Sunday, July 12, 2015

Curriculum Choices 2015 - 2016

I am very excited about this school year. I will have a 6th grader and a 7th grader (special needs) this year. We start on July 20. We are a literature-based Charlotte Mason family that is dabbling more and more in STEM activities, which is what my kids crave. My goals for the kids this year are posted here. I plan for a 40 week year so that I can get in everything I want to teach and still have flexibility. We will do six core subjects every school day of every week and select 2 additional elective subjects each week. Some of our elective subjects will last a whole semester and some will only be a quarter long.

Core Subjects ~ These are the subjects we will do every day of every week.

Literature ~  Most of the literature we will be using this year has a unit study or a literature guide to accompany the book.
  • Black Ships Before Troy ~ Veritas Press literature guide
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven books) ~ Veritas Press literature guide
  • Hitty Her First 100 Years ~ Above and Beyond Five in a Row
  • Aesop's Fables ~ coloring books
  • Julie of the Wolves ~ unit study Scholastic
  • A Wrinkle in Time ~ unit study Scholastic
  • My Side of the Mountain ~ Scholastic literature guide
  • Shiloh ~ Scholastic literature guide
  • Our Places  ~ anthology by A Beka
The remainder of our literature will come from our 100 books to read during middle school. We will also be studying one Shakespeare play (Hamlet) and attending a performance. We will have a poetry tea each month. The poetry will be determined as we come to it.

Language Arts ~ Above all else this year, I want to encourage writing. They will be doing lots and lots of writing. Tom Sawyer will be attending a writing class with other homeschoolers, in addition to doing language arts at home. I also want them to make vast improvements in spelling. Here are a list of books they will be using.
  • 350 Fabulous Writing Prompts
  • Poetry Writing Handbook
  • Kids Write! Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • How to Write a Research Report
  • The Great Editing Adventure
  • A Reason for Spelling ~ different grade levels for each child
  • Cursive Handwriting ~ Handwriting Without Tears
Each child also has a folder containing grammar and reading comprehension workbook pages. I still need to pick out a daily grammar workbook. If these books are not working or I need more, I plan to purchase Cover Story.

Math ~ We are not making any changes to math this year. We have had great success in recent years with this combination. They both got 99% on last school year's end of year standardized testing.
  • Teaching Textbooks ~ 6th grade for daughter and 7th grade for son
  • Life of Fred books ~ Jellybeans, KidneysLiver, and Mineshaft
We found a Saxon Math 7/6 book in a free box of books that I will be using to reinforce concepts that are not clear or need extra review.

History ~ We will be using books written by Genevieve Foster this year for a nice review of world and American history. There are six books. We plan to start with Augustus Caesar's World and see how many we get through. I am sure we will get through at least four books. I will be supplementing with books from the For Kids 21 Activity series by Chicago Press and Kaleidoscope Kids activity books.
  • Augustus Caesar's World
  • The World of Columbus and Sons
  • The World of Captain John Smith
  • The World of William Penn
  • George Washington's World
  • Abraham Lincoln's World
We will also be watching CNN Student News daily.

General Science ~ This is a review year for science. I basically want to touch on anything we missed up to this point, such as geology, and go deeper with some of the kids' interests so we know where they want to go with high school science. The kids will be learning how to use our two microscopes and telescope in preparation for high school.
  • Tinker Crates (a monthly subscription)
  • The Ben Franklin Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments: A Franklin Institute Science Museum Book
  • Teaching the Fun of Science ~ Janice Van Cleaves
  • Zoology for Kids: Understanding and Working With Animals, With 21 Activities
  • Outdoor Challenges with Harmony Mom
We will also be doing lots of miscellaneous science kits and attend several different science museums.

Physical Education and Health ~ Both of our children are in dance. Our son will be taking three hours of dance this year and our daughter will be in Tween Company again this year. She will log seven hours a week of classes before practice. They both will be in numerous full productions throughout the year. In addition, our son, who has mild cerebral palsy, will be working on an at-home physical therapy program after graduating from 18 months of physical therapy following a knee dislocation. They will also be working through Developing Good Health with A Beka.

Our Elective Subjects ~ These are subjects that we will do throughout the year, but not every week.

Coding and Robotics ~ We plan to purchase a Raspberry Pi Kit to learn and explore this year. We also will be playing coding games on the Internet, working with snap circuits and robot kids. I am hoping that a friend will be starting a First Lego League this fall, but if she doesn't, we will be searching for a non-competitive robotics club or perhaps purchasing our own Lego Mindstorms EV3. Our son has a strong interest in this area.

Geography ~ We purchased an awesome interactive globe for back to school. The kids are going to love it. In addition, we will be completing Geography - A Literature Approach by Beautiful Feet. We have one book to go.
  • Tree in the Trail ~ Holling C. Holling
  • Charting the World With 21 Activities
  • Discover America State by State ~ We will be working our way through this series and completing state pages for each book. This series is an alphabet picture book series, but it has lots of content which makes it still age appropriate for the middle school years.

Home Economics ~ The kids will be learning to hand sew and machine sew this year. They will also be learning new skills in home repair, using a drill, painting, etc. They independently will be cooking a meal for the family at least once a month. They will be learning how to make bread from start to finish and how to do the laundry from start to finish.

Fine Arts ~ Grandma will continue to teach art once a month. Also, the kids will complete the Draw Write Now series. They are currently on book 3. They will be doing picture studies of artwork in the Louve and playing the Master Pieces game. Tom Sawyer will be learning to play the guitar and they both will be learning how to read music. We will be doing a unit study on Edward MacDowell, the American composer, and Squilt lessons as they become available.

Foreign Language ~ Our daughter will be studying French this year. We are going to take it slow and easy. We have a few workbooks and will be listening to the language as much as possible. I am trying to get her comfortable with the language before she gets to high school.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I've been contemplating the Veritas Press literature guides. Which of the guides you've mentioned is your favorite?


  2. I sometime go to thrift store, buy a random electronic thing cheap, come back home and hand it to the kids along with screwdrivers. It is interesting to see what they discover. We bought a Aurduino based robotic kit for this summer. I want a headstart on next year.

    I taught my kids to do laundry a couple of years ago, my oldest is 13. Getting them to fold and put away is constantly a challenge. Margaret will be going into grade 6 as well.

  3. It looks like you have a great year ahead!

  4. Dawn, I love your plans. They are so thoughtful and thorough. Your children are very blessed to have you as their mummy and teacher. I hope this year is everything you wish it to be and more.x

  5. Some WONDERFUL books there! A new year means a fresh new start! It means excitement and new goals and making more memories!

  6. I like your intentionality (if that's a word) with home economics. I've always involved the children & have taught them lots but I'm aware that the younger ones have a few gaps that the older ones didn't have. I'll have to take a page from your book & plan this area a bit more.

  7. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I think you've chosen wonderful curriculum and that your kids will have a great year. May God bless you and yours with joy this school year!