Monday, November 18, 2013

First Batch In!

Well, this is going to be an exciting week for me here.

I ordered all of Anistyn's History and Science curriculum and it will all be getting here this week.

I got my first batch today!

This is the Story of the World Activity Book and the Test and Answer Key. The student's book which has all of the stories will be here later this week so I'm very excited to get it as well!

I thought the hardest part was going to be picking the curriculum out. While it was a daunting task, now I'm faced with different issues...but good ones! The major issue just being how I want teach it. I'll explain...

So Story of the World has different volumes.

Volume 1: Ancient Times (which is what we'll be learning)
Volume 2: Middle Ages
Volume 3: Early Modern Times
Volume 4: The Modern Age

Each volume is 'supposed' to be a year long, however, I've heard of some that have used  it for two years. It just depends on how you plan to teach it.

In Volume 1, there are 42 chapters, plus an introduction which can count as a 43rd. In each chapter they have different tasks which serve as just an outline. You can pick and choose what all you want to do.

For instance:
Chapter One is about the earliest people. You read about the first nomads and how the first nomads became farmers.  They have simple review questions where you basically just discuss what you read about. They give examples of questions you can ask, but of course you can think of some on your own as well.

Then they have a narration exercise where you have the child write a few sentences or a paragraph explaining the nomads. They can keep a History Journal and write all of their narrations in there. I really like this idea and will definitely be doing this.

Then there is additional history reading, which is where they have just put up some suggestions in case you want to dive a bit deeper into the subject. This can be different books, movies, etc. Its of course not mandatory, but if you're child is really interested in a particular chapter and wants to learn more, you have suggestions available. They have have corresponding literature suggestions!

There are also projects! Again, just suggestions, but who doesn't love a fun project? When learning about the nomads you can make a cave painting by using a brown paper bag, cutting it open, crumpling it up, then smoothing it flat to simulate the surface of a cave wall. Then the child can paint on it. It has two other projects listed as well.

THEN there is map work, just so the kiddo can know where exactly all of this happened. Its very simple. It shows a picture of the area we're learning about, then says to circle towns, trace rivers, etc. There are also coloring pages, but I don't know if Anistyn would be into that...unless she was maybe coloring while we review or something.

There is also the test and answer key for every chapter, but you can of course just take a casual approach and call out the questions for more review.

So, that's a LOT to do for one chapter. Of course, they are only suggestions. The thing with history is that its just so...interesting! On top of all of the resources available just in the activity book, there are even more online. I found a facebook group all about Story of the World. I think I bookmarked 15 different links from there...I had to give Story of the World its own area on my labtop! They have a list of free things to watch on youtube and netflix, books that go along with the subjects, online name it, they have it. If you just type in Story of the World into pinterest...well...don't say I didn't warn you.

We're starting halfway through the year, which just took some thinking on my part. Did I want to hurry through Volume One so she can be on track with Volume 2 by the time she starts 4th grade? Originally I thought I might be able to. BUT. Who says she HAS to be on Volume 2 by next September? This is the kind of thing where I'm just having to slow down and remind myself that I'm in charge.

I don't want to rush through this curriculum. So far it looks fantastic. I think History is amazing and I don't feel its something I should speed through. I could miss out on some really great activities and discussions all because I'm trying to keep up with some schedule I think I just have to stick to. If I really want her to take it all in and enjoy it...we have to move at our own pace.

Not that I know what that pace is though. We won't figure that out until we get started. I do know its near impossible to do everything on one chapter. There is just so much information out there. I think I'll just start with a general outline in regards to lesson plans. I'll just put on there what interests us in each chapter and if there's something that Anistyn wants to learn more about, then we can. I know some people that cover two chapters a week. There might be some weeks when that happens. Then we might get way too fascinated in one chapter and have to spend one or two weeks on it.

Now just to wait on the student book for SOTW to get here...along with her Science book. Then we'll see what Science will throw at us!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Curriculum Choices...Check!

Finally...I can scratch a highly important task off of my list. I have picked out the curriculum that I will use to teach Anistyn...and I can't wait for it to get here.

We officially have one month and a day left until we say good-bye to public school. Anistyn is doing a countdown...and now that I have decided what exactly it is I'll be teaching her...I can count down also!

In one of my previous posts, I had talked about all of the different 'types' of homeschooling. Well, let me tell you something...there are experts in every single type. These experts have made fabulous curriculum designed for so many different kinds of children. The problem? There are a ton! Not that that's a bad thing of course. Going through the first list is so overwhelming.

You just want to 'nail it.' You want to pick a curriculum that is just made for your child. A curriculum that will be EVERYTHING your child needs to learn in the way that suits him or her. At least, that's what I was trying to do. Until I drove myself crazy, took a breather, and then changed my thought process. Because unless I made the curriculum myself (which is very possible by the way, I'm just not there yet!) there wasn't going to be a curriculum that was made just with Anistyn in mind. Which was perfectly fine.

Really, I had to repeat that to myself quite often.

The worst case scenario is that I will have a curriculum that we start working on and just don't like. So we have to get something else.

Really...not the end of the world.

 (Again...this is another thing I had to repeat to myself. Can you tell I was having some sort of internal battle with all of this? It was serious.)

I really have had to let go of expecting perfection. There were so many options and I just want the best for my daughter, like any parent does. With us just beginning, I had so many fears. I just wanted things to start off well.

I have gotten into some fabulous homeschool groups, and have had many talks with some of the mothers there. I also have my professional homeschooler sister in law also! I have loved how, when I present one of them with my concerns, I often get asked "What's the worst that could happen."

This just proves another reason why I really think I will adore homeschooling. Not only will I teach Anistyn...I feel like I'm already learning things from it as well. I don't have to pick out the perfect curriculum (although I will pat myself on the back...I'm extremely excited about my choices!). This is going to be a fabulous journey for our family. There might be some bumps on the way, and we might have to try different routes. That's life.

I am really having to get out of the public school mindset. Now, some homeschoolers are vehemently against public education. I am not one of them. My daughter has loved school up to this point. Its just that now...I am seeing a plethora of possibility. I am seeing that I can be lenient in areas that I see fit, and if we want to learn about a particular subject more in depth...then we can.

Back to the curriculum. I have spent countless hours researching all of this and am very happy with my decision. This might change once we start to use it, but I have had many talks with a lot of "veteran" homeschoolers, along with reading sample lessons and even asking the makers of the curriculum questions. Yeah...I was a bit obsessed!

So, here is the curriculum that we will be using. One of my main concerns was making sure it wasn't aligned with Common Core. Then of course, I wanted something that would intrigue Anistyn! So here are for the 3rd grade.



This doesn't seem as exciting as my other choices, but from what I've learned its very consistent and most children that use it end up a year or two ahead. Math is my worst this seems like it is user friendly for me! This is a subject I think I'll have to just play with as we go along to find out what works for us. It might be this...and it might not. I've heard great things about it though, so we shall see!


R.E.A.L Science Odyssey by Pandia Press

I am very excited about this science curriculum as it seems to be very hands on. We'll be doing Level One which is Life Science. It will cover the human body, the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. Each lesson has a small amount of text, and then you learn even more about it through 2 or 3 activities. There are science experiments, arts and crafts projects, and observations. I love how involved it is. I hope this one works out!


Story of the World

This was the last one I figured out. For some reason, I had it in my head that Anistyn needed to be learning American History right now. I guess because that's what she's learning about right now. So I searched and searched...and couldn't find anything that fit. I really wanted to try Trail Guide to Learning...but that's actually a spine for other curriculum as well, so it wouldn't work. After a ton of time researching I gave up and did something I should have done all along....I asked Anistyn if she would rather learn about the world history or America. She said World History and that was that! This is a very popular history curriculum and it gets a lot of great reviews. I've read samples and it even had me interested. So I think this will be great. It didn't hurt that it was extremely easy to find it used for very reasonable prices!

Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar

Michael Clay Thompson Level One

This curriculum just looks fantastic and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about it. I'll admit when I first read samples I was wondering what the heck was going on...but once you get into it, its great. There are great stories which help kids understand sentence structure that are funny and engaging. This curriculum in mainly for a gifted language arts child, which I have. I really think this will be great for Anistyn and I'm so excited to get it!

So, those are my basics. I also think I'll do cooking with her since she loves to cook with me. I don't want to overload her with too much at first, so for now I think we'll stick to these and then once we have a good routine I might add other things she's interested in. She really hates cursive right now, so I think we might try it again in 4th grade. She also has said she wants to learn either the flute or we'll see!