Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Master Curriculum Plan

I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m doing for school this year. I’m entering new territory, since Ella is going into 5th grade. She is leaving the grammar stage and entering the logic stage. Everything is more involved. Although I hope that when we actually start school (on July 18th) Ella will be a more independent learner and also help to teach her younger sisters what she knows, planning for her school has been more involved than any planning I’ve had to do for school so far. My reliable source of grammar at Peace Hill Press is exhausted. The 5th grade grammar curriculum Mrs. Bauer is writing is not due out until January. I’ve had to include logic for her this year and I’m serious about getting serious about Latin. I’m getting nervous about letting her miss out on some crucial learning time because I’m so distracted with the little ones and pregnancy. This year I have three in “real” school (1st, 3rd, 5th grades) and one in pre-k. Lily is an eager scholar; we will try to start her formally reading. So anyway, here’s the low-down.

I've had to get uber organized: red for Ella, pink for Rachel, blue for Sarah, yellow for all the kids

 Here are their personal school shelves. The top-most one in the picture contains books everyone uses: dictionaries, Latin, etc. The shelves under are Ella, Sarah, Rachel and Lily. The shelves contain everything they need to do school during the day. As far as I know, anyone could come in off the street and conduct school with the kids, that's how clearly everything is labeled and planned.

History – We will continue working with The Story of theWorld series of four books. This year Sarah is in book 3 and Ella and Rachel are in book 1. I plan to have Ella read the chapter to Rachel and help her to answer questions about the chapter and summarize it. From there Rachel will color a picture, or do a project. Ella will research other topics pertaining to that particular chapter, write a short paper about her topic and then take a quiz on the chapter. Hopefully, while all this is going on I can do history with Sarah. I will have her read the chapter; she’ll write answers to questions, make a summary and copy some sentences into a copy book. 

These are the history and geography shelves. Any book I think we could use for further reading/research in history is here including children's books from Japan, Korea, India, Africa, etc.

Grammar – Rachel will be doing part 1 of First LanguageLessons (which I love), Sarah will be doing part 3 of First Language Lessons and Ella will be doing Rod & Staff’s 5th grade grammar. I have also included some supplemental worksheets for Ella and Sarah that I had inherited from an aunt that homeschooled a bit and from my mom. Ella will also be doing lessons on diagramming sentences with The First Whole Book of Diagrams, which I could read for fun. What a cool book!!

Science – This year I am on my own with science. My mom had to get a job (poor Mom) and in order to get me to own teaching science I’ve decided to make my own lesson plans. I’m going to stick with biology. We’re going to spend 10 weeks on the human body and then 26 weeks on cells, classification, ecology, birds, insects, reptiles, etc. I have purchased at least half a dozen books to help me with this. Some of them are The Usborne ScienceEncyclopedia, Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method, How Nature Works, How the Body Works, Biology for Every Kid, Slime, Molds and Fungi. I am going to use Christian Kids Explore Biology, How Nature Works and How the Body Works as my main books for teaching lessons and go from there.
This is the science shelf of books I plan to reference this year. A few books are not on it here because I'm using them to write lesson plans. As you can see in the picture below, my mom has blessed us with a gold mine of science books and reference material and experiments. Everything you see in the picture is science related.

Logic – Ella will be doing lessons from Red Herrings andMind Benders books A3 and A4.

Latin – We are going to start over from scratch with Prima Latina, which I had tried to do with Ella when she was in 3rd grade. I plan to include all three kids with the Latin lessons, but not pushing Rachel too hard.

Art & music – I am going to break up art and music up into two semesters. In the fall we are going to look at music. UnderstandingMusic and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra are the two main books I am referencing for these lessons. I also have a coloring book of classical composers that I am going to copy for them to color and put in their notebook. For art in the spring, I plan to use Drawing with Children which is an actual how-to book on drawing. For a study of artists and art styles I am going to use The Children’s Book of Art, which is an Usborne Internet-linked book. My biggest beef with this book is that for the classical artists they used the Sistine Chapel’s creation depiction and The Birth of Venus. Both of those pieces of art, while intricate and nice, have naked people in them and I have decided to omit those and replace them with a discussion of other pieces of fine renaissance art. There are plenty of works that don’t include penises and breasts. I’ll try to not get on my soapbox, but it’s really hard. I’ve had to erase many times. No soap box. No soap box.

The art shelf. You can see the Drawing with Children book there and the two music books are just to the left of it.

Writing – For writing, we are taking Granny’s suggestion of Classical Writing. I’m not sure how prepared Ella is for writing, so I’m going to do Ella and Sarah together on Aesop, book A. If Ella thinks it’s too easy, then I’ll move on to book B for her. If that’s too easy then I’ll move her on to Homer, book A. I’m nervous about how time intensive this will be, but I really want to give the girls a good foundation in writing, something I was sorely lacking in my own education, and I think Classical Writing is the just the thing.

Geography – We all really enjoyed Galloping the Globe and if time permits, we’ll continue with that. We managed to complete Asia and some of Europe last year so we’ll just pick up where we left off.

Handwriting – I have decided to let Ella off the hook for a formal handwriting program this year and get her typing. She has spent the last two years learning cursive, but I think it’s time for her to get with the times and start typing. There are a couple of online typing tutorials I plan to try out before I commit to purchasing lessons. Or maybe I will conjure up my own lessons from 9th grade and make my own lessons. Sarah, Rachel and Lily will all be doing the Handwriting without Tears books. Sarah’s is cursive, which she taught herself last year because she liked it so much.

Spelling – Ella, Sarah and Rachel will all be doing Spelling Workout F, C and A, respectively. I think this series of books is really cool!

My school room is messed up as you can see, but I have a plan in place for cleaning it the weekend before we start school and hopefully we can keep it that way. 

I hope this helps someone in some way. If you'd like to see how I made lesson plans for anything above, just email me and I'll send you a copy of my plans.


Marie said...

Wow! I'm impressed Joanna! That all sounds like so much fun!

Meagan said...

" I’m getting nervous about letting her miss out on some crucial learning time because I’m so distracted with the little ones and pregnancy. "

Does this mean you are pregnant with number 7 or just the last five?

Joanna said...

No, I'm not pregnant.

Lawanda said...

I wish I could afford that classical writing series!! It looks awesome :)

Thats funny abt Sarah learning cursive on her own, Faithy did that too :)

sarah. said...

My kids did the lessons on this summer. Nothing super creative, but the free accounts track everything for you.