Homeschool Planning Series: Homeschool Curriculum 2017-2018

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Today in homeschool planning: The homeschool curriculum we will be using during the 2017-2018 school year!

The why, how, and what of it all…

Since that definitely wasn’t too dramatic, I’ll just jump right in to our homeschool curriculum choices for the year. We actually had our first day of school yesterday. Sophia is very excited, and I am too. I’m glad to have a point where the planning has to taper off, and work actually begin. Anyways, let’s start with the three R’s, shall we?

Reading

For reading, we’re going working through the McGuffey Reader series. (Ebook versions are available for free through the Gutenberg ProjectWe’re partly through the first reader right now. I will say that I am not a stickler about mandating that she ALWAYS read this particular book. Sometimes she would rather read a book from the library. I don’t always let her choose, but I am inclined to if she has a specific desire to read a certain book. After all, the point is to learn and love reading, not to work through some arbitrary checkpoints. She also reads a few verses from the Bible at our Morning Time. I’ll be reading aloud a selection of classic kids books. The Secret Garden, Grimms Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, Fifty Famous Stories, and Just So Stories. This is mainly following the course from Ambleside Online. However, we were reading The Secret Garden before school started and are loving it!

Math Homeschool Curriculum

This year, we are using Saxon Math 1. It is a very organized approach with manipulatives and opportunities to make it a hands on learning experience. I think Sophia is nearer to the middle in terms of her skills, but I’m having trouble gauging where to jump to. I’m going to spend some time poring over the manual this weekend to figure that out though…

Writing/Copywork Homeschool Curriculum

For our writing curriculum, we’re using Handwriting Without Tears, and we’re using the printing book. Sophia enjoys writing, and especially likes to write little notes to people. I love that and encourage it! However, some structured formation practice is well in order. We’ll also do short copywork sentences based on narrations.

The other subjects…

Honestly, I’m most excited about our peripheral subjects. I think everybody is. Not that Math and Writing and Reading are boring by any means–I love them too–but I get so EXCITED about Geography, History, Science, and the great literature we’ll be reading in those subjects that I just can’t help myself. Throw in some music, art, and nature study? Yes, please…

History Homeschool Curriculum

For history this year, we’re using Story of the World, Volume 1, and studying Ancient Civilization. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between Story of the World and the Mystery of History for a curriculum, but we ultimately picked this. I’m so glad we did! I’ve been reading through the Activity Book and it is just fantastic (although I think I’m going to have to pass on mummifying a chicken…) I just finished prepping for our first activity (an archaeology dig) and it’s like Christmas. The history that we read will be supplemented by literature from the library that fits into the time period we’re studying or illuminates the scientific/mathamatical advances of the time.

Science Homeschool Curriculum

We’re following the science program from the Well Trained Mind through the grammar stage. That means that our first year (this year) will focus on studying the natural world. This ties into our first year history, because science in Ancient Times was based on what was observable to the naked eye. We’re spending our first semester on animal classification and the different families within the animal kingdom. In the new year, we’ll move on to the human body, and botany. We’re using encyclopedias for this, as well as lots of library books. We’re also going to be working through this book of science experiments for kids, and encouraging observation and discovery.
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Especially in Nature

Moving on down the rabbit hole, we’re also delving into nature study. Again, something I’m really excited about. I’m using Nature Anatomy and the Handbook for Nature Study, and we’re setting aside Fridays for nature walks. We’re arming the kids with a pad of paper, a pen, and a magnifying glass, and I can’t wait to see what they turn up! Nature Study is pretty quintessentially Charlotte Mason, and I love her attitude towards children in the outdoors. She encourages observation deftly, but the emphasis is always on stoking the interest of the children and being certain they have a wealth of ideas and knowledge at their fingertips to satisfy questions and fuel the imagination.
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And if the world in our own backyard, why not the WORLD?!

Again with the segue… We’re memorizing the continents, and learning about important countries within each continent. We’ll get into some mapwork too. This is another subject that I am SO enthusiastic about. Josh and I have a basically insatiable desire to travel, and I’m sure some of that will rub off on our kids. I was really inspired by Jamie Martin’s ‘Give Your Child the World’. So, in addition to our maps and globes, and pins-on-places-we-read-about, we’ll be reading through her booklists for each continent. Plus, there are incredible documentaries on Netflix that we’ll use occasionally, and we’ll be trying our hand at making a special meal from various countries. Honestly, this is one of those subjects where I probably have too many ideas and too little time. Only time will tell, though!
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And the arts…

We’re doing a little composer study and art study in our Morning Time as well. Dvorak and Mary Cassat will be our composer and artist study this year. I have fond (probably too-fond) hopes for music. I would love to see the kids start playing the piano or another instrument, but it is not something I am going to force at this age. I’m getting the Thompson book for young children, will offer to teach them… and just see where it goes. I’m personally taking advantage of our composer study as a little direction for my violin practice, and intend to focus on learning the music to a few of the pieces we play.
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So, that was basically a book… Bravo to you for sticking with me!

Are your curriculum choices made? What are you most looking forward to in this homeschool year?

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