Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Homeschooling Curriculum

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?


Jonam said...

Here are the website for improve kids science performance

Alicia said...

Good for you!! We started our first week just on Tuesday, and so far so good!!

Anonymous said...

You are one of my few homeschooling friends I haven't worried about. I do have friends in real life who home school and they never seem to be doing any schooling. And their kids are not the brightest on the block, if you know what I mean, and they seem to only know how to converse with adults, never seem to know how to talk with other kids their ages. Those I worry about. But your three, seem so normal. I love that they ninja fight and build playhouses, and chase the poor cat, and also seem to be getting a good education. When I hear it "only takes 2 hours a day" I want to say, "but don't you want to give your child so much more?" I feel like mine are in school all day and I spend more time schooling them at night than these ladies do their home schooled children. It just makes me sad that they choose to spend the time homeschooling and then seem to lose interest in the child along the way, but then don't want to change their mind about home schooling. The child doesn't get mom's quality time, other things do.

You don't seem like you are like that. (Note, I do have some friends that home school who do excellent jobs with their children and their children are nothing like what I described above either. Like Erin's children, they are well rounded, intelligent children. I don't think it has to do with home schooling, or not, but rather, how much time does the parents put into the education.)

So have a good home school year. We got our first progress reports yesterday. #3 had As. #2 forgot to go to first period, so she didn't get hers. She'll get it today. Can't believe how fast our school year is flying.

Erin said...

Jonam, thanks so much for the link, I'll check it out. Alicia, you, too? Teresa, thanks for the means so much.