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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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Small Tweaks to Our Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016


We're a full month into the school year and all is well. For realsies.

But, like all PLAN As, my curriculum choices and schedule plans have had to be whittled and widened to make them doable in real life and not just on paper.

I've made a few simple additions to our day that have helped to fill in the gaps. Nothing too dramatic. Just teensy-tiny changes.

And here they are.


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Everybody

Devotions

I've begun laying out all of the Bible devotional materials on the dining room table each night before I head to bed. This is the very first thing the children must complete from the Good Morning Board list each day, so it just makes sense to have it waiting there for them when they wake up. Granted, they are all perfectly capable of finding their own Bible and devotional book in our Bible basket. But, having everything they need laid out this way helps ME to see how things are progressing each morning. I can glance at the table and know who is ready for breakfast (Their devotions are completed and put back in the basket and their room is clean.) and who is not (Their Bible is still sitting on the table and their room still looks like it should be sectioned off with some kind of official caution tape.)

Small Tweaks to Our Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016


Sweetie Pea- 7th grade

BIC Class

A few weeks ago, our pastor announced that he would be offering an intensive, 2-year Bible Instruction Course (Bible survey, doctrines, and Christian living class) to any interested Jr. and Sr. High students. The class meets on Sunday nights and functions like a traditional class with lectures, class notes, examinations, etc.

While we recognize that most of the content taught in the class can be learned at home, The Hubs and I see this as an opportunity to teach our daughter some helpful "school" skills in an environment of our choosing. Due to the independent nature of homeschooling, our children do not often get opportunities to learn how to learn in other ways. The "herd" method of education is certainly not an experience necessary for all children, but I think it is beneficial for college-bound homeschooled kids. 

Although it is a large commitment for her and for us (her chauffeurs), The Hubs and I see this class as a perfect opportunity for her to sit under someone else's instruction, to learn information without the benefit of the "tailored" methods I can provide, to submit to a rigorous time table and deadlines, to take tests, to receive critique from a non-family member...and the list goes on. To us, this is a greenhouse model to prepare her for college learning while she is still under our guidance and protection.

(In case you are curious, BIC is a program offered through our faith denomination. Although it is designed for class-room use, the student materials can be purchased for at-home use as well.)

Devotions

At the start of the year, Sweetie Pea just wanted to read her Bible during her devotions. And that was fine with me. But after a few days, we both agreed that a devotional book would give her some daily direction for WHAT to read in her Bible. So, she's been finishing up God Has Big Plans for You, Esther, an inductive study for kids by Kay Arthur that she started last year, and will then begin Appleseeds, a discipleship guide for tween girls.

Super Boy- 4th grade

Phonics review

He started the year out with a subscription to Reading Eggs (an online phonics learning game), but zoomed through the entire teaching part of the program within the first week of school. So, I am passing his year-long subscription on to his first-grade brother. Instead, Super Boy will continue with intensive phonics review using Reading Horizons, an online program specifically designed for struggling readers. I have started him out in the Discovery course and will advance him to Elevate eventually. 

While Super Boy reads and comprehends at grade level, it is a slow, arduous process. He has a mild neurological disorder that is often accompanied by dyslexia. Although we have never had him formally tested for reading struggles, we can see some tell-tale signs. Daily phonics practice in some form or another helps to keep all of these reading skills "well-greased" making his oral and silent reading time so much more smooth. 

The purchase price of the program applies for two students. So, I've also included his younger brother, Blonde Warrior (third grade), in the membership. Blonde Warrior doesn't necessarily need the phonics review. But, he is more than welcome to play a review game every few days when he has completed his other assignments. 

Devotions

I had originally thought that Super Boy would continue reading through his Action Bible while also reading a short excerpt from The Jesus Calling for Kids each day for his devotion time. But a few days into the school year, I decided it would be better for him to read the verses that correspond with the excerpt from The Jesus Calling. Since the Action Bible does not break the Bible down into chapter and verse, he had to switch over to the Bible he uses for church, the ESV Seek-and-Find Bible

Blonde Warrior- 3rd grade

Devotions

He, too, needed a more traditional chapter/verse style Bible for his devotions than I had originally anticipated. So, he is currently using a used copy of The Adventure Bible for Early Readers that we found for a quarter at a used book sale. I plan on getting him an ESV Bible for his Christmas gift of Myrrh, however, as that is our family's preferred translation. 

Greased Lightning- 1st grade

Phonics

As I mentioned above, Greased Lightning has taken over his brother's annual membership to Reading Eggs. While I would not consider the program a complete phonics course, it does offer great review to the phonics he is receiving during our regular phonics/reading time together.

Art

Because he absolutely looooooooves art and because our group art times are sometimes a bit too difficult for him to really complete well, he has been joining his younger brother and me during our preschool art time once a week. The projects are super simple and process-oriented. While they are admittedly too easy for him, he loves having an extra time each week to cover his hands with paint. So, he gets to sit in with the BIG art and the LITTLE art and land somewhere in the middle each time. 

Small Tweaks to Our Homeschool Curriculum 2015-2016

The Dude- gentle preschool

Read Aloud

At three-years-old, he is at a great age to begin enjoying chapter book read alouds. That being said, the book I read out loud to the older four kids each day is always quite over his head. So, I've begun reading separate early chapter books like Little Bear and Frog and Toad to him each day right after lunch while the older kids complete their afternoon chores. Then we transition into our regular read aloud time with everyone else. 

So far, these simple changes have helped make PLAN A a success!

4 comments:

  1. It sounds like all is going well. I will have to look into Reading Horizons. My daughter struggles with spelling and is a slow reader.
    Blessings, Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  2. As always, I like your recommendations. I'll be coming back to this page in the future when I need some ideas. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I was reading the comments on Amazon's listing for The Adventure Bible, I noticed an uproar about the word sex being used in the Bible. Can you verify if this is correct or not. It was said to have been used in the story of Lot. I know the story of Lot and understand that you can't change the story, but maybe different wording would suffice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That particular chapter uses the words "slept with." It does not use the word "sex."

      Delete

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