Welcome to Life at the Holman's.

Within this blog, you will find everything from recipes to school ideas to everyday fun stuff and things we have learned along the way. From time to time you will find just a tidbit of our journey here in Oklahoma. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

School Starts Tomorrow!

Wow...so it is finally hear.  School starts tomorrow.  The kids are actually really excited about the new year beginning.  They are most excited about the new history curriculum that we will be using called The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer.  (I had mentioned this in a previous post.)

The curriculum is a 4 volume set that begins in ancient times with the nomads and then progresses through history.  This first volume covers through the Ancient Roman empire and reads like a story which should be beneficial in keeping the kids interested.  We will begin the introduction portion tomorrow with the study of what history really is.  We will then use the rest of the week to study archeology. I have several books from the library and several interesting sites online that we will be using to supplement our study.

On Friday, I am planning an "archeological dig" in our yard.  Of course, I am really hoping that we have a little rain between now and then because the yard is rock hard with the dry, hot spell that we have had for a few weeks now!

Anyway, here is the run down of some of the curriculum we will be using this year.  This is mainly a list of what we will be starting our year with.  I will add various posts throughout the year of more detailed lessons and books that we are using.

Savannah - 5th grade
  • Saxon 76 - This will be our first time using the Saxon curriculum.  We used Abeka math for the last 1 1/2 years, but Savannah hated it.  We were looking for a good transition for her in switching from Miquon which ended at 3rd grade.  Miquon is a great curriculum and she really flourished with it, and she is very good in math; however, the Abeka became a daily dread.  It wasn't that it was too hard.  It was just very boring in comparison to what she was used to.  We did finish it though...much to her dismay!  She is excited to start the Saxon.  We have both the 76 and the 87 level books.  We are going to start with the 76, but most of the book is repeat knowledge for her.  While repeating is always good for some things, if it turns out to be no challenge, we will change books.  (I purchased both books at a garage sale for $.50 total!)
  • Abeka 5th Grade Science - She will be doing a lot of "self-study" this year which will be new for her.  We have always done our school as more of a classroom setting, but she is a very self-motivated individual so I am going to keep her with lessons plans that enables her to work at her own pace and allows her to work ahead if she so desires.  She has her own lesson plan book that she will be able to complete and check off each day.  If she has all of her work completed, she can move ahead in the subject of her choice.
  • Reading -  During the first 2 weeks, she will get to choose her own book to read and will be writing a short report at the end of 2 weeks.  We also are planning an American Girl book as sort of an easing-in-to-school book.  Some of the other books I have planned for this year are Shiloh and Anne of Green Gables.  She will being doing various forms of book reports and oral reports throughout the year.  She enjoys reading so it is usually not a chore for her.  I have also decided that by putting most of the book choices in her hands, she will be able to focus on topics that she likes.  It is much easier to read and enjoy a book that you are interested in than a book that you don't care for and are forced to read.  (That is not to say that she will not have a little "planned variety" by me to help her branch out every now and then!  The books do have to meet my approval for her reading level.)
  • Intermediate Language Lessons - This is a book that was originally written and published in early 1900's and has been reproduce (2006) for use today.  It was written by Emma Serl.  It is broken into daily lessons of various activities.  This particular book has 301 lessons and can be used for 2 or 3 complete school years.  It has everything from dictation and memorization to grammar and writing.  I do also supplement with another written grammar/sentence structure book to get in the added grammar practice.
  • Spelling Power - Savannah has been using Spelling Power since 1st grade.  The book is based upon various levels, and you only test words that the kids miss.  For instance, you do a 15 minute spelling lesson a day.  5 minutes of pre-testing.  This is when you go through as many words in the current list and see how many they can spell correctly in 5 minutes.  It is not a race, just a time limit.  Then, the student goes through a designated practice formula that the book sets forth to help them learn only the mispelled words.  Finally, they do an activity (teacher's choice) with the missed words. We come up with various activities to help her learn the missed words.  There are also activity lists of different games   in the back of the book.
  • Finallly, we have a few fun books that she enjoys doing a page here and there in.  
JJ - 2nd grade
  • Primary Language Lessons - This is also a book that was written by Emma Serl.  It is designed for students in 2nd and 3rd grade.  We began the book last year (in 1st grade), but we took it very slow.  About a third of the way through it begins with cursive, and we had not studied cursive yet so that really slowed us down.  
  • Miquon - We will be doing level 3 (blue) and 4 (green) of Miquon.  He has a few pages (about 8) to finish in the red book from last year.  He likes the Miquon mainly because it has lots of hands-on learning experiences.  It is also a very fast moving curriculum.  Miquon has the student multiplying and dividing by the end of the first grade with understanding!  The curriculum does a great job introducing math ideas to a child in a way that they understand the process and not just memorize a rule.
  • Explode the Code -  He will be doing book 6 this year along with the Abeka book A Handbook for Reading.  (The Explode the Code series is a great phonics learning program.  You can find more about this curriculum at www.explodethecode.com.)
  • Handwriting - We will start out the first half of the year with basic writing and proper formation of manuscript letters.  Then, we will begin cursive in the second half or the school year.  I picked up a few writing curriculum books (3 books total for JJ and one for Savannah) at our local thrift store for $.25 each.  However, much of our penmanship focus will be in our daily writing in various subjects so that good penmanship is used through the subjects, not just in handwriting lessons!
  • Spelling Connections 3 - This year, I am using a separate spelling book for JJ.  He did Spelling Power last year and did fine, but I wanted to try something new with him.  It is a book that I picked up at our local library book sale.  It is colorful and has various activities in it.  However, if it does not seem to work with him we will go back to Spelling Power.  Just an experiment!
  • Science 2 - This is a book from the Bob Jones homeschooling curriculum (that I also picked up at the book sale for a quarter!).  The good part is that both of the kids science books are starting with plants so we will be able to do some learning together!
  • Harcourt Trophies - This is the first of several reading books that we will be doing this year.  It is a typical public school reading book with various short stories and themes throughout the book.  We have a couple of other books that we are planning to follow up with including the Pathway reader Climbing Higher.  
  • Finally, JJ also has an fun activity book as an extra to his daily work.  He will be completing one activity per day unless we have time for more.
That about sums it up.  Of course, we will utilize our library a lot throughout the school year.  The best part of all is that I really have not had to spend very much money on my books.  I keep my eyes open throughout the year for books that I find at garage sales, thrift stores, and retail clearance aisles.  I also shop E-Bay or Amazon.com when I have a specific book that I am looking for.  I like to find a variety of choices so that when one book/curriculum does not work, I can put it aside knowing that I did not spend too much for it!