Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tweaking the Elementary Curriculum

We've been tweaking The Plan around here. Somethings are going well (LOVING Story of the World and Apologia Botany and Astronomy), but some things were just not working. By the way, here is the run-down of children and their grades: Jelly Bean is in 2nd, Helper is in 3rd, Flower is in 4th, and Scooter is in 5th. Jelly Bean and Flower are mine, and Helper and Scooter are my nephews. My sister teaches History and Language (copywriting, grammar, spelling, writing, etc.) in the mornings. I teach Math, Science, Geography and the "Specials" (Art, Music, Instruments, Poetry and Shakespeare) in the afternoons.
- We are still using Spell and Write for Spelling. Jelly Bean and Helper are using their grade level book, and Scooter and Flower are using Grade 6.

- We were using Rod and Staff Beginning Wisely for the Youngers and God's Gift of Language A for the Olders. The older kids didn't mind their book much, but Beginning Wisely wasn't working for the youngers. So we have recently moved to using the Living Langauge Lessons on Serendipity (it uses the Ruth Heller grammar books), using Montessori Grammar Symbols/Cards, from Montessori Everyone and using the Grammar portion of the Language Manual found at the Cultivating Dharma site. I'll have a whole post soon on our new grammar program.

- We aren't using Writing Strands. They are doing daily copywork with short seasonal quotes and various other writing activities.

- Jelly Bean was using Saxon 2. It was too much review drill for her, so I moved her to Math U See Beta with Helper. I also added Math Minutes (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division as a 10 minute drill) for everyone .

- Flower is using Saxon 54 instead of Everyday Math 4.

- The olders are doing Continent Study for Geography (starting with North America) similar to this study found on Serendipity. The youngers are doing US State History, similar to the program that Flower used last year.

- We are doing Picture Study using Museum ABC. This is going really well.

- We are also doing Music Study using M is for Melody, Poetry Study using R is for Rhyme, Art Study using M is for Masterpiece, for everyone.

- We are alternating Science (Astronomy on MWF and Botany on T/Th) and everyone is learning both.

- We aren't using Workboxes in the traditional way. We use them for supplemental activities. Some contain things like geoboards, tanagrams, origami, dominoes, etc. Other boxes contain 3 part/flashcards for the subjects that we are doing this year.

- We've added Fridays with Shakespeare, again, from Serendipity.

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