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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Small Tweaks to Our 2013-2014 Curriculum

Although I toil for months each summer to put together the "perfect" curriculum plan for my school year, rarely does my plan remain un-edited once fall arrives.  I think it is always a good idea to evaluate the success and use-ability of my chosen curriculum a few weeks into the school year.  By the end of September, I use a few key questions to assess the materials I've purchased/borrowed and make adjustments accordingly.  (This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

This year, after sensing a definite deficiency in my PLAN, I added in two new elements to our 2013-2014 curriculum.  


Family-Bible Time

This year, our church is trying something new in the Children's Ministry Department.  And I LOVE it!  Using materials from Children Desiring God, they have put together a curriculum that ensures that each of my children, no matter the age, will be learning the same thing...at their level.  Take home packs are sent home each week so that families are able to prepare for the upcoming week's lesson and memorize a verse ALL TOGETHER.  (No more frazzled momma trying to help four kids memorize 4 different Sunday School verses and 4 different Wednesday night verses EVERY WEEK...phew!)

The take-home materials can usually be completed in three short at-home sessions.  While we absolutely love God's Promises, our chosen Bible curriculum for the year, we also find much value in what our Children's Ministry Department at church is attempting.  We have decided to do the Sunday School lessons three nights a week and God's Promises the remaining four nights.  

Middle Boys' Science

Although my original plan was for Blonde Warrior (1st Grade) to join the older kids for Noeo Science Chemistry I and for Greased Lightning to enjoy a few science-themed read-alouds throughout the year, it quickly became apparent that Noeo Science was sometimes too lengthy for a 1st grader's attention span and the science read-alouds just didn't offer the "hands-on" that a fun science lesson should provide.  So, PLAN B became the solution to both problems.  

Blonde Warrior still enjoys doing Chemistry with the older kids, but in addition, he now joins Greased Lightning twice a week for a "Littles"-friendly science time.  

Over the years, I have been collecting a handful of Let's Read and Find Out Science books.  They are a series of books each featuring a separate science topic and occasionally include simple project suggestions.  Up until this year, I don't think we have EVER read them.  They have been packed away in the basement for SOMEDAY.  Well, "someday" has arrived.  

Small Tweaks to Our 2013-2014 Curriculum-The Unlikely Homeschool
New Editions of Let's Read and Find Out Science

I was able to find several more titles in the series at the library and have created a "science" basket for the two middle boys.  Once a week, I let one of them pick a book from the basket.  We read half the book THAT day and save the other half for some other day later that week.  I have no real plan, schedule, or order to how and when each book will be read.  The boys choose whichever book looks interesting to them at that moment.  If there is a simple science project listed in the book and we have the required materials, we do it.  Sometimes, we explore the topic further with interesting videos on youtube, and sometimes we don't.  

I've purposed to keep this science-time very simple.  In true preschool-style, I am focusing more on providing a fun introduction to many different topics instead of diving head-long into lengthy unit-studies.

Small Tweaks to Our 2013-2014 Curriculum-The Unlikely Homeschool
Old Editions of Let's Read and Find Out Science

A Quick Peek

In case you're curious, so far our special "science time" has been such a treat for both me and my little boys.  So often, the busyness of teaching elementary kids demands that the little guys just "tag along" and try to keep up at their level.  While I don't doubt the validity of THAT kind of learning, I also think it's nice when my little boys can experience learning RIGHT AT THEIR LEVEL.  

Here's one quick example.  Last week, we read Ducks Don't Get Wet, and learned that every duck has a special oil gland that prevents them from getting wet while in the water.  Afterward, we conducted a simple science project to demonstrate what happens to water when it is on a duck's back.  

Small Tweaks to Our 2013-2014 Curriculum-The Unlikely Homeschool

We gathered two paper bags, cooking oil, a basting brush, and water.  We painted one of the bags with oil and then poured water on both bags.  My boys were able to visually see how the oil on a duck's feathers helps to resist water.  We then discussed WHY we thought God may have designed ducks this way.  Learning AT THEIR LEVEL.

Small Tweaks to Our 2013-2014 Curriculum-The Unlikely Homeschool

Have you done any curriculum tweaking this year?  How and Why?

8 comments:

  1. We had to change spelling the first week. She took pretests for the first 5 weeks and passed all perfectly. So we jumped up a grade, that was shocking! And grammar did not fit so round two for grammar is going much, much better.

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  2. I had an ELABORATE plan, boy was The Lord kind when He let me know it was to much!! I wanted to make sure he was receiving such a top notch education that I bought way more curriculum then needed and tried using it all! We tossed 1/2 out the window, bought A Beka math (so long Math U See), stopped SSRW in favor of AAR, and started more hands on for science & social studies. My lil guy is also 1st, and I realized he needs to really get the "basics" down this year:)

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  3. Don't you just love how homeschooling lets us tweak things? I'm ALWAYS tweaking things, and it seems like nothing stays the same too long.

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    Replies
    1. I hear ya'. What worked yesterday, won't necessarily work today. Tweak!

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  4. I haven't tweaked yet but I sure want to. I sure wish I'd used AAR and Nancy Larson Science. I'll have to raise a bit of money before I can do that. I love all of your Bible plans. I've added some Christmas gifts to my boys list to help in their quiet time.

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    Replies
    1. We typically include some kind of devotional or faith-building gift for each of our kids at Christmas too.

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