Today, just for fun, I'm linking up with Jill at Blessed Beyond a Doubt to share our current curriculum choices.
Now, truth be told, as a non-traditional, year-round home educator, I'm not gearing up for a "new" year the way many others are. We actually run our academic year from January through December and operate on a rough 6/1 schedule, meaning we generally study for six weeks and then take one off. On that schedule, we finished up our latest six-week term in late June and are in the middle of our six-week summer hiatus. But our re-start in early August will not be the start of a "new year;" it's just a continuation of our current academic term.
I also don't worry about finishing up any level of any book by a certain date; instead, my daughters and I work through skill-based subjects, such as math and spelling, at each one's pace, and we devise a schedule that works for us with other areas of study. As a result, we start new levels and volumes of material for different subjects all throughout the year as the need arises instead of starting all new stuff at a particular time.
All that said, I do enjoy sharing what we use, and I realize that many of my homeschooling peers are, indeed, starting new "school years" in the next several weeks. So, with that in mind, I happily share our current curriculum and activity choices for two girls, ages 10 and 11:
This will be a new resource for us starting in August. I've read many reviews over the past several months and am really looking forward to trying it.
We will use this very important resource, probably sometime in the next 12 months or so, but I'm not sure exactly when. It'll depend on when I deem both girls to be emotionally ready for the content.
- All About Spelling (AAS)
We've used AAS for about three years now, and it is the only spelling curriculum I think I'd ever want to try. It works equally well for my daughter who finds spelling somewhat tricky and for my daughter who is a "natural speller." The best thing about it is that it actually teaches real reasons for why English words are spelled as they are rather than just requiring memorization.
We've used these books for several years, since both girls were learning to read. They provide engaging, progressively more challenging reading selections and an opportunity for the girls to build comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary skills.
IEW will be new for us in the fall, and I'm very excited about starting it. After having investigated several other composition programs, this is the only one that seems that it will provide logical, systematic instruction in how to write well.
We've used Queen for two years now and are happy to continue. It provides gentle but thorough coverage of various language arts-related topics.
- a wide variety of high-quality literature (using the Heart of Dakota literature lists as a base)
The girls are always reading quality literature, about five chapters a week for official "school work" (not counting what they read by their own choice during freetime). I use the wonderful Heart of Dakota lists as my starting point, but we add in other books - either classics or appropriate (i.e., non-twaddle, God-honoring) contemporary works - as we find them, too.
- read-aloud literature
At lunch and at bedtime, we still regularly read aloud to the girls and plan to continue doing so even into their adolescence. We correlate some books with our history studies and choose others together based on our interests. As with what the girls read on their own, we gravitate toward classics and appropriate contemporary works.
- Math-U-See (MUS)
We'll be finishing up Gamma early in the fall and moving into Delta.
This is a great resource for helping right-brained kids memorize their addition/subtraction and multiplication/division facts. We'll use it as review with Gamma and to help with division facts as we get into Delta.
We'll finish Volume 1 in October and move straight into Volume 2.
We started 2012 with the Plants book of this three-volume series, and then finished our spring term by wrapping up the Animals book. Starting in September, we'll study The Human Body. Then, in January 2013, we'll begin the next series, Answers in Genesis: God's Design for Heaven and Earth.
We've been doing this computer-based program for a couple of years and will continue working through it with once- or twice-weekly lessons for each girl.
The girls work through this with my husband, a graphic artist who has a deep appreciation for art history. They will finish the third K-3 book and move into the first of two 4-6 books this fall.
At the end of September, our homeschool group will be hosting artist Barry Stebbing and his wife for a three-day workshop. The girls will receive more than seven hours of direct instruction in drawing and color theory, among other things.
- weekly piano lessons
The girls take lessons with a very experienced piano teacher and perform in two recitals each year.
- bi-weekly voice lessons
The girls are excited to begin voice lessons this fall with a gifted teacher from our homeschool association.
- participation in a musical theater production of The Wizard of Oz
The same woman who gives voice lessons also provides opportunities for kids in our homeschool group to participate in choirs and musicals. Beginning in September, the girls will start rehearsal for the group's production of The Wizard of Oz in May, 2013.
- YMCA private swim lessons (late April through late August or mid-October)
- YMCA tap/jazz class (mid-October through mid-April)
- Passport2Purity (see above)
One of my daughters is a right-brained learner who, I feel, would benefit from Dianne Craft's "brain training." My other daughter will participate in the exercises as well.
We started using K5 as a math and reading supplement last winter. The girls enjoy it, and it gives them extra practice so we'll continue.
In addition to my daughters, I also provide part-time child care for a wonderful toddler. She will only be 18 months old in September, and I certainly don't think she needs formal academic instruction yet. However, I purchased the 2-Year Old Curriculum from ABC Jesus Loves Me for her - to serve as a reminder to me of the types of concepts I might gently introduce to her over the next several months.