Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The 2009-2010 School Year Has Begun

What a grand idea Darcy at Life with My 3 Boybarians has had! She is hosting a "Not-Back-to-School" Blog Hop this week and the three to follow. We have the opportunity to share about our plans for the new school year, with each week focusing on a different aspect of homeschooling. This week is dedicated to the topic of curriculum, so let me tell you a little about what we use and why we love it so.

Our core curriculum is Tapestry of Grace. TOG integrates the study of history, literature, church history and worldview, language arts, and art into a series of nine-week units that cover the four year cycle of world history. A particular era of history is the core of each study and the other topics are woven into that tapestry of time so the other subjects are studied within the relevant time period. Right now, we are learning about the late 19th Century while reading literature, learning about missionaries, and studying works of art from the same era. TOG offers so much. It is a curriculum that is truly rich with learning opportunities. I have a TOG link in the sidebar if you would like to investigate further.

We use Singapore math. This is the federal program of the nation of Singapore and has had consistently good results among their school children. It stresses understanding concepts, mental math and problem solving. My boys have done really well with Singapore. I have used it from the beginning and don't regret it.

For science we are trying something new. We will be completing Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. We are new to the CKE studies but are enjoying it so far. There are a number of good hands-on activities, and the lessons are short and easy to teach.

I have added in several elements to our language arts time. Daily Grammar Practice is a really easy grammar program. Each a student is assigned one sentence to consider at the beginning of each week and must complete a grade-appropriate activity each day (underlining nouns for example). By the end of the week, they have completed dissected the sentence and edited it. Simple and effective... I highly recommend.

Each day my boys edit one paragraph from Daily Paragraph Editing. The assignments are on grade level, and the students must find and correct mistakes that are within their skill set. Self-editing is such an important skill, and this curriculum makes it easy to incorporate.

All About Spelling is a fabulous multi-sensory spelling/phonics program. I know of no other program like it. The techniques are highly effective and enjoyable. My son, a reluctant speller, looks forward to his AAS lessons, and I look forward to teaching them. There's a link to the AAS website in my sidebar.

SpellQuizzer is another highly motivating spelling program. It works in conjunction with any spelling curriculum and is fun too. You can read my review of SpellQuizzer here. There is also a link to their website in my sidebar.

Veritas Press Bible is a very easy-to-implement yet rich, chronological study of the Bible. My kids love the picture card set that is included and the memory songs. I like that it helps me delve deeper into Scripture without having to do a lot of preparation.

Holly Dutton's Westminster Shorter Catechism Songs are beautiful and catchy. We start our morning with one of these, and children and mother are learning from it. I catch myself singing the song throughout the day and reflecting on the teachings of the Bible as a result.

I love, love, LOVE Geography Songs from Audio Memory. I bought these for Orville's Kindergarten year, and he and Wilbur used to request that I sing them as bedtime songs! We are refreshing our memory this year by singing the songs that match our geography studies in TOG.

Lively Latin is just so LIVELY! I LOVE it!!! We have completed about half of the introductory lesson on language families and the reasons for studying Latin, the really boring stuff in other words. However, it has not been boring. My son who has always groaned whenever anyone even says "Latin" is really enjoying it. Click here to visit the Lively Latin website.

Orville is studying Japanese using Rosetta Stone. RS takes a conversational approach, so no grammar. That may make you say "yay" or "boo", depending on your school of thought. For now, it is perfect for Orville because he can study independently. I have never studied Japanese and cannot begin to help him, yet he is able to complete the lessons on his own and is progressing well.

Wilbur is completing Lifepac's Drawing Basics with Thomas Kincaid. He loves this and has learned so much. His artwork has been recognized a few times, including one painting that placed fourth in Crayola's online expo. His piece was published in their Children's Art Exhibition book. I can say with confidence that this curriculum works. The DVD provides instruction from Mr. Kincaid, and the workbooks that accompany provide good practice activities.

That's what we're doing. Visit Life with My 3 Boybarians for links to other bloggers who are sharing their curricular plans too.

Check back next week as we share a little about our school rooms.


Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Wow!! I'm excited. And I bit ashamed to say that I've never heard of Tapestry of Grace. From the description, it sounds similar to a KONOS program?

The lively Latin is intriguing. I was just bemoaning the fact that we are not studying Latin. Apparently, we're the only ones!

I'll have to look into the geography songs. We have several of the math ones(which currently aren't even being used.)

I hope you update with reviews of the new things you're trying!

Heather said...

Too funny! We're using some of the very same things -- Singapore Math (wonderful!), Lively Latin (love it, just like you said), ToG (though we're using Year 3)... it truly is a small world!

As far as Tapestry is concerned, this is our first year using it. I've had my eye on it for years but have just now decided to take the plunge... and I couldn't be more excited about it! I must say I'm a bit overwhelmed, but the possibilities... oh, the possibilities! I think it's going to be a great year :)

And you definitely have a terrific line-up for your crew... enjoy the rest of your summer and have a fabulous year!

argsmommy said...

Dawn, as always, I love your descriptions and reviews. It looks like you have a wonderful year planned. I've been doing some research on All About Spelling, so I'm intrigued by your comments. I might stick with Spelling Power though...can't decide...can't decide. : )

Anonymous said...

some great items you are using!

Robin E. said...

All About Spelling and Singapore Math, we're loving them here. Thank you for sharing on the Blog Hop.