Sunday, July 31, 2011

Curriculum Choices for 2011-2012- K & Tot School!

 Not Back to School Blog Hop

 **UPDATE** I originally posted this about a month ago, but wanted to update to say that I have officially finished Rhythm's lesson plans for the year!  Wahoo!  I am now working on wrapping everything up for Lion Cub and co-op, along with working on our school room- which I am very excited about and can't wait to share with you all!  My posting has been sparse in recent months but I fully plan to dive back in and being documenting our year as soon as we start, the week of August 22, so subscribe and stick around!  I'd love to get to know you!***

I can't believe that Rhythm is actually heading into Kindergarten this fall!  How can this be possible?!  Needless to say, we are both very excited!  In fact, I have been considering curriculum for almost two years to figure out what we would be using this next year and began the official buying of books and working on ideas in February!  I have been slowly writing our lesson plans now for the last two months, but have been feeling the urgency lately to get things wrapped up since we plan on starting school August 22!  I am currently up to Christmas and plan to finish the rest when we get back from our little holiday.

Before I really get into the details, though, I feel the need to not really apologize, but I guess explain that my little plan for this year really doesn't seem to look like a lot of the other Kindergarten plans I have recently come across in blogland.  I come at things from a Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, slightly eclectic style because I believe in it and think it will work best for my children.  It is definitely a method that takes more planning, preparation and organization on my part, but I really believe that both of my boys are going to learn well from this approach and we are all going to enjoy the process more than we otherwise would.

Much of my inspiration for this style of learning has come from this wonderful lady- Susan Evans at Hands-on Learning!

I stumbled upon Susan at last year's local Homeschool Conference and was instantly enthralled with her energetic, immersive style!  You could just tell that her kids LOVE to learn!  She takes the hands-on, unit study style to a whole new level!  I was thrilled to be able to attend both of her workshops at this year's conference and learned so many awesome ideas for incorporating journals into all sort of study and art projects with history lessons.  You have just got to go check out her site!  Her blog also has some wonderful articles and her You Tube Channel beyond rocks!  I really hope to incorporate more and more of her approach over the next couple of years, and honestly wish we were friends and I could just go sit with her family while they do school for like a week to see how they do it all!  Although, her videos do offer an awesome glimpse.

Anyway! Alright, now that I have given that little disclaimer, here we go...

Rhythm- Kindergarten
We will be using Grapevine Studies, Beginner Level as our main curriculum to really get in the word and learn the actual accounts.

With that said, Bible will be our main, over-riding daily focus and I am going to do my best to incorporate it into as many aspects throughout our day as I can.  We will start our morning by reading/reciting our memory verses (using the system from Simply Charlotte Mason) during breakfast and going over Bob Jones' Bible Truths for Christian Growth K5.  The boys will be having their own quiet times in the afternoon where they will listen to The Word of Promise Audio Bible or praise music while looking through picture Bibles and spending their own little time with Jesus.  During dinner we will read a short chapter from Leading Little Ones to God and go over our memory verses again.  Then before bed The Carpenter will read the boys a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Horizons K- In all honesty I think Rhythm is going to fly through this curriculum fairly fast because he has a natural pension for math, but I plan to just meet him at his level and we will move on to 1st grade math as soon as he is ready.

This is a harder one because Rhythm has a harder time focusing in this subject.  Our plan right now is to start over with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, use You Can Read for sight words, use Abeka's Blend Ladders for some drills and hopefully incorporate some word play ideas from 1+1+1=1 as well.  If All About Reading comes out with their level 1 curriculum this summer I may also consider using it if it seems like a good fit.

We will be listening to Spanish podcasts during lunch every day and using some spanish learning apps on my phone (and hopefully my iPad if I get one by fall), then we'll see where it goes from there.  I am also considering getting a subscription to Speekee, if money allows and it is also kind of dependent on that iPad thing since my computer is too slow to play video very well.

I will be teaching Rhythm some very basic piano using Bastien's Young Beginner series. We were going to use these last year but he just wasn't ready.  I think he finally has enough of an attention span to start again though.

All the rest-
Ok- this is where I get all carazay! The rest of our subjects (yup- geography, history, science, art, writing composition, handwriting and whatever else you can think of) will be covered unit-study-style using a combination of Galloping the Globe and Expedition Earth.  We will be incorporating a lot of hands-on projects, copywork, lapbooks, narration and living books to accomplish this.  This is where I think the bulk of my blogging will come into play to document how we are taking this little journey into unit-study land.  This is also the part we are both most excited for and I hope to be able to tie Lion Cub into our studies as much as possible as well!

We will being attending a co-op this fall where Rhythm will be taking three classes- Music, Learning with Playdough and Lego Build.  He is beyond thrilled and we love that we get the best of both worlds- he get's the "school" experience with teachers, friends, backpacks, lunch boxes and all the rest, while also being homeschooled.  We are thrilled to have found this independent & Christian option so close to us.

In addition I will also be teaching two classes at the co-op, which I am totally pumped about!  I will be teaching Improv for junior highers, since I have extensive experience with both acting and junior highers, and A Becoming an Explorer class for 2-4th graders!  And yes, I will be posting all the fun details about this class right here on the blog so that hopefully some of you can utilize them in your homeschool or co-op as well!

Hip-Hop & Breakdancing-
Rhythm will be continuing his hip-hop and breakdancing classes at a local breaking studio which he totally loves!  He is really coming along and being introduced to more power moves this summer!  It is absolutely hilarious and, even better, Lion Cub is really catching on!

Lion Cub- Tot School (2 Years Old)

As I mentioned above, I really am going to try to include Lion Cub into most of what I am doing with Rhythm, but at his own level.  I do want to do a few things just for him though because I really think he will thrive on things geared just for him and absorb them quickly.  We tried out some of Carisa's Tot School printables last week and he ate them up, so we will likely be doing one letter a week.  As far as printables go I will also probably be mixing in some Tot books and packs, just to keep things fresh for him.

In addition, I plan on having a selection of tot trays for him each week and a monthly themed sensory bin.  I made a very basic one for him recently and he has adored playing with it.  My only hang up is finding a way for my house to not get covered in beans or rice or whatever happens to be in the tub while he and Rhythm play!!  These are the themes I have planned out for the year:

September: Asia/geography
October: Fall
November: Thanksgiving
December: Christmas
January: Winter
February: Valentine’s
March: St Patrick’s Day
April: Spring
May: Spring cont... Butterflies & bugs

So that's the break down!  It's all still a little subject to change as I nail things down (more so for Lion Cub than Rhythm), and I still have a TON of work to do to get ready, but we are really excited and looking forward to a great year!

What are you doing for school next year?  I'd love for you to leave a comment and a link!