Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • SPELLING WORKOUT LEVEL E PUPIL EDITION
    SPELLING WORKOUT LEVEL E PUPIL EDITION
    by MODERN CURRICULUM PRESS
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
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Entries in Homeschooling plan (5)

Sunday
Aug212016

Year 5 school plan (2016-2017, age 10)

Here it is, our annual plan! Our homeschool is secular, classically designed (based loosely on the Well Trained Mind), and not at all grade centered—we do things depending on Calvin's pace and interest level.

I will come back through the year, or at least at the end, to update our progress.
X indicates an accomplished goal
+ indicates an added goal or activity/resource

June 2016-June 2017
Age 10 (public school grade 5)

Science
Building Foundations in Scientific Understanding Vol. 3 (we'll spend at least two years with this book)

Technology and Engineering
Snap Circuits Student Guide (with Snap Circuits Pro SC-500 kit)
Javascript for Kids
Lego Mindstorms (beginning with Geek Mom's lesson plans and branching out from there)

The Arts
Drawing with Children on level three (first term)
Artistic Pursuits grades 4-5 (second term)
X Art and theater classes through our homeschooling group
Piano Adventures Level 5 (plus Performance, Theory, and Pop Rep)
X Public school band classes—clarinet (twice weekly rehersals, plus performances)
X Boychoir of Ann Arbor (twice weekly rehersals, plus performances)

Physical Education
X Twice weekly dance classes: tap and ballet
Biking, running, or yoga twice weekly depeding on weather
Hiking several times a month  

Math and Logic
Math-U-See Geometry
Perplexors Level E 
Building Thiking Skills Level 2 (first term) 
Red Herring Mysteries Level 1 (second term)
Mind Benders Book 4 (second term)

Language Arts:  
Spanish
Avancemos Level 1 Homeschool Package plus the Cuaderno

English
MCT Level 4 Grammar of Literature plus the practice book
MCT Level 4 Vocabulary of Literature
MCT Level 4 Poetry of Literature
MCT Level 4 Writing of Literature

Assigned (mostly read-alouds) for discussion and analysis (one or two a month):
Moby Dick
David Copperfield
The Red Badge of Courage (with Novel Ties study guide)
Frankenstein (also Gris Grimly's version)
War of the Worlds (possibly this version)
A Christmas Carol 
Silent Spring
All Quiet on the Western Front (with Novel Ties study guide)
Paradise Lost (with this plain english assist)
A Separate Peace (with Novel Ties study guide)
Animal Farm (with Novel Ties study guide

Social Studies 
Geography

Draw the USA (first term)
Draw Europe (second term)

History
Story of the World Volume 4 with the student workbook (I'm not sold on this curriculum: it's too biased and not secular enough, but we've been successfully using it as a backbone and supplementing with literature, living history books, and documentaries as the true meat of our study).

Supplementary reading for history (about 1 book per week; we won't get through all of these but will choose at least one per topic area):
Where Soldiers Lie, Wilson, John
Begumbagh, George Manville Fenn
The Sebastopol Sketches, Leo Tolstoy
Out with Garibaldi, G.A. Henty
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily, Dino Buzzati
Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom, Katherine Patterson
Flags of War and X Battle Scars, John Wilson
Stories of Young Pioneers, ed. Violet Kimball
At Her Majesty's Request, Walter Dean Myers
The Shadows of the Ghadames, Joelle Stolz
Nory Ryan's Song and X Maggie's Door, Patricia Reilly Giff
Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson
Where the Flame Trees Bloom, Alma Flor Ada
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
Ties that Bind, Ties that Break, Lensey Namioka
The Night Journey, Kathryn Laksy
The Wave, Todd Strasser
China's Long March, Jean Fritz
Bud Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis
The Bread Winner, Deborah Ellis
Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
The War that Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Twenty and Ten, Claire Hutchet Bishop
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, Eleanor Coerr
Hiroshima, Laurence Yep
Escape to West Berlin, Maurine Dahlberg
The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, Sook Nyul Choi
The Fire Eaters, David Almond
Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone, ed. Joyce Carol Thomas
Escape from Saigon, Andrea Warren
Phoenix Rising, Karen Hesse
Red Scarf Girl, Ji-li Jiang
China's Son, Da Chen

Thursday
Aug202015

Year 4 school plan (2015-2016, age 9)

Our homeschool is secular and classically designed. It is based somewhat off the the suggestions in the Well Trained Mind, but we don't pay a lot of attention to grade expecations; instead we follow Calvin's pace and interests to determine where we are and what we are doing each year.

I will come back through the year, or at least at the end, to update our progress. An X means the goal was accomplished (or the book read), a + indicates was an added goal. No marks mean we did not accomplish or dropped the goal.

June 2015-June 2016
Age 9 (public school grade 4)

Science
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding Volume II (this is our second year with the book and we will probably finish it) (completed)

Computer
Typing with Mavis Beacon (completed)
X Blog upkeep 
+X Gaming (mainly Minecraft)

The Arts
Music
Piano Adventures Level 4 Lesson, Performance, Theory, Technique, and Pop Rep (finished)
Piano Adventures Level 5 Lesson, Performance, Theory, and Pop Rep (started)
X Boychoir of Ann Arbor (twice weekly practice)

Visual
How to Teach Art to Children  (completed)
X Photography: Capture Your 365
X Classes through our homeschooling group (theater, sculpting)

Math
Math-U-See Algebra I (completed)
Perplexors Level D (completed)
+X More Perplexors Level D (completed)
Orbiting with Logic (completed)

Physical Education
X Running or biking twice weekly (only in good weather)
X Gym once weekly through our homeschooling group (first term only)
X Dance class once weekly: Musical Theater

Language Arts
Foreign Language 
Spanish for Children B (completed)

English
Spelling Workout Level H (completed)
Michael Clay Thompson's Level 3: the Voyage Series: (all books completed)
MCT Grammar Voyage and Practice Voyage
MCT Caesar's English II
MCT Essay Voyage
MCT A World of Poetry 

Reading: in addition to choice and history supplementary reading, we will have one to two assigned books per month, many of which we will read aloud together and discuss, some of which will also have accompanying study workbooks. 
Holes, Louis Sachar (with study guide)
X The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (with Novel Ties study guide)
The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beacher Stowe (with study guide)
Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
Treasure Island and X Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare (with Novel Ties study guide)
Kim, Rudyard Kipling
The Last of the Mohicans, George Fenimore Cooper
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett (with Novel Ties study guide)
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy
The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells 

History and Geography
The Story of the World Volume 3 and Activity Book (we use this as a backbone only and supplement heavily with reading and video materials)

Supplementary history reading (about 1 book a week; we won't get to all of these, but will pick at least one title per topic area):
X indicates read, + indicates added/ to the list mid-year (and read)
I, Juan de Pareja, Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong
Pocahontas, Joseph Bruchac
The Broken Blade, William Durbin
The Samurai's Tale, Erik C. Haugaard
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Kate Douglas Wiggin
Grimm's Fairy Tales, Grimm
The Cat Who Went to Heaven, Elizabeth Coatsworth
Rama and Sita, David Weitzman
A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe
German Hero-Sagas, Barbara Leonie Picard
Egg & Spoon, Gregory Maguire
Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare
Mr. Revere and I, Robert Lawson
Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes
My Brother Sam is Dead, James Lincoln Collier
Ben and Me, Robert Lawson
In the Reign of Terror, G.A. Henty
Kashtanka, Anton Chekhov
Lyddie, Katherine Patterson
The Monkey King, Aaron Shepard
The Gate in the Wall, Ellen Howard
Midnight is a Place, Joan Aiken
The Courage of Sarah Noble, Alice Dalgiesh
Lewis and Clark and Me, Laurie Myers
Streams to the River, River to the Sea, Scott O'Dell
The Legend of Lord Eight Deer, John M.D. Pohl
Nightjohn, Gary Paulson
The Journal of Jesse Smoke, Joseph Bruchac
Only the Names Remain, Alex W. Bealer
The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
+ White Fang, Jack London
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, Karen Cushman
By the Great Horn Spoon!, Sid Fleischman

 

 

Monday
Sep012014

Year 3 school plan (2014-2015, age 8)

We continue homeschooling through the summer, just with a lighter load of table work and an emphasis on life learning, and I count our years from mid-June through mid-June, so when I say "the 2014-2015 school year", I mean June 2014-June 2015. I do this because Calvin's birthday is in mid June, plus this is about when we launch our different summer schedule.

June 2014-June 2015
Age 8 (public school grade 3)

Overview:

Grammar
We love the Michael Clay Thompson series from Royal Fireworks Press. We originally used Susan Wise Bauer's First Language Lessons, but Calvin flew through that entire series and we both wanted something more rich and holistic. The MCT series certainly provides that. Since Calvin already had a great background in grammar, having finished the entire FLL series, he flew through the MCT Level 1 books in just a few months last spring and he really couldn't get enough, especially of the poetry and Latin root lessons. We took a break over the summer, but will pick it back up full swing this fall. We also use a supplementary spelling workbook (for vocabulary building and handwriting practice as much as for the spelling), and journal writing.

Math
We started with the Math-U-See back in the pre-school or kindergarten age and it has served us well. The curriculum makes great use of visual aids and continually builds on and reviews previous topics. We use three supplementary workbooks that practice logic based math as well.

Spanish
We started with Spanish last spring using the Flip-Flop Spanish book. This was a pdf file that I purchased on CurrClick and printed at home, and while I would never consider it a well rounded language lesson book, it was a pretty light and fun way to get started with some vocabulary before settling down into the nitty gritty. The nitty gritty is more where we are starting this fall with Spanish for Children.

History
As with so many others in the homeschooling community we have been plugging along with The Story of the World, and I plan to continue in this way with a few changes. Prior to this year we have been spending lots of extra time on various civilizations and time periods. For each civilization we studied we went into details about their mythology, their origin stories, and usually sought out examples of early (very early) literature traditions. This year, with the exception of the Norse mythology that is coming up, I plan to speed up our journey through this curriculum.

Science
No changes here. We are still using Building Foundations and loving it. The only change I wish to effect this year is the addition of some supplementary living science reading.

 

June 2014-June 2015
Age 8 (public school grade 3)

Details:

Grammar
The Michael Clay Thompson series, Level 2:
Grammar Town, Paragraph Town, and Practice Town
Building Poems
Caesar's English
Supplementary:
Poetry for Young People series
Spelling Workout Level F (to be completed in January)
Spelling Workout Level G (begin in January)
Journaling
Reading, both alone and aloud, choice and assigned from a long list of classical books

Math
Math-U-See Zeta (complete in October)
Math-U-See Pre-Algebra (begin in October)
Logic Liftoff, grades 4-6 (complete in January)
Orbiting with Logic, grades 5-7 (begin in February)
Logic Safari Book 2, grades 3-4 (complete in January)
Logic Safari Book 3, grades 5-6 (begin in February)

Spanish
Spanish for Children Primer A

History
The Story of the World, Volume 2
The Story of the World, Volume 2 Activity Book

Science
Building Foundations in Scientific Understanding, Volume II, Grades 3-5

Art
Drawing with Children, by Mona Brooks
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series, by Mike Venezia

Music
Piano Adventures Level 3B series (complete in March)
Piano Adventures Level 4 series (begin in March)
Boychoir of Ann Arbor Preparatory Choir

Wednesday
Aug142013

Year 2 school plan (2013-2014, age 7)

June 2013-June 2014
Age 6 (public school grade 2)

Overview:

Grammar
Last year we were using Susan Wise Bauer's First Language Lessons books. I liked their slow pace, their focus on real literature, and the memorization and copy work strategies, but Calvin mastered the concepts quickly and soon found the repetition tedious. He has completed all the FLL books, so rather than go on with them, this year we will focus almost entirely on free and assigned reading. He will keep a vocabulary journal and write short reviews once or twice a month.
+ Added note July 2014: We started Michael Clay Thompson's Language Arts Series with level one in the spring of this year, and we're thrilled. The MCT books are rich and engaging. They vocabulary and language meant to challenge a quick mind, and for us they are the perfect mixture of repetition versus movement. The series includes grammar, vocabulary, writing, and poetry books for each leve. They begin with level 1, meant for late elementary.  

History
We are continuing our journey through Bauer's Story of the World, Volume I this year. Though most people spend only one school year on each book in this four volume series, in order to counter what I perceive as the over sacred focus of the series, we have been spending a lot of time on outside sources with a focus on early civilizations and each people's myths and origin stories. Call it a rudimentary comparitive myths and religions class!

Geography
Most of our study for this discipline comes with history at this point in time—as we learn about the different civilizations we locate them on the map, coming to know the continents and their general makeup over time. I am not ready yet to muddy the waters with current political maps, but we will focus a little more this year on map reading in general.

Details: 

Grammar
Daily free and assigned reading
MCT Island series (level 1)
: Grammar Island, Practice Island, Sentence Island, Building Language, Music Hemispheres
Spelling Workout E

Math
Math-U-See Epsilon
Logic Liftoff Level 4-6
Perplexors Level A
Logic Safari, Book 1 
Allowance/Budget recording

Science
Building foundations of Scientific Understanding Volume I
+ Personal Inquiry and research: "What was there before the big bang?"
+ Connect the Thoughts: Lower School Physics and Astronomy

History
The Story of the World Volume I: Ancient Times
Intellego Unit Studies, K-2 World History III: Ancient China and Greece
Intellego Unit Studies, 3-5 World History I: Ancient Rome

Geography
The Story of the World: Ancient Times Student Activity Book 
McGraw Hill Complete Book of World Maps & Geography, Grades 3-6
Exploring Maps: Ancient Civilizations
Spectrum World Geography

Art
Classes through our homeschooling group (drawing, mixed media, and metal working)

Music
Piano lessons

Fitness
Swim classes once weekly
Hiking twice weekly in good weather 

 

Wednesday
Aug292012

Year 1 school plan (2012-2013 age 6)

June 2012-June 2013
Age 6 (public school grade 1)

Overview

Grammar
Because we were enjoying The Story of the World so much, we have been using Bauer's grammar curriculum as well: First Language Lessons. We use the instructor books only because the workbooks use such huge lines for writing and Calvin already writes in a standard notebook just fine, so we use standard notebook paper. He also writes way more fluidly than I think she expects for children of his age, and that's my only complaint: this curriculum is painfully slow and, in that way, somewhat belittling. We have been using it at our own pace, which is probably three times the rate she expected. Plus we didn't really take the summer off so I suspect that we will fly through the entire series in no time at all and will be looking for soemthing new this time next year.

Math
We started with the Math-U-See back in the pre-school or kindergarten age and it has served us well. The curriculum makes great use of visual aids and continually builds on and reviews previous topics. We will likely continue through the entire curriculum.

 

History
As with so many others in the homeschooling community we are using The Story of the World to guide us through our history study. I make good use of her book reocmmendations with each chapter, and we often take extra time to go off on long tangents through civilizations. For each civilization we study we also go into details about their mythology, their origin stories, and usually seek out examples of early (very early) literature traditions as well.

Science
We are using Building Foundations and loving it. We started with this curriculum (really more like a book of suggested lesson plans) not too long ago and have really been enjoying it.

 

June 2014-June 2015
Age 8 (public school grade 3)

Details:

Grammar
First Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 1 (complete in Sept)
First Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2 (complete in Feb 2013)
First Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 3 (begin Feb 2013)
Spelling Workout Level C (finish in Oct 2012)
Spelling Workout Level D (Oct 2012 - Feb 2013)
Spelling Workout Level E (begin February 2013)
Supplementary:
A Walk in the Woods cursive handwriting practice workbook
Journaling
Reading, both alone and aloud, choice and assigned from a long list of classical books

Math
Math-U-See Gamma (complete in October)
Math-U-See Delta (begin in October)

History
The Story of the World, Volume 2
The Story of the World, Volume 2 Activity Book

Science
Building Foundations in Scientific Understanding, Volume I, Grades K-2

Art
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series, by Mike Venezia

Music
Piano Adventures Level 2A series (complete in Sept)
Piano Adventures Level 2B series (begin in Sept)