Monday, August 6, 2012

Our Fall 2012 Curriculum & Schedule

This will be our third year homeschooling!  Our third year!  I can not believe it.

Those of you just starting out, believe me, it gets easier...well, at least to pick curriculum.  You start to realize what works for your family and what doesn't.  Just because something is working for someone else, don't feel you should stick with it if it does not work for your kids' learning style or your teaching style or whatever.  It doesn't mean their kids are smarter or they are better's like favorite foods, not everyone loves the same things.

One of the big changes we are making this year is that we will focus on history from September-December and science from January-May.  I realized last year that being able to really focus on one at a time made a big difference for us.  I was better able to plan and really pull a lot of great outside resources together when I was only focusing on one subject at a time.  The girls learned more and enjoyed it when we were not spread as thin.



We have used Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World for the last two years and loved it.  We love the way it is written, the outside resources and everything about it.  We have been able to find tons of blogs that list great online resources as well.  At the end of last year, we started notebooking with Story of the World because the plain old narrations were getting boring.  \

I asked my girls if they wanted to do history in the fall or spring and they both said, "Fall...duh!  We love history!"  Although I did not tell them to, they have also both been reading Notebooking Success on my ipad and coming up with ideas for how they want to notebook things.


This is the writing curriculum we started with.  It was my gut instinct purchase and WE ALL LOVED IT!  But...oh there is always such shiny new things and so many people saying how great those are...and we deviated.  In part because I adore Susan Wise Bauer and in part because I was overcome with all of the reviews I saw.  Last spring, the girls ASKED to do this program again and as soon as we started it was like a HUGE SIGH...we all love this program because it allows for so much freedom.

I am determined to NOT get mired down in checking off assignments.  I plan to use Writing Strands, but also to take Jimmie's suggestion in Notebooking Success and sometimes 'count' their good narration writing as our writing and to assign 1 expository essay per month in October and November.  But we will intersperse creating writing from Writing Strands with the expository/narration.


Allie began Math U See Zeta last winter and will finish it this December.  She is doing really well with this program.

Piper will begin Math U See Epsilon.



Monthly Mother-Daughter Book Club & Discussion
Read Alouds & Discussion*
Assigned Additional Reading from History Topics & Notebooking*
Independent Reading for FUN!

*I am realizing more and more that my girls (& I) love to read and learn so much from reading historically accurate fiction and biographies centered around what we are studying in history.


Okay, so I lied, we are doing science.  We are not doing any hard and fast lessons, but I bought the girls Snap Circuits.  On Fridays we will 'play' with Snap Circuits and notebook our findings.


I work full time one day per week and part time one day.  On those days, the girls work on this book, math and writing independently at the library (where I work) before my mom comes to get them for their sewing lesson.  This is also where I resisted temptation.  I was tempted to buy a new Logic book, but I remember we had this book and the girls seemed to learn a lot from it, so it is worth finishing BEFORE I buy the Logic book.

Outside Classes

The girls will, once again, be doing sewing with my mom while I am at work.  They are also excited to learn how to solder and do copper work from my dad this year (one of my dad's hobbies is to make beautiful copper wall hangings).  I am convinced that my girls' future is in the arts, so the more exposure to these kinds of things they can get--the better!

Piper will sing with the Rutgers Children's Choir.

Allie is taking this class:

Young artists explore pattern and geometry as a visual language. Issues concerning composition will be discussed, such as symmetry, asymmetry, balance, viewpoint, leading lines, rule of thirds, and the golden ratio. Artists will engage in individual and group drawing projects. Projects will incorporate all basic-through-intermediate Drawing and Painting material.

I know a lot of families do a lot more outside activities, but for our family being home and focusing on history, writing and math is imperative to setting a good foundation.  We just don't do as well when we have one eye on the clock waiting for our next activity to start.  Also, my girls want to spend as much time in their art studio exploring different media as possible.  I want to use our resources carefully, purchasing good quality art supplies and allowing ample time for exploration and creativity through sewing, jewelry making, painting, crafting, mixed media, art journaling, etc.  Additionally, in the past when we have activities several days a week, we have had to say "no" to field trips.  We had considered joining a co-op, but decided it was too much for us; however we have been offered to join the field trip portion of the co-op, which plans things for Thursdays and families pick and choose which they want to attend and we plan to accompany this great group of moms and kids on some field trips!

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