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Home School Curriculum: Books, Games, and More

I always love to read what others are doing for home-schooling, so I thought it might be helpful for anyone who is interested in learning more about it, doing it already but needs some fresh resources, or who loves to do activities/read with their (or others') children. Today I'm going to just list the main books we hope to go through this year, some resources we use, games + puzzles that will aid us, and the curriculum I have for this year.
The schedule of subjects are Monday-Thursday, with each day getting about 3-5 subjects, depending on how busy that day normally is for us. We have music class on Wednesdays at 11, so usually I can get quite a bit done in that morning (5 subjects) whereas Thursdays I often have other things going on, and so I leave it at 3. The main things we are focusing on this year are: Math, Language Arts (LA), Science, Social Studies, French, and Art. We also incorporate Free Play or "Recess" at least once a day for an hour. That, however, could be in the morning or afternoon, since I try to have all 'school' lessons done by lunchtime, leaving all afternoons free for imaginative play and rest.

This year we're following Oak Meadow curriculum for Kindergarten, though I must say it's only the first month of school and I'm less than impressed. I was not able to view this before I bought it (used, online from a Waldorf group) though I do like it more than other 'complete packages' I had seen at the Home School curriculum fair back in April. I love the emphasis on health and nature, and I like the craft books, but I am a little disappointed in the academics of this package. Lukka is much farther ahead than this yearly plan, and it would be boring for him to go backwards. The nature crafts and seasonal activities are good, but very simple. I will not be repeating this curriculum with Ani and I will probably sell it even before the school year is over. The nice thing about curriculum is (unless you write in it) it will pretty much hold its' value, so I expect (thankfully) to get most if not all of my money back on this purchase.
We plan to use many, many Usborne books, which I love and think I will mostly plan my entire next year around, using 'curriculum money' instead to just buy more of these because they are worth it!

This year we will be going through the following Usborne books: the Flip Flap Body book (science), See Inside Houses Long Ago (social studies), How Things Work (science), Things People Do (social studies), First Thousand Words in French, French Flashcards, Farmyard Tales: Telling the Time Flashcards (math), Art Sticker Book (art), Stories From Around the World (LA and social Studies), Then and Now (social studies) and the internet-linked First Encyclopedia of the Human Body (science). This is quite a collection but they are such awesome books.

For more LA learning processes we're using the uppercase Sandpaper letters and lowercase sandpaper letters, and for Math I had a custom set made for numbers 1-20. These are so helpful for any game you make up, putting letters together for word formation, and tracing (that's what the sandpaper is for, tactile learning) and then copying. Although these are somewhat expensive, I feel that I will get all of my money's worth for these three sets because not only did we use the uppercase last year, but we'll use them (probably) for another 2-3 years (including simple math like addition, subtraction, and even spelling) for Lukka, and then Anikka. They are sturdy as they're made onto birch wood, so I even expect these to be held onto for the grandchildren.
We love the Kumon and Golden Book workbooks for practice for things like numbers, letters, and games, but I am easing up on those this year. Last year I believe Lukka did about 7-8 and that was a lot. I have 4 this year, and one of them is just simply "How to Draw" to give him more confidence in that area. He will mostly just be writing dictation in a regular notebook.

We're supplementing with a couple of other books for each subject, with Art we're using the Art Book for Children (thanks, Steph!), and I'm basing the activities off of each painting that it goes through. We'll read through a copy of The Year at Maple Hill Farm for social studies and some science, and to study the seasons, and tag on reading through (again) Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever because it and my kids love it! Of course we're reading through their small bibles with one story per morning, Monday-Friday, and reciting one verse per week (every day) from "One Hundred and One Best Rhymes for Children" and singing a song out of the Oak Meadow songbook. This year for more LA I also will be reading aloud the following classics (abridged for children--found in the Target $1 bin!): Pollyanna, Black Beauty, White Fang, and Treasure Island. I am also hoping to snag a copy of this a bit later in the Fall and read through it in it's entirety for Science, and get this cd soon to aid with French (Uni verse meaning one verse of the song is sung in French).

We're also using a little beach ball globe for some of our social studies, math, and LA activities, supplemented with some awesome jumbo floor puzzles I picked up. The first one is a 2' X 3' world map puzzle (large!)that looks like this and the second is one that is specifically of Canada, though I'd like to find an American one, too. We have the See N Spell game, which Anikka loves, and for math the most amazing game ever (really, every child should have this--SO many things you can do with it): Imaginets. The majority of our 'downtime' (i.e. we've done everything and have a lot of free time left) will be spent either playing with play-doh, cutting & pasting or sticker activities, or regular puzzles and block time, or free reading. Should be a super fun year and I get more excited when I write all this out!

Now that I have written it, it does seem like a lot but many of these books we've actually already read, and we'll just be going through them more in depth, talking about the concepts more, and plugging in activities to go with them. Looking forward to this year with Lukka (and Ani, who "does school" right along with us).


Freedom Three said…
thanks for sharing. how old are your kids? i'm going to check out some Usborne books.
A good online curriculum must include multimedia lessons using audio, visual and transcript as the mode of learning. It would be perfect if there are a lot of videos available for the student to choose his field of interest which can be accessed anywhere to promote quality training anytime, anywhere. The online home school curriculum must also adapt the academy’s program so that there would be no issues when the child decides to go to school or attend classes in the future. Providing easy to work modules would be great so that parents may focus on personal necessities. An ideal online home school curriculum must have a wide range of subjects from different grade levels to provide continuous learning.

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