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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home School Planning and Curriculum

This week the kids are going to VBS at a local church. I always love this particular VBS because they set their times for 9-1 dail and it is right around the corner from my house. Also many of my friends attend this church. My kids always love going to it, and I can always see that it makes a big difference in them.

Being a homeschool mom-doesn't give me much opportunity for time alone. So this is a big blessing for both me, and the kiddos. So I plan to spend much of my time alone this week, planning for our first unit (11 weeks) of Homeschooling.

The curriculum I chose this year is America, by Christian Novel Studies. I really wanted a literature based unit study curriculum that would take us through American History chronologically. After looking over a few different programs I chose this one. I had a few things that I really wanted and this program seemed best to accomplish what I wanted to cover over the next couple of years.

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1. It is integrated. (So Bible, Language Arts-including spelling, reading, writing, grammar and even poetry.) History, Science, and Art all are contained in the study.) I only need to add math. The levels are laid out so that Dd can work at her level, and Ds can work on his level.

2. It is a complete history course from the time of the Pilgrims -to present day.

3. Each of my children will make a Poetry Journal, A timeline, a States notebook and a Presidents notebook.

4. Everything has already been planned out. (All I have to do is gather the materials and books needed, follow the script, and assist with read alouds.) This is a big difference from our last few years, where I spent much time on the computer searching subjects and making up my own studies, or pulling from many different resources to get enough material for a unit study.

5. It is written from a Christian Perspective, and it also includes many hymns, and other patriotic songs.

6. Since it is literature based, we will be entering the adventures of many of the lives of the people who came before us-both through fiction and biographies. We will also be making time related crafts and making relevant recipes. (So we can get a real feel for the life those before us led.)

At the Homeschool Convention I purchased some extra math manipulatives.

The first set is a set of dice for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division.

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This set is also for all computations, but is just for number sense operations in general. (And also to aid with mental math techniques.) You actually decide how many digits you want to work with and can do the problems right in the box as you see.

This set also comes with a dvd with about 60 different lessons on it. (The kids can watch this and then practice doing similar problems.) Which will also help make my life easier-in that I can don't necessarily try to be the one to do all the teaching. One of the things the man advised me to do was to keep math (REAL) use math-in the kitchen, outside, at the store, in real life applications as much as possible. So we will be pushing aside the paper curriculum for a time or using it in conjunction with this. After we master the addition and subtraction facts, we will continue Dd in MUS Gamma. (Where she is learning 2 digit multiplication.) I am just going to stop until I believe she is ready to continue on.

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This is a fraction kit. (It also explains what to do when adding, multiplying, dividing etc. ) It gives quick tips too.

Ds will be using this with a fractions book (for review) from pbswap (Funtastic Fractions) and then he will be using Life of Fred Decimals and Percents.

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We will begin our new school year July 11th. So the first thing I did was plan out which 8 weeks I want to take off during the next few months. Since we homeschool 36 weeks and can take off 16 weeks a year. I like to plan when I want off first, and then make our school schedule around it. We have taken off 8 weeks so far this year. Next week will make 9 weeks. So that leaves us 7 weeks left to take off.

So our weeks off will be:

(The kids will be in Science Camp the last week of July.) But it will not count for a week off, because they will be doing school related stuff. The camp is from 9-3 daily. But they will feel like it is a week off, since it will be off from our regular routine.

Late Summer Break August 29th-September 9 (2 weeks)

Fall Break October 17th-28st. (2 weeks)

Thanksgiving Break November 21-25th (1 week)

Winter Break December 19th-30th (2 weeks)

totaling 7 weeks. Then in January we will start over with 16 more weeks off.

This will have us completing Unit 1 of our history, we will be midway through unit 2 at the end of the year.