School of Fish: Our Curriculum for 2011-2012

The next natural step in the Getting Started in Homeschoolingseries is to share what we’re actually going to be studying this year. I spent a fair amount of time this past month researching the new texts and resources to add to our homeschool this year. Overall, I’m pretty excited about each of these items. May my enthusiasm infect my kids!

Typically, I put together a document similar to this one which lists each child’s name, grade, and course outlines for the year. I keep this in my master homeschool binder so that everything is in one place. Additionally, I photocopy the table of contents of each of their main texts so that I have a record of the topics covered during the year.

This year I also created a grid that maps out every subject and kid so that I can see who overlaps where.

(Versions of the worksheets and planning pages we use are represented in the Homeschooling Add-On Pack available for purchase in the LifeasMOM estore.)

Please remember that ours is only one of the many, many ways to approach teaching your kids at home.

Kindergarten

Bible:  The Children’s Illustrated Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible
Math: Saxon Math K
Science: Exploring Creation with Botany, Apologia
Reading/Spelling: Phonics Pathways, Spell to Write and Read
Literature and History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Lower Grammar
Art: Meet the Masters
PE: Swimming and Gymnastics

2nd Grade

Bible:  The Children’s Illustrated Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible
Math: Saxon Math 2
Science: Exploring Creation with Botany, Apologia
Reading/Spelling: Spell to Write and Read, various early readers
Grammar: First Language Lessons
Literature and History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Lower Grammar
Art: Meet the Masters
PE: Roller blading, Swimming, and Karate

4th Grade

Bible: The New Testament, The Victor Journey through the Bible
Math: Saxon Math 54
Science: Exploring Creation with Botany, Apologia
Spelling: Spell to Write and Read
Grammar: First Language Lessons
Literature and History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Upper Grammar
Composition: Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
Foreign Language: L’art de Lire (if it ever arrives from the publisher)
Music: Piano
Art: Meet the Masters
PE: Roller blading, Swimming, and Karate
Computer: Keyboarding with Mavis Beacon

6th Grade

Bible: The New Testament, The Victor Journey through the Bible
Math: Saxon Math 65
Science: Exploring Creation with Botany, Apologia
Spelling: Apples: Daily Spelling Drills for Secondary Students
Grammar: Fix-It, Winston Grammar
Literature and History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Dialectic
Composition: Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
Foreign Language: Visual Latin
Art: Meet the Masters
PE: Roller blading, Swimming, and Karate
Computer: Keyboarding with Mavis Beacon
Logic: The Fallacy Detective

9th Grade

Bible: The New Testament, The Victor Journey through the Bible
Math: Chalk Dust Algebra 1
Science: Exploring Creation with Biology + Labs, Apologia
Spelling: Apples: Daily Spelling Drills for Secondary Students
Grammar: Fix-It, Winston Grammar
Literature, Art History, and History: Tapestry of Grace, Year 1, Rhetoric
Composition: Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
Foreign Language: Visual Latin
PE: Roller blading, Swimming, and Karate
Computer: Keyboarding with Mavis Beacon
Logic: The Fallacy Detective

I said it was gonna be a busy year, didn’t I?

About this series - If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary. Coming up next time – Affordable Homeschooling.

Related reading:

To help you organize your homeschool, consider purchasing the Organizing Life as MOM Homeschool Pack which includes a wealth of planning pages for teachers and kids.

Homeschool Pack (updated for 2014-2015)
24 page add-on pack with customizable and fillable planning pages, designed for homeschoolers
Price: $5.00

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Comments

  1. I’m curious about something with homeschooling. Obviously, this will vary from state to state, but do you have to submit anything to your state each year to verify that your children are receiving the required education?

    I’m a working mom and my daughter will be starting kindergarten in a public school next week. I’m lucky in that the school system we are in is one of the best in the area, but sometimes I wish I could be the one teaching her. As a result, I love reading your homeschooling posts even though they don’t apply to me :)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Every state is different. But, HSLDA is a great asset in educating families about their rights and in keeping in compliance with state laws.

      And, remember that you are her teacher. You may not be teaching her academics, but you are instructing her in the ways of the world and demonstrating good character. Never underestimate yourself. ;)

  2. I have a question, too. I’ve looked at your planner posts as well, but I’m wondering how do you accomplish “school” (teaching/prepping), cooking, meal planning, running errands, field trips, household chores, and time for marriage, friends, and outside commitments (church comes to mind). I struggled GREATLY with time management last year because I wanted to be flexible enough to try and live in the moment with the kids but it was incredibly overwhelming to get everything done. I get more accomplished when I plan, but I don’t like the idea of following a very strict timeline since I want the opportunity to really live in the present as well. It’s a tough balance. I want this school year to go better, but my kids are young (about 6, 3, and 18 months), so my best plans usually get off track really quick with potty training, bumps or blood (my pediatrician is already talking meds for the 3 year old–ADHD–but I disagree since he’s only 3 :/ ) Your thoughts or encouragement? I am going to invest some serious hours next week planning out the year, but could use any advice you have to offer. Thank you!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I struggle ALL the time with time management. I don’t have this figured out — yet. But, I’m gonna keep trying. Last year, creating a time budget really helped. I added up the time it would take to do the things I wanted to do and realized I wanted to do too many things. There really aren’t enough hours in the day. I wrote about it more here: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/02/time-management-without-a-schedule.html

      I honestly have no idea how it’s going to go next week when we start school. And the learning curve is going to be straight up and down for me since the work load is increasing.

      I’m thinking about being okay with 80%. I might not get it all covered, but I’m gonna shoot for a B and see how I do.

  3. I would love to know how chalk dust algebra goes as former public and private school teacher turned tutor to highschoolers/ future homeschooling mama, I’m interested.

  4. We just started using First Language Lessons this year, and I LOVE it — I think that may be our only overlap, but I am really so, so happy with it!

  5. Once you are in the swing of things I’d really be interested in a post about how you are using the Exploring Creation series and Tapestry of Grace. Specifically what I’m interested in is how you tailor it to each child’s age. Also, your kindergartener is doing Botany this year so will you revisit it in a future grade more in depth? Does the that series and TOG give you guidance about how to teach it if it’s your first time vs. a student returning to it at a later grade?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I’ve used Tapestry for five years. We took a break last year to use Story of the World for our “year 4.” I typically use the lit, history, and worldview sections. We use other things for writing. And the geography is too cumbersome, I think. We’ll do a modified version of it.

      As for the science, we used it last year. My 3rd and 5th graders both took to it really well and loved the experiments. This year I’ll be doing it with K, 2, 4, and 6. I probably won’t do much of the paper work for the K and 2. But, I bought a lapbook kit for the Botany and they will probably do that.

      You might check out my post on Simple Homeschool about it: http://simplehomeschool.net/choosing-curricula-for-multiple-students/

      As for returning to Botany, she’ll get more of that in daily life as well as in 7th grade when we do general science. My kids all love to read non-fiction for fun, so I’m not really worried about it.

  6. This is so nice to see what another more experienced mom is doing with her kids. My 2nd grader struggles with spelling, and I would love to hear your review of the spelling curriculum you are using, in addition to the Ancient History writing for your 4th grader. We are set for this year, but the nice thing about home school, is we can change it up for next year! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I found that learning the phonograms has been really helpful for my kids in reading and writing. That has been the “key” to unlock reading for them. The Spell to Write and Read program includes a full spelling program.

  7. Hi, I have a question. We just moved to California and was wondering if you are under an umbrella school or filing your own affidavit. Not even sure if I am using all the correct terminology.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Welcome to the Golden State! I hope you love it as much as we do! I think what you choose (affidavit or private isp) will depend on where you live and the “flavor” of your homeschool. HSLDA does a great job in providing links to what is available locally as well as detailed instructions on how to file the affidavit: http://hslda.org/orgs/Default.aspx?State=CA

  8. oh, and I just purchased Chalk Dust Algebra 2 and Pre Algebra. I have never used it but have heard great things about it.

  9. Thank you SO much for sharing your comprehensive list…it’s a big help!

  10. Love seeing your list! We somewhat follow Well Trained Mind also, but we have chosen the Fallacy Detective and Thinking Toolbox instead of her recommendations for logic. They have worked well for my big boys. Love Apologia too. We are just getting into high school too, making me a little nervous!!

  11. I just bought The Story of the World. I really liked the idea of teaching from the beginning of when the world began. But, I’m having a hard time getting into it and not becoming bogged down by all of the assignments and activities. I like how the Apologia Sciences give you a schedule. I’m not sure how long each lesson is supposed to take in SOTW or if I’m supposed to choose my favorite activity. Can you help explain how you did it? (and any other information you want to throw in there would be great) Thank you!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I’m sure you could use google to find a schedule that someone has created. We just went at our own pace. I decided how many chapters needed to get done in a week or month and just paced ourselves. Sometimes we just read the chapter; other times we did some of the activities. You’re not meant to do it all. They just give lots of choices. Hope that helps.

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