School has started up again and life is feeling full. I have to admit, it does feel good to have more structure to our days again, though the Summer was a wonderful break for me to get through my first trimester.
I wanted to share with you the curriculum that I chose for this year. I am currently teaching 2rd and 3nd grades and kindergarten...with two toddlers making the day much more interesting!
This year we are using My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures.
We used MFW last year and loved it. It was my first experience with a pre-planned curriculum, the previous years I just pieced everything together myself, but having it prepared for me made life so much easier. I was concerned that having a curriculum would take all the me out of teaching my kids...but it has actually been the opposite.
MFW is very flexible and forgiving and allows me to change up activities to fit our family or just be creative myself. It has also taken a lot of work out of my part and allowed me to just enjoy teaching.
This year the focus is on World Geography.
Bible is a study and memory verses from Matthew, as well as character qualities and biographies of missionaries, and learning about the prayer needs of other people groups and countries.
Geography is focused on map skills, country studies and world cultures. We will be doing a variety of activities for each country such as recipes, games, and crafts as well as worksheets for a geography notebook.
For Science we will be studying ecosystems and animals from around the world, and a weekly nature walk and journal.
World music, foreign language, and art are also explored for each country.
Language arts are weaved into the whole curriculum in a natural way. The kids will be keeping journals, writing letters, learning new vocabulary words, practicing handwriting, and preparing pages for their notebooks.
For Spelling, I chose Spelling by Sound and Structure (2nd grade).
This is new to us this year, but so far the kids are really enjoying it. I am using 2nd grade with both of them because I felt that my oldest needed more practice in this area and it is actually making it more fun for them because they can do the activities together, and I only have one list of spelling words to test on at the end of the week.
There are only 2 workbook pages for the week. We split the pages up over 4 days and use the spelling drill suggestions to make a game out of learning their words. The first day I had them each write their spelling words, leaving out the vowels. Then they switched papers and had to fill in the vowels. It was really simple, but they loved it. It was a complete change from the workbook pages I had to beg them to do last year.
For English we are using Primary Language Lessons.
I was nervous about this one. It is completely different from anything I have used before, but we needed something new. It is this sweet, little book that covers 2nd and 3rd grade. It is an old fashioned, classical approach to English.
When this book first arrived, I flipped through the pages and just had to smile. There are different activities for each lesson. They are short and sweet, but so full of rich content. In our first lesson for 2nd grade, my daughter did a picture study. She looked at the black and white painting and answered some questions about what she observed. It was a great way for her to put her thoughts into words, learn to be more observant, and use her imagination.
Other lessons include memorizing poetry, dictation, letter writing, etc...many can be done orally which I think is a wonderful break in a day full of writing. It is very gentle, but I feel confident that they will still be learning the basics without even realizing it. Punctuation and grammar and weaved into the lessons without a formal lesson.
Reading will come from our selection of library books related to our country and animal studies, and well as daily Bible readings.
For Math we are using Horizons Math. We have used this for the last few years and really loved it. It is a spiral approach, so lessons are constantly being reviewed, and new concepts are taught a little at a time. I am shocked at how much my kids have learned in math without feeling overwhelmed.
My Kindergartner is following along with us in Bible, geography and science, but I don't put pressure on him...he just soaks it all in and is having fun with us.
I was given a set of Hooked on Phonics tapes, so we are trying them this year. He loves them and can follow along independently which is a big help for me. We will see how it goes, if I am not impressed, I will use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
I make ABC worksheets up for him and we have a variety of games and activities in the house that he can play with while learning.
Overall I am really excited for this year. As I typed this all out it seems like a lot of work, and it is more than we have done before, but it is all coming together in a very natural way that fits our family. We have only done two days of school so far, and I am still trying to figure out how to manage my home in the midst of such a full day...but that's another post for another time.
I hope you all are enjoying the excitement of a new school year in your homes.