It’s the 3rd annual Not Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter. I’ve tried for the last three years to participate and something always comes up and I do a week and forget the rest. This year, I’m going to try harder and to all 4 weeks. The first week is curriculum. Choosing curriculum is like a thorn in my side somedays, I’m just never sure I’m choosing the right one for us and I have no problems leaving something behind mid year because it isn’t working.
C is in 4th grade this year, wow how time flies. The way we are doing school is going to be different this year. I have been trying for the last 3 years to find something that fits us. I don’t want to do school from 8-4 or 9-3. I don’t want to be tied to a table all those hours. I want school to be fun, hands on and interesting. I also hate the fact that we can never seem to get past the core subjects to the fun stuff. So this year I’m changing it and going to a 2 week block schedule. For two weeks we will do science, geography (US and world), nature study, and I am hoping to add in some unit studies and a language. Then we will switch and for two weeks we will do math, grammar, literature, handwriting, spelling/vocabulary, and writing. I think this will help us get through the day better, give us the break we need sometimes and keep us (read me) from getting burned out too quickly with a lot of hands on projects.
Math – Life of Fred - We are finishing up fractions, and then we will start decimals and percents. I didn’t think my reluctant reader would like this series but he loves it. I think because it explains the whys behind math vs tons of review and boring explanations.
Grammar – Growing with Grammar 4 – I really like Growing with Grammar. It’s self explanatory so that the student can work independently and still learn. There is some diagramming so he is learning to diagram sentences, which is important to me. He likes it and it takes maybe 15 minutes a day.
Writing – Writing Strands 2 and 3 - this year we will be finishing Writing Strands 2 and starting Writing Strands 3. I’m glad I waited until this year to start a formal writing program. Waiting until C was ready has made things go much smoother. We will also be doing some journal writing in the form of a blog this year. C has some fine motor issues that make writing well a pain. So I am going to combine learning to type with journal / blog writing.
Handwriting - New American Cursive - C wants to learn cursive so why not? I’m not really pushing it, he doesn’t have to be perfect but I do want him exposed to it.We spent most of the first part of this year in OT for fine motor issues, SPD and handwriting. His print has improved but his cursive is neater,it’s really weird. After we finish the workbook I have the Start Write CD to create my own handwriting worksheets for him to practice his handwriting.
Spelling and Vocabulary – Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary 4 – our spelling and vocabulary are combined this year. This is the one subject we will have to double up on to complete the whole book in our allotted time within our block schedule. Much like Growing with Grammar it is set up so the student can work fairly independently. There is a pretest at the beginning of the week, and then a workbook page for 4 days and a test at the end of the week. So far we like it , a lot.
Literature – I started reading a book I have been seeing popping up on Pinterest and on teaching blogs called The Book Whisperer. I’ve only read one chapter so far and I’m already changing my plans for literature this year. C is a very reluctant reader, it’s something I have to push for him to do. So this year, I’m going to let him choose his reading, within reason. We are going to talk about genres, every week we will pick a different genre to study and he will have to read a book of his choice in that genre. We are also going to work on our library skills so we can stop asking the librarian where things are all the time. He will journal about the books he reads on his blog.
Science – Elemental Science: Biology for the Logic Stage – The curriculum is writing intensive so I took that out and added in extra hands on and lab activities for C to do. I’m not exactly thrilled with it, it’s not exactly what I want, but it’s secular *sigh* We will be dissecting animals this year also. And now that I just saw that that REAL Science is coming out with a level 2 Biology and since I much prefer their program, I think we may be switching. In fact I just emailed them to see when it is coming out, and we may stop science until it comes out.
UPDATE – since Biology Level 2 isn’t coming out for a few months, and I really can’t get into Elemental Science we are going to do REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry and then move into Biology when we are finished.
History and Geography – This is a change from when I first made this post. I’m switching things up. I let C pick the order of the states, countries and US history subjects we will be doing. I’m going to pull from various places using unit studies, living books and hands on activities to teach US history and US and World Geography. These are:
Nature Study – I’m going to use the Handbook of Nature Study but beyond that I’m not sure. I’m going to wait until late September / early October to start this, because well, it’s too HOT right now. We will journal these on mine and C’s blogs as well.
I also have no plans for language right now, I’m hoping to figure that out in the near future also. Art and music will be done through US and World Geography this year. PE will be swimming, yoga class, kids zumba class, and lots of outdoor play time.
This year I’m also adding K into the mix. She will be 3 in October and is doing a preschool program that I am working on writing right now. It is literature based and hands on. We will do a theme revolving around a story a week. So far we have read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Brown Bear Brown Bear and next week is Dinosaur Shapes. She’s loving it and in the last 3 weeks has learned all of her colors and shapes. She is also tagging along on C’s geography and nature studies.
That’s our plans for this year as of right this minute, stay tuned because they could change.
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