Here we are at the beginning of a fresh new year, and truly, we're all excited. The chalkboard is back out with the week's work all laid out in color-coded rows for my little planner's convenience. Someday I'm sure she'll be doing all the planning herself, with my input, rather than the other way around. But, for now I still get to sketch the master plan.
How do I plan? Well, since we do a block system, I begin by mapping out the year's blocks for each of my kids. Liam (first grade) will alternate months of math with months of language arts. Aria (third grade) alternates math and history, with language arts and science going all the time. Some subjects we do as a family and some things are individualized for each kid. Oh, and December is "project month" where each child gets to choose his or her own focus of study, though it looks like they both want to do a unit study on China. Sounds good to me!
After looking at the big picture - what I want to accomplish each month - I map out our weekly school rhythm. We do different things on different days (ex. Liam does handwriting on Monday and phonics on Thursday/Friday). That probably sound crazy-complicated to some, but I find all the diversity in our schedule, both on a weekly and monthly basis, to be highly energizing. The kids seem to as well! Having the schedule posted on the chalk board helps me keep track too, as we get used to our rhythm.
Since inquiring minds want to know, here are the resources we'll be using this year. Remember, we don't use these all at the same time. No way! For this family, variety is the spice of life.
as a Family
- Our 24 Family Ways (Bible time)
- Among the Night People (natural science)
- A Living History of Our World: America's Story, vol. 1-2
- Various read aloud literature such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Understood Betsy, A Little Princess, The Jungle Book, etc.
for Aria (third grade)
- Singapore Primary Math 3a and 3b. We use the textbooks, workbooks and home instructor's guide. We'll also use the 3a Intensive Practice to keep her stretching.
- Brave Writer The Arrow language arts/literature. We'll do 4 issues this year and accompanying writing assignments.
- Michael Clay Thompson Level 1: Grammar Island (parts of speech), Music of the Hemispheres (poetry), Sentence Island (writing), Practice Island (like diagramming) and Building Language (vocabulary). We'll alternate The Arrow (above) with MCT resources on a monthly basis.
- Historical fiction literature to accompany our history textbook, including: Indian Captive, Bound for Oregon, Courage to Run., and another to-be-determined book.
- Apologia Zoology 2 (sea creatures) and accompanying student notebook
- Sequential Spelling 1
- Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Book D
- Easiest Piano Course
- Enki first grade language arts stories, nature stories and math stories. We already have these resources from Aria's time. If I were shopping again, I'd only invest in the math stories.
- Math-U-See Alpha
- Explode the Code books 1 and 2, at least
- Brave Writer The Wand language arts, Level 1 issues 1-2, at least
- Beyond the Code book 1
- Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Book B
- Living Music from the Heart (penny whistle)
Believing it best, we wait until first grade to formally teach reading. Now Liam and I have started spending time in the afternoon slowly sounding our way through part of a Dr. Seuss book. It's hard work for the little guy to juggle all those sounds, but his delight when he gets it right is so rewarding for both of us. I love getting to be a part of those moments! Aria and I are both super-eager for the day when Liam can enjoy reading to himself, because we know how much he's going to love it. Yay books!
p.s. Look who caught his first fish. Not a keeper, but darn cute anyways.