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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Current curriculum, assignments and daily operation.

Well I always try to keep in mind that curriculum is a tool. (We use different kinds of curriculum in order to meet different goals.)

So this year I am using a lot of different things. Many things I obtained free off of paperback swap so that saved us a a lot of money as well.

We used Time 4 Learning through the summer. (And it worked well for those purposes.)
I really like the way that the LA and math are laid out. They are fun and interactive and my children seemed to do well with it.

My son would occasionally get frustrated with the math though. (For instance, if you forget to type in a comma, the answer is wrong etc.) I really don't like the way the Science and History are laid out. It is boring. You just read about 9 pages of information each day and answer some questions. (They have added in a few recommendations such as make vocabulary cards or draw a map, etc.) At the end of each unit there is a quiz, but it is very easy for a child to skip over these things, and if you are not keeping close tabs on them, you will not know it. So I decided to return to workbooks that I could easily look over each day.

I also have a new system in place this year. Last year we did work boxes, but this year I decided to just list their assignments for the week. So, I have an assignment list each week for each child. I like it and feel it delegates the responsibility to the child for the whole week. (Where work boxes made me load them daily, this only requires sitting down once a week to get the whole week's schedule worked out. ) Of course, there are times I may have to tweak the schedule during the week, so every thing is done in pencil.

They must check a box off beside that assignment to show it is complete. Then they turn in that workbook/page/completed assignment to me. I look it over and correct, pass it off etc. I found 3 cute stamps to stamp their pages. They can receive "super job, please correct, or see me please." Then I return any work that needs correcting to them.

Sometimes, when scheduling assignments I may stamp the page ahead of time and say "See Me, Please, " before the lesson is done.

After the assignments have been done to my satisfaction I then check it off on their assignment page. (I also keep a record of this in my weekly planner showing any additional concepts I might be trying to work on.) I really like this planner, I got it free at a local homeschool book sale, so I thought I would try it out. It probably takes 1-2 hours a week to do all the planning, but I do find that I have a good, complete record of what we are doing, and concepts each child is covering.

We also do a unit study each week. Which gives us our History and Science. I usually take about 30 minutes - 1 hour to plan for this. I pull library books etc. One thing that really helps is having Galloping the Globe; since they have already compiled books, stories, videos and other resources are listed for the unit. (Also they include flags, maps, etc.) So that cuts down on my time of having to pull resources. The resources we use the most for these units are HomeschoolShare and FIAR V 1-3 and enchanted learning. We use HSS units more, just because we have done so many of the FIAR units there are not many left we have not covered.

So here is what we are using this year. All links for these items are in my side bar under Our Curriculum.

Here is what I am using for Lexi -grade 3 this year at home.

Grammar - I am reinforcing what we are doing at Co-Op, where I teach Grammar Punk.
So usually during the week she is working on whatever homework assignment I have given them for the week. I also pull some extra sheets from a 3rd grade grammar book I have.

3rd grade Reading Success by Sylvan-this book covers, spelling, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Math-Math U See Gamma

Handwriting -Handwriting without tears Cursive Success.

Pianimals Book A

For Peyton I am using:

Singapore Math- Grade 5, along with McGraw Hills Math Grades 5-6 for extra practice.

Sylvan Vocabulary 5th grade

Spectrum Reading 5th grade

Spectrum Language Arts grade 5

Spelling Workout Book E

Just Write Book 1

Writing Super Sentences and Fabulous Paragraphs

I also have another 5th grade Comprehensive Curriculum book I can pull pages to reinforce what we are working on.

Pianimals- Piano curriculum Book B

He also has Grammar Punk Homework and Civics Homework each week. He always has a book he is reading, and once every quarter I schedule a book report.

After seeing the Sylvan Vocabulary book, I ordered Lexi's. (If I had known there was a super book, I probably would have done that for Peyton. That way 3 things would have been covered in one book.) He has been complaining about the number of workbooks he has. (And I cannot blame the poor guy.) LifePac LA would cover all that we are doing in Spectrum reading, LA, Sylvan Vocabulary, Spelling and Just Write, and Super Sentences. (Though we don't do all the books every day.)

But I was able to get them free-all except for the Sylvan book, Just Write and the Spelling workout. He is now begging for LifePacs. We did then a few years ago and he complained that he had to do more than one page a day. (So now he is doing about 5 pages a day with all the different books.) I hate to change now-so late into the school year-that would put him 6 weeks behind. I do think though, that what he covers this year in these other books will be much more comprehensive than what we would have covered in the lifepacs in 5th grade.

I told him we can use them next year for 6th grade.