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Curriculum Planning...Does it get easier?

Posted by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM
  • 23 Replies
1 mom liked this

We don't have much money so I plan our curriculum and we use a LOT of library books and the internet.  Does it get easier?  Will I eventually know what I'm doing? 

I really wonder if I should just spend some money on a curriculum to help me.  I get these plans and then I feel lost again.  Especially with history and science.  Science I have covered for now, and the next step is affordable enough (we are using Ellen McHenry's-The Elements right now).  History is so confusing for me.  The plan for the next 4ish weeks is to finish up ancient Greece (we will touch on the Trojan Horse, Sparta, Athens, the Gods a bit more, the Persian War and politics) then move into Ancient Rome (we will touch on the rise and fall of the empire, rulers, aqueducts/architecture/Colosseum, gladiators, Julius Caesar).  I seriously know nothing about any of this.  So I am trying to compile some living books and documentaries and hoping that will be enough.

For math, I am using ixl.com ONLY for the list of skills they should know by grade, I am going through with each kid and picking out the things they don't know or need to review and then I am using internet resources to do worksheets and games/activities to teach and solidify their skills.  We have only been reviewing so far, and I feel like it's time to actually teach them some new things.

For language arts: reading will be history and their leisure books...writing will be book reviews/reports in fun and different ways, journal entries sometimes, and just regular stuff-lists, letters, etc...spelling, DS (11.5) is good with lists-he gets 10 words a week and he defines them and write sentences-the words are pulled from the spelling bee list and he will be in the spelling bee in January.  DD (10.5) will pick up with Apples and Pears where we left off, it has been reviewing a lot for her so far but we will be starting to get into some more challenging parts I think.

Music and Art will kind of go along with history as much as I can, and they are learning how to play the piano.

Bible and character building I am at a loss right now.  I need to make a list of character traits I think and go from there to work on them.

Critical Thinking they do in different fun ways, puzzles, word finds, games, crosswords, word problems, logic problems, etc.

We will hopefully be continuing with sign language, we kind of ignored it the past few weeks, so we need to get back into that routine.


Any feedback or ideas are appreciated..especially guidance in the history department!  I thought I would have a better grasp on this by now (ok we are only like 4 months into this, I should cut myself some slack!)

by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Bethbeth
by Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

i'm not an expert, but maybe you could try some curriculum in one or two subjects, which would help free you up to pull together your own things for the other subjects.

Jilectan
by Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Personally, I was getting too stressed out by trying to plan curriculum and deal with three kids at three different levels. I decided to simplify. We're doing the basics, reading, writing, and arithmetic, self-taught. Saxon math, writing every day, and reading and vocabulary every day. We are just doing math this week due to the holidays, but we're going back to the full thing on Monday. We have a book list that my kids will all be going through (two aren't reading yet, but they'll start when they're ready) that includes books on all the subjects they need to learn about. I'm using the Robinson curriculum (not sure how well-known that is) and it seems to be a pretty good one. I'll be adding extras as necessary, but I don't need to plan the whole thing at this point. It's dropped my stress level by a huge amount. There are other book lists that are similar, I'm told, and other curriculums that follow the same methodology, if you like the idea but not the specific book list.

hth.

hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 1:53 PM

For history, you could look at Sonlight's book lists for each grade you are teaching, then match those to what your public library might be offering? I am doing that this year for history for my 5th grader, since I didn't want to purchase a whole prepackaged set for her. They use really good literature to teach history.

hwblyf
by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Check into braingenie.com for math.  It's somewhat similar to ixl, but you can practice for free and set a timeframe for them to finish an area.

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:30 PM


Quoting hipmomto3:

For history, you could look at Sonlight's book lists for each grade you are teaching, then match those to what your public library might be offering? I am doing that this year for history for my 5th grader, since I didn't want to purchase a whole prepackaged set for her. They use really good literature to teach history.

This is kind of what I have been doing, I looked at Sonlight and some other curricula and chose books my library had and that seemed good for my kids.  I guess I don't know what else to do once they read them.  I kind of feel like I should read them too I guess so we can at least discuss them.  I'm thinking about doing more read alouds with them so we can have the discussions.  I just don't have a ton of teaching time because I work too, so we had gotten away from me reading aloud and I was assigning more reading, but then I'm not sure what they read about so I can't check to see if they've learned, kwim?  What do you do?

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:31 PM


Quoting hwblyf:

Check into braingenie.com for math.  It's somewhat similar to ixl, but you can practice for free and set a timeframe for them to finish an area.

thank you! We also use khanacademy.org but this looks like it could be a nice addition, with the science too!

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:33 PM


Quoting Jilectan:

Personally, I was getting too stressed out by trying to plan curriculum and deal with three kids at three different levels. I decided to simplify. We're doing the basics, reading, writing, and arithmetic, self-taught. Saxon math, writing every day, and reading and vocabulary every day. We are just doing math this week due to the holidays, but we're going back to the full thing on Monday. We have a book list that my kids will all be going through (two aren't reading yet, but they'll start when they're ready) that includes books on all the subjects they need to learn about. I'm using the Robinson curriculum (not sure how well-known that is) and it seems to be a pretty good one. I'll be adding extras as necessary, but I don't need to plan the whole thing at this point. It's dropped my stress level by a huge amount. There are other book lists that are similar, I'm told, and other curriculums that follow the same methodology, if you like the idea but not the specific book list.

hth.

Did your book lists come from the Robinson curriculum?  I will look into that.  I'm wondering if a curriculum would really help or if I would get stressed feeling like I spent the money on it so I need to follow it, kwim?

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM


Quoting Bethbeth:

i'm not an expert, but maybe you could try some curriculum in one or two subjects, which would help free you up to pull together your own things for the other subjects.

This is what I was thinking of doing.  I kind of have a curriculum for science already, and that definitely helps, I just add to it here and there.  I think that could help with history as well.  We were using SOTW but it's kind of young for my kids so they didn't get much out of it.  History is definitely my weakest area, so it would be nice to find a good history curriculum I could follow and learn with them.  I just don't know...I've looked at so many and read a ton of reviews but I just don't know what will work for us.

Jilectan
by Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:38 PM
1 mom liked this

Yes, the book list came from the Robinson curriculum, and they're really good books. They've gotten my son, who hated reading, to like reading. You can get the list and most of the books online, though (http://www.hstreasures.com/rc/booklist.html) and most of them are available free because they're out of copyright. There are other lists out there, too, if you don't like the RC list.

There's also not a whole lot of planning involved. The kids follow a set routine for the core materials. If you're interested, you might want to check out the website (robinsoncurriculum.com) or google it to check out reviews and such. Also look up self-taught homeschool, since that's what it is, and the 3R method.

I'm not sure if it'd help you, but it's really helping me. I was seriously stressed and it was a daily fight trying to get my kids working. Now, it's virtually eliminated the battles and my stress level has dropped dramatically.

Quoting TJandKarasMom:



Did your book lists come from the Robinson curriculum?  I will look into that.  I'm wondering if a curriculum would really help or if I would get stressed feeling like I spent the money on it so I need to follow it, kwim?


celticdragon77
by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 4:47 PM
2 moms liked this

I remember trying to use the library, internet resources, and creative ideas ... to create my own curriculum. That was years ago, with my oldest daughter.

I know there are moms who can do it! (and it is awesome). We did it for a year before I burnt out. I was always worried we werent doing enough, that the pace was sometimes too slow, that we would miss something...  

To this day, it is my daughters fondest memories of learning. It was what made her love learning. She felt like an explorer of knowledge. A fire was lit that year and it has remained with her even with other materials and methods. 

When we used a boxed curriculum, I felt we moved too far in the opposite direction. It was too stifled and her love and excitement for learning began to extinguish. We eventually created a hodge podge of ideas that worked well for us.

Even now, with the younger kids, I still can get overwhelmed with planning. Usually because I have so much that I want to do and try to juggle so much as a single working mom. We have a guides in every subject. However, I insist on finding other elements to bring into the lessons! This I have found satisfies both of my needs. There is structure and guidance. Yet, I still get to allow the kids and myself to explore beyond just that. 

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