Our 2013 Curriculum

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This is probably more information than anyone cares to know 😉 , but here’s a peek at what we’re studying this year…

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Ps 34:11

Bible ~  The B-I-B-L-E!  Yes, that’s the Book for me!

We begin each day with what we call “Bible Time.”  We sing psalms and hymns, read a psalm together, practice memory verses.  We sometimes have a Bible lesson or story.  We sometimes practice things from our congregation’s corporate worship so that we can better participate on Sundays.  We pray together using a family prayer book!

But how are we studying the Bible?

Thanks to a GREAT suggestion from our friends at wingedwisdom  (godmadeknown) our 3rd graders have Bibles that they can easily read and understand!  We purchased International Children’s Bibles for our big kids.  These Bibles are written on an elementary reading level and do not have pictures or stories.  They really are a translation for children.  Armed with our new Bibles, our family began following a two year Bible reading plan that we found here.  I cut the plan apart into months, glued onto a new piece of paper, and copied onto card stock so that we all have bookmarks.   We read on our own at different times of the day, and then talk about what we’ve read together.  Sometimes the children narrate a chapter, sometimes we ask Dad questions.  I read the little kids Bible story book versions of what the big kids are reading in their Bibles.

bible plan bookmarks

As you can imagine, doing a family Bible reading plan (we began in July in Joshua) in addition to our “school” study and beginning a new history curriculum that would place us in different places in the Bible all got a bit confusing!  We decided to streamline and study our way through the Bible with our family reading plan using Bible Road Trip as a guide.  This is FREE curriculum that includes discussion questions, craft suggestions, and notebooking pages for each book of the Bible.

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This has worked out perfectly for us!  I was able to begin this study right where our family began reading in Joshua because Bible Road Trip goes book by book.  I don’t feel any pressure to complete everything.  I pick and choose what we’d like to do.  I can go to the computer, print out discussion questions and notebook pages (we try to do at least one per book), and I’m good to go!  It’s a great guide that makes it so easy for ME!  I already had many of the resources suggested by BRT, but decided to add a few that I was missing.  I am so happy that I did!

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Latin

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My husband has always told me that his Latin studies gave him a better understanding of the English language.  (Did I mention that he won Latin awards in junior high?  Took national Latin exams?  Lead his high school in Latin prayers? 😉 )  I never understood how Latin could help with English until I began “trying” to teach Latin to the kids!  Wow.  I am amazed!  We are beginning our second year studying Latin and are using the resources in the picture above.  Songschool Latin (lots of vocabulary and phrases) is really a bit too easy for the kids after a year of Prima Latina, but we aren’t quite ready for Latina Christiana.  Has anyone out there used Latin for Children?  I think it would probably be good for where we are.

Vocabulary

Roots and Fruits has been a neat addition to our studies. The children learn one Latin or Greek root each week along with several English vocabulary words.  The book includes fun activities such as writing silly sentences with your vocab words or making catchy newspaper headlines.  I like Wordly Wise as well, because it’s one of the things the big kids can do it independently while I do preschool with the littles.

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Cursive Writing and Copywork {and Spelling, Grammar, Memory}

We are using the sweet, little Christian book Cheerful Cursive to learn cursive handwriting.  We alternate between this book and copywork from the Bible, poems, hymns, or books.  We are using character quality studies as our memory verses and for copywork this year.  You can read about that here:  Memory Verses, Character Building, Notebooking Pages

We are using dictation instead of spelling lists and grammar this year.  The kids study a Bible verse or poem or passage from a book.  They take note of the punctuation and try to take a mental picture of how the words are spelled.  Then, I read it aloud while they write it!  You can read more about it in this post.

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Science

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Apologia’s Botany has been so fun!  We are amazed at our awesome God each time we look at the tiny parts of a seed that grow into a big plant!  The details and order in a tiny leaf show us just how wonderful our God is!  I just wish that Apologia offered the Notebooking Journal pages unbound because we don’t want to do all of those pages!

History

I have had a hard time finding a history program that has enough teacher prep done for me, follows a Biblical chronology, and makes learning interesting and fun!  This year we are using Mystery of History, and we like it!  We are following the author’s suggestions to make timeline figures for our lessons, and we’ve loved the fun activity and game suggestions.

The littles have helped the big kids make some of the timeline figures.  The gold crosses symbolize the lineage of Christ.history coll

Math

Saxon- (I don’t have any cute math pictures!  I’ll have to work on that!)

Picture Studies, Nature Studies, Composer Studies, Poet Studies

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If I had known how easy and fun these Charlotte Mason “goodies” really are, I would have done them a lot sooner!  For music, we listen.  For art, we look.  For nature, we observe.  For poetry, we read.  We don’t have “unit studies” planned.  We just enjoy.  We take some time each morning to do one of these along with our snack.  We listen to Mozart in the car and breakfast.  The children picked their favorite Robert Louis Stevenson poems to practice and read aloud to the family.  It is really easy!

preschool dots

The preschoolers at my house are working on counting, cutting, and tracing.  We are learning Bible stories.  We write our names.  The former teacher in me sometimes gets too focused on the letters and reading that I forget all of the important skills required to learn everything else.  We have been working on stopping everything to look and listen when Mom speaks.  There have been times where we had to spend a week learning exactly how to wash our hands, and we are still working on how to squeeze just a little toothpaste and not TOO MUCH!  😉  We practice speaking cheerfully.  We also read books and work puzzles and PLAY.  The littles are learning Bible verses this year, and you can read all about their memory verses and activities here.  We are also (very loosely) following Abeka’s K4 curriculum, and the littles love to bring their little workbooks and baskets to the table for school just like big brother and sister!

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I want to incorporate more of Charlotte Mason’s methods into our school day, and I know that it will be a process.  I am taking little steps.  (You can read more about that here.)  I look at these “curriculum” choices and remember that they are only a third of my children’s education.  The atmosphere of my home and their training in good habits make up the remaining parts!   That’s refreshing and weighty all at the same time!  I know a strict follower of Charlotte Mason would not see my choices as “real” CM, and that’s okay with me. 😉  As I’ve said, my goal is Christian education!

The following are some CM components that I’m striving to include in our school day:

  • Perfect Execution:  I have always thought that you should give kids more than they are really able to do and expect them to try to reach the standard you’ve set.  However, Miss Mason suggests assigning them only what you know they can do perfectly and expecting perfection.  This helps children develop a habit of neat, complete, well-done work every time rather than partially completed or sloppy work.  (I just have to be consistent and follow through with making them redo anything less than perfection!)
  • Short Lessons:  As a former teacher, I thought a good math lessons should include at least 20 minutes of me teaching.  Ha!  I have found that short lessons work.  My kids are able to give me their full attention, and they remember what we’ve discussed much better than they did in a long lessons.  They can grasp a math concept in much less time than I once thought.  They don’t need to go over capital letters for 30 minutes.  A few minutes will do just fine.  😉
  • Varied Order of Lessons:  “The brain, or some portion of the brain, becomes exhausted when any given function has been exercised too long.  The child has been doing sums for some time, and is getting unaccountably stupid:  take away his slate and let him read history, and you find his wits fresh again.  Imagination, which has had no part in the sums, is called to play in the history lesson, and the child brings a lively unexhausted power to his new work.”  (Charlotte Mason, Home Education)  We try not to do two “sit down” and “quiet” and “tedious” subjects in a row.  For example, we might do copywork followed by a picture study followed by math followed by history.
  • Natural Consequences:  This is a hard one for me, but I think it works.  Giving my children natural consequences for their behavior instead of my usual consequences requires creativity!  Here are some examples we’ve used:  You “forgot” to brush your teeth during morning chores?  You have to brush your own teeth and your brother’s teeth for a few days.  Yep.  It worked.  You keep leaning your chair back on two legs?  You don’t get to use the chair and have to stand.  You finished your work early?  You get to play!  Do you have any ideas for me?  I’m trying.

At the end of the day, I just want to know that my children’s hearts are with the Lord, that they love Him and love each other.  Here are some sweet reminders I’ve found around the house of what is really important…

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My four-year old wrote this during a long morning of cleaning the craft supplies.

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I thought she drew Daddy on the tissues, but my four-year old told me it was Jesus.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

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13 thoughts on “Our 2013 Curriculum

  1. godmadeknown

    This is great! After completing 2 years of Latin in college I had high ambitions to include it in our homeschool as well. I even picked up used copies of Prima Latina and Latina Christiana before our kids were even born! (I’ve also looked through Songschool Latin and thought it was adorable). Today it all sits in a box at Oma’s house on the mainland and our boys are picking up Hawaiian and Japanese here in Hawaii instead. I still have dreams of adding Latin and German someday but worry that eventually it will be too late for it to come easily for them. Since your husband is the Latin scholar does he do the teaching in this area or you tackling it yourself? Are the little ones learning it as well? Also, I’m so glad you’re enjoying Apologia’s Botany. We studied botany a few years back and were also wowed by the complexity of plant life. I was afraid after studying the grandeur of astronomy last year that doing birds this year would be a bit of a let down but it doesn’t matter where in creation we look, from super-novas to sparrows, it all just screams out an amazing God doesn’t it?

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Julie!!! You make everything fun!! Who would have thought to study the state birds and do origami?! (But, yes, you are right… all of Creation screams out an amazing God!) I teach the Latin, and it does not come easy for me! Ha ha! Maybe I should get Dad involved a bit more. I am fine with the vocab and memorizing phrases but past that, it’s a bit hard. 🙂 We love the Bibles! Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Amy

    I really enjoyed reading your curriculum choices for this year! I hope you have a great year studying more and learning more about our Lord. I’m a little too nervous to try out CM spelling. How did you change to CM philosophy of spelling?

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      I saw that you are doing a CM science! We loved that study so much, and that is one of the reasons I started reading about CM. I am nervous about CM method for spelling, as well. I just kept thinking, “Is studying a list of words each week really working?” I even heard that if you are doing word lists each week, you should do a pretest and not study and work on the words your child can already spell. Who knows… 🙂 I think this post is helpful: http://www.teachingwithtlc.com/2010/08/get-back-to-basics-this-school-year.html

      Reply
  3. Heather

    Yay! Thanks so much for all the info — I’ve been excited to read what your curriculum looks like this year. 🙂 Many great ideas for me to explore for my own four littles. My daughter (3rd grade) has been watching me read through the Bible each year and has asked a few times if she could do it with me. I’ve been hesitant because I use NKJV, but the ICB might be just the ticket for her. It sounds as if you’ve been pleased with that translation! We are also using Latina Christiana this year with her and she loves it. I think it fits her personality well, but my son (1st grade) might benefit more from Latin for Children when he gets a bit older. Great reminder that we are aiming for a Christian education — from the looks of it, you do that better than probably anyone else I’ve seen. 🙂 Blessings to you and your precious crew!

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Thank you! How sweet! Thank you for the reminder that we all learn differently! Just because I don’t particularly like one program doesn’t mean that my kids won’t love it! Just because one child doesn’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean another won’t! I forget that sometimes. Yes, I think your 3rd grader would love the Bible! Mine have done very well with it! (Paul’s looooong sentences have been made into several short sentences, etc.) We have made the mistake of missing days on our 2 year plan and catching up was hard. I read aloud to help them after we missed. I think a 1 year plan might be even harder, but I bet you guys wouldn’t miss days like we did! 🙂

      Reply
  4. sage_brush

    Our kids loved, loved, loved A Beka Bible flashcards for grades 3-8. I still have them boxed up in the atttic! The Bibles I bought for them were the “KJV Kid’s Study Bible,” and they also had a book for two years called the Primary Bible Reader, which was selected Scriptures, with beautiful illustrations, used as part of the A Beka reading program for grades 1-2.

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      We have some of the Flash-a-Card stories and love them. I have borrowed some of the readers for my big kids from friends who also had them packed in the attic! 🙂 I will check out the Bible resources you mentioned! Thank you!

      Reply

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