Monday, August 26

on homeschooling :: curriculum

Today is the first official day of school for the districts surrounding us,
but here we are actually beginning our 4th week of school.
Audrey and I (and Lawson) are really getting into our groove when it comes to this school thing.
At first I was concerned about how it would all work out.
Audrey looking at me like her teacher.
Lawson giving us the space and time to get school work done.
Actually getting all of the work done.
And honestly there are a few hiccups...every single day.
But we are making it through them.
My goal at this point in time is to, whether I work in the morning or not, get all of the work done by the time Bryan gets home from work.
I know there are people out there who do school on into the evening, 
but I just feel that this will be toeing the line into dangerous territory for us.
I work some evenings, and it's also when we make our grocery trips or library trips or what have you.
And I know how easy it would be to say, "we'll just finish it up tomorrow".
I do NOT want to get into that cycle.

Right now I'm really enjoying the choices that I made in curriculum.
They were all made off of recommendations from The Well Trained Mind and boy am I glad that the authors thought to give us home educators some guidance in curriculum.
I've researched a lot of curriculum on my own as well, and there is SO MUCH out there.
It can be way overwhelming and confusing if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.
Our curriculum choices might change as time goes on, but for now this is what we are doing (and are happy with):

For this grade level I am not using the textbooks, just the workbooks.
She does plenty of manipulative work and copy work as well.
We will also be adding in the Intensive Practice companion books for 2A & 2B to make sure all ideas taught are properly engrained in her little noggin.
We finished up book 2A last week (she started this in the spring as supplementation to public school) and are currently waiting for the Intensive Practice book for 2A to be delivered.

One area that Audrey has always excelled in is reading and spelling.
That being said, we were using Spelling Workout B during her second semester of 1st grade (while she was in public school) as supplementary work at home. 
She flew through that book, so we moved on to level C.
She will be done with this book in the next few weeks and we will move on to D, which is technically classified as 4th grade work!!
On top of the workpages in the book I do a spelling quiz at the beginning of each lesson and a spelling test on Fridays.
 She is also learning how to use a dictionary and is writing definitions from her spelling list daily. 

We first started using Level 1 as a supplementation in first grade and are almost finished with the book, level 2 is on its way to us now!
For the younger grades most of the work is done orally, but since she does great with writing and reading I have her do a lot of the work on paper.
Plus she does extra copywork with it as well.
It is very repetitive, but I think that is important at this age.

This book takes passages from classic children's books and has the child answer questions about them to begin to learn how to summarize what's in the passages.
Think of it as pre-teaching kids to write book reports.
There is also a lot of copywork involved.
We fly through this on a daily basis, so I am also adding in the daily reading of the actual piece of literature that the week's work is coming from.

We are using this text along with the Activity Book for history.
In classical education history is done full on in chronological order, instead of fragmented up.
Normally Ancient Times is started in 1st grade, but since 2nd grade is our first year doing homeschooling, I went ahead and decided to just start at the beginning.
In the Activity Book there are plenty of literature recommendations for each thing you're learning, plus map work, coloring pages, word searches and LOTS of different activities for each lesson (like mummifying a chicken, or writing in hieroglyphs).
I am really enjoying this curriculum!

In The Well Trained Mind it is recommended that what you learn in science goes along with what you're learning in history.
To go along with the Ancient Times we are doing Life Science/Biology.
So this school year we will be focusing on animals, the human body and plants.
So far, I have not found a curriculum I like, most of the ones out there take a very religious viewpoint on science and I personally am not a fan of that.
Also, Susan Wise-Bauer (the author of TWTM), recommends that in the early years of science you learn mainly through reading texts on different subjects.
So, for science we will be utilizing the library and documentaries a lot.
And we will also be scheduling in several field trips.

These are the main curriculum spines that we are using this year.
I love that these can all be individualized.
I can take away and add to the curricula as I see fit.
In the coming months, as we fall more and more into a groove with the basics, we will add in different things as we see fit.

Audrey is starting a beginner piano book this week.
In the next month or so we will be starting Handwriting without Tears for print and cursive work.
Eventually she will begin learning a language and we have our eye on a fun, little program for basic computer programming.

This might sound like a lot to some people, 
but remember that she isn't spending 7+ hours a day at school.
When she's focused we get through the day's work at a rather quick pace, and that's with multiple breaks a day.


  1. That sounds really well rounded and it does sound like a lot. But if Audrey is getting through it that's awesome!! I know this will be awesome for her!!

  2. I've heard great things about SOTW, hope you like it!

  3. How to write a resume - Creating a resume is a skill which needs practice and better understanding about your determination. Be 100% sure that spending another couple of minutes to learn how to make a resume will bring a ...

  4. Good on you for doing this, Jen. You're an amazing mom and teacher, and I know this will all work out great for you guys. <3

  5. Thanks, Mandy! That means a LOT!!


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