I enjoy teaching certain subjects in a group setting. As long as I keep it short and interesting (with treats handy), I can keep the attention of all my kids in one 15-minute sitting. I have made the mistake of having back to back group subjects (e.g., Bible then Science) and the kids lost interest within the first 10 minutes! So this year, with time and attention constraints, I decided to do our Bible during breakfast (what I call B&B – Bible and Breakfast) and our other group classes are spread out during the morning.
Since I was on a roll with change, I decided to try a couple other new things this year:
1. I bought my first Homeschool Planner! I know, for 9 years I never used a planner. This year I decided to use one. Here is why:
- I won’t use it for planning each subject or for lesson plans, but rather to write notes for each child as we go through the year.
- I often have the best intentions to do things and I totally forget! Two years ago, I bought a Progeny Press study guide from a homeschool conference to do with my two older children. I never took it out of the bag and completely forgot about it (I’ll be using it this year) 🙂 So I plan to write my ideas as they come up (and as I find unopened bags!).
- I fail to realize how much I DO accomplish every day with homeschool. So I hope this will be a good reminder of how much work goes into homeschooling.
2. I am trying Classical Conversations Foundations at home. We have a Classical Conversations group in our area that is full of wonderful homeschool families. We opted not to join but I have heard great things about the group. I decided to try CC as part of our curriculum because I love the idea of learning by song and developing the brain through memory work. I will only be using 3 parts of the memory work: history, math, and grammar. I also bought the history flash cards.
Our Group Curriculum
Bible: Apologia Who Am I (And What Am I Doing Here?)
- I use the junior note booking for my 8 and 9 year olds
- I use the notebook for my 11-year-old
- I use the coloring books for my 6 and 3-year-old
- I use my hands to hold the 1-year-old 🙂
Science: Apologia Human Anatomy and Physiology (Young Explorer Series)
- I bought the MP3 disk so the kids and I can listen to the chapters.
- I use the junior notebooking book for my 8 and 9 year olds.
- I use the regular notebooking book for my 11-year-old.
- I use these great anatomy coloring books for my 6 and 3-year-old.
- I also bought this detailed anatomy coloring book my 9-year-old and I to use.
- I also bought this DK Anatomy book for my younger kids to page through as we listen to the MP3.
Memory work: Classical Conversations: Foundations
- I bought the book so I can read through the memory work and write notes as needed.
- Classical Acts and Facts History Cards
I started this program with my 11 and 9-year-old a couple of years ago. I went through the teacher training with my sister in one week (whew…it was intense but worth it).
I love this program because it presents writing in a way that is easy to understand. First, students are encouraged to write using a key word outline that they create from a source text. So they are learning to write from a text resource versus nothing. Over the course, students learn different writing styles including research papers, creative writing, and other popular writing.
This program is challenging on many different levels and can be taught to children K-12. I wish I was taught to write using this method. I think I would have been more confident with writing.
- Year 1: I went through the student intensive A with my kids and we did the lessons together.
- Year 2: We did part of a theme based book: Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons
- Year 3: (this year 2016-2017): We are doing the other part of the theme based book: Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons.
I plan to start this program with my 6 and 8-year-old in 1-2 years.
This is the first year I am doing reading/literature as a group. In the past years, every time I try to sit and read with a child, I am constantly bombarded with school questions. So this year, I have blocked off “Reading Group Time” so I can hopefully read with my children without interruptions.
For this subject, I won’t be using one book for the group. Rather, we will sit in our “Reading Room” as a group while everyone reads on their own or coupled with another sibling. We use Sonlight Readers for Reading/Literature. Some days I will read with multiple children and some days they can read on their own.
On Thursdays, we use Reading Comprehension workbooks in place of our usual reading material. Since our Thursdays are our busiest day, this is my way of making sure they read and comprehend without me sitting and reading with them. They can do this on their own.
I will do reading with my 3-year-old using “How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons.” I have successfully used this book with 3 children and I am halfway through with my 4th. Each child has gone through this book at different paces. One was through it in less than a year, and another one took 2 years! I also augment with the Kindergarten Sonlight readers for a break or something new every other day or so.
What are the subjects you like to teach as a group? What curriculum do you use?