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Curriculum Planning...Does it get easier?

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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
Replies (21-23):
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 27, 2013 at 9:29 PM

I do usually have them tell me what they read about.  They are at different levels, but close enough that I can have them read some of the same books.  But I also give them different books that I think one will be more interested in than the other (DD read about Cleopatra while DS read about Alexander the Great...and they both read the You Wouldn't Want to be...meant for each of those topics).

On another note, I think we are going to be getting into some geomtry....did you mention before that you did/are doing a creative math class for geometry?  Want to share some plans with me?  :)

Quoting jen2150: We read the books together out loud since my boys are at different reading levels. I am thinking of having my oldest to pick some books for him to read to himself. I will probably have him tell me orally about what he reads. We also listen to audio books as well.

Quoting TJandKarasMom:


Quoting jen2150: I use a combination of computer programs, co-ops, purchased curriculum and my own. It really works for me. I prefer a living book approach for science and history.

I guess I kind of do this too.  We do Engineering at the co op...and DS does use a BJU text for math 2x/week, we use a purchased (gift from my mom) curriculum for sign language, a bit of computer programs (mostly khan), and a purchased curriculum for science and I add to that a bit with youtube and experiments..and DH writes questions on random sheets of paper for me to 'quiz' the kids every time he does science with them, lol....and for history I have been assigning mostly just reading what I think are 'living books' (like a story, or novel...they are finishing Black Ships Before Troy this week) and I try to add in documentaries when I can find one or horrible histories....and they also read MTH and You Wouldn't Want to be...

I am kind of wondering if I *think* I'm not doing enough because I don't read the books.  So I'm not learning anything and it's hard for me to discuss it with them if I didn't read it.  Maybe I need to carve out some time to actually read what they read and/or read aloud...then I will know they are getting something out of it. 


hipmomto3
by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 9:34 PM
1 mom liked this

We use them as bedtime read-alouds, read aloud during school time, or like you say, I also read ahead so I can ask afterwards about key points. 

For many books you can just google the title and 'lesson plans' and get all kinds of free resources that way. Once in a great while I'll pay $3-$5 for a set of stuff on a book from Teachers Pay Teachers, if it's really good or a book I know I'll have no time to read. 

I have really fallen in love with some of the books though! This year, we read Strawberry Girl as a family and loved it! I am starting to read Roll of Thunder with my fifth grader next week, and already I am loving it.

Quoting TJandKarasMom:


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?


jen2150
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2013 at 9:34 AM
1 mom liked this
I would be happy to. :-) I think I will make a post later today in case others would be interested.

Quoting TJandKarasMom:

I do usually have them tell me what they read about.  They are at different levels, but close enough that I can have them read some of the same books.  But I also give them different books that I think one will be more interested in than the other (DD read about Cleopatra while DS read about Alexander the Great...and they both read the You Wouldn't Want to be...meant for each of those topics).

On another note, I think we are going to be getting into some geomtry....did you mention before that you did/are doing a creative math class for geometry?  Want to share some plans with me?  :)

Quoting jen2150: We read the books together out loud since my boys are at different reading levels. I am thinking of having my oldest to pick some books for him to read to himself. I will probably have him tell me orally about what he reads. We also listen to audio books as well.



Quoting TJandKarasMom:


Quoting jen2150: I use a combination of computer programs, co-ops, purchased curriculum and my own. It really works for me. I prefer a living book approach for science and history.

I guess I kind of do this too.  We do Engineering at the co op...and DS does use a BJU text for math 2x/week, we use a purchased (gift from my mom) curriculum for sign language, a bit of computer programs (mostly khan), and a purchased curriculum for science and I add to that a bit with youtube and experiments..and DH writes questions on random sheets of paper for me to 'quiz' the kids every time he does science with them, lol....and for history I have been assigning mostly just reading what I think are 'living books' (like a story, or novel...they are finishing Black Ships Before Troy this week) and I try to add in documentaries when I can find one or horrible histories....and they also read MTH and You Wouldn't Want to be...

I am kind of wondering if I *think* I'm not doing enough because I don't read the books.  So I'm not learning anything and it's hard for me to discuss it with them if I didn't read it.  Maybe I need to carve out some time to actually read what they read and/or read aloud...then I will know they are getting something out of it. 


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