2012-13 School Year–Week Two

Another school week has wrapped up. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so mentally exhausted! I’ve come to realize that the most difficult part of having students in more than one grade is the fact that I no longer have much in the way of downtime. It used to be that I could work on laundry or cleaning or cooking or whatever while Turkey and Bunny did an assignment, but now, after I’ve introduced/taught their lesson and they get to work, I have to turn around and teach Ladybug her lesson. It just goes back and forth like that all day. It’s extremely tiring, but also some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done!

Turkey and Bunny spent most of the week in more review. Math–reviewing the more difficult concepts from last year. Language Arts–reviewing the parts of speech (although, their spelling list was all new rules). History–continued review of the Civil War. Latin–intensive vocabulary review, as well as a review of the Lord’s Prayer (I even broke out the laminator, and made Turkey and Bunny “permanent” copies of it, that won’t wrinkle and dog-ear). Religion–well, religion is always review in one way or another, whether we’re studying the Bible or the catechism, but you can’t read those stories too often, and the questions they have to answer are always a little bit different!

The only truly new information this week came in the form of science. We’re using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology this year, and the lessons started out with a ton of new information about the history of medicine, as well as cell structure. Two weeks in, and this is already my favorite science curriculum we’ve had the chance to use, and I’m looking forward to using other titles in the Apologia series in the future. I’m sure a full review of the program will be coming after we’ve been using it a little longer, but let me say that so far, I’ve been impressed with the several projects we’ve done, and think that the written assignments (including summaries, crossword puzzles, and copywork), for each lesson are awesome, as are the minibooks that go along with the end of each lesson.

I’ve noticed a huge leap from the work we did in third grade, to the work we’re doing in fourth, even considering that most of it has been review. I don’t think I’ve noticed anything like this since the jump from kindergarten to first grade. Everything is just….more…..this year. The math lessons are both more pages, and smaller print, which makes for a lot more work. The spelling words are harder, the writing assignments longer, the level of discussion we’re having about things like the Civil War deeper. Our school day is significantly longer, too, and it’s not just because I have an extra student to teach this year. It’s both exciting and terrifying to see just how much is expected out of Turkey and Bunny this year, and how well they’re meeting the challenge.

Meanwhile, in kindergarten, Ladybug kept working on number identification in math, and started to work on skip counting, as well. She also worked on handwriting and letter sounds, listened in to our Religion and Civil War lessons, and followed along with science in her Junior Notebooking Journal (which is awesome, and is great both for her and her teacher that she can participate with the big kids!). We finished reading Ramona the Pest, which was the first of several read-alouds I chose specifically for her kindergarten year, and also read Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm and The Year at Maple Hill Farm. She has the same enthusiasm for school that Turkey and Bunny did when they started…this morning, she was begging me to have school on Saturday and Sunday, too!

2012-2013 Curriculum

I’m trying something new this year…I put our curriculum together myself! I needed to find something for Turkey and Bunny’s fourth grade year, and Ladybug’s kindergarten year. I wanted some things they could do together, and some grade-appropriate things, and I also wanted to continue the survey of American History that we began last year. I don’t think I’ll be doing this assembly every year…I just couldn’t find what I was looking for this time around, so I decided to try it myself. Never say never, though…if it goes well, maybe I’ll look into doing it again in the future!



Language Arts

For Turkey and Bunny:

For Ladybug:

Latin (Only Turkey and Bunny will have formal Latin studies, but Ladybug is welcome to listen along and absorb vocabulary!)

History/Geography–We’re studying the Civil War to the present day. I tried to make sure every decade from then to now was covered either in a history book or a read-aloud.



Read-Alouds–I’m not sure we’ll get to all of these, but whatever we don’t read out loud will be turned into book basket selections.

Bonus Read-Alouds (a few special titles I specifically wanted to share with Ladybug in her Kindergarten year, in addition to our regular read-alouds.)

Hopefully I didn’t leave any books (or whole subjects!) out. I won’t even try to list all of the book basket titles we’ll be using, but some of the series will include You Wouldn’t Want to…, If You…, Childhood of Famous AmericansWho Was…?, and multiple American Girl series (those focusing on historical, albeit fictional, characters Addy, Samantha, Rebecca, Kit, Molly, and Julie). This list also doesn’t include the books we’ll be using for our Thanksgiving and Christmas units…and those lists are plenty extensive themselves!

So Many Books, So Little Time

In revising my long-terms goals for homeschooling, I’ve come to a terrible conclusion: there’s just not enough time to teach all of the things I want the children to learn!

Take science, for example. For the last few years, we’ve done Sonlight science, and I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s time for a change, though, so for our upcoming third grade year, we’ll be doing Beautiful Feet’s History of Science program. But I also want to use some of My Father’s World’s science in the future (not third grade, thankfully–it’s a repeat of what we did this year, so we’re able to fit in the BF program), and I want to use at least some of the Apologia science that isn’t already scheduled in MFW. But, there are more years worth of science programs that I want to use than I have years left of elementary school to get through. Scary.

Foreign language is another example. Will we have time to study all of the languages I’d like to fit in? Besides Memoria Press’s Latin, I’d like us to get at least a basic grasp of French and German (probably with Rosetta Stone). And then I think maybe we should study Spanish, too. And the children have some ideas of languages they might like to add, including Greek and Italian (I have no idea why). Obviously, we can’t do it all. But how do I maximize our time so that we can learn as much as possible?

Thankfully, the history cycle is pretty straightforward. Every four years, we study the same thing, so I don’t have to worry about us missing any major points in history. I can’t guarantee that we’ll get through all of the extra books I’m hoping to read, however!

Math and language arts are really the only two subjects I don’t have to worry about, because it’s not like you can even try to do two programs at once, and once you find something that works, it doesn’t make any sense to jump around. So that’s a relief right there.

The rest of it, though…well, I’m starting to feel more like a “real” teacher struggling with this dilemma, anyway!