Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

I've written out our curriculum plans for this new school year both for my own records and just in case it can help someone else out there as well.  Please feel free to ask any questions, though I would never pretend to be an expert on any of this.  Like most of you, I'm learning as I go here.  But I'm always willing to share my thoughts or experience up to this point.  I've linked to the primary sources for the books we'll be using but I almost always buy my books secondhand on Ebay or Amazon.  And these are just some of the resources we use for more formal learning (and they are subject to change if I get lazy they're just not working).  A whole lot of our learning happens throughout the day just in the living of life with a whole lot of books and some curious little boys.

John Paul 
(Grade 3 - age 8)

We'll be continuing on with Singapore Math 4a and 4b.  John Paul has a gift in math and since it comes so easy to him, I'd like to keep him working "ahead" as much as possible.  I've never had to do much teaching with math for him, though I know that will change as the topics get more complex.  (Part of me is excited for that.  Ha!  I'm a nerd.)

Language Arts
Writing - Student Writing Intensive A by IEW - a new one we're trying out and after Sarah's review, I'm excited for it!  Last year we used Shurley English and were satisfied but not overly thrilled.  Looking to let Mr. Pudewa do his magic.  Or at least let him take over the lessons.  (Math I enjoy teaching...writing not so much.)
Poetry - We'll also be using IEW's Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. (Both of these programs I scored on Ebay and saved some good money.)
Handwriting - John Paul has been asking for and needs to learn cursive.  Haven't actually picked a practice book ou...hey, I just realized right now that you don't actually NEED a book when you have a mother who knows cursive and can teach it herself.  Doink.  Don't you just love when you have those duh moments?
Spelling and grammar will be taught within the context of the other disciplines teaching at the point of need.

We finished Prima Latina and will be moving on to Latina Christiana I using the DVDs and workbook.  We'll also be reviewing the Greek and Latin vocabulary learned last year once per week.

Formal religion instruction will be with Jesus Our Life from the Faith and Life series by Ignatius Press.  We'll simply read it aloud together and not use a workbook.  We're also planning to memorize a Scripture verse every month as we've done in the past.

I don't worry too much about science.  I realized years ago that these boys are learning science all. day. long.  They honestly know more than I do on many topics.  But I did get a copy of Exploring Creation through Botany (another Ebay find) to fill in some of the blanks.  This will simply be another read aloud, hopefully with John Paul, Michael, and David.  As we get older and our family grows, I'm hoping to keep any formal science instruction inclusive of as many children as possible.  My thoughts are that each year we will have one 'focus' and any other science study will simply be delight-driven and/or independently learned.  

We're going to continue with The Story of the World - Volume I.  We petered out last year.  It's a good program and the boys like it.  I just got lazy.  I think this will mostly be read aloud and I also have the CDs when I need a break.  My issue is mostly just keeping track and making sure it's done in a somewhat organized fashion and that there is some level of comprehension.  I'll also be supplementing with The Kingfisher History of the World (I just love that it's all one book) and The Old World's Gifts to the New.

We'll be using Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography to learn about our world.  We'll be completing each chapter over the course of two weeks (more if necessary).

Like science, I don't think art is really something I need to formally teach.  They do it on their own all their time and I do a fair amount of spur of the moment seasonal or just for fun art projects with them.  I bought the Draw, Write, Now set last year and the boys will get it out whenever they have the inclination and use that for learning skill.  (I'm certainly not the one that will pass that on to them!)  However, we just signed up for a co-op type of group once a week and included in that is an art class for each of them.  I have a feeling that will be more of a 'craft' class but I'm sure they'll enjoy it.  In order to foster appreciation for truly beautiful art, I would really like someday to have a great big coffee table book loaded with wonderful art just to inspire their eyes to real beauty.

I have a strong belief that music should be more than just memorizing childhood songs.  I think having the boys appreciate good and beautiful music is important for many reasons (and yes, I do believe that some music is objectively superior).  I don't by any means have the best possible scenario going on but we will be using the Music Masters CD set to learn and appreciate classical music as well as learn about the composers themselves.  We'll also try to work on the Music Puzzlers book that we began last year that teaches the basics of music reading.  I'm still on a quest to find a relatively inexpensive or free piano in good shape and hope to begin lessons within the next year.  For now choral singing is done at church in the pew though in the future I would love to have the boys involved in a good choir.  The opportunity just hasn't happened yet.  And, of course, we'll still rock out to our favorites on occasion in the car :)

Ha!  I don't do gym (or "phys. ed." as they like to say in the industry).  That's one of those things that seems to take care of itself with normal play, team sports, and chores.  They will get a gym class each week during the co-op (mostly because I may go crazy if they don't have an outlet for their energy during the long winter...). 

(Kindergarten...but I'm pretty sure he thinks he's in 1st - age 5)

Singapore Math 1a and 1b  It will be slow as I'm not sure he's ready for the concepts but he is oh so excited to do it.  Just need to make sure I can be patient...

Language Arts
Reading - We are slowly working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, a homeschool favorite.  I like it and it worked well for John Paul but with Michael's personality, I need to take things very slowly and not push, even though I know he is intellectually ready.
Poetry - My hope is that he will be able to participate as well in the IEW course.
Handwriting - I'll be using day to day activities to teach letters learning at the point of need in some ways.  He knows most of them, but simply needs to practice on forming them well and neatly.  If he shows interest we'll do repetitive practice just using normal handwriting paper and my own talents of being able to form letters :)

Michael won't have any formal Latin instruction but has already been picking up on some vocabulary and prayers that we've learned together.

Formal religious instruction will be using Our Heavenly Father from Faith and Life as well as the St. Joseph First Communion Catechism, both as read alouds.  He'll also be included in the Scripture memory verse.

See above!

In addition to the things mentioned above for John Paul, I'm going to make a point to teach Michael a few chords on the guitar he received for his birthday (um, back in March).  He still says he wants to play.  Honestly, it's just a point of Brian or I sitting down and making time for it.

(age 3)

David will be wanting to be involved in all of the above and it will be interesting...  I've found that once you've got yourself a groove homeschooling is not the monumental task that I once thought.  Homeschooling with a toddler around, however, is.  It is incredibly challenging, made more so by certain personalities ;)
David is doing a great job at learning his letter sounds, beginning math skills, and even knows some of the Latin prayers that we say together.   I'm wondering if this guy will be an early reader motivated by his love of books.  There is a tiny chance I may incorporate him into some of Michael's lessons.  Otherwise, I'm thinking I'm going to have to keep this guy very busy during lesson time either by incorporating him as much as possible or giving him lots of his own activities.  Toddlerhood is definitely not my forte and an area where God needs to give me lots and lots of grace (please, Lord?).

(8 months)

Luke will be embarking upon a curriculum of culinary appreciation (with a concentration in dairy), beginning vocabulary mastery, and learning not to eat the books.  He'll also fulfill his physical education for the year by mastering that whole standing up  and walking thing.  Extra credit will be awarded for learning to sleep through the night.

(P.S.  I'll post soon about our ultra-idealistic daily routine :)


  1. om lowercase g...luke's was hilarious.
    You are my mom superhero, just thought you should know!

    1. You are sweet. I also think you may want to raise your standards a little ;)

  2. Ooooh, I need to do this! If only to force me to get organized. Thank GOD I bought everything before Mary arrived, though. That's all I can say. "Thank you Lord for making me clever for a second!". We're doing Singapore for only 1 of the girls- she'll be in 5th grade and is doing 5a & b (not strong in math the way your John Paul is). For my 6th grader we're doing Saxon 87. So yes, a strong mather right there :)

  3. I love Luke's curriculum! Awesome.

    We are going to do Ann Voskamp's book, too. Although it's geography, it's also a lot of science.

    On my music teaching blog I have a series of Composer posts ( find some helpful links there to go along with what you are doing. My girls love the Classical Kids cds and they are great for quiet time. I've got some other stuff I can show you when you are out here that might be helpful.

    1. We have a few of the Classical Kids CDs! The Music Masters CDs also give brief bio notes in between samples of the composer's work so it'll be good for all of us...I know next to nothing about classical composers! Thank you for the link!

  4. Being an Animal Science major...I loved Luke's culinary emphasis in dairy!;) Looking forward to seeing your "ulta-idealistic" schedule. I have been working on mine. Looks good on paper but not so sure how it will pan out:)

  5. I am trying a few pre-school homeschooling things this year since G is 4 in the spring, just to motivate myself and get a little structure into the daily life. I have been using a book with her called "Teach Me to Do It Myself" which is full of easy to plan and do Montessori-like activities. They are really toddler oriented; maybe David would enjoy something like that. Though I am sure you have a few toddler activities since you have already had two. :) My big issue is keeping the 20 month old happy. :)


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