While the kids finish up their last few weeks of summer camp (art camp x 2 weeks, then done!), I have been busy planning our coming school year. I’m also gradually easing us (yes, all of us) back into school mode with a few short review assignments each day.
Now that I have some idea of what I’m doing, with a whole year (full-time) of this under my belt, I have set a few goals for the year. One of my goals is to streamline — not necessarily minimize, but efficientize — the set of curriculum materials we are using at any one time. Here is what I ended up with for our first two weeks: pages chopped out of workbooks, online learning, looseleaf pages removed from their binders for the week, digital copies of teacher guides, and leaving the extras and supplemental materials on the shelf unless and until I need that particular resource.
This level of streamlining does call for some compromises, and one of them is financial. As much as I love my Kindle, I cannot skim, survey, or plan without a physical, dead-tree book in my hands. Once I’ve got the idea into my head, though, 95% or more of that book is dead weight in any given week. So, for certain resources, I buy both the paper and electronic versions. The cost isn’t quite double, but the savings in my aching back are substantial.
What I’ve ended up with is a small stack of books and papers, plus my trusty Kindle and iPad, all of which fits in this old swag bag from an HP Tech conference (I’d tell you more about that, but you know what they say about Vegas…)
What we’re doing this year, or what I have planned, anyway:
ETC, ReadingEggspress.com, AAS, HWT, Wordly Wise 3000, WWE, FLL, SM, Dreambox.com, IXL.com, BrainPop Jr. BFSU, Growing Up WILD!, FIAR, ToG, SOTW, SongSchool Latin, Atelier, My First Piano Adventure… and some other stuff
Note that not all of these will be used every week, nor do I expect to complete them all during the year! I like to have options to move between depending on what’s working at the moment.
To decipher the alphabet soup:
ETC = Explode the Code (phonics)
ReadingEggspress.com = online reading program
AAS = All About Spelling
HWT = Handwriting Without Tears
Wordly Wise 3000 = online vocabulary program
WWE = Writing With Ease (language arts: exposure to high quality writing w/copywork & narration)
SM = Singapore Math
Dreambox.com = online math program (with adaptive learning, very cool!)
IXL.com = online math program (drills)
BrainPop Jr. = online videos w/games & quizzes on many topics (multi-subject)
BFSU = Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding
Growing Up WILD! = nature-oriented unit studies (multi-subject)
FIAR = Five In A Row (unit studies based on classic children’s books, multi-subject)
ToG = Tapestry of Grace (history, geography + some language arts, and other subjects related to the period being studied)
SOTW = Story of the World (history text and activity books)
SongSchool Latin = introduction to Latin for young children w/music & video
Atelier = art technique, history, & appreciation for young students
My First Piano Adventure = piano & music theory for young musicians
I have a pile of other materials and supplements, as well as outside activities we’ll be involved in, but this list makes up the core of our planned curriculum for the year.