A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Curriculum Check Up

We're two months into the school year, and pretty much settled into our routine.  It's time to look at what's working and what's not.  

Fortunately, with some minor tweaks, most of it is working fairly well.  

We're using A Beka for math, and it's going fine.  Josiah has been helping with the scoring, which is wonderful.  The girls do "corrections" before going on to the next lesson.  

Because Logic of English was a lot of me teaching sounds, and rules, and root words, out loud, it wasn't working for Katie at all, so we sorta scrapped it.  Now Katie is doing Language Smarts from The Critical Thinking Co., and Hannah is doing Writing With Skill.  I still give Hannah spelling tests from LOE, which also include parts of speech and plurals/tenses.  Just to keep things sharp.  I keep thinking I should do the occasional Mad Libs with them (we have several of the Mad Libs books) to keep parts of speech fresh in their minds, but I never remember when we have extra time.  

Katie used up the back end of an old spelling book we had here, and when she finished it...

We moved on to the next level.  We may do spelling on some Saturdays or over Christmas break to be able finish the book within the school year... or we may not.  I'm not going to stress about it.  I'll go by Katie's willingness to work on it.  I think it would freak her out to not finish the book, so we'll probably try to get extra done here and there.  

Although MFW includes science, we are doing an additional science program.  

We're "flying along" in science.  I love that we hit bats in October.  We're 7 chapters in out of 14, so I'm glad I also got Swimming Creatures, which we'll use after we finish Flying Creatures.  Both of these textbooks I was blessed to be able to trade masks for with local homeschooling mamas.  We've added a lot of library books on owls, bats, nature, birding, etc.  

Another mom on Facebook asked for Health curriculum recommendations, because her state requires it.  While California doesn't require that we teach health, her question jogged my memory, and I realized I had these books from when the big kids were little, so I pulled them out and we've been adding a health lesson here and there.  

Of course, the backbone of our curriculum this year is geography.  So far, we've studied the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and Norway.  I also added in smaller studies on Argentina, Panama, and Romania.  In addition to the purchased books we use for multiple countries, we've gotten piles and piles of library books on these countries, as well as topics within them, such as learning about Vikings when studying Norway, or learning about maple syrup when studying Canada.  We've also enjoyed quite a few videos, including travel episodes, and a documentary about the Canal while studying Panama.  

We started the year with me reading aloud to the girls from various books, and then asking questions about the passage.  That wasn't a good fit, so now I write the pages for each on the white board, and the girls do the reading on their own and then we discuss together.  It's not the way we did things when I did Exploring Countries and Cultures with Brianna, Eli and Jack, but it's what works for Hannah and Katie and I now.  

There have been a few things in the teacher's manual that I read and think, "Yeah, we're not doing that."  Carving soap was one of them.  The constant nature walks don't usually happen, either.  But I'm adding in enough "extra" stuff that's not in the manual that I don't feel the slightest compunction about crossing things out here and there.  

While I love adding in books, and music (we've played the national anthem for most of the countries we've studied, as well as traditional music), and videos, I'm really glad we're getting lots of art in this year, too.  Looking forward to our cave paintings when we get to France.  

I'm glad we have so many resources available online.  How awesome is it that I can find Viking writing paper for the girls to summarize what they learned about Norway on?  

I'll probably talk more about curriculum in the spring, as we start wrapping things up.  It feels good to have hit our stride and be chugging along at a good pace.  


  1. Yes, resources online make homeschooling so much easier. I love all that you are doing. Great job!
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I've been liking Twinkl lately for enrichment worksheets. And Pinterest for Craft ideas, and Art Projects For Kids has great step by step drawing instructions. There's so much more available now that when I first started homeschooling.

  2. It all sounds so fun! The watermelon art project is really cute! We're hitting bumps in the road with using our curriculum choices, and I'm needing to tweak a few things, but it's all complicated by Brother's therapy schedule. I know you were happy with the girls' school, but it sounds like homeschooling is really working for you all right now!!

    1. You know, as I start to wonder about next school year, honestly, I'm good with either homeschooling or sending the girls back to their little school. There's plusses to both. I think I had enough of a break to really appreciate having them home again. And I really do love being back in the world of curriculum and projects and art.

      Best wishes as you find a way to make the curriculum work for you. (I constantly have to remind myself that it's a tool; it's not the boss of me, lol.)