Friday, June 26, 2015

School Year 2015/2016 Plans

Our first day of school is on July 1st. We school year round and that is when the government requires me to report for Lydia, so it works out nicely for us. I have mostly finalized our upcoming plans for the year. Lydia will be a 1st/2nd grader (I haven't decided which), Eleanor is legally a preschooler because of her birthday cutoff but for our purposes she is more a kindergartner, and Adelaide won't be doing much school this year, at least not until the Spring, when I will maybe start reading and math with her.

All three girls will be taking classes at a local homeschool co-op for two hours a week this fall. Our main goal is to get them out to meet people and enjoy themselves, but also experience a classroom environment and another teacher besides me. We did not choose these classes based on their academic needs. Adelaide and Eleanor will both be in a preschool class together, which will be below Eleanor's level academically but that I'm sure she'll enjoy anyways. She missed the birthday cutoff for the more advanced classes. Lydia will be taking 2 classes. The first is called Stories and Art and the second will be working from the curriculum Five in a Row. They are both classes where there will be a book and a project related to the book, which I think she will really enjoy. Crafts are not my strong point, so outsourcing them is a bonus for me too!

We do lots of little extras just through our daily lives. We have passes to a science museum with a zoo and aquarium and regularly take advantage of it. The girls also listen to tons of audio books at bedtime. So this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything we'll do, but it is the most formal.

Plans for Lydia:
Math: Last year we started math with Saxon. In theory it worked well for her, but the program itself was taking us almost 2 hours a day, which was just too much. After a few months, I switched over to Christian Light Education math which had all the benefits of Saxon without the downsides for us. As a result of her late start with it, though, she hasn't quite finished Grade 1 math. So she'll finish that up and then start Grade 2.

Language Arts: Lydia finished Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading last year, so for reading I assign her reading for 20 minutes. A few times a week I have her read out loud to me from a leveled old fashioned reader like the Treadwell Readers to catch any mistakes she might be making. She reads a lot on her own as well, so at this point, I'm not too worried about her reading and her writing program covers comprehension. She didn't finish Writing With Ease Level 1, so she'll finish that up and then we'll likely start Writing With Ease Level 2. She finished First Language Lessons Level 1 and will doing Level 2. Her grammar at this point is learning basic grammar terms and memorizing lists of things like pronouns. I bought the First Language Lessons Audio Companion to help with that memorization that we'll be listening to in the car. We also analyze her sentences for WWE, which she really seems to enjoy and we'll keep up. For spelling, she'll continue with All About Spelling Level 2 and then move on to Level 3 when she finishes it.

History: This will be our first year doing deliberate history. She and Eleanor will both be doing Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancients. They've listened to the audio book many times at bedtime, but we'll be going through it together coupled with books from the library and some suggestions from the accompanying activity book. She is also working through Evan Moor Beginning Geography, which she seems to really enjoy.

Science: This last year was the year of human anatomy. We finished the girls' MyBodys, but we really never did Beginning Foundations of Scientific Understanding like I planned. They got a lot out of it, so I don't regret this last year, but I think we'll try more formality this year. We'll go through the first 12 lessons in BFSU as a family with Eleanor (and Adelaide if she wants) participating.

Plans for Eleanor:
Math: Eleanor did an awesome job last year. She finished Essential Math A&B and also Miquon Orange. She seems to have a good grasp on math so far and is thriving in the more experimental, puzzle-type of math that I'm introducing her to. She just started Miquon Red and Mathematics Enhancement Programme Year 1. Miquon Orange and Red together make up a first grade math and MEP Year 1 is also a first grade math, so she is solidly working at that level. If she finishes Miquon Red, we'll start on Miquon Blue. The jury is still out on whether we will continue MEP, but so far it has been a success for her, so I don't foresee changing soon. For some reason, Math Mammoth just didn't seem quite right for her. At some point, I might add in a word problem book, but we'll see.

Language Arts: She will continue working through Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. She seems to really enjoy reading and spends a lot of time reading beginning readers on her own. I expect that she'll be able to move from the sounding out every word stage this year, and if that happens, I'll start her on All About Spelling Level 1. She is also working through Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten (and doing handwriting apps on the iPad) and when she finishes that she'll start on Writing With Ease Level 1. I don't know that I'll do formal grammar with her this year, but she'll be listening to Lydia's grammar and the CD in our car, so I bet she'll pick most of it up on her own anyways.

History/Science: She'll be tagging along with Lydia for these with the exception of geography. We'll probably wait a year for that simply because of the reading skills required.

Plans for Adelaide:
Since Adelaide won't be four until almost the end of the school year, I have no formal plans for her at this point. Mostly I have her working on iPad apps to learn her letter sounds and beginning blending. I assume that I'll start reading with her sometime after Christmas. She has already expressed that she wishes I would teach her, but she just isn't ready yet. I'll probably start her on math around the same time as well.