Presenting The 201o-2011 School Year...
This year I'm going to have all three of my kiddos at home full-time. I'll be homeschooling a fourth grader, a second grader, and the youngest will be doing Pre-K at home. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous. Our youngest is hysterical and makes it very difficult for us to focus at times. Putting him back at preschool again this year, three mornings a week, just didn't feel like the right decision. I think he was starting to realize he was being left, while the rest of us were going home. Kids are smart that way... :)
Choosing curriculum is such a joy. We tried A LOT of different things last year. Some we will continue with while others are new. I love looking at it all right now, stacked neatly, just waiting for the year to begin.
Language Arts- 4th and 2nd grader will be doing Abeka. For PreK, we sort of have a hodgepodge of materials... Bob Books, Phonics Pathways, letter of the week activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1, and lots of manipulatives! I've gotta thank those special mommies out there who share so generously the materials they have created for their own families. Their creativity blows me away!
I cannot recommend Institute for Excellence in Writing's program highly enough. This summer I have been teaching writing classes out of the schoolhouse and have been so impressed with the results, so far. My oldest two will be doing this, as well. I also love A Reason for Handwriting.
Math- We are continuing on with Horizons Math, which I believe is an incredibly strong program. I also add my own manipulatives; base 10 blocks, money, stamps, etc. to illustrate some of the concepts we encounter.
Bible- My 4th grader is doing Switched on Schoolhouse for Bible and my middle will be using Alpha Omega's Lifepacs.
Science- SO EXCITED to start Jeannie Fulbright's elementary science program from Apologia. We will be using Zoo 1 this year.
History- Ahhh, my favorite! This I will be putting together all by myself. I do like Evan Moor's History Pockets series. We used the Native Americans unit last year and the books were beautiful when we finished. The focus this year will be Colonial America, Westward Expansion and California History!
Morning "Circle" Time- I need a name for what we'll be doing first thing everyday. We're not really in a circle when we do it, so I feel a little disingenuous calling it "Circle Time". Basically, this is when I'll use my trusty hold-over from the public school days...my overhead projector! Hey, what can I say? Old habits die hard and it may seem a bit like overkill, but it really focuses my kids! Basically we'll do scripture, prayer journals, and calendar daily together. For the second part, the focus will change daily. Mondays will be Presidents (introducing a new one each week). Tuesdays will be States (again, one per week) and geography. Wednesdays we'll continue Draw to Learn Proverbs. Thursdays are set aside for money collection (reviewing counting coins and making change). Finally, Fridays we will do Draw Write Now. Presidents and States will also be reinforced through the week with games, posters and PowerPoint presentations.
I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but I would never want to forget to share the following with you...
Sue Patrick's Workbox System is absolutely the BEST classroom management tool I have ever encountered for homeschoolers. It completely changed our learning environment and motivated our easily distracted children! The few dollars I spent to attend her Webinar, was some of the best money I have ever spent. Check it out!
Also, I'm completely addicted to teacherfilebox.com. It's a subscription-based site from educational publisher Evan-Moor. I think I downloaded every single language arts center for Pre-K/K, 2nd grade, and 4th grade. I laminated each of the pieces and now have probably 100 folders for reinforcement of skills. When I joined, the first three days were completely free. I love, love, love this site!
Well, I want to wish you all the very best for a successful schoolyear! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my very first blog post.