Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Academic Plans for This Year

Yes, I do realize I'm a wee bit late posting about our academic plans as tomorrow begins October. But it couldn't be helped. In an effort to delay no longer, I'm sitting in front of my computer on a Friday evening, writing. The girls are reading, and Himself is planning his weekend picks for a college football pool in which he's participated for years. All is quiet.

I had big (and broadcasted, unfortunately) plans for continuing with our AO readings through the summer in an effort to finish up Year 4 before autumn. Alas, those were for naught. June was a whirlwind of activities and everyday busy-ness (two words: swim team), and, once we arrived in the haven of Maine, we settled into a routine of reading and relaxation. Could some of those book choices have been our school assignments? Admittedly, yes. But the girls were thrilled to be able to select their own books, and they read like mad. It was fabulous, really, and I couldn't squelch that particular joy.

So here were are, finishing up Year 4 and poised on the brink of Year 5.

AO's advisory board recently made some science changes to the curriculum, and, after looking over the alterations, I decided to amend our plans a bit. I didn't want us to miss certain of the new selections. Also, in some cases, I've chosen differently from the AO suggested titles. I'll note these changes below.

For our daily Bible study and prayer time, we are still enjoying Keys for Kids devotional. We all enjoy the stories, and I particularly like the "conversation" at the end of each that focuses the story's lessons on our own lives.

We're reading selections from William Wordsworth, a Year 4 poet. I wish I could say the girls love his work, because I admire much of it. But he leaves them cold. It's disappointing; they usually enjoy our poetry readings. I may leap to Rudyard Kipling, the Year 5, Term 1 poet, instead of continuing to force an appreciation for Wordsworth. For now.

Tiny Girl has begun MEP Year 5 for math. So far, much of it is review, and she's a bit bored. I've insisted on us completing both the lesson plan and workbook activities, which may be a mistake. If she's got it down, we should move on.

Last year, we used the Critical Thinking Co.'s Mathematical Reasoning for Miss Priss's math text, and she really liked it. Unfortunately, Level F is not yet available. After a few weeks of working through several lessons in that same publisher's Math Detective A1, we began Math Mammoth this week. Miss Priss enjoys Math Detective, but I felt like I was leading her too much in the lessons. Math Mammoth will provide a solid foundation for my linguistic-minded child. We'll still use Math Detective, but only on Fridays.

Also last year, we happily used Scott-Foresman's free grammar curriculum, and I'd planned to use it again. Imagine my shock when I discovered that it is NO LONGER FREE. (Turns out I was wrong and it is still free. See Comments.) After some quick research, I decided on Groovy Grammar. I'm not keen on the name, but I enjoy the lessons and links to other sites for more activities. I'm planning a separate post on this curriculum. Spelling Power is still our curriculum of choice for spelling.

Since Miss Priss abhorred Latina Christiana, we dumped it. This year, she's focusing on Latin roots in the Critical Thinking Co.'s Word Roots A1. Both girls are still working through Rosetta Stone for French.

I've selected a few titles for strengthening thinking skills. Both girls complete a few pages in their Building Thinking Skills 2 workbook every day. On Fridays, they each work through one page from their Analogies workbook and Balance Benders workbook. I've also added the fun book, The Book of Think, by Marilyn Burns, to our weekly reading assignments.

Our AO readings right now:
George Washington's World (Yr 4, finishing up)
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution (Ditto)
Poor Richard (Ditto)
Gods and Heroes (a substitute for The Age of Fable)
The Story Book of Science (This is a new Year 4 book, but I'd heard about it from the Queen Homeschool catalog, so I added it to our schedule.)
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Howard Pyle
A Child's Geography, Volume 1 (Actually, Volume 2 is scheduled for Year 5, but I liked this book as well. So we're reading it. We'll read volume 2 when we've completed this one.)
This Country of Ours
a biography of Isaac Newton
"Poplicola," in Plutarch's Lives, with the aid of Anne White's indispensable study guide

And then of course we have selections from AO's Year 5 free reading list!


  1. Scott Foreman Grammar and Writing Handbook is NO LONGER free? Oh, no! I didn't know that! I'll have to check it out!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'll post anything new about the solar oven, but, unless we get an unseasonably warm fall day, we're going to try it out again in the spring.

  2. This looks like a great plan. I haven't heard of Groovy Grammar before. I'm going to check it out. Thanks for sharing your school plan.

  3. Hello and thanks over on your side of the mountain! The link I've been using for more than a year to access Scott Foresman grammar curriculum began sending me to another site where they were charging for the materials. I then tried to Google around for it, but I had the same result, even from links on other folks' websites! But the link you sent me worked fine. Weird!

  4. It sounds great... I thought you'd do a second Year 4, but I see you have some year 4, and year 5 in a combination that suits your family. Isn't this what homeschooling is about?... I'm only in year 1, but if I ever feel we end up missing much from one year, I won't mind using two real years to go through one. I'm glad they had that joy reading, and it did not have to be something you dictated!
    The books are to learn from and enjoy, not to put a check mark by them.

    I'm glad the grammar program is still free. That's one of my favorite words!

  5. It looks like you've got your plans well set out. Thanks for stopping by BTW. I had never heard of Groovy Grammar I will have to check that one out too. Thanks for sharing your plans.
    Have a great week!


I love reading comments! And I appreciate the time you take to leave them. Thanks!