This year, after much searching, I have abandoned packaged curriculum altogether. I have yet to find one that the kids maintain interest in for long. Instead I have found several very helpful blogs and websites that offer wonderful ideas and a few even offer starter packets of crafts and printable downloads. This has been super exciting for me, and it has given me the motivation I needed to create my own curriculum for the semester in accordance with our State’s standards!
We start off our mornings with our Pledges. I am proud to say that all three of the kids know the Pledge of Allegiance! It makes me so proud to hear them every morning. They are also all three pretty comfortable with the Bible Pledge. For some reason, the Pledge to the Christian Flag Pledge is giving everyone a little more difficulty, but we are getting there.
During Calendar Time we are learning the days of the week, months of the year, the seasons, and the weather. We also use Calendar Time every day to make our seasonal and holiday crafts. Many of my resources came from our local Mardel’s store. I also downloaded a few printables from one of my favorite homeschool blogs, Confessions of a Homeschooler.
For Bible Time, we are doing a study of the “Superheroes of the Bible“. We are currently wrapping up Genesis and will be moving through each book one at a time. We are also working on memorizing the Books of the Old Testament. This is the time we use to work on our Verse of the Week as well.
For our Literature unit, we are reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We got off to a bit of a slow start with this book, but we are nearing the end and the kids are loving it! I am dealing with a bit of nostalgia because I remember my dad reading the Narnia series to me when I was a kid, so I am loving being able to hand it down to my kids. I don’t think we will continue through the series right now though. The kids tend to get bored if the subject matter stays the same for too long. Maybe next year we will continue on to Prince Caspian? I found a really neat Lapbook to go along with our studies that has helped the kids to dig into the book. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Lapbook from ConfessionsofaHomeschooler.com. This is usually when we have our morning snack. The kids eat while read to them. This has worked out well as it minimizes the amount of time that they have to sit still and just listen. The two youngest haven’t really mastered this skill yet, so being able to munch on something helps keep them “grounded” during story time. 🙂
Our Geography unit has been very exciting! All three of the kids look forward to it. I have to say, it is probably the most time consuming subject for me as I am creating the cirriculum from scratch every week, but it has been quite interesting and as a result of all of the research involved I have learned quite a bot myself. (I think I have developed such a passion in my teaching of this subject because I was horrible at geography when I was in school!) In our studies, we are traveling around the world. We started out the unit by learning the 7 continents and the 5 oceans. Now we are moving through each continent, spending about a week on each major country before moving to the next continent. This is usually the favorite subject each day for all of them as we learn about different cultures, celebrations, food, clothing and architecture. And of course, it is the one unit that is always full of crafts, recipes and field trips!
Science and Language Studies are our combo units this semester. We spend two days each week in Science and two days a week in Language Studies. For Science, we are doing a study of our bodies. The kids have responded really well to this study and I have been able to find a good deal of interactive and hands on activities, videos and online games to make it more interesting for them.
In Language Studies we are doing a basic introduction to Spanish unit as well as beginning ASL. We spend a lot of time on the computer using interactive games for this unit.
After eating lunch, we all split off into our individual studies. This semester, we have started using the Workbox System which has been a God- send for me! It has made the planning process so much more structured and it has really been wonderful in teaching the kids how to self motivate and work independently.(Click the Workbox System link to find out more about Workboxes). My stress load has dropped so much during study time because the kids know exactly what they have to get done for the day and they love being able to chart their own progress. Check out our workboxes.
In Math, Missy is currently working on Multiplication, which I think we were both dreading just a little bit, but she is doing wonderful and actually loves it. Monkey and Cricket are both working on number recognition and beginning addition and subtraction. This is mostly being achieved through games, magnet and white board activities. I have found that giving them a writing activity or even a coloring activity is usually a battle. But, surprisingly when I give them the same activity after laminating it and allowing them to use dry erase markers, they suddenly become ver excited about it! So, we have invested in a laminator.
Missy is currently doing a Cottage School program so she goes to the school one day per week where they focus on Art, Spanish and Language Arts studies. She absolutely loves her Cottage School day each week. This was important for me because it gives her a good social atmosphere as well as letting her remain comfortable in a classroom setting. It has also helped her to maintain the study skills that are necessary when you are one of 15 kids in a classroom instead of only three.
The two little ones are doing a Letter of the Week study unit that I found, again, at Confessionsofahomeschooler.com. They have responded really well to it and they enjoy the independent activities.
When the kids are finished with their work for the day, each of them can chose a book and have silent reading time. Missy is also responsible for keeping a daily reading log and writing a book report after finishing each of her books.
With the Workboxes, the kids all set their own pace. Depending on how diligent they are in their studies, some days they are finished with their work pretty early and have the rest of the day to play. Other days, we are finishing up school work before dinner time. As a part of their Workboxes, each one of them has the option of choosing one subject to save for when Daddy gets home. After dinner, he will sit down with each of them and help them with the subject they have chosen. They are always very excited about their time with Daddy. If they have finished all of their work, then they get to use their time with daddy to play a game, draw a picture, watch a movie, etc. before bed time.