Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Curriculum Decisions

While I realize that not many people are really going to want to wade through all of this information, deciding on curriculum for the coming year has been such a big part of my life for the last few months that I can't help but talk about it. Back in the spring we decided to homeschool all of our children due to a growing dissatisfaction with the academic and spiritual state we were experiencing in 2 of our children. I have spent much time curriculum shopping (one of the best things on earth for someone who loves books!) and planning the coming year. I love to organize and schedule things, so this really has not been too dreadful of an experience. I really like the feeling of knowing what I'm doing, and knowing why I'm doing it.

Spelling: Timothy and Andrew are pretty good spellers, and will be using grade level spelling workbooks published by Christian Liberty Press. I like that they teach spelling rules/patterns in an uncomplicated manner. Melinda is still working on making the connection between phonics and spelling, so we will be using a fabulous multi-faceted program called All About Spelling. She's already making incredible progress with this program!

Vocabulary: For the boys only--I really wanted to expose them to Latin without committing myself to an intensive language study, so we will be doing this through a program called Vocabulary from Classical Roots.

Grammar: I wanted to find a graded, structured, workbook-style, easy-to-understand program that promoted independent work. I settled on BJU Press for this. The younger grades have writing integrated as well in a very instructed yet simple way. Just what I wanted!

Writing: Timothy needs some intensive training in writing, since he will be in 7th grade this year and possibly out of my hands after 2 more years. I am going to try the Institute for Excellence in Writing for him for a very streamlined approach.

Science: The boys will be working through Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. It is an in-depth look at flying animals. Melinda and Audrey will be doing some simple units on plants, animals, and weather that I'm pulling together from books I have.

History: This was a doozy of a decision to make! I wanted to continue Timothy's study of American history, and eventually decided to have all the kids study the same thing. I nearly had Melinda do something separate to prevent her from comparing herself to the boys--a common problem. In the end, however, I decided to use a delightful curriculum called WinterPromise that is geared towards Andrew and Melinda's ages, and teaches in exactly Melinda's style. Thus, her program will be the focus, and I will add other things on for the boys. They will be using a good part of Sonlight's Core 4, and Timothy will also be using Story of the World 4 to provide him with more of a global view of the time period.

Well, that's not everything, but those are the basics. I feel like I didn't even start to discuss them, but I have to leave something to talk about later, right?

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