Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A New School Year Has Begun

We started back up with school last week, after Labor Day. We took most of the last month off, due to vacations and summer camps, and it was a nice break, but I was excited to get back into the swing of things-lots of fun topics planned for this year! We are going to alternate Geography, History, and Science, probably a week of each at a time (though not in a regular rotation, we might finish all the states before starting science), since the kids don't like to do Science AND Social Studies on the same day.

Plans for this Year:

Geography - US States
  • "Wish You Were Here: Emily's Guide to the 50 States"
  • State-specific books from the library
  • "How the States Got Their Shapes" videos
  • Cut-outs of each state, where they will take notes on each state, and can use them as puzzle pieces 
    Sample puzzle pieces, one from Bunny one from Monkey. They each will have a full set.

    Back of the puzzle piece (Monkey)

History - American Revolution

  • Books suggested by Truthquest History and KONOS (while I love the idea of doing the KONOS unit studies, I find that they take a lot of prep and time, so I use the book lists and maybe do 1-2 of their ideas)
  • Supplemental reading in Notgrass's America the Beautiful - I love the idea of Notgrass's History curriculum, but the kids have found the textbook not that engaging.  I think they've gotten so used to living books that reading a textbook is just really dry to them. I do love that it has mini-biographies and American landmarks mixed in with their weekly lessons, plus Bible and literature, vocabulary and writing assignments, so we'll use those parts, but the history itself, we'll mostly read from other books. The Notgrass textbook also goes REALLY fast, covering alot of ground in a single day's lesson...the entire American Revolution is only 2-3 days of lessons. Native American's were covered in a single week, as were most of the European Explorers. So rather than get a sky-high overview of each topic, we are taking our time with each topic. 
  • Liberty's Kids video series
  • Wall Timeline
This will span one wall of our living room.

  • Map of locations as we learn about the war
We'll move the people to the various locations of the battles and events we study.

  • Hoping to do field trips to Boston's Freedom Trail and Valley Forge

Science - Human Anatomy

Language Arts - Trying some new stuff this year, hopefully making it more fun. 
  • Word Snoop - This has fun and intersting tidbits about the English language-everything from origins of the alphabet to palindromes to onomatopeia 
  • Grammar-land - Story with parts-of-speech as the characters going before Judge Grammar 
  • Life of Fred Language Arts - Australia - This is the first of the Life of Fred LA series, which is marketed as high school level, but I've heard "Australia" is pretty basic and can be used for younger kids. We will see later on if we want to go on to the next book.
  • IEW US History as a base, but I've realized they don't like to write based on pre-written topics, so I'm going to use the concepts, but let them choose the subject matter. 
Math - 


I'm not sure how many months these plans will cover, as I don't plan out each week that far in advance. We'll just keep going forward until we finish all these items and see where we are then. We're started with a week of US States and started the American Revolution this week-so far, so good!