July 26, 2018

Curricula 2017-18

If you read my last post, I went over our loop schedule and what our days would actually look like. And this post is all about which curriculum goes with each subject.

Every year I spend a good amount of time researching and praying and trying to find the "perfect" curriculum for us for that year. Sometimes it stays the same from year to year, and other times it changes. Curriculum is a tool, your tool. Don't let it be "in charge." You are in charge. 
For reals.

These are the core classes

For Language Arts we have chosen The Good and The Beautiful. It is our second year using it and I absolutely adore it!!! It is very thorough and advanced, it is a grammar nazi's dream! My mom was an English and Literature teacher, so I am a hopeless grammar nazi. I get giddy almost every lesson!!! It also includes geography, art, and some social studies. For instance; if we are reading a book that is set in Italy, then we will study the geography of Italy, the art of Italy, and even some customs and try some recipes! (The recipe for gnocchi in Level 4 is amazing! Yum!) The spelling and vocabulary words come mainly from the reading. It is all very integrated. That helps it to be engaging and interesting because it matters and connects... it also helps tremendously with retention. Plus this curriculum is so wholesome and uplifting. It is just GOOD. It is a non-denominational Christian point of view. It incorporates values and morals quite heavily. There is no smut. It is beautiful.

We are also using The Good and The Beautiful for Science and History... oh and handwriting and typing. LOL. Everything they have is just so good! I do love it so much!  The history is a different set up, again with a Christian point of view. What really sets it apart for me is that it covers the overall view of world history every year. Each year builds on itself. Most curricula do a 4 year rotation; Ancient Studies, Rome, Dark Ages and Renaissance, and then Modern. But by the end of the 4th year, kids have completely forgotten EVERYTHING from Ancient Studies. This way, each time period is covered every year. The depth is added in subsequent years as they repeat the time period and build on what was learned the previous year. It's still fresh in their minds so they can build on it, and it gives them a wonderful overview and ability to see history as a whole, and be better able to see patterns, cause and effect. 

Math is always the most difficult subject for me to find "the right" one. Maybe because I hate it so much. Or maybe because there just isn't much out there that makes me feel like it is engaging and enjoyable, without sacrificing academic quality. That is super important to me. I have been through many curricula in math, and none of them ever fit. Either it was too much, too dry, too drill and kill... or it was light and airy fairy, going in circles and never really getting anywhere. I think we have finally hit on the perfect middle ground for us! *knock on wood* 

For Math we are using Mathematical Reasoning by The Critical Thinking Company. It is excellent! It is fun and engaging. It focuses on true understanding of concepts, and why they work the way they do. It is full of games, puzzles, logic puzzles, even pages where the answers to the problems gives you the answer to a joke. It is so fun and engaging that my kids actually ask to do extra pages! That is a full fledged miracle in our house! And it is challenging and thorough. It is the first math curriculum which my very mathematically minded husband has actually liked. He is very impressed with how it's laid out and how it teaches them to reason and understand concepts. He feels it's an excellent foundation for moving into the higher maths, which he did all of and I did none. LOL. 

Another class we do is learning about the Constitution. The Constitution is extremely important to me. Original intent is vital to understand. I know everyone hates political talk, but I have very strong feelings on the matter. My children will be taught correct principles and be able to defend their freedoms. We are using 28 Principles of Freedom to study it this year. 

Then another subject that is very dear to my heart... Logic and Rhetoric, otherwise known as Critical Thinking. This is just an introductory course for a 6th grader. We will study more in depth in later years. I think that being able to understand an argument, discern truthfulness of claims, and just generally be able to think clearly is one of the most important skills that anyone can have these days. There is so much falsehood, so much stupidity... too many people base their opinions on sound bites and memes. Giving your children the ability to think and reason will be one of the best gifts you can give them. The world is crazy!!! We are using The Basics of Critical Thinking by The Critical Thinking Company.

We are also going to learn Spanish this year. I haven't taken any Spanish since high school so I need help. We are trying out an online option called Calico Spanish. It's an immersion style option, which is what I was looking for. Basically you watch a video as a family once a day and learn the language together. There are also worksheets you can print off and posters you can buy. I don't have any of it yet because it's a monthly subscription fee and we aren't starting for another month yet, but you can goo.gle it if you're interested. 

Here are some of our electives

For the 6th grader, lots of logic puzzles and brain teasers. Clearly this is an important area to me. 

For the 6 year old, some handwriting and scripture dictation, some logic puzzles and brain teasers, and a "game" that helps you to learn parts of speech. 

I don't know that this is all interesting to anyone else, but I want to keep it to look back on. 

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