sage - 3 (left) and jaden -6 (right) milking clover
there's no 'jumping back in' to schooling as we've continued with our lessons throughout the summer on average 3 days a week. it's nice having school year round because it allows us to take breaks when needed in spring and winter when we are busy with putting in the garden and making gifts.
because of the many tasks i do, i have found it easier to use a pre-made curriculum. i always thought i'd create my own but i have faced reality and the lack of time and so now, i choose curriculums based on what i want us to study. it's pieced together but working well for us.
sage sits in half the time while we work and so he learns right along with us although i don't formally do anything with him. the other half of the time he plays by himself, usually outside in the water pond by the house, exploring the frogs, fish and other creatures he can find. i'd say that's an education in itself!
this is a loose list based on what we are doing right now, subject to change when we tire of it or find something we'd rather study:
art/handwork and music/movement:
artistic pursuits - great 'short' lessons but not much meat. we do them usually 3 times a week although we do art almost daily because she enjoys drawing and creating and does so on her own even when we aren't doing school
harmony fine arts summer 2009 art and music appreciation plans - this is new to us, in fact, i just requested the music and art books from the library today. i wanted to go more in depth with both artists and composers so this is a great start. after the 6 weeks of this, i will be diving into the 1800's art and music appreciation, adapting it as needed for 1st grade level.
ballet lessons once a week through local studio
yoga practice - i hope to start this back up. we were doing yoga a few days a week and it was good for me too! it ties in well with the ballet as stretching is important
i made flash cards using colored construction paper and wrote the names of the colors in french and spanish on the front. daily i show her the color and then recite it in french and spanish. she is picking up the names and often shouts out the colors before i recite them. once we've mastered the colors i'll move on to body parts and then clothing. i am using this website for spanish and this for french words. as they get older i'll add on latin and possibly a 4th language. we review the flash cards daily.
we also use muzzy for french and spanish although jaden doesn't like it as much as sage does. i'll start her on rosetta stone (we have spanish currently) when she starts reading better.
jaden LOVES to write and even does fancy letters. she does free form writing where she picks what she wants to write and i spell out the words for her or write them down for her to copy. i also give her vocabulary words/definitions for her to copy. writing happens every day during school time and free time. sage draws circles.
i've been using all about spelling for teaching jaden spelling/reading. sometimes we use bananagrams or scrabble tiles to spell out words and lately i've been reciting and sounding out 3 letter words such as pig, man, big...for her to spell out. she's not reading yet but she is writing words and sounding them out. now, instead of calling out 'mom' when she needs me, she says 'm - o - m' lol. we try to do this daily.
we've been using math-u-see and are almost finished with primer. she is struggling with counting by 5's, 10's and 2's and tally marks so we're taking it slow. i've found if i back off or skip ahead, we can generally come back and she understands it. i use tally marks when i sell at the farmer's market and she helps me with sales so i'm hoping that will help her grasp that concept. we will be advancing to alpha in about 5-6 weeks i think, hopefully by october. we do this daily.
i've really been enjoying R.E.A.L. science odyssey for our science. we've been doing life science and it's been fun. we are stuck on earthworms right now because the temperatures were so hot that we couldn't find any. now that it's cooled down, we'll jump back in. we generally do science book work about 2-3 times a week. i love that pandia press offers 'try before you buy' for all the curriculums. it gave me a chance to print out about 12 weeks worth of lessons and make sure we really liked them before we bought them. that sold me even more!
i've also recently started participating in the outdoor hour challenges for handbook of nature study. while being outside daily is part of our routine, it's good to have some focus and this works well for us. i hope to explore more with her weekly challenges. she has ebooks available for every season which i'm hoping to check out soon. i really like the handbook of nature study and it's an easy way to incorporate nature and science into daily/weekly curriculums.
oh yeah, we also do herbal roots, lol. we don't do it every day since i'm always teaching them about herbs as i do stuff daily but jaden does enjoy going through them. it's good to test my own product on my own kids!
i love story of the world but didn't do it because it wasn't structured enough for me and my busy schedule. however, after discovering history odyssey (thanks maria!) i was able to use sotw w/o any problem as this curriculum incorporates it into their weekly plans. we are doing the ancient history right now and jaden is loving it, especially the history pockets. we do history at least 3 times a week if not more! again, i love that pandia press offers 'try before you buy' for all the curriculums. it gave me a chance to print out about 12 weeks worth of lessons and make sure we really liked them before we bought them. that sold me even more! i am hoping to incorporate cooking into these lessons and do a meal from each ancient section. egypt is almost finished so we'll be doing an ancient egyptian meal soon.
general living skills:
not a required subject by state standards but required by my standards. i'm raising kids to be self sufficient and know how to do basic living skills w/o effort. jaden has cooked us lunch twice this past week by making scrambled eggs and bacon. she did it all herself from deciding what to cook to getting everything out, preparing it, cooking it and washing off and setting the table for us without me in the room. she and sage both can milk the goats and help out with gardening, laundry and cleaning. jaden washes the dishes if i ask her to and helps out often when i am cooking dinner. she's also learning to sew and knit which i feel is important to know. i have no curriculum for this, just doing what we need to do when we need to do it and encouraging her whenever i can (and sage too).
i'd love to hear what others are using for curriculum, especially the smaller home-created curriculums. the smaller family run curriculums seem to work better for me since they are created by parents with multiple kids usually who don't have a lot of time to screw around.