12 July 2015

Homeschool Curriculum for 2015-2016 (4th, 2nd, K)

We began our 5th year of homeschooling (!) on 1 July with a 4th grader (Agent E), 2nd grader (Agent J), and kindergartener (Agent A). We are venturing back into year-round schooling, as this seems to work best for us. 


This will be our first year with three “students” and I’m sure it will prove interesting. One of the reasons we decided to start K with Agent A this year rather than waiting is so that all three of them will only be two grade levels apart. (Agent A will turn 5 in November; the kindergarten cutoff in our state is age 5 by 1 December, so we could have gone either way.) Right now we are able to combine a lot for Agent E (4th) and Agent J (2nd). By the time Agent A (K) is ready for more structured school time, I anticipate we’ll be combining much of what he and Agent J do, while Agent E will be doing more independent work. 

{I should add here that we live in a state that has fairly particular guidelines about what is to be covered, and also requires us to submit an individualized plan of instruction at the beginning of the school year, as well as written reports each quarter. In other places we’ve lived we have not been quite so detailed with our yearly outline. That said, we still try to remain as interest-led as possible in our overall approach.}

As far as a curriculum, we primarily piece together our own with the help of spine books and a few frequently-used workbooks and websites. Math and language arts are grade-based, but everything else is done together for 4th/2nd. Our “plan” is heavily book-based and open to change based on interest level and progress. Kindergarten is very play-oriented and relaxed. We kind of “work on” reading and math but only as it occurs naturally in our day-to-day activities. 

Following is a summary of the focus areas we intend to work on in each of the core subjects, including books and other resources. This is pretty much a word-for-word cut and paste of what I submitted to the school district for Agent E’s grade 4 plan. (I added in the written resources for Agent J’s math and language arts as well, but did not include specifics for Agent A.)

Math
  • Focus areas: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percentages, money, place value, greater than/less than, estimating and rounding, charts and graphs, perimeter, area, volume, measurement, basic algebra and geometry concepts
  • Sample books:  Sir Cumference Math Adventures, Basher Books math, Life of Fred elementary series, additional books TBD
  • Workbooks/written practice: Math Basics 4 (School Zone Publishing), Brain Quest 3 and 4 (Workman Publishing), Math Basics 2 (School Zone Publishing), 2nd Grade Math (Workman Publishing), additional printables from education {dot} comKidzoneTLS Books, and Worksheet Works {dot} com
Language Arts
  • Focus areas: reading (choosing age- and theme-appropriate works from a variety of genres), comprehension (understanding what is read and being able to discuss or write about it thoughtfully), writing (including proofreading one’s own work), mechanics (grammar, parts of speech, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, vocabulary, sentence structure), skills (dictionary and thesaurus, alphabetizing and categorizing, finding resources, table of contents and index, improving handwriting, library classification system)  
  • Sample books: Words are Categorial grammar series, Basher Books grammar and writing series, Shakespeare Can Be Fun series for kids, various classic works, select poetry and stories, independent reading selections TBD
  • Workbooks/written practice: Brain Quest 3 and 4 (Workman Publishing), Premium Education Reading 5 (Bendon), 2nd Grade Reading (Workman Publishing), Third Grade Common Core Standards Language Arts Workbook (The Clever Factory), journaling, independent writing projects TBD, additional printables from education {dot} comKidzoneTLS Books, and Worksheet Works {dot} com, additional books TBD
Geography
History
Science
  • Focus areas: human evolution, animals (concentration on vertebrates, beginning with mammals), interrelationships of life on earth  
  • Primary texts: Evolution: The Human Story (Dr. Alice Roberts), The Animal Book (Smithsonian/DK Publishing)  
  • Additional resources: printables from education {dot} com, select experiments (like these from Kidzone), interactive websites (e.g., Smithsonian Kids, National Geographic Kids), additional books TBD
Health
Art
Music
Physical Education
  • Focus areas:  cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, keeping fit as a lifestyle, yoga, running, outdoor play daily
  • Additional resources: running program TBD, potential outside classes throughout the school year TBD, additional books TBD

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