As I mentioned in this post on the kid’s summer routine, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks researching and buying curriculum for the 2012/2013 school year.
I knew that when the school year began, I would have a tiny newborn and my brain would be a little addled with interrupted sleep and postpartum hormones, so I decided to make things easier on myself by getting it all done way ahead of time.
We’re doing a few things differently, and I’m really excited about getting back into the swing of things. Two things have changed this year. Well, really 3. One, Sadie is in 1st grade which means she’s doing “real” school now. I know she’ll be happy about this, and mommy is too. She needs to keep busy! Two, Caleb is now a high school student. A little scary for me but exciting too! Three, we’ll have a new baby in the house when school starts. I’m a little nervous about getting everything done, but I know things will work out.
On to the curriculum choices.
I’ve long been a fan of Susan Wise Bauer. We’ve used and really enjoyed her Story of the World for history for a few years now. I’m not sure how her other educational tools slipped from my notice, but I’m glad discovered them. The lineup features several of her books.
Sadie is reading, so I didn’t see the need for a phonics program this year. I’m also not doing a History program with her. That will wait until next year.
- Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, Level 1.
- Writing: The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease, Level 1. (The instructor text covers levels 1-4, so I’ll only need one for elementary grades.)
- Art: Artistic Pursuits
- Math: I have several math workbooks around here for 1st grade I need to use up before buying anything fancy.
- Music: Sadie is asking for piano lessons. We’ll see if I can work it into the budget and schedule.
Julien and Ilana, 4th and 6th Grades
I teach these two together for all subjects except math.
- Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, Level 4.
- History/Geography: Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages (we’re finishing up this book) along with Activity Book
- Writing: The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease, Level 4
- Art: Artistic Pursuits
- Math: Saxon
Caleb, 9th Grade
Caleb is doing really well in all subjects, and is a high level reader for his age. I’m going to have him start working on a reading journal a la The Well Educated Mind.
- Writing: The Complete Writer: Writing with Skill, Level 1.
- History/Geography: Story of the World, Volume 3 along with Tests Workbook. (I know that he is ready for the History of the World volumes, Susan Wise Bauer’s series for high schoolers and adults, but I’m weird about finishing things before starting something new!)
- Foreign Language: Spanish – continuing progress with Rosetta Stone. Caleb is also interested in German and is studying that a little on his own.
- Music: Piano – continuing his lessons with a private tutor
- Math: Undecided
- Literature: I’m so excited that Caleb is starting high school this year! I’m having him begin The Well-Educated Mind and he’ll start a reading journal now. He’s already read some of the classics but now it’s time for the heavier stuff. (I’m reading this book and will be journeying on the same path with him, I’m a little scared!)
Things that are the same as last year: We’ll still be doing daily Bible reading together in the mornings, a habit we’ll keep up in the summer too. Daily fiction read alouds are also a priority. First on the list this year: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
A few changes from last year: I’m no longer expecting anyone but Caleb to do foreign language studies. (Ilana and Sadie will probably continue with Spanish part time, as they seem to enjoy it a couple of times a week.)
I haven’t found a Science curriculum yet for anyone (I might skip it for the younger ones, any suggestions for my high schooler? I’ll likely sign each of the kids up for a Science class at a local arts center that offers classes for homeschoolers. The kids learn quite a bit of science from their reading so I’m not really concerned about it either way.
For the younger kids, I don’t like math to be consigned just to textbooks. I bought several of Anno’s math books. I love these! I’ve enjoyed reading them to the kids and see them picking them up also. I’ve heard great things about Life of Fred, several of those titles are on the wishlist too.
Also, I’m thrilled to have found a writing curriculum that I like in The Complete Writer series. Julien and Ilana love to write, and do so frequently. I don’t require creative writing from my elementary students, but Ilana writes book reports, letters, journals, compositions, etc on her own. Julien is quite a good journal writer and has filled a few journals in the last couple of years, which is a bit surprising because he isn’t a huge reader. But now that I’ve read The Complete Writer, I understand why this is so: reading and writing and two very different skills!
One concern I’ve had is that Caleb, while being a voracious reader (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on that one), says he hates writing. This worried me for two reasons: writing is an essential skill, and it also grieved me to hear him say that because I personally enjoy writing so much. Caleb is a very good speaker, and it would be a shame for him not to be able to transmit his thoughts onto paper. I think the Complete Writer series is going to transform his thinking.
Got any suggestions for 9th grade math and science?