Monday, June 4, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum Picks

Last year, when we started first grade, I made choices for our curriculum that I felt sure I would stick with.  I didn't want to be hopping around from program to program every year simply because I didn't like what I'd chosen.  I always thought that if we needed to change because the kids weren't doing well, then that's something I couldn't necessarily predict and would be fine. : )  Well, going into our third year of homeschooling, we're changing it up!  : )

For next year, we'll be using:

Grammar: Shurley Grammar and Composition
Spelling/Phonics: All About Spelling
Math: Math-U-See
History/Geography/Literature: Tapestry of Grace
Science: Elemental Science: Earth and Astronomy
Bible: Veritas Bible-Genesis to Joshua
Art: Artistic Pursuits

Okay, so now to explain. I'm really excited about this year!  Because we're starting fresh with grammar and writing, and there's a lot in Shurley Grammar level 1 that we didn't cover in First Language Lessons, I'm just doing level 1 with both kids.  Good for me, good for them.  I picked Shurley because it has great reviews, is used by lots of classical families, and I think it will be a better all around approach for my kids.  Plus, it has 6 levels, goes through 6th grade.  First Language Lessons only had 4 levels currently.

I'm so excited about All About Spelling!  I got all the flashcards and letter tiles put together this weekend.  There is no student workbook for this!  The teacher's manual is scripted.  The kids can practice their spelling by using magnetic letter tiles on the white board, or by writing on notebook paper.  In looking through the first few lessons, it looks like a lot of fun!  And, it teaches spelling by the rules.  Systematically.  My kind of program.  Learning WHY we do things. : )  I think my kids will love it, and, the big plus, it goes through 6th grade!  A thorough, extensive spelling and phonics program.  Love it.  Well, check back in a year and see if we loved it! But I'm fully expecting to. Again, because Luke hasn't really learned any of these rules, I'm starting both the kids on the same level.  Just looking through it is making me wish I'd started them with it for phonics.  I might use it for Levi and Meryn if we all do well with it over the next few years.

I'm also really looking forward to the Veritas Bible program.  It uses flash cards with art or illustrations, and covers one story per week.  I'm looking forward to going deeper into the Old testament with the kids, though I'm wishing we would have started it last year, because historically it keeps pace with what we covered in history last year a bit.  Oh well! : )

And for science.  I've been looking and looking and looking for a solid, fun, classical, Christian science program.  It seemed nonexistent.  I really, really like the Apologia series and books, but just felt that so far, for my kids, it's just too much.  What we did last year worked for last year, but I definitely wanted to beef up our science this year and actually do some experiments or observations or something. I hated science all through school, so I knew it needed to be something fun, something that used real books, something interactive.  Well, I think I finally found it.  Elemental Science.  Go check it out... the teacher's manual is set up to be either 5 day or 2 day or 1 day a week.  5 10-15 minute days, 2 30 minute days, or 1 one hour long session.  It uses real, living books.  The student workbook is set up with great journaling pages on the reading, moon diaries, experiment documentation pages.  It looks like a ton of fun, easy to use, and the books are really interesting.  I can't wait to get into this program! I think I'm going to learn a lot.  Plus, it has four levels for the grammar stage!  So we can keep on with it for the next two years before switching to Apologia!  Oh, so thankful to have found it, I think it's just what I wanted...

It's looking like it's going to be a great year! I'm sure excited about all the new stuff!  Because we're planning on going back to the states from September 1st through January, I'm hoping to get through one unit (9weeks) before we go back.  That way in the fall, if we get behind, we're not really behind, and we can take it slow while we travel and visit family.  As long as we get another 9 week unit done from September to December, we'll be halfway through.  So we're starting up in three weeks!  Lots to do to get ready for that!

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