Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Curriculum Plans :: 2012-2013


Our new school year is just around the corner!   This coming year our oldest boys will be going into 6th and 5th grade, the older girls will be in 3rd and 2nd, and Snuggles will begin Kindergarten.

I have been busy working on creating our curriculum plans for this coming year, and making some changes, as usual... I was very happy with last year's choices for Math, Spelling, Science, History, Geography, Religion, and Music, but we definitely needed to make some changes for Writing and Grammar.   Even though we really enjoyed the first couple levels of Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons, the later levels just weren't a good fit for us anymore.  Since we have all been so happy with The Phonetic Zoo, we decided to take the plunge and try a few more of the products from Institute for Excellence in Writing.   (They offer a 100% guarantee, so what did we have to lose?)  I bought Teaching Writing with Structure and Style for me, the Student Writing Intensive, Level A and Fix It! Grammar for our oldest three, Primary Arts of Language: Writing for Chiquita, and Linguistic Development Though Poetry Memorization for everyone.   We worked through a couple lessons during the summer and so far I have been very happy with everything!

Our History Study from this last year was a favorite!   I had planned 6 units for the year, and we were only able to complete the first four:  New World Explorers, Colonial Life, The American Revolution, and The Early 19th Century.  This year we will complete the remaining two units on The Civil War and The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression, as well as a unit on U.S. Presidents and the Election Study and a unit on World War II.   The plan is to spend one semester on each unit, allowing plenty of time for our reading selections and activities.

With our new little guy this last year, we also weren't able to finish our Holling C. Holling Map Study... So this year we plan on finally completing the 3rd and 4th Maps, based on the books Minn of the Mississippi and Seabird.  I'm also hoping that we can wrap up our State-by-State Study this year...  It should be fun!

One other addition to our lesson plans will be the formal study of Latin.  I had purchased, and planned to use, Prima Latina a few years ago, but at that time (since we were focusing on correcting auditory processing challenges, and improving reading skills) it just wasn't a priority and didn't happen.   This year the four oldest will be completing the course together.   Looking though the Student Workbook, it is going to be really easy for my oldest two, but a gentle introduction will be perfect for them.  They can move on to either Latina Christiana or First Form Latin next year.

I'm still working on Kindergarten plans for Snuggles...  Last year we began the All About Reading's Program (Pre-1), but after progressing through the first lessons I realized that Snuggles just wasn't quite ready for formal reading instruction.  We went back to just reading lots of pictures books and will pick up where we left off this year.   He is very excited to get back to "his" school work!

Here is the breakdown for each of our students:

Captain :: 6th Grade

Math:
Teaching Textbooks 6
Math Facts Drill and Practice
Times Tales

Language Arts:
Phonetic Zoo, finish Level A, start Level B
Student Writing Intensive, Level A
Handwriting 5 for Young Catholics
Fix It! (applied grammar)
English from the Roots Up (with flashcards)

Literature/Reading::

Latin:
Prima Latina

Science:
Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal with Lab Kit

American History: (complete 1 unit per quarter)
U.S. Presidents and Election Study
Civil War
Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
World War II

Geography: 
Maps Charts and Graphs, Level E and Level F
Continue/Complete State Scrapbook 
Complete Holling C. Holling Geography Map Study

Religion:
Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2
The Bible (Chapters of Mark & Luke with discussion questions)
Living in God's Church (Living My Religion Series)

Music:
Continue Composer Study
Piano Lessons


Rascal :: 5th Grade

Math:
Teaching Textbooks 5
Math Facts Drill Sheets
Times Tales

Language Arts: 

Phonetic Zoo, finish Level A, start Level B
Fix It! (applied grammar)

Literature/Reading:

Latin:

Science:
Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal and Lab Kit

American History: (complete 1 unit per quarter)
U.S. Presidents and Election Study
Civil War
World War II

Geography: 
Maps Charts and Graphs, Level E
Continue/Complete State Scrapbook 
Complete Holling C. Holling Geography Map Study

Religion:
Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2
Living through God's Gifts (Living My Religion Series)
Golden Legend of Young Saints
Blue Knights - Year Three (continue)

Music: 
Continue Composer Study
Piano Lessons



Twinkle Toes :: 3rd Grade

Math:
Teaching Textbooks 3 (complete and then move on to level 4)
Math Facts Drill & Practice

Language Arts:
Phonetic Zoo, Level A
Student Writing Intensive, Level A
Italic Handwriting - Level C & D
Fix It! (applied grammar)
Wordly Wise, Book A and Book B

Literature/Reading::

Latin:

Science:
Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day
Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal - Junior and/or
Corresponding Lapbooks for Lessons 1-5 and 6-13

American History: (complete 1 unit per quarter)
U.S. Presidents and Election Study - Marie-Grace & Cecile Unit Study (1853)
Civil War - Addy Unit Study (1864)
Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression - Samantha & Kit Unit Study (1934)
World War II - Molly Unit Study (1944)

Geography:
Maps Charts and Graphs, Level C
Continue 50 States Study with Baking and Notebook Pages
Complete Holling C. Holling Geography Map Study

Religion:
The New Baltimore Catechism No. 1
Living through God's Gifts
Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls
More Tales for Boys and Girls

Music:
Continue Composer Study
Piano Lessons

Homemaking & Hospitality:
Little Women Hospitality Program - Year 1 with Student Companion
Tea & Cake with the Saints
Mother's Little Helper
Sewing With Saint Anne



Chiquita :: 2nd Grade

Math:
Teaching Textbooks 3
Flashcard Apps 
Calendar Journal

Language Arts:
Primary Arts of Language: Writing with DVD-ROM (Part 2 & 3)
All About Spelling  - Level 1 (complete) and Level 2
Wordly Wise, Book A and Book B
Explode the Code 3 and 4
Italic Handwriting - Book A, B & C
Daily Reading (including aloud)

Latin:

Science:
Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day
Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal - Junior and/or
Corresponding Lapbooks for Lessons 1-5 and 6-13

American History: (complete 1 unit per quarter)
U.S. Presidents and Election Study - Marie-Grace & Cecile Unit Study (1853)
Civil War - Addy Unit Study (1864)
Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression - Samantha & Kit Unit Study (1934)
World War II - Molly Unit Study (1944) 

Geography:
Maps Charts and Graphs, Level B
Continue 50 States Study with Baking and Notebook Pages
Complete Holling C. Holling Geography Map Study

Religion: 
The New Baltimore Catechism No. 1
Living by God's Law
Complete First Confession Lap Book
Complete First Holy Communion Lap Book

Music:
Continue Composer Study
Piano Lessons

Homemaking & Hospitality:
Little Women Hospitality Program - Year 1 with Student Companion


Snuggles :: Kindergarten

Math:
Singapore Essential Math A & B 
Calendar Work

Language Arts:
Letter Formation (Handwriting without Tears Hands-On Materials)
Picture Books and Narration

Science:  (Alphabet Theme)
Picture Book Science 

Arts & Crafts:  (Alphabet Theme)
Picture Study
Modeling Wax Creations & Letters
Letter Themed Crafts, Recipes, and Activities

Religion:
Bible Stories and Narration
Our Heavenly Father
Catholic ABC Coloring Book
Saint/Virtue/Catholic Theme of the Week (Alphabet Theme)
Blue Knights Saint and Virtue Study, Year 1

* We will be doing a simplified version of Along the Alphabet Path, which the girls enjoyed so much a couple years ago - spending two weeks on each letter for reinforcing letter formation, picture books science, arts & crafts, and religion.   



Family Work 

Religion:
Celebrating the Liturgical Year (as always)
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year - Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Dad reads at dinner - we have the old hardcover versions)

Poetry:
An Introduction to the Classics - The Vox Music Masters Collection (Including The Story of BachThe Story Of HandelThe Story of BeethovenThe Story of Mozart, and more...
Composers Lap Book
Various Books by Opal Wheeler

Test Preparation:
I also plan to have the tutor (who will be coming over once a week) work with the boys on test taking skills using Core Skills: Test Preparation Workbooks, as well as logic skills using Logic Countdown, Logic Liftoff, and Orbiting With Logic.


Now I just need to finish creating our checklists and lesson plans, and we'll be ready to get started!

33 comments:

  1. Looks wonderful Jessica! Your ideas are always so inspiring to me. I wish I could get half done what I would like to do! Thank you also for your reviews on All about Reading/Spelling. We are going that route this year since discovering our kids have dyslexia among other items that make reading/writing and math difficult for one or the other of them. I just spent a couple of hours with my Holy Simplicity planner, how are you liking it?

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    1. All About Reading and Spelling are such great programs, and perfect for children that struggle with dyslexia/auditory processing challenges!

      I haven't used the planner much, yet, but hope to soon! I'm thinking it is going to be the perfect place to record everything I do with the kids each week, as well as plan ahead for feast days, etc. I tend to use my small planner for our scheduled activities, since I carry it in my purse, but I've started copying over to the big planner as well - which will be kept at home. I love them both!


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  2. what did you use to get through the reading issues?

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    1. When Captain was 8 - we had him tested by a friend/teacher for Auditory Processing Challenges (a form of Dyslexia) which is genetic and runs in my family. He only scored 8th month of Kindergarten for his reading abilities. He started meeting with the teacher that week (during Lent) and by January of 2009 - he had completed the program, quicker than any other student she had ever taught - he was reading at the 3rd month of 3rd grade! Swimming lessons also made a huge difference (for both speaking, when he was 5, and reading later) since it helps connect the brain pathways. Anyways, he is still a slow reader, but after tons of practice, he is doing just fine. Right now he is reading through the Hardy Boys books and just finished #5 last night!!

      I posted a link to the program that our teacher used here: http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/2009/01/heres-link.html
      (though she does supplement with other materials)

      From there I have been using All About Spelling and The Phonetic Zoo for him, which have both worked really well. With other subjects (like Math) tying in audio (like Teaching Textbooks) has also really helped.

      Since our oldest had the most difficulties (and our 2nd had some as well), I've been SO amazed at how quickly my girls learned to read, using programs that never would have worked with the others. :)

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  3. I'm using a lot of the same curriculum that you are! Wondering what planner you are using - now that I'm teaching three children, it's been difficult to find a planner that I like. What planner do you use and why do you like it?

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    1. I have a few different planners... all for different purposes.

      I have the Tan Sailnts Planner which sits next to my computer and I use it for looking ahead to the various feast days and making plans - it lists both the Traditional and New dates for each day.

      I also use this lovely small Catholic Daily Planner. It stays in my purse and I use it to schedule any out of the home activities and appointments. This one also includes both new and traditional feast days.

      This year I am going to also use the full size Holy Simplicity Planner for our at home activities and for keeping track of what we accomplish each week homeschooling. It has all sorts of great planning and information pages as well! It can be either purchased or downloaded and printed yourself for free! This one is based exclusively on the Traditional Calendar.

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  4. Another school year will begin and I'm sure it will be a busy year for all. We're using almost the same curriculum. Hope you'll have a great year! :)

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  5. I lesson plans! I think that's one of my favorite parts of teaching. It looks like a great variety of resources - I get a lot of great ideas for the classroom from homeschooling materials.

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  6. Hello Jessica!
    Thank you for this post and also for the whole blog. I love reading it and I find it so inspiring and helpful. I'm from Poland where homechooling is rare and often considered to be odd. The more I want to thank you for all the ideas and encouragement I get from what you write. I hope you'll have a great year. Of course, I'll keep reading your posts. God bless you all!
    Marta

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    1. Marta, I am homeschooling in Poland as well... where are you living?

      Olivia

      P.S. Sorry to hi-jack the comment box!

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  7. Thank you for taking the time to put that all online. I love seeing what other people are doing and getting new ideas from other homeschooling mamas. -Diane

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  8. I would love to hear more about the Calendar Journal you plan to use, as well as your plans for WWII. Have you posted your book list for that time period yet? We have really enjoyed all our your history plans. Thank you for all you share!

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    1. I haven't posted (or finished creating) them yet, but when I do I will be sure to share. :) Thanks!

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!! Our children are very similar ages so it's always so nice to share ideas! A quick question for you... are you making the American Girl units yourself, or do you have a resource for these? I know my 3rd grade daughter would love to do something like this, but haven't seen anything.

    Thanks so much!
    Rosie

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  10. Thank you for sharing your plans, again. I always learn so much. I had my year plans set but now am reconsidering my spelling selection. I am considering changing to Phonetic Zoo but don't have the money to order right now. (Sigh) I think one of the hardest parts of homeschooling is organizing all this curriculum. My daughter is showing signs of dyslexia and so I am reconsidering all of my language arts selections. I am thinking though that I may go ahead with what I have planned with a more multisensory approach and then reconfigure next year.

    My little guy is going to be doing a modified version of your alphabet path and Lacy's Catholic ABC's. I am really looking forward to it. He is only in pre-K so I plan on doing it twice. This year just for letter recognition and next year begin the actual phonics.

    I am intrigued by your Little Women plans. This year our Little Flowers are doing a special year completing the first 6 lessons of Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss and then having a Princess Ceremony in the spring. I hope to begin Little Women next year so I will be keeping an eye on how you do it so that I am prepared. Thank you for all your ideas and sharing.

    Hope you are feeling better.

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  11. I bought the Phoenetic Zoo used...I am not sure if I am going to use it...we are starting back at step one with all Language Arts with my 10 year old (starting to wonder if our countries ideas of reading is not right, a lot of people seem to be having issues and then there kids just get it, anyway)...I might try it out and see how it works...please email me, hamfam00@att.net if you decide you really want to get it, but used...I will let you know if it worked for us and we can go from there...

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  12. Dear Jessica, I was interested to see Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" on Captain's reading-list - this series of books is one of the best ever written: plenty to enjoy for both childen and adults, with a sense that the adventures could really happen; finely crafted stories and wonderful use of words. I have all the series myself and re-read them often even now :) and my now-adult daughters loved them also. "Swallows and Amazons" was filmed, fairly faithfully to the book, and I think can be seen on YouTube; not sure whether it's on dvd. Hope your hubby's interview went well. Best wishes, Valerie, NZ.

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  13. Hi! Was happy to see that Twinkle Toes is going to be reading "The Gift of Summer Snow" this year. Hope she enjoys it and the curriculum guide that's free on my website. I'm hoping to eventually write the other "Tales from the Garden of Mystery" books.

    Also, if you or any of your readers are interested, I do answer letters personally so if any of the children have to write an 'author' as part of a curriculum plan, I'm happy to do so. Email or snail mail are fine.

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  14. Those checklists in the first picture are awful pretty. ;)

    These lists look great! We're using so much of the same stuff!

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  15. I am feeling so overwhelmed! I hope I am ready for this coming year. I think I planned too much and afraid of burnout by November, lol.

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  16. I am not being glib, seriously, How DO you do it? I have one at homeschool (6 years), a nearly 4 year old, a 9 month old and preg with No.4. I am STRUGGLING. I am totally new to homeschool this year, and am afraid that I simply can't do it. Things are different in Australia, we don't have much support or Australian suppliers/materials. No charter schools, no homeschool tutors or networks. I wish I knew your secret, how are you not totally exhausted and wrung out ALL THE TIME?!

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    1. I felt the same way you do, when my oldest was 6. It does get easier as they get older, at least it has for me. I'm home with just my 5 youngest tonight, and it totally reminds me of what it use to be like, and how much my older boys help.

      My oldest was still six when I started this blog. At that time I needed something to help me look back/see that I WAS accomplishing something... If you look back at those old posts, we weren't doing nearly the quantity of things that we do now. It just wouldn't have been possible! :)

      Hang in there! And I'll say a prayer for you!

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    2. P.S. And even though I am not "totally exhausted and wrung out all the time" doesn't mean that I don't have plenty of times when I AM! ;)

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  17. Jessica- Thank you so much for all the awesome information and ideas on your site here. I am still trying to organize my lesson plans for this year and when I saw your checklists in the first picture on this post, I was wondering how you created them. Do you have a template or site that you use? Thanks for your help, you are such an inspiration.

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  18. Hi Jessica,

    Do you have any blog entry in which you describec HOW you do this? How do you keep such a beautiful home? How do you keep up with the 7 kiddos, how do you homeschool FIVE different grades and attend to a toddler? How do you keep organized, don't your kids go into your drawers, scribble all over your notebooks, rip books up, paint your walls etc?
    I am just beyond amazed looking at all your resources, pictures , blog entries and everything you put together on here. I couldn't manage it if my day had 72 hours!
    Julia

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  19. Hi Jessica,
    We are in our second year of homeschooling with Kindergarten and 1st grade. I was wondering what you would recommend (or what you like better) for next year, a 1st and 2nd grader? I am trying to decide between All about writing/reading and first language lessons/writing with ease. Both seem like very good programs. Right now we are using Abeka Phonics program which I do like, but some of the older books are more anti-Catholic, which we want to avoid. I planned on switching programs around 3rd grade but am still trying to decide what to switch to. Any ideas would be appreciated.
    p.s. I will have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and new baby also next year so I need somthing simple and easy for me to plan too. :) Thanks!!

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    1. Hmmm... Personally I prefer the All About Reading/Spelling over First Language Lessons/Writing With Ease. We dropped the FLL/WWE this year and I don't see us ever going back to them. They worked well for us for awhile, but I didn't like them nearly as much as my children progressed into the older levels. And I like them even less after finding what we are using now instead. (Mostly IEW materials.)

      In addition to the All About Learning Programs I also highly recommend that you look into The Primary Arts of Language (PAL) Writing and Reading Programs. I haven't had a chance to blog about our progress with these, but I have been very very pleased. The lessons do take some time, but my Kindergartner has been learning in leaps and bounds when we do focus on his PAL lessons. PAL also incorporates All About Spelling and is a complete Language Arts Curriculum for K-2. There is some prep work with the PAL: Reading program (there are file folder games to make to reinforce what the child is learning) but everything you need (other than the actual file folders, some crayons, scissors, and a glue stick) is included and it is easy to make one or two as you make your way through the program. Anyways, both AAR and PAL are great!

      Congratulations on the new baby!! It does sound like it is going to be a challenging year for you... I remember those days well! You can do it though, with the help of God's grace! God bless you!!

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    2. Thank you so much! Any suggestions are much appreciated. It is so nice to find other "traditional" Catholic moms and see what curriculum everyone is using. We will be using Connecting with History and Apologia Science for next year and I am very excited. Just trying to find options for our other subjects. I am trying to plan everything out now before the 3rd trimester comes and I may not feel like it :) So we can hopefully start on schedule next year.

      God bless you and your family too!!

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  20. I notice you combine lots of ages. I try and do that too(4th/5th, 3rd, 1st, pre-K, baby) I was wondering where you get your American Girl History Units, and if by "taking one each semester" means you do that each semester. Also, do you do 1 "subject" for all grades at the same time? Or is it separated? I just love your posts and dream of my own "homeschool" being "fun and full" as yours looks, but often I find myself a "slave to the curriculum". (MODG)

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  21. wondering if you still use rc history for all the kids. thanks for sharing your ideas.

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    1. Yes, we took a break from it to study American History (I made my own plans since RC History's Volume 4 had not been released) but we are back to Ancient History this year.

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