It has been a while, but I’m here again to participate in a nearly annual homeschooling blog hop! It’s the 5 Days of Homeschool 101 this year and will be taking place from the 8-12th of August 2016!! There are daily themes and these include the following:
Monday – Curriculum
Tuesday – Planning
Wednesday – Home Management
Thursday – Traditions
Friday – Encouragement
With the 2016-2017 school year we are going into sixth year of homeschooling. This year I have two full-time students. My oldest daughter is an advanced seven-years-old, superhero obsessed and working at a mostly third grade curriculum level. I have tried to hold her back, but she just keeps on trekking forward with more and more challenges. We have enrolled her in the Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma program (VPSA) with a variety of Online Live, Online Self-Paced, Teach at Home Diploma, and extra-curricular lessons including Ballet & Lyrical Dance as well as Violin. For the purposes of the blog life, I reference her as AppleBlossom, although Batgirl might be more appropriate if it were not a coined term.
My younger daughter is such a different experience! The Princess will be turning five-years-old the week that this post is scheduled to publish!! While I played around a bit with starting to teach her when her sister started she just has not shown much interest or taken to organized learning in the same manner. As she has really reached the general Kindergarten age, this year I want to try a little bit harder to get her to focus and learn a bit. More than just life-experience learning. She has the attention-span of a butterfly and is my purple and pink, frilly loving, adoring anything princess related little girl. With all that said, she knows her numbers, most of her letters, shapes, colors, and all that jazz. At this time, she cannot read, not spell, nor write things more than something to copy and thus these are a bit of what we plan to focus upon in the new year in a more school-like fashion.
The boy. We have a toddler in the house. The Rascal is a full-fledged two-year-old hooligan and background noise distraction. I do not plan to do anything quite organized with him, just entertainment with an educational flare. 😉 He is all about Daniel Tiger, trains, trucks, and well anything that goes, as well as superheros!
I always have an image list of our past curriculum choices that readers can view for ideas and recommendations. It needs to be updated, but is current through at least First Grade at this time: Previous Curriculum. What I love about scrolling down through that post or these others is being able to see what we used before and remember what worked, or what didn’t and how I might approach the new school year with the next stair-step kiddo. Other posts that you might enjoy reading through for curriculum ideas include topics such as:
I guess that starting with the youngest should be the easiest way to organize this post. With AppleBlossom we truly started school around 18 months old to cure an idle hands situation… we started with Sonlight P3/4 and online printables for basic topics. With the Princess, we moved on from P3/4 into the incredible lists from English Lessons Through Literature 0 also known as Pathways from Barefoot Ragamuffin’s Curricula. Her materials are amazing! It is everything that I enjoyed from the early Sonlight levels, but so much more and took out most of what I didn’t enjoy anyway! Delightful! With the Princess, I printed crazy amounts of online printables in an attempt to be organized for the school year. This has left me with mounds of paper that has been put here, there, and yonder and tons of things she just “doesn’t feel like” doing.
Truly I do not want to have to worry about the Rascal and school this year. I definitely believe that he is learning by exposure as did his sister the Princess. I plan to loosely go along with Pathways again, and to especially encourage his third-grade sister to read aloud to both of her little siblings. Exposure to the books and stories for them, reading practice for her, break for my voice. Win win win!!!
In all technicality, I suppose you could say that AppleBlossom had multiple Kindergarten years in my effort to keep her from jumping ahead and advancing too quickly. Too bad, she is an accelerated learner and I am just having to deal with it and go along at her pace or else there is chaos! We adore the Memoria Press Kindergarten materials. We used a plethora of other materials too, but the Memoria Press lesson plans are what stand out the most superior to the rest. With my efforts to get the Princess to start Preschool/Kindergarten skills in the last few years I have dabbled with the Memoria Press Simply Classical Leveled lesson plans and they are amazing plans, my student is just hit or miss with her attention span and I cannot keep her on task worth anything.
Up to this point she has completed some of the Rod & Staff Preschool books and is part of the way through the Memoria Press Alphabet and Numbers Books as well as First Start Reading. I love Memoria Press and will absolutely keep coming back to their materials with each new student even with our enrollment for accreditation at VPSA. (Make sure to check out my expansive reviews of the Memoria Press Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten curriculum and look for more reviews to come!)
This year with the Princess for her true Kindergarten year, I plan to let her finish the books that she has started and continue along at her own pace including First Start Reading A-D. AppleBlossom is teaching the Princess through Logic of English “Dragon Phonics” in her own time as a review and play exercise for both of them. As you may recall we truly love the Logic of English Foundations program. See A and D as well as Essentials 2nd Edition. We have also found a pretty good computer school groover with math tutoring with her (both girls truly) in using CTCMath and IXL for math and I fully intend to let her continue to use those for practice as long as she will.
The Princess is being included as we study science, specifically Astronomy, using the new Apologia Astronomy 2nd Edition from the Young Exploring Creation series as well as coloring along while we slowly go through the Who is God? book in the What We Believe apologetics series. (I am an affiliate for Apologia, please consider supporting the Creative Madness Mama family by using our links!)
And in with the new! The completely new stuff this year comes with our enrollment to the Veritas Press Scholars Academy for the Kindergarten school year. There are four subjects studied with VPSA Kinder and they include Bible, History, Reading, and Math. Pretty much the four R’s, right with the Religion, Reading, Arithmetic and Writing included with a bit of History thrown in!
For Bible, we are following the VPSA lesson plans using a different Bible since we have a plethora of storybook Bibles here. For now, I plan to read the Egermeier Story Book Bible and see how that goes.
History is using the new Veritas Press Bede’s History for ME. It starts with learning about a timeline and what is history? It looks like a good primer so far.
Reading and Writing fall together under the curricula of the Veritas Press Phonics Museum. As I said, we have been very happy with Memoria Press’ phonics program, but after an introduction to the Phonics Museum, I’m eager to see what this will do for us. So far, the Princess is very eager and interested which is a very big plus! It seems to be an exciting curriculum and I love the way that it weaves in Art Primers and some art appreciation all through out the curriculum.
Lastly, for Math we are using Saxon 1 as per requirement with the diploma program. However, I really am not a fan of the Saxon K-3 programs and will have Rod & Staff Beginning Arithmetic 1 available to help when need-be as well as the Princess using CTCMath, IXL, and ESA. We also do have Math Mammoth Light Blue 1-6 if we need more or specific practice.
Both girls are taking Violin lessons as am I. The girls are also taking their first year of Ballet and Lyrical classes. We tried a few classes during the summer which was initially meant for the Princess to learn a bit of focus, and AppleBlossom wanted to participate as well after the first class. So we have enrolled for this school year. They will be in different classes starting mid-August and I am excited to see where this little bit of independence from each other will take them! We will also continue to trek along in our Frontier Girls adventures!
7-year-old Third Grade
This is my little accelerated learner! She will not be held back!! She can read anything and devours books and begs for more. This year, I’m hoping I can get her to think as positively about writing. Really the whole process of getting thought from head to paper without tears is general goal. She’s such a smart cookie and I want her to enjoy learning and realize she’s smart and not get so frustrated when something is challenging.
We are doing Apologia Astronomy 2nd Ed (review coming soon!) with both girls, the Princess is tracing what I write in a highlighter in a junior notebook whil AppleBlossom is using the regular notebooking journal for narration and dictation exercises.
Last year, we had a good year using VPSA Diploma for 2nd Grade, and thus AppleBlossom will continue on with VPSA Diploma for 3rd Grade also. AppleBlossom is working on Bible (Judges to Kings, self-paced online (Review)), History (New Testament, Greece, and Rome; self-paced online (50% sale!)), Geography (Legends & Leagues EAST), Latin (Latin for Children A, self-paced online through Classical Academic Press (Review)) but we have Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I as well as Lingua Angelica and Ludere Latin from MP for possibilities and consideration. Saxon Math 54 for her with CTCMath (R), IXL ($), and ESA (R). Shurley Grammar and IEW for Writing round our lists…
We are already about 33 lessons into the 128 lessons for her Bible class and while she loves the format, she has gotten off to a tough start this year with her grades not doing so well. She has tried to rush through without studying or using her resources available and so we are trying to remedy that now. Things are getting much better in the last two weeks! She is loving the self-paced online courses. We are enjoying using the David C. Cook Journey Through the Bible book as well as the Homeschool in the Woods Old Testament Pak. The Action Bible has made a perfect addition and alternate way to read the stories that she is encoutering in her lessons and reading in her own personal Holman Study Bible for Kids.
Last year, we studied Old Testament and Ancient Egypt and have loved every minute of the adventure. She finished her class with a B and a thirst for history. We are still enjoying additional reads such as The Egypt Game, Tirzah, Egyptian Diary, The Golden Goblet and more that were on the older kids’ list instead of the primary Level 1 list! This year, we will start our journey onward into New Testament, Greece, and Rome! I have been excitedly collecting greek myth resources and books on both the Level 1&2 lists from the VPSA diploma curriculum considering her thirst for history last year. She has not started yet, but will also be using a Veritas Press Self-Paced Online course for history this year. We are delaying a bit to try to let her continue to bring her current Bible grade up a bit more.
As for Art, this year I plan to let AppleBlossom join in with our experience with the Art Primers from the Princess’ Kindergarten curriculum. I also will be pulling out our Veritas Press History of Art manual to study the apporpriate art period as we come across it with our history cards. Love this curriculum!
Geography is slowly becoming an enjoyable course for her as we are weaving more history and literature into our studies as well. While our main geography curriculum is the Veritas Press Legends and Leagues workbook and reader, we are adding in a reading list of literature from Barefoot Ragamuffins’ Wayfarers. Last year, we studied SOUTH which included Antartica, Africa, and so on which went well with our Egyptian studies. This year, we are studying EAST including Asia, India, and Australia and more! The comparable Wayfarers literature list is found in the Wayfarers Ancients curriculum, which is an incredible set of lesson plans!
Another curricula that we started already is Latin. VPSA uses Latin for Children A in their second grade curriculum, and we are currently working with Classical Academic Press and their new website ThinkersCAP.com to go through their version of a Self-Paced Online edition of the curriculum. It is so simple and easy to use and we are marking some progress! (Look for that review to come!) We have Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I as well as Lingua Angelica and Ludere Latin from MP for possibilities and consideration.
We already have AppleBlossom working online with IXL, CTCMath, and ESA for math practice. This year, for textbooks I am so excited that we will be starting REAL Saxon math with Saxon 5/4. We have gotten a graph paper composition notebook and I am eager to see if she will enjoy the Saxon way of teaching math as much as I did when I was in school. We expect to have the D.I.V.E. CD soon and I hope this will help where my teaching skills might lack.
Literature! Be still my beating bibliophile heart!! I am so eager to jump into the literature studies this year. As I mentioned we will be reading lots of books with our geography emphasis, but we will not necessarily be analyzing those for literature standpoints. This year, we will be reading all of the recommended titles from VPSA 3rd grade as well the readers recommended with Memoria Press 3rd grade. We will also be reading the American Studies and Read Alouds as recommended by Memoria Press and I could not be more thrilled. We label our books so she has seen as the new books have come in for this upcoming year and over the summer has already read most of them! She is excited and enjoying literature and I look forward to adding more of a comprehension skill to it this fall as we continue. 3rd Grade for us will include classics from E.B. White, Fairy Tales of a varied sort, and so much more!
Linguistics is a continued study from last year. Our Spelling curriculum that we are quite enjoying is the Institute of Excellence in Writing’s (IEW) own Phonetic Zoo, Level A. (Review coming!!) I do love the spelling portion in Logic of English Essentials 2nd Ed. also and wouldn’t off count that so we are doing a bit of both without complaint. She is a natural speller from what I can see so far, unlike her mama!
Grammar and Writing has to be the course that I am the most concerned about. Why can this not be available as a self-paced online version?! Ha. Just arrived yesterday, actually, is our next level of Shurley English 3. I got them used at a great blessing from another homeschool mama. Again, this with a bit of Logic of English Essentials 2nd Ed. Onward to the writing portion of our curriculum, we will continue to use IEW and this year specifically All Things Fun & Fascinating, Immitation in Writing: Greek Myths, and I’m considering something about Fables, Myths & Fairy Tales to continue the exposure and experience. *If you are considering using any IEW products, please consider our referral link to help bless the Creative Madness Mama family.
We also plan to continue Cursive. Using a bit of Classically Cursive and New American Cursive. I hope that this year we can transition AppleBlossom to write in cursive most of the time. Her print is typical primary student, but her cursive is beautiful and elegant.
Ooh! I almost forgot, this year we will also be utilizing our first LIVE Online course through Veritas Press as well. AppleBlossom will be taking Memory I to fully utilize the chants and memory songs from her curricula.