Curriculum Planning 2012-2013 — Ben

I’m strangely settled with our curriculum. We’ve shifted quite a bit closer to unschooling, though we’re really not doing that and don’t really plan to do that. We do more interest-based learning and we’re working on a lot of life skill development stuff, BUT we do have a basic curriculum plan that we’re following:

English: We’re using a multi-focused approach to get Ben where he needs to go. We’re currently working through Writing With Ease, vol. 1 and we’ll continue with Vol. 2 when we finish the first one. We’re also using Writeshop Primary A right now and will continue with Writeshop Primary B when we finish A. For reading, we’re really not using a formal program anymore. He reads; I read aloud. We’re going to adopt How to Report on Books, Grades 1 and 2 for the next year to see if that helps him explain a bit more what he’s reading. Handwriting is going to come through these venues for now. When he’s ready to start learning cursive, we’ll get a Zaner-Blosser book that he can work through at his own pace.

Math: We’re going to continue with the Life of Fred elementary series. We’re currently in Dogs. We anticipate going through the series at least twice before moving up to Decimals/Fractions, as that is what Dr. Schmidt advocates. We both love the story based way you learn math and the practical application skills. An additional bonus is that I now understand the math things that I’ve never understood before. So much so, that we’re buying all the way through calculus even if Ben loses interest because I am learning math in a way I never have before.

History: We’ve been moving slowly through Story of the World, vol. 1. We’re still moving through it, but Ben has come to love it more than I thought was possible. We’ve agreed that we want to do vol. 2 when we finish vol. 1 and then we’ll decide whether we want to change gears or not (more on that after I finish this).

Social Studies/Geography: We’re using A Child’s Introduction to the World and Little Passports to work on the notion of other people and other countries. It’s been working really well. We’re going to add in Around the World in 80 Tales when we get to the continents and different countries, which should be a lot of fun.

Science: We’re going to continue using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, Vol. 1. My projected goal is to finish it in 2013 and move into vol. 2. We’ll see how that goes. We’ve also added A Naturalist’s Guide to Florida and a Florida nature guide book. None of the guidebooks designed for the “east” are really designed for Florida, so we’re having to truly specialize in this area. I’m hoping to convince him (and myself) to keep a nature notebook this year. We’ll see.

Bible: We’re using Telling God’s Story, vol. 1 and loving every minute of it. We have vol. 2 waiting in the wings for when we finish vol. 1.

Music/Art: We’re currently using Pianamals to learn the foundations of playing the piano. Ben seems to be in enjoying it and Katie likes to get in on the act with this one as well. To learn more about the history of music, we’ve been reading/listening to The Story of the Orchestra. Again, it’s been a hit and works well with the way that Ben learns. For art, we’re still trying to use Artistic Pursuits. Ben has some resistance to this, but we’re not sure why. We’re going to keep on with it for a bit longer and see if his attitude changes.

Outside Activities: We’re currently looking at several. Some are one’s we’ve been doing and some are new additions: MOSI classes — we started these in October of 2011 and Ben has fallen in love with them. This is a once a month class that focuses on different areas of science and technology/industry. Zoo school — another once a month class that Ben has been doing for almost two years. He’s enjoyed it quite a lot and desperately wants to go back for next year. Dance: Ben has really enjoyed his dance class (harassement and teasing aside) but wants more focus on the areas he’s interested in (tap, specifically), so we’re going to move to a dance studio around the corner from us and see how that goes. He’s expressed interest in also taking ballet, but I don’t know if he’s serious or not. We’ll see. Finally, we’re going to add a homeschooling class at Young Chef’s academy to capitalize on his interest in cooking.

Physical stuff: He’s working on swimming. He rides his bike. He’s learning to use a traditional scooter. We have a PE curriculum, but we’ve never really implemented it. We’ll see where we go from here with this area.

So, that’s the plan for Ben. I’ll be working on a plan for Katie next and will hopefully be able to post it sooner rather than later. As for shifting gears after vol. 2 of Story of the World. I really, REALLY like Trail Guide to Learning’s Paths for Exploration, but Ben’s skills just aren’t quite up to where they need to be to conquer that curriculum this early (I have to keep reminding myself he’s a very young whatever grader because of his birthday). I would have to modify even the lowest level for him and at that point I don’t see why I would do that. So, we’re going to wait at least a year and then look at it more seriously. None of us are sure we’re ready for vol. 3 of SOTW, and it might make more sense to shift over at that point. We’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Curriculum Planning 2012-2013 — Ben

  1. Wow, that’s impressive!

    Since I don’t home-school, this might be way off-base (I know I don’t understand the curriculum), but with teaching art to little kids, I found starting with abstract impressionism usually got them excited – shapes, colors – and bang, lots of little Jackson Pollocks and a few Picasos emerged. Of course, I skipped the influence of the Spanish Civil War. ; )

    Eh, you probably already tried that. Just a thought.

    I hope you are well. I truly am impressed!

    • I’m attempting to combine art history with different media and projects. He likes looking at the pictures and he liked doing the projects, but he just got weird about doing it. He loves working with his Ed Emberly books, so I should just let it go at that, but I really want him to be interested in art, etc. He didn’t like just straight art projects with no goal. He didn’t like just experimenting with different media. He’s a goal-oriented kid which is why I thought this curriculum would work and it still might, he just needs to try it on again 🙂

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