Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015/2016 Homeschool Curriculum

Some of my curriculum - white box holds all the Apologia Science experiments!

I wanted to share my plans for curriculum for the 2015/2016 school year.  This is definitely earlier than normal for me to be deciding on curriculum for the following school year but there is reason for that.  I had applied for a homeschool scholarship through The Homeschool Foundation (children of single parents fund) and had to provide costs per child.  I found out on my birthday that my application was reviewed and accepted and received my check a few weeks later.  A huge thank you to The Homeschool Foundation!!!!

DiscipleLand Bible study materials

I chose to purchase majority of my curriculum through Rainbow Resource as they had equal or better prices then other sites.  I am using a few FREE resources and will be borrowing several items from other homeschool families.  It is possible to homeschool on a budget by seeking out websites with the best pricing, finding free resources, borrowing from a friend, or buying used through Homeschool Classifieds.  I also want to expand and share on some of the curriculum I have chosen and will do so at the bottom of the page. 

"Mooky" - 6th Grade:

Math - Teaching Textbooks 6 (borrowing)
Writing - Institute for Excellence in Writing Level A (borrowing except purchased Student Writing Materials)
Grammar- Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (book 1) w/teacher's manual
Reading: Various chapter books (Cooper Kids, Red Rock Mysteries, The Lily series)
History - YWAM Christian Heroes: Then & Now
Science - Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Physics - with notebooking journal and science kit (borrowing text book)
Art - Art for Kids Hub (free online resource), How to draw books
Bible/Character Study - Pro2ge Summit: God's Greatness
Devotional: For Girls Only! Devotional
Music - Piano lessons
Friday School Co-op Classes

"Lover Girl" - 4th Grade:

Math - Math Lessons for A Living Education book 5 (free download!)
Grammar - Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (book 1) w/teacher's manual
Reading: Various chapter books (Magic tree house, Circle C Ranch, Janette Oke's Animal Friends)
History - YWAM Christian Heroes: Then & Now
Science - Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Physics (with junior notebooking journal & science kit)
Art- Art for Kids Hub (free online resource), How to draw books.
Bible/Character Study- Pro2ge Summit: God's Greatness
Music-Violin lessons
Friday School Co-op Classes

"Sweet Pea" - Kindergarten:

Math - Math Lessons for A Living Education Book 1 (free download)
Reading - The Reading Lesson Book
Language Arts - Language Lessons for Little Ones Volume 1
Skills - Kumon Pasting and Kumon Mazes
Art - Art for Kids Hub (free online resource), How to draw books
Bible - DiscipleLand Amazing Old & New Testament Heroes (disciple guides only-2 Old Testament & 2 New Testament) and My Awesome God Storybook Bible
Friday School Co-op Classes


I have been hearing about Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) for several years now.  But the steep price and what I felt was a confusing website always turned me away.  I finally took the time to really do my research and get a better grasp on the curriculum and I am very excited to be giving it a try.  Thankfully I am able to borrow the Teacher & Student DVD's from a friend but probably would have figured out a way to purchase if that was my only option. 

The idea behind it is compared to a student learning music for the first time. You wouldn't ask a beginner in music to compose/write their own music. Instead you put the best of music in front of them for them to learn from. So that idea is put into place with IEW. Instead of a child having to come up with writing out of thin air they are provided with good writing models. Every few weeks they watch the video presentation teaching any new concepts and then take 1-2 weeks to work through everything.

They are given a small paragraph and have to go sentence by sentence and pick out 3 key words from that sentence and write down those words. They do this for the entire paragraph. Then the paragraph is taken away and they just have their key word outline. From that outline they have to rewrite each sentence (so it's important they pick the key words that will help them remember the sentence).  It's not about trying to remember the original sentence but rather taking the words and writing the sentence in your own words. There are banned words like "said" where they have to use different words - "exclaimed", "cried", "shouted" etc... They also learn about "which" clauses where they can combine 2 sentences into 1 with the word "which". They are taught "dress up" words to enhance the sentences. So that is the basic overview.

There are 9 levels of skill learned if you did IEW up through the higher grade levels. There are Level A, B, and C. But you don't go through Level A, then Level B, and then Level C.  Each level is essentially the same as far as teaching basic writing it's just for different age/grade levels therefore Level C would be more advanced than level A. So for example, you would go through Level A (if your kids are 3rd-5th grade) in a year and then do the "Level A continuation" which could last 1-2 years depending on how fast or slow you work through it. Then you would follow this with themed writing/high school writing courses. There is a Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD and this is an instructional video for parents to help prepare the parent to teach writing to the child as well as the student DVD's.

Fix It! Grammar

"Fix It! Grammar" is also by IEW. There are 6 books and they recommend you start with book 1 no matter your grade level if you don't already have a lot of grammar practice. Each book is a different story used, so book 1 is "The Nose Tree". It's the entire story spread out over a years worth of work. So each week you are given 4 sentences of the story that you have to edit and rewrite. By the end of the school year the child will have written out the entire story. Each week adds in new grammar & punctuation concepts. It only should take 10-15 minutes each day to edit and rewrite one sentence. There is a box at the top of the page that is like a check off list of things they need to address that week in the sentences (paragraph indent, capitalization, spelling, homophones, etc...). Once they make all the necessary corrections they rewrite it the right way in a notebook.

Art for Kids Hub

Art for Kids Hub is a FREE, really fun, easy to follow learning how-to-draw and art projects.  Rob does an incredible job in the videos teaching art to his own children and teaching the viewers as well.  The camera is set up so that it's looking down on a table and you can see his hand and paper and the hand and paper of whichever of his children he is working with.  He is very fun, upbeat, encouraging and positive.  If you subscribe you get updates every Monday for new art videos. 

Pro2ge Summit Bible

I'm always on the hunt for a Bible study for kids that 1) Is budget friendly 2) fun and engaging 3) is open and go 4) lessons are not too lengthy 5) and of course learn foundational truths of God's Word.  I am really excited about Pro2ge Summit: God's Greatness because it aligns with everything I listed.  It's the first book available in a series of 6 books, with each book being 48 weeks.  It's intended for 6-12 year olds.  You simply need the Summit 1 Guidebook for each child and a Bible.  There are 12 "Trails" and each has 4 weeks to it.  The "Trails" rotate between Bible Knowledge, Christian Character, and Faithful Conduct. 

In addition it incorporates Bible memory with free printables on the website.  For a younger child you can choose the Trail Key Verse, which would have the child memorize one verse during the entire 4 week "Trail".  Or for older children, the Trail Verses, which would have the child memorize one verse per week.

Another fun, optional, component is the Free Project Awards Program.  There are 3 categories: Outdoor, Home, and Community and then 6 sub-categories under each.  So if you click on "Outdoor" there are 6 sub-categories: Wildlife, recreation, camping, nature, Hiking, and survival skills. "Home": personal care, food & nutrition, family care, hobbies, life skills, fixing and building. And for "Community": field trips, citizenship, church, fine arts, health & safety, and technology. So that is a total of 108 different skills, projects, and activities they can choose from and work to complete. They do have an awards system where you can purchase badges and special coins for bible memory and project completion but I will just do my own rewards system.

So those are my plans for this next year! I feel very good about what I have chosen.  I'd love to hear from any of my readers what you have planned!!!

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