Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Current Curriculum - March 2012

See my last curriculum post from May 2011 here

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We school year round and don't really follow grades. Brianna started Nov 15, 2010 coming from 3rd grade in public school and will go until whenever of whatever year. Tanya started Feb 6, 2012 coming from 6th grade in public school. Olivia formally started "Preschool" on Feb 6, 2012. But as we don't follow specific grades, Brianna is anywhere from Gr. 4-6, Tanya is anywhere from Gr. 3-6 and Olivia is PreK/K. Olivia obviously has her own work, but majority of Brianna and Tanya's work is the same thing, at the same levels (really the only exceptions are Math and English).

So, since we don't have set grades or set school years, I figure every 4-6 mths I'll post what we are currently working on. We are currently mostly not using traditional HS items, but regular workbooks you can buy at the bookstore/teacher stores. Most subjects are supplemented by printed worksheets from various sites and of course, library books.


We use a variety of educational toys with her, some of our favorites being:
Discovery Toys Busy Bugs
Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center
Basic magnetic letters and wooden blocks
Pretty well anything from Leap Frog

For printables we mostly use tot and preschool curriculum from 1+1+1=1 but also Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Online, our favorite sites so far are ReadingEggs and StarFall

Books we're working out of are Hooked On Phonics ABCs, Fisher Price On the Road to Learning, Fisher-Price Watch Me Learn, School Zone Counting 1-10 and School Zone Preschool Basics.


This year we are doing a new type of workbook Jump at Home Gr. 4. This method apparently breaks concepts do into simple step-by-step directions. Since Brianna is such a literal child, I think this will benefit her. A lot of her problems in math are because she either doesn't read fully or doesn't understand the directions. Outside of the workbook, the main things we'll be working on is multiplication and division.

Her regular curriculum is English and Grammar Gr. 4 from the MacMillan/McGraw-Hill website. She has a really rough time with paragraphs, making her sentences more in list form than a flowing sentence. To aid in this, we'll be using Editing & Writing, Paragraph Writing and Writing Paragraphs


Tanya is doing a more condensed version of Gr 4 math in Active Minds Math. I think most of the Gr. 4 level, she should be able to get through it fairly fast and not need a full curriculum. Outside of her workbook, we'll be working on long division and starting fractions.

After struggling through the Gr. 2 level work I was giving her, we're starting her in a full curriculum of Gr. 3 English. She especially has problems with proper nouns, general capitalization and all punctuation other than periods. She's a very strong reader, so I'm hoping once the sentence building info clicks in, she'll fly through. She'll be using the Daily Editing book Brianna used last year, which focuses a lot on capitalization and punctuation. Also, both the On Level and Grammar books from the MacMillan/McGraw-Hill site, which is the basis of her curriculum. And, of course, other random worksheets I throw at her to give her a different perspective in trouble areas.

Brianna and Tanya together: 

Daily Binders: 
Both girls have what we call their daily binders. Each day they have a math drill (adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing, depending what they need extra work in that week), penmanship and handwriting practice, vocabulary (words that they have misread/mispronounced have to be looked up in the dictionary for their definition and a sentence with the word made), Boggle spelling (they're given a "boggle board" of 16 random letters that they have to make as may words as possible with and the more letters in a word, the more points it earns) and journal (with various writing prompts). We'll be adding something to do with French in their daily binders within the next few weeks.

We don't really do a formal spelling curriculum. We are trying out a book, Active Minds Spelling Booster, but normally I just track misspelled words in the girls' school work. With them, I have them copy, alphabetize and make sentences with the words.

We are currently not doing anything for History, but this will be a together subject.

We're working our way through Journey North's Mystery Class. We started out with 10 Mystery Locations around the world. Through graphing photo periods, latitude and longitude clues and photo clues we'll slowly be able to make educated guesses on where these locations are. 

The girls are together working on Menu Math and Market Math which brings the math they are learning into everyday situations that they'll see in real life. Both books come with a menu or grocery list that each page uses.

For creative writing we're using their journals, but also Everyone Write Gr 3-4. 

We haven't finished Science Investigations Gr. 3 so we'll be finishing that then moving on to the 4th grade version. Brianna's science knowledge is beyond the Gr. 3 or even Gr. 4 level, but she loves the book we're in so we're continuing with it, just doing it faster and supplementing on top of it. We didn't get the Butterfly Unit done last year, so we'll be doing it once the butterflies come back. We also have Astronomy/Space coming up using Astronomy Projects, Astronomy Lapbook and Astronomy Program. We're hoping to be able to also incubate chicken eggs to hatch and raise, but I'm having some difficulty finding eggs and not already hatched chicks. And of course, we'll be starting up Wilderness Wednesday again!

My sister is covering French. We picked up Living Language which has 3 books and 9 CDs and some free stuff online. I don't speak French at all, but my sister is looking to see if anyone knows of some French sites that have printables?

Learning the recorder hasn't happened yet. I got a book that has little songs and fingerings, but I still think I need to find something more "beginner". The book I have seems to be the next level up. I also need to get Tanya a recorder (and Brianna a new one since her seems to have disappeared in the move). 

I found these great origami sets, Pet Shop Origami and Springtime Origami. Once we've worked through those, we do some basic "art lessons", colors, shapes... Kindergarten, only more detailed!

Phys Ed/Health: 
We do swimming twice a month with the local homeschool group and I think we'll be starting up soccer or something similar once the ground thaws and dries up. 

The girls will be continuing with their running this year. Once all the snow and ice is gone they'll start running in the park again. The girls have several official races this year and training in between.
May 21st - 5K
June 13th - 5K
July 7th - Kids Fun Run, 2.5K
Aug 18th - Triathlon, swim 100m, bike 6K, run 1.5K
Sept 3rd - 5K

With the girls' ages, puberty is running rampant, so that is the big Health Class focus right now.

The girls are playing ReadingEggs. I have them starting from the beginning to try and help with their spelling by again going over phonics basics. And Brianna needs extra help in blending sounds when sounding out words to spell. She often, somehow, reverses them such as hron, wrod, paly (horn, word, play). But they do also have accounts on the "big kids" side for reading and grammar games. They do need typing work, but that's just not on the priority list right now.

Life Skills:
We moved just before Christmas. Our new house sat empty for at least 6 months before we moved in and no one took care of the property in that time. So the girls will be helping us tear up all the grass with a rototiller, laying boarders for the veggie and flower beds, laying the new walkway and patio and reseeding the rest of the yard with grass. 

They will also have their own small veggie gardens this year with small raised beds made out of good wooden boxes (that mom found at work that were going to be just thrown away). They will be completely responsible for them. No one else will plant, weed, water, thin, ect... in their gardens.

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