Curriculum Roundup

There are links over on the side, but here’s a rundown of what we’re using for school this year.

Modern History – A combination of things we’ve used the past 3 years with success – History Odyssey and Story of the World Activity Guide.  I almost didn’t buy the Activity Guide this year because it has mainly been a booklist resource and History Odyssey also has one.  Piper is not a coloring page girl and last year the activities overall did not have much appeal.  I am so glad that I changed my mind and ordered it.  This year introduces outlining by providing partially filled in outlines for each chapter which is wonderful.  We are using the questions provided to review what we’ve read.  The activities also seem to have ramped up a level rather than being all costuming and coloring pages.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this is great for a lot of kids.  Didn’t work for mine.  Finally, I love the mapwork.  Rather than saying color/label  X, it provides hints based on the reading and the child needs figure out which city, country, etc. they need to label or color.  I am using a combination of the mapwork for HO and SOTWAG since HO is a little heavier on the basics like bodies of water.  As always, history is a favorite.

Writing – Bravewriter/Writer’s Jungle  Piper has finally reached the age where we can start using this a little more.  In the past we’ve incorporated some of the pieces like Tea Time and the occasional copy of the Arrow for copywork.  This year we are starting with a 6 week Kidwrite Basic class and we will be using the Arrow regularly for copywork and dictation.  I’m hoping to get regular Tea Times set up again when we get a little more settled into the routine since we’ve both enjoyed them in the past.  I will know more about how I’m going to work on writing for the rest of the year after we complete the class.

Piper is also currently practicing cursive which has turned into a bit of a journaling/poetry writing exercise.  I started out having do her copywork in cursive, but it was not working well at all.  Too much focus on the cursive and not enough on the writing mechanics which is really kind of the point of copywork.  So instead I told her to simply write at least one sentence a day in cursive in her book from anywhere she wanted thinking she would choose one of her dragon or horse books.   It has worked out so much better than I could have imagined. Her cursive has improved a ton and she has so far chosen to do all original work – poems about the chickens, descriptive sentences about the weather.  This is actually one of the things she seems to enjoy most and will even do extra.  If only all of my ideas worked this well!

Latin – Lively Latin II  Piper remembers a lot more of her vocabulary and chants than I would have hoped for after a 3 month break.  We have mostly been refreshing, but since the format is the same as last year I expect it will be another fun year.  Now if the author would only finish writing it!

Grammar – I went back and forth over this one.  Latin has so much grammar.  What finally pushed me over the edge was the program.  Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts are presented in a very unique way, almost as a story, with wonderfully rich vocabulary.  They don’t beat you over the head, and there is very little written work.  I also really liked the poetry and vocabulary elements.  This hasn’t been a huge hit with Piper yet, but not a complete dud either.  Since she has responded very negatively to every other grammar program I’ve tried, I’ll take it.

Spelling – This is the first year we are doing formal spelling rather than just copywork.  I have to say so far I’m pretty pleased.  Of the top 100 words found in books and newspapers, Piper got only 4 wrong and struggled with only 2 others.  All that reading combined with copywork and Mom’s spelling gene seem to be doing the trick.  We’ll continue on with a weekly spelling list from 200 Essential Reading and Spelling words.

Math – What to say about Rightstart E?  After 4 years I still love it and Piper doesn’t, though at this point I think it’s more a matter of principle.  It’s definitely doing the job.

Science – Physics this year.  I think I pretty much covered this in the above post.

Art – Acton Art again.  You simply can’t argue with results.  I’ll also continue to combine picture/poetry study with Tea Time.

Music – We haven’t started yet, but will probably continue with recorder since Piper still hasn’t shown an instrument preference.  Maybe I will pull out my flute this year too.

PE – Riding lessons and of course lots of nature walks, bike rides, and playing outside.  I’d imagine the new puppy will provide all kinds of physical activity!

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