Curriculum and Plans for 2012-2013 School Year

The number three search term that brought people to this blog in the last few weeks (obviously not new people, but regular readers)  is “get along home curriculum”.  This is something of a problem, because I haven’t written very much about my curriculum choices. I’m honestly surprised anybody thought to ask!

The few times I’ve mentioned our plans I’ve never really gone into detail. This is mostly because I’m unsure of how useful it will be, but also because I’d much rather write about other things most of the time. Since you asked, though, I’ll do that now. I’m pretty excited about our fourth year of homeschooling!

First, our daily, at-home schedule:

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I love having a schedule to keep us on track. This one is very simple, because our lives are simple. The schedule for days we don’t stay home is basically this, minus whatever hours we’re not home. There was a time when I thought that having a schedule sounded like the worst kind of slavery, but then it occurred to me that it’s my schedule, and I’m building it around my ideal day, so it’s not quite the taskmaster I felt it would be. It’s actually turning out to be a pretty great way to manage our time! We don’t always stick to it, but most days, it’s just what we need.

Now, the books and plans. I boasted on my Facebook page (follow me!) that I had only spent around $100 for the first half of this year. That is true, but I’m using a lot of books that we already had, free stuff, things I won, and used books. If a person were to buy all of these things, the cost would be well over that amount.

Bible. (Daily. Hourly, even.) Our Bible curriculum is, um, the Bible. We don’t really need a curriculum to complicate matters, do we? We read  a selection and pray every morning. Scripture and worldview is part of everything else, as well. I’m going to start adding in hymns at family worship time. I like to sing, and I don’t want my kids to lose the older songs just because we go to a trendy church that likes to sing Chris Tomlin’s pablum more often than Rock of Ages. Not that I don’t like Chris Tomlin. I do! It’s just a little on the shallow, mono-syllabic side, don’t you think? My husband says I’m a music snob. I say I have standards.

The Story of the World. (2x per week) We only got halfway through the book and activities last year, so we’ll finish Year 2 this year. (I did this with Tapestry of Grace for the first two years, also, and it was a fun, slow-paced way to do lower grammar without neglecting the 3 R’s.)

Home Geography. (2x per week) This is an old, out-of-print book I got in .pdf form, thanks to Homeschool Freebie of the Day. If you haven’t discovered that site yet, now’s a good time to subscribe. A great deal of our fun comes from supplements and books they dig up! The language is a little bit outdated, but I think we can work around that. I’ll take most of these lessons outside and do them at the same time as nature studies.

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First Language Lessons. (2x per week) I have about nine weeks’ worth of lessons left in this book. Love the poetry suggestions and the short grammar lessons. After that, I don’t know where I’m going with grammar. Shurley English? What do you guys think?

Math Mammoth. (Daily) I bought Math Mammoth through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op last year at a ridiculous price, so I have all of the elementary levels. I don’t love workbooks for most purposes, but for math, it’s a good approach. Saxon was good for teaching me how to teach math to small children! But Saxon is a) expensive and b) not great for teaching multiple ages. Now we’re using MM workbooks for practice and teaching, while I supplement with other activities as appropriate. Math Mammoth includes some links to websites, games, and hands-on activities to keep math interesting, and the pace is just about perfect. It’s not self-teaching, exactly, but it’s close!

Baby Sam

Gratuitous baby picture.

Phonics, the old-fashioned (free) way. (Daily) I’m using the phonics page and DonPotter.net to teach phonics to my five year old. The three year old seems eager to learn, too, so we’ll see what happens with her. I’m going to do at least one more post about how this is all coming together for us, so stay tuned! Will we use 100 Easy Lessons in the future? Who knows? Probably not, but I’ve learned to never say never.

Letter/Number of the Week. (Daily. Sort of.) The three year old insists on doing school, so I guess I’d better have a plan for her, too. Rolling my own lessons for this, as I can’t imagine paying for anything that easy to do.

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Exploring Creation with Astronomy. (2x per week) Bought this last year at the Apologia Live Retreat. We did Botany last year, and I’m pretty sure we’ll stick with Apologia Science for years to come. I am thrilled with the ease of using these books! I barely have to prepare for lessons at all, and most of the activities and experiments use things I already have lying around the house. I also love the notebooking approach to learning.

Harmony Fine Arts. (Visual art 2x per week, Music 2x per week.) I shelled out for four years’ worth of lessons at once, because Barbara is just that impressive. Just go buy that. You won’t regret it. Read her blog, too. I’ve learned a lot from it.

Nature studies. (2x per week) Again, I’m putting this together for myself, based on what I already know, and using Audubon guides, notebooks, and good, old-fashioned quiet observation.

Family Time Fitness. (Daily) I won this P.E. curriculum. Twice, actually. Maybe I’ll give away one set to some lucky commenter. Think I’ll email the publisher and ask if that would be ok. My boys don’t focus very well unless there’s some physical activity first, so this is the first thing every day. We’ll do about 15-20 minutes before lessons start.

All About Spelling. (2x per week) My oldest son isn’t a great speller yet, but he does better with this hands-on, rules-based system than with rote memory (which is how I learned to spell). I love this curriculum. The letter tiles are our favorite way to do phonics. There’s an All About Reading program, too, though I haven’t yet tried it. If you ever buy All About Spelling, I hope you’ll come back here and buy through my link! I really do love it.

There you have it! That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! I don’t expect to finish everything, but I’m pretty sure nobody ever does, anyway. Most things are only two or three times a week, and Fridays are very lightly scheduled so we can finish projects or take field trips and library runs.

What are you doing this year?

Responses:

  1. I guess I need to wake up earlier. As it is I get up around 630 (kids aren’t allowed up til 715 and blessedly have been sleeping til about 730 lately!) but that’s just enough time to wake up, drink some tea, and have a little “down” time before I start. never get enough of my stuff done though throughout the day. maybe getting up earlier will help.
    I would love to exercise and shower. Maybe they’re getting old enough to sleep through me moving around the house (just turning 4 & 2). Here’s hoping!
    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your day. :)

    • Exercise! I forgot to put that in. Does PE count? I hope so!

  2. That looks very do-able!! I am currently working on our plan for the year. I know, I know…I said schedules give me hives, and they DO. But I think I have to do something to keep what little bit of sanity I have left. 8 students this year. Senior, two 8th graders, 6th, 5th, 4th, 2nd, and K.
    Trying to be patient as I wait for our order to arrive. And beginning the 90 day Bible again tomorrow, because God’s Word always gives me clarity. : )

    • So you got through it with seven students, no problem, but now with 8 you need a schedule? I guess we all have our limits. I found mine with one! You’re super! ;-)

  3. You are up early girl! I wish I could get my tired body up that early… but it usually takes me an hour after my alarm goes off before my body will even move.

    Great plan! Love it! And I would SO take that extra PE curriculum off of your hands! =}

    • I admit, some mornings I get up, take my medicine, and lie back down for an hour. I blame my husband. He likes to watch tv waaaay too late into the night and keeps me awake. (And you know, I couldn’t possibly just shut the bedroom door and go to sleep. Oh, no. All his fault.)

  4. Loved reading about your schedule (and I’d love to win one of your Family Time Fitnesses and I love the idea of doing it first thing).

  5. I love reading other people’s schedules! I will be making a new one this week. I’m going to be doing things differently this year. For example: I have previously done lessons when the youngest was napping, but this year I am going to try to do school in the morning, so we can have naptime to read and get chores & other things done.
    Thanks for sharing! It always helps to get a glimpse of what other homeschoolers do.

    • I couldn’t make it without my free time at naptime. I do school with the little ones awake. It’s definitely a little more hectic that way, but the little ones learn more and it’s a lot of fun. I guess you could say we have a “family integrated” homeschool. ;-)

  6. Ha! “get along home curriculum” is literally what I typed in the search engine. ;)

    Our schedules look very similar…everything except the getting up at 5am part. I’ve tried, I really have, but I just can’t do that. I am such a grump, it’s painful to everyone around me. I do wish I could figure out how to make that happen. What time to you go to sleep? I think that’s my problem. I need to stay up til 11 working, but then can’t get up at 5.

    And as for ‘Rock of Ages’ – yes, girl! We sing trendy-ish music at church too, but I make sure my kiddos know hymns.

    • I go to bed between 9:30 and 10:30, unless Jesse is watching tv or working late. If he does, I can’t sleep to save my life, so in the morning I usually hit snooze until 6 and skip the internet and writing time. I do that when babies keep me up, too, but this one is a good sleeper. Hope that doesn’t change. I love my morning time.

  7. Wow, 5 am! That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m a night owl. I went to public school and I spent a lot of time in detention because of tardiness. I’ve never functioned well in the morning…even when I went to bed at 9 or 10. So yeah….I struggle to get up by 9. Lil man is a morning person though. Well not as early as some lol. He gets up at 8..but by my standards that’s early. Michael is pretty good about doing his devotions when he gets up. I’m sure if God gives me more children then that would change everything. Little man is pretty independent….which works with our life style. A baby would definitely change things…still I have hopes.

    Anywho, we try to start school by 9 and finish by 2. Some days that works…others it doesn’t. We school year round so flexibility doesn’t put us behind. I’m posting our curriculum Sunday. We’re real eclectic too. I get so many ideas just from Pinterest.
    God bless!~Amber Dover

  8. Yeah yeah, that’s great… More gratutious baby pictures!!! Swoon! :-)

  9. Ya know, I wish I could be more scheduled, but I’m such a fly by the seat of my pants gal. I used to be very scheduled when I was running a home business and had an infant and a toddler but now we just go with the flow LOL I’ll admit I’m a bit jealous of your pretty color coordinated schedule. :)

  10. Love your schedule & curricula. Family Time Fitness guys live in our town. My daughter coached with one of them. Great program. I’d love to hear your feedback.

  11. Over the years I have tried to follow a schedule. It just doesn’t work for me…at least not beyond keeping appointments and scheduled classes/events outside of home. So high five for you that you are training your kids early. And we could never get up that early, either…except for the one day a week that we go out for Classical Conversations classes. Other than that, we wake up around 8:00 and get started around 10:30 doing Time4Learning and their work for CC.
    Our youngest daughter struggles a bit with spelling. We use spelling city dot com to play games like unscramble, crossword puzzles, Letter Fall. Today she was practicing her Dolch sight words as she played a Word Find on there. I like that I can use our own vocabulary words from books we are reading or particular words that she is having trouble with, and that she can work and learn independently while having fun.

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