Switching from Pieced-Together Curriculum to Boxed Curriculum
Mar14

Switching from Pieced-Together Curriculum to Boxed Curriculum

As this school year starts to wind down, I have been looking back on the past few months to try to see how to better organize our day and goals in order to feel like I don’t need to rush through the rest of the curriculum in order to “finish” teaching what we need to get through this year. In my mind, we are a little behind due to our taking a large break during the winter and through a more slack approach during the spring.  Some things have fallen by the wayside, like our Handwriting Without Tears work and Geography, and we took longer than I had thought on reinforcing addition and subtraction of two and three digit numbers.  I’m not stressing about it, or truly worried.  I’d just like to find a less patchwork approach because I feel like it would work better for both of us. Since this was our first year homeschooling, I was tempted to go with a boxed curriculum when we started to take some of the guesswork out of lesson planning and scheduling. At the time, it wasn’t financially feasible to go with my first choice of Calvert for 2nd grade.  I did some research and pieced together a curriculum from a variety of sources, which has worked alright for us.  However, lesson planning is NOT my forte, I’ve come to realize! For next year, our finances are shaping up to be more in line with being able to enroll in Calvert’s 3rd grade program.  While I’m also researching some of the other complete boxed curricula programs such as Oak Meadow and Moving Beyond the Page, I like the approach of Calvert and the choice of either their math program or one aligned with Singapore Math, which we used this year. Hannah loves it, especially the mental math exercises which we’ve come to call Jedi Math!  With a deeper look at the course surveys of each of the math programs, though, it looks like we will probably be going with the Calvert Math program. It looks like it covers a good deal more than the Math In Focus, and I really want to keep her mind challenged. She thrives on challenge. If it’s too easy, I lose her attention extremely fast. We still have a few months to finish up the year, and we’ll be finalizing the curriculum over the summer.  We’ll also be rearranging our house a bit: moving the TV area into our current den/computer area and making the existing TV/living room into our classroom.  It will be nice to have a table/desks instead of chilling out on the sofa...

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Adventures Begin: Geek Teaching Mini-geek
Nov01

Adventures Begin: Geek Teaching Mini-geek

My husband and I have made the plunge and committed to homeschooling our daughter, age 7. She went to public school on October 24th not knowing it would be her last day of public school for a while, if ever. Our initial plan was to start in January at the beginning of the “semester” which would be more of a natural cutoff/start-time. The more I researched and thought about it though, after committing to homeschooling, it’s really not about starts and stops in the concrete sense anymore. I might not have all my curricula yet (we’re waiting for mid-Nov for the big buys), but we had already decided upon using Time4Learning.com (T4L) as a supplement, so we’re going to start with it for some review of what she’s learned so far in 2nd grade. Why wait? Texas, which I’m repeatably told – by both my aunt who homeschooled her two adopted daughter and folks at a great community I joined called SecularHomeschool.com – is awesome for homeschoolers. We have no testing requirements or strict rules. We simply have to have a bona-fide instruction plan with visual curriculum on the basic subjects of “reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.” I have that all already and plan to go beyond (to a point) what she would have learned in PS with more history and science, which she loves. I know she’s already about to jump ahead to 3rd Grade science because she’s already devoured what T4L had for 2nd graders. There are so many great resources for homeschoolers, it’s almost overwhelming. Trying to choose between one curriculum and another has been daunting, but I’m confident in what I’ve chosen so far, and if it doesn’t work, no sweat! I’ll change it! We live in Houston, and there’s a Homeschool Store about 15 minutes from where we live. My husband and I visited it earlier this week, and were very impressed at the atmosphere. I honestly was expecting a lot more pro-Christian sentiment to permeate the air as we walked in, but the staff – homeschooling moms – were actually very friendly and helpful when we explained that we were going for a secular curriculum. We didn’t purchase anything, but it was extremely nice to get a hands-on look at some of the books, including Singapore Math (which we decided to go with) and Story of the World (which we know tends to be biased towards Christianity but we’re going to use it with other references). Our Curriculum: Math – Singapore Math with manipulatives and flash cards Science – Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, supplements and labs of various sources Language Arts – Spectrum...

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