Monday, September 30, 2019

1st/ 2nd Grade Curriculum Choices 2019-2020 | Homeschool

We are a few weeks into our school year (we started just after Labor Day) and everything has been off to such a great start! I was anxious to be able to share our curriculum choices for this year and how we plan to schedule out our days/weeks!

My younger daughter is in 1st grade this year, and my older daughter is in 2nd. They both do school at a 2nd grade level, and my 1st grader reads a few grade levels above that. So although they are in different grades, they are working on all of the same things for the most part. 

Language Arts

For LA this year, we are using The Good & The Beautiful Level 2. I was anxiously waiting and desperately hoping that their new version of level 2 would come out before we needed to start school, but no such luck. It changes the only few things that I really didn't like about the curriculum last year, so it would have been awesome to have that, but on the bright side, we got a great deal while they were trying to sell out the current version! We loved this curriculum last year. My girls reading and writing skills exploded and it just worked well for our school. I was really grateful to not need to research and find a new LA curriculum this year! 
I do this separately with my girls, and while I'm working with one, the other will do some independent work. So I will work with one on spelling, sight words, phonics (about 5-10 min total for all of that) and then we work on a lesson in the course book. The other will do 20 minutes of reading and work on their spelling sentences. Then we switch! It has worked out really well for us last year and so far this year. 

Handwriting
We haven't done a separate handwriting program in the past (I bought one last year but we never really used it), because I felt like we incorporated it enough into our school days, but I could see where the girls were getting sloppy with their letter formation, spacing, etc. so I decided to add it in this year. We are using The Good & The Beautiful Handwriting Workbook Level 2. I see now that they just released a new edition of it and it looks even better! The girls work on this during our read aloud and most pages have something for the to color or draw, which they love.

Writing
I decided to add a little bit of extra writing practice into our school this year. I just felt like a little bit more instruction on that would be helpful. I didn't know when I decided, that my oldest is going to be having writing as one of her classes on the day she goes to school every week! So I'm hoping all of that extra writing practice does wonders. We just do it once a week (other than that is in TGATB) on Friday and we have been using this workbook.

Math
Math has been our biggest homeschool struggle. We haven't been able to find something that works for both student and teacher. I have a hard time teaching math, and because we've bounced around so much there are some gaps to fill. 
A friend told me about CTC math at the beginning of last year, but I wasn't really ready for a computer based program yet so I put it at the back of my mind. In the spring when I was once again, searching for a new math curriculum and feeling super overwhelmed because of all the gaps that needed filled, I looked at it again. It ended up being a good option for us, because you get access to ALL grade levels. Which means I can go back to 1st or even kindergarten and pull lessons that we missed when we were jumping around! Right now, I've created a "playlist" of things we didn't learn from what they have for 1st graders, and my girls are working through those now, then will move onto the 2nd grade stuff in a few weeks. They really like doing math on the computer and I enjoy having somebody else explain it! I have realized I need to sit with them while they're doing their questions after the lesson, because a lot of answers were coming up wrong, but it was really just typos or them making some kind of a computer error, so hopefully with time, they'll be able to be a bit more independent with this. I hope it continues to be a good fit for us!

History

I was very torn on if we should start history this year or not. I figured a lot of it would be over their heads still. We have done social studies the last 2 years, but not much history. History is something that was never brought alive for me, so I really never cared about it, and as I'm getting older, I have more of an interest in it. I want my kids to have that experience in childhood, and not have to wait until their adult years like me. I decided to just order The Good & The Beautiful History Year 1 and if we're not ready, we can save it for another year. I love that it is done "family style" so no matter the ages/grades of kids, they can all learn from it. There are student explorers for you to print out, and they have different activities for different grade ranges. So a lot of what my girls are doing is coloring sheets, maps, etc. where older students may be asked to research and do a report on something, or are asked to dig deeper into it. I hope it continues to be a good fit for us, because the beauty of it is that you can do all 4 years, then do them again, and again, because the kids will get different things out of it each time since it's 4 years apart and it is differentiated for it. I know there will be things in this curriculum that are whitewashed and that we will have to correct, but I am hoping it will be an opportunity for us to explain things to our children and have some good conversations. We will probably supplement in those cases with other books and research. For now, it's going very well and the kids are enjoying the activities, the audio recordings, and the student explorers. 

Science
I almost didn't plan for science this year. They get it once a week when they go to classes and I was told that is about what the public schools get here, so I figured we were fine. After talking to a few people, I found out that is NOT the case, so I knew I needed to add something in. I decided to flip flop with history and science, so we'll do a unit from our history course, then switch to science, then back to history..... We do history/science 3 days a week, so this is more than enough to get through both in the school year. For science, I had looked at some TGATB units, and even own a few, but they looked a little complicated for 6-8 years old so I decided to do what's always worked well for us and come up with some science units. We are going to purchase some units from Teachers Pay Teachers, and then supplement with books, activities, etc. This will allow us to really dig into it, get some cross curricular exposure, and get our hands dirty with science, which is what the kids really enjoy anyway! The units I've chosen for this year are: 
I wanted to get a little bit away from learning about Bible stories this year. My kids have them down pat, continue learning a lot about those at church, and it just had gotten repetitive. Last year, they were telling me all the time "we just learned this at church!" Which is such a GOOD thing, but I wanted something different this year. I decided to go with the New City Catechism Curriculum. I had hoped this would give us more of an opportunity to learn biblical truths, learn more of who God is, etc. And it has! I can't even tell you how good it has been so far! My kids are learning how to open their bibles and read scripture for themselves. They're learning and memorizing truth from the Word. It has been so great for all of us, opened up so many good spiritual conversations with them, and just been really enjoyable. There are some really fun activities to mix it up each week.

Typing

I decided this would be a good time to add in some typing. The girls do one lesson on Typing Club about 3 times per week. They're pretty short and it's just good practice for them as they start to use the computer more. Every few lessons there is a game with ninjas, so they love that! I set a basic (free) account up for our homeschool, so they can just login there, which makes it super simple!

Enrichments
My girls go to enrichment classes with other homeschoolers 1 day per week. There were some changes this year, so the class offerings are a little different, but it has been really great. They get writing (my 1st grader gets a community class instead of writing), science, history, p.e., art, and music which they technically "stay after school" for and will only be this semester. They love going to classes, and I love that they get some of these experiences (and honestly, that I don't have to teach art, music, or p.e.!)

So those are our curriculum choices, and I suppose I included how each of them are going for just about every subject :) I realized when looking back at my homeschooling posts, that I hardly blogged about homeschooling last year. I'll have to come up with more posts to do that soon, because it is one of my favorite things to write about, actually! 



Thursday, September 19, 2019

April 2019 Recap

In April, the weather finally started getting nice enough to be outside! I do not love spring because of all the back and forth weather, and all the wet slush/constant rain, so the times we could be outside were very nice! 


We went on a little weekend trip to the Decorah, IA area and had such a good time!
We celebrated Easter!

My middle got her first wiggly tooth!

We had a fun afternoon with the boys' brother and his family! It's so funny to me how the twins really don't look alike at all, but they both somehow look like their big brother!

And apparently that was the extent of April! It is usually one of the least exciting months of the year for us. 

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