Thursday, June 25, 2009

Planning Phase

I am having a really tough time with selecting a curriculum for this coming year. I want something organized and laid out for me, yet flexible. I want Abby to enjoy the lessons but I want them to challenge her. I don't want to spend all day doing workbook pages. I want to incorporate a lot of hands-on learning into the process. I want classic books as read-alouds and I want a Christian perspective but I don't think religion has to be a part of every page of text we read. I don't want to dumb-down things because my kids are small. I would like to take advantage of the library as much as possible but I am willing to buy some text books if they are really excellent finds. Oh, and I don't want to spend a fortune.

So, I think this means that I'm going to be building my own curriculum again this year. I did it last year for Kindergarten and I think I did a pretty great job. She is reading above grade level and performing at or above grade level in math. Both kids learned a lot and had a lot of fun in the unit studies we did together. I really thought to myself, "I guess for 1st grade, I need to buckle down and purchase a "big box" curricula that is totally comprehensive so that I don't mess up anything." However, after having sifted through all of those without finding one I'm even half-way sold on, I feel left in a lurch.

I am going to begin my planning on July 1st. This will give me a whole month before the Homeschool Expo to select the text books, workbooks and other materials I will need. If I have any indecisions by then, I can use the Expo to iron out my choices. Then, I will have August to outline all of my lesson plans for the year. It's a pretty big task but one that I'm sure I can do if I stay well organized.

I think I will buy CORE Knowledge and use it as a jumping-off point along with the state requirements. I think I've found a Language Arts book I like but I am also considering the McGuffy Readers since that's what my mom used with me as a small child.

As far as Ford is concerned, I have some Abeka workbooks for him that my sister gave me. They look very good and I will use them for his writing and math practice. I am also going to begin the Yellow workbook of Hooked on Phonics with him. I had thought I would do it with him over the Summer but I have been too busy to attempt the consistent schedule it demands for success with reading. I loved the program for Abby and I'm sure it will work well for Ford too. We also purchased the Hooked on French program and it is completely ineffective. Ford plays lots of video games on the computer and on Wii but he cannot seem to understand the point of the Hooked on Phonics computer activities. Abby finds it completely boring. I am considering Muzzy but I will have to weigh it against the cost of everything else I decide to buy.

I also want to include biblical teachings but I am at a loss for good ideas in this department. Just like History, Math and Science, you don't want your kids to learn the wrong things when it comes to the Bible. Teaching can be easy but it is very difficult to un-teach anything.