Friday, June 15, 2007

Curriculum Crisis

I'm a research hound, an information junkie and a detail nut. I always want all the data before making any decision. This is true in just about every area of my life, from buying a loaf of bread to a shirt at the mall. Bring that same mindset to homeschooling and it can be a scary thing. There is just too much out there to know it all and have any kind of life. On top of that I have had virtually no time to think about next year much less plan for it.

In the past two weeks I have kicked into high gear. Every spare moment has been spent on the computer searching for some aspect of our curriculum. I discovered a blog I adore (Trivium Academy, a wonderful resource if you desire to classically homeschool) and spent hours reading all her posts and clicking all her links. Today I even posted on a message board for the first time to learn from some who have gone before on this journey. It has been good. I have a long way to go but am making progress each day.

Here is where I am so far:
  • Math - We are sticking with Horizons for next year. Even though math is not his strongest subject he begs for it each day. That was not true when we were using Singapore. I will also purchase or make lots of manipulatives for next year to do a better job building that concrete foundation before moving to abstract concepts.
  • Phonics/Spelling: We will finish the final three books in Explode the Code (most likely in November) and begin formal spelling at that point. I am not sure if we will use Spelling Workout or just create my own program.
  • Grammar: Finish First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise.
  • History: Ahhhh! This one is killing me. I cannot decide between Mystery of History and Story of the World. It's been my toughest decision so far because there are things I love about both programs. My husband is leaning towards SOTW (and so am I, to be honest) but several good friends will use MOH. That would allow us to do a mini co-op. Do I want to do SOTW by myself or MOH with others???
  • Science: I just ordered Noeo Biology I on Wednesday. I think I am going to love this program. I am most excited that it seems to combine classical with Charlotte Mason principles so well.
  • Arts: Next year we will have an "Artist of the Month". I have purchased nine books from the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series by Mike Venzia along with a set of postcards for each artist that showcases his/her most famous works. We will display the postcards along with a picture of each artist and supplement with lots of other books from the library. I have also purchased Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes. I am not sure how we'll use this yet; I do not want to try to do too much. We'll also have a "Composer of the Month". I ordered nine books in the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers series and we will listen to that composer's music all month as we play and work. I am also ordering the CD's in the Classical Kids set and will supplement again with library books.
  • Reading: This is the biggie I needed to start working on yesterday! I want to develop a reading plan but need to decide on which history to use first. I can start researching read-a-louds at the very least. I know we'll follow the WTM's suggestion to study lots of literature that follows the corresponding period in history. Since we'll be studying the Ancients, some books are a given: Aesop's Fables, The Iliad, The Odyssey, etc. Right now I am researching what are the best versions of these books for children - readable yet true to the originals.
  • Spanish: I like Puertas Abiertas but am a unsure if I want to use a video approach. Today I learned that Classical Academic Press is coming out with a new Spanish program. I have emailed them to find out when it will be available.
If anyone has any advice I am completely open to suggestions!


Jenny in Ca said...

I really know how you feel, we have so many choices that it is overwhelming. I'm a curriculum junkie, and I love the hunt and research! I've been over at Trivium's too, and some discussions she's had about curriculum over at wtm boards led me to something new for this fall. We were using SOW this past year, and we really enjoyed it. Nice to meet you, and I really like the name of your homeschool

Anonymous said...

You should do what you and your husband feel is best for your family! You know that already.
It's so nice to hear Yance taking such an interest in the material this year. Much more than before, Go for the joint decision and your husband's leading and don't worry about the rest.
You will be studying the same type of History,(the same time period) just not using the same book. A mini Co-op can still work!
Whatever you choose, you will make it work beautifully as you usually do!
You are such an awesome teacher!
Love ya

Mama said...

Hi there! Thanks for linking your blog over on the WTM boards. I saw what you will be using for art and music and have been looking for something similar. Your post saved the day! Now I just need to see if our library carries the Venzia books. Also, you may be interested in a book called Discovering Great Artists by Kohl.

Heidi said...

Alrighty, then. It looks like we have quite a bit in common. I don't have much time today, but I'll be reading up on your past posts and visiting often. It sounds like you're just about 6 months ahead of us in the homeschool journey. :) It is an interesting experience 'doing school' with two other little boys under foot, no?

I'm a book and curriculum junkie also. Researching and planning is my favorite part. Getting around to things is a bit harder. I also love to have everything nice and neat, but that's tough when most days I'm barely treading water. :)

I just posted our "1/2 way through the kindergarten year review" with curriculum choices, etc. on my blog. Your choices sound great!