Thursday, October 29, 2015

Curriculum Planning in an Out-of-Synch Schedule

You'd think that since it's almost November - and we started school in August - I would have firmed up Jude's plans for the year long ago.  Ha!  Actually, being part of the Schoolhouse Crew Review team is why I've been so slow to finalize things.  We've been trying so many new programs that it's been hard to make a commitment to something, especially when we know another program is coming in a few weeks. Now that the Crew year is winding down, I'm ready to evaluate what's on my shelf and make some (at least short-term) commitments.  It's also been interesting trying to figure out what level of things we need.  I think curriculum grade levels are a lot like clothing sizes -- they don't necessarily translate from company to company!

I've decided I actually like doing my formal planning "later" on. Why?
  • It gives me time to read more about programs that I'm interested in trying.  In August and September, lots of homeschoolers are blogging about what they're going to use for the year, so planning later into the fall gives me time to read about why people are choosing the programs they have.  
  • Lots of programs now have free trials.  It's definitely worth trying them before you buy.  If there's one thing we've learned doing reviews, sometimes what you think you'll love just doesn't work, and you may just be surprised by what you're skeptical of at the start.
  • Purchasing books during an "off" time also speeds delivery -- companies aren't so busy trying to get so many orders out the door at once!

I've finally decided what our core is going to be. 


Veritas Bible - Genesis to Joshua
Grapevine Studies (selected units)
Religion 1 for Young Catholics (Seton Press)


Math-U-See Gamma

Language Arts:

Veritas Press First Favorites (selections from Vol. 1 & Vol. 2)
Veritas Press More Favorites (selections)
Reading Kingdom (continued from this year's review)
Spelling You See Level B (Jack and Jill)
Evan Moore Daily Language Review (grade 1)

Jude's delayed language skills are all over the place!  I've decided that we will probably work mostly on literacy and comprehension this year, to try to bring those skills more in line with each other.  That way, we can focus more formally on grammar and writing next year because he'll have a more solid language base.  The Language Review workbook gives him some practice with proper grammar and usage in a short format.

In addition to our core, this year I really want to add some Social Studies and Science.  Our plans for those:

Social Studies:

Evan Moore Daily Geography Practice
Evan Moore US Facts and Fun


Shell Education Science Labs (Grades 3-5)

If we run short on activities for social studies, I may go back to Brookdale House's Writing through History that we reviewed, or we'll look at doing some unit-study style lapbooks. I'm also looking at doing some themed lapbooks around the science labs.  In our state, there's no mandated requirements, other than the ability to show a "comparable" education.  Third graders here do one semester of each subject, so I think we have enough to meet the standards.  Of course, I'd prefer to go beyond, but if we need to focus more on math and literacy, one semester of each will be adequate.


Seasonal/Holiday/Literature themed crafts
Easy Piano Basics

I'm happy to have plans finalized.  It's definitely nice to be able to try new things often - because some of our favorites are things we never expected to love so much - but it's also nice to feel organized and ready to just keep on going!  

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