year, we will be taking a look at the New Testament.  Using the Children's Bible Reader, the Law of God, and our family bible, we will study the books of the New Testament, along with the parables, and other significant passages.  My goal this year is for the children to become familiar with the teachings of Jesus as expressed through the gospels and epistles.

My approach to foreign language is a little bit different from the other core courses in that I really don't have goals set because of the nature of foreign language.  I see these as being similar to music lessons, at the end of the year, I want to see progress but the amount of progress made is dependent upon each child.  As long as I can document 180 days of foreign language practice for each child, then their goal will be met.  Princess will study Greek, Rosebud will study French, Stinkbug will study Spanish, and Sugarcake will study American Sign Language.

Literature seems to be our family favorite.  I read aloud a chapter from the selected book while the children follow along in books we have borrowed from the library.  Following the reading of the chapter, the kids either have an activity to complete taken from a study guide, can illustrate the chapter in some way, or we discuss what was read to make sure all understood the passage.  Our selections for this year are...

That wraps up our core studies.  Next homeschool post will look at our weekly study plans.

In love and recovery,

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