One of the things that kept me busy last week was drawing up the curriculum for our first month of school. This is our fourth year of homeschooling and we've definitely had our ups and downs. My goal has always been to give my children an education that would challenge them, prepare them for college, and keep them interested in learning. I've stayed away from boxed curriculums because I find that one child might be "two grades" ahead in spelling, "right at grade level" for math, etc. Also, "grade level" is a subjective description and does not flow universally from one curriculum to the next. So, we've tried a lot of different programs with a lot of different styles over the years. This year, I think (she said, with fingers crossed) that we've got it dialed in.
Creating a curriculum that you've pieced together, however, takes a lot of time and energy. Doing a month of daily planning for two kids kept me away from the internet for much of last week, but it was definitely worth it. Based on our first day's experience, I think I'm right on the money this year. I think they'll be challenged but not overwhelmed, which is exactly what I was after. The great thing about homeschooling, however, is that if I need to change it, I can!
For fun, I thought I'd show you what Valiant is doing these days. This is his actual assignment sheet for Monday, 9/14/09. As you can see, because this week (Labor Day week) is a 4-day week, in order to stay on track, he'll be taking the Biology test from Chapter 2 on Monday morning, before he begins Chapter 3. Most of these first few chapters are review for him, so we're just getting test practice as much as anything else.
Math: Pre-Algebra – Chapter 8: Measuring Length: Lesson 55 - Making A Table - computer and workbook
Biology: Test from Chapter 2
Biology: Life Science – Chapter 3: Cell Processes – Section 1: Chemistry of Life. Read pages 64-73, then write and define the review vocabulary new vocabulary featured on page 66; write and answer all reading check questions found throughout the text; in writing, complete the self-check questions in the section review
Spelling: Wordly Wise 4 – Lesson 8 – Word List – study words and definitions – Write Each Word Once, plus do Exercise 8A – “Finding Meanings”
Writing: Read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, write an essay choosing from writing prompts provided.
Typing: Mavis Beacon – 15 minutes
History: Story of the World – Volume 1: Ancient Times – Chapter 5– The First Sumerian Dictator– read section and answer worksheet questions.
For Math, we use Teaching Textbooks and I love it (we had good luck with Singapore Math in past years, but I wanted something more intense and independent for Valiant). For Biology, we're using the Life Science textbook by Glencoe (we've used Cyber Ed for years, but the Physics and Chemistry got too hard too fast for us). For History, this year we're using Story of the World for both kids, but I have also purchased textbooks for US History and the Constitution for Valiant to begin a unit on that (it is on hold for now...I want to see how our history program goes for a few months).
So, there you have it, in case you've ever wondered what we actually do as homeschoolers (and I know some of you have!), now you know! (And those of you who've been worried that I'm not pushing them enough can breathe a sigh of relief. Seriously. I'm pushing.)
Fascinating, isn't it?