Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum Choices

After months of research, reading books like A Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer, and  looking over countless blogs and online articles, we decided to follow a classical model of education for our kids. Eden is a first grader, so this was the perfect time to start. As you can assume every year has math, and grammar that build with difficulty. In addition, this year we will study Ancient History and Biology. Eden will get an introduction to Biology through the lens of history, her grammar is also integrated into history lessons. Eden will attempt to memorize basic information that she will then repeat and study more in depth in 5th and 9th grades.

I appreciate this model for so many reasons. As the years progress in school, my children's education will build upon itself. It's logical, and repetitive so the kids can continue to built their knowledge through the years. Its also freeing for me, If they don't get a concept at this point, it will be repeated in more depth in the future. I know what I will be teaching all my children for the next 16 or so years. One of the other major benefits in choosing the curriculum I did is that Josiah and Titus will be able to join along when they enter school. We will be able to maintain the cycle patterns at a level that will include them. So I only have to teach one subject at a time, just at different levels to all of my children.

 This is an outline of our history and science from a Well Trained Mind:

 History                                                Science                                                  Grade
Ancients                                            Biology                                               1,5,9
Medieval  - Early Renaissance         Earth Science/ Astronomy                  2,6,10
Late Renaissance -  Early Modern   Chemistry                                           3,7,11
Modern                                             Physics                                               4,8,12

Tapestry of Grace is the foundation of our curriculum. It is our history, grammar, geography, and when our children are older, government, philosophy, and church history. It is Christian curriculum which was also a major component to why I choose Tapestry of Grace.

Tapestry is a huge program that can be quite intimidating to begin. One article I read said it's like going to an all you can eat buffet of curriculum. While the information is vast, you can do as little or as much as you would like. It is literature based, meaning you study your topics through different authors and perspectives from period pieces to fiction covering the topic at hand. It also has lots of hands on activities for the younger students.

So far we have completed 4 weeks. I have mixes feeling. I think the curriculum is great, however some of the material was a little to mature for Eden. But the benefit to this program is that I wan able to choose just what I would and wouldn't introduce to her and when I felt it was to much, I was able to back off.

Grammar and Reading
Before I purchased Tapestry, I purchased 1st Language Lesson and Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I have continued to use both with success with Eden. I plan to continue with each as I feel they are giving a good foundation to reading and grammar. I like these much better than I did the previous curriculum we used.

We are using Singapore Math. I am still undecided about it. There are things I like about it, and things that seem to be more complex than what I think a 1st grader should be able to accomplish.  However, Eden is strong in math and I have enjoyed watching her as she figures out problems in her head. We have almost completed the first workbook. At this pace she will complete both books in the early spring. At that point I will consider continuing with Singapore or moving to a different curriculum.

Apologia is awesome! I can't say enough good about this curriculum. I love the textbook and the Jr. workbook. The textbook is written to kids from a Christian perspective. It weaves scripture and logic into scientific information that explains in our case, biology. There are lots of great experiments and hand-on activities that help make learning fun.

I have another blog post planned for our Bible Curriculum. I hope to post that soon. We have just started Long Story Short. So far, we like it.

The Well Planned Day
This is my sanity keeper. I love this planner. It has helped me stay organized and keep accurate records of Eden's schooling.

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