Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum

It’s that time again.  I always have mixed emotions when it comes time to purchase curriculum.  I’m always intimidated because there are so many choices.  I have a terrible time making decisions.  *eye rolling & shaking head*

But I’m also excited!  And when you finally narrow it down and order…well waiting for those boxes is like Christmas!!!  I always love tearing into them! 

I’ll break it down by what we are keeping from last year and what will we be trying for the first time this year.  But first, here is what we will be using this year for all 3 boys (that includes my nephew).

This year I knew that we would be keeping Math-U-See.  This is our 2nd year using MUS and we are in LOVE!  This is our 4th year HSing and I wish we had found MUS to begin with.  Oh the tears and fits I could have avoided.  What?  I can’t help it.  My tears and fits were totally justified =)

If you aren’t familiar with MUS, then get familiar!  You won’t be sorry.  Especially if you have boys with ADHD!  It’s very hands on.  It’s not based on grade level (which I LOVE).  I think grade levels are the devil…just sayin!  And you get the DVD were Mr. Steve Demme, the author and instructor breaks down each level for you.  When one of the boys are ready for Math, they just pop the DVD in and they get a quick run through, then they do their lesson.  Rarely do I have to even answer any questions for them.  Once in awhile one of them will have a question.  And usually I just have them watch the short review again.  If they still have problems then I step in and help. 

Another thing I love is that I can use the Teacher’s Manual, DVD, and manipulatives with every child.  So each year all I have to buy is a new student workbook and test book.

Now, 2 of the boys are using MUS, but I’m sure you can see some Rod & Staff Math up there in the picture.  Well that is for Logan.  And it was FREE!!!  Thanks to a friend!  I see no need in buying something when I can use what I have for free.  So, about MUS, I think we finally found something we will use FOREVER!!!

We are using ACE (or Accelerated Christian Education) Paces for English with all 3 boys.  I love that they include scripture in the lessons and the do tons of review and pre-tests.  They also teach the child to self-check.  We don’t really do that.  I prefer to check their work, but you can have them check their own work by Score Keys.  Like I said, I just prefer to check it myself.  That way I know they understand and if I see the same mistake several times I know we need to have a chat and do some review.   They are also affordable.    If you plan to use them with multiple children then all you have to buy are the paces.  You will be able to continue to use the score keys with each child. 

Other than MUS & ACE everything else is new!

We are doing Rod & Staff Spelling.  None of the boys are great spellers.  Will Rod & Staff help?  I don’t know.   If we don’t see some improvement this year I will have to fork over some $$ and get a really in depth Spelling Curriculum.  We will see what happens.  I’ll keep you posted.

I’m using 2 public school reading books for Dawson and Gabriel.  They struggle with comprehension.  And these reading books have great review and comprehension questions at the end of each story, as well as little focus skill reviews every few chapters.  I’m hoping that will make a difference for them. 

I’m also using a Reading and Writing Sourcebook for Dawson and Gabriel.   It’s a public school edition as well.  But again it puts a lot of focus on comprehension. 

With Logan we are using Bob Books.  They are extremely inexpensive and they have different levels as your reader progresses.  So far Logan is reading them with no trouble and seems to like them.  He hates reading, so he isn’t going to LOVE them.

For Science we are doing ALL lapbooks.  This has been the best way to go for us.  Most textbook/workbook stuff has been so overwhelming for the boys and for me!  Lapbooks allow me to teach them about things they want to learn about.  I let them pick what lapbook we do next.  We have been working on an owl lapbook for over a month now.  We watch movies about owls, read books, magazines, stories, online resources.  The possibilities are endless.  We dissected owl pellets last week.  I’ll be doing a post about that soon.  But, I’m sure at some point we may find some kind of book work that we like.  For now we are happy with Lapbooks.  You can even see some of our book choices in the picture above.  I think one is about Lions and one is about Tigers?  The boys are really into animals right now!

History is my favorite subject!   I have a terrible time deciding on a curriculum for History.  I have two that I’m looking at: Mystery of History and A Child’s Story of America.  I want to use something that teaches creation and I want it to be scripturally based.  If I’m being honest, MOH seems a little much for me!  I can’t imagine how it will be for the boys!  I’m leaning more towards A Child’s Story of America.  I hope to use My Father’s World, possibly next year.  It’s more than I can afford this year. 

For Health we are using a 3rd grade ABeka curriculum.  Again, we don’t really do “grade levels” and I already had this particular book.  So that was one less thing I had to buy. 

Our Bible curriculum isn’t really a curriculum.  I tend to mix it up with some Sunday School lessons I found online, a Children’s Daily Devotion, The Bible (of course), and a book called Bible Stories from A to Z. 
Art is a variety of things really.   Some days we freestyle paint, some days we draw, color or whatever they feel like doing. 

And last but not least, Sign Language.  I fell in love with signing when I first got saved and the church I attended at the time did interpretive dance.  I learned a ton of sign language then.  The boys enjoy it and I thought it would be an awesome service for them to learn sign.  They love to do interpretive dance…so they can learn songs to sign for Music and Sign Language as an elective. 

I think that about does it.  So what do you use?

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