Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HomeSchool Curriculum 2015-2016 Third & Fifth Grade

Now that we're well on our way into our second week of homeschooling, I should probably get up our curriculum choices.

Our first year we did a mishmash of things.
Our second year we did Our Father's World as the core, with some of our own things thrown in.
Our third year, this year, we're back to a mishmash of our own things.

While we liked Our Father's World, it isn't for the teacher in me.  I changed a lot of stuff, didn't use a lot of the suggested stuff, and that can add up in expenses fast.  I like to plan.  I like to try different things and be able to change things.  I really like to plan.  I've got this whole year already pretty  much laid out, but with enough flexibility that I can change things as needed.

The girl is in third grade and the boy is in fifth grade.  For the most part, I have it pretty easy, because they work on the same things.  The only area that they differ in is in math.

So here's our line up for this year:

Bible: Case for Christ for Kids 90-Day Devotional by Lee Strobel and the 4 Gospels.  We alternate between reading a devotional and a chapter of the gospels (which works out to 90 days!).

Journal: The kids each picked out a journal to write in.  We do this 3-4 times a week.  Making cards for family is included in journal time.  If I let the kids pick what to do for journal, they pick "squiggle stories."  I draw some squiggles on their paper and they create a drawing out of it.  Then they write about their drawing.

Handwriting:  Handwriting Without Tears.  So far, so good.  We're trying to improve the boy's handwriting, he can't even read his own handwriting!  The girl just likes to do handwriting.

Spelling:  We're doing what we've used the past 2 years.  The free program from K12Reader. The kids do their list on the first day, I make them a spelling game with sentences or definitions on the second day, their do the reading comprehension on the third day, and the fourth day is a practice test.  If they pass the practice test, they don't need to do another one.  If they don't pass the practice, they get a second chance on the fifth day.  The boy is on the fifth grade level and the girl is nearing the fourth grade level.

English:  Both kids are using Bob Jones 5.  We did Bob Jones 4 last year and loved it.  It's short and sweet and teaches the kids a lot!  I've even learned things.  I like how it alternates grammar with writing.

Read-Aloud:  I read aloud to the kids everyday.  We have a vast list of things this year.  Book of Greek Myths, The CandyMakers, Children's Homer, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Wrinkle in Time, Artemis Fowl, The Frog Princess, and Wonder.

Reading:  The kids also read everyday.  They love to read.  We even had to get a new bookcase to accommodate all the new books.  I love books too! The kids have assigned reading and then if they have free time between subjects, they can free read.  They also read every time we are in the car!  The assigned reading for this year includes:  The One and Only Ivan, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lightning Thief, Number the Stars, Fudge-a-Mania, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, A Helen Keller Biography, Ramona Forever, and 11 Birthdays.

Science:  I wrote and currently am continuing to write a science book for the kids.  I have it in PDF format and the kids read it off of our tablet.  The book covers everything they wanted to learn about life science for 30 weeks.  It has 4 lessons a week and alternates between a reading lesson and a hands on lesson.  It's going to fun!  They love it already!  It keeps me busy!  I have my schedule planned out to keep up on writing it and proofreading it.  The last 6 weeks of school will be spent on the scientific method and having the kids develop their own science experiment.

History:  We're doing Mystery of History Volume 1, Creation to the Resurrection.  We're also adding in some other history books and activities.  I really like how Mystery of History relates biblical stories, people, and places to other things in history.  While we believe in the Bible, we have a hard time agreeing with creation scientists' views on the earth and the age of the earth and what is written in the beginning of the Mystery of History book.  It doesn't say in the Bible how old the earth is.  God's days may be different than human days, so while the beginning of Mystery of History says that the earth is only 6,000 years old....we discussed that with the kids.  They think God's days are different than our days, so the timeline could be different than basing the history of the earth on genealogy. We believe God created the earth and everything in it, but he did it in His way and in His time and I'm sure I will be signing up for God's history of the Earth when I go to heaven.  Whether the earth is millions of years old or 6,000 years doesn't matter...God created it all.  Someday I'll be able to hear all about it from Him.  So to sum it up....we crossed out a few dates in the book since only God knows.  Otherwise, we're hoping for a fun year of history.

Math:  We're continuing with Horizons Math for the third year.  The boy is on Horizons 5 and the girl is halfway through Horizons 3 and will start 4 midway through this year or so, depending on how much math she decides to do a day.

Nanoblocks:  You might have noticed our love of Nanoblocks.  I watch for them to go on sale at Amazon.  We did quite a few last year when we did World Geography.  We had landmarks that matched up to the country we were studying.  This year we have a few that coordinate with what we are studying.  Plus some animals and a few extras thrown in. 

Extras:  PE...we do exercise a lot, with fun things thrown in.  The boy has guitar lessons while the girl has figure skating lessons once a week.  The boy is doing Mindstorms (he saved to help purchase it) and the girl chose an art book to learn some art from.  Though the girl likes to help with Mindstorms, while the boy has no interest in art!

That's it for this year!  I hope the good start to it continues for the rest of the year.  The kids seem to be enjoying what we're doing.  I'm staying busy, but enjoying my children and learning more about them! 

What are you doing this year?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Day of School 2015

We've almost made it through our first week of school!  Yippee!  So far, so good!

I pushed the kids out the door on Monday morning for our traditional first day of school photo.  Nothing fancy.  They each get 2 individual photos taken and 2 together.  And I hope one turns out.

It's fun and emotional to see how much they have changed.  Time is flying by!

I'll have to get our curriculum up sometime.  We're enjoying our choices, for now!  The boy saved up to help purchase Lego Mindstorms and he has been motivated to get his school work done so that he can build new creations and program them.  He actually does it during recess.  I won't tell him that he's actually learning something useful!  The girl has been crafting things like crazy.  Today she made two collages and sewed a doll bag from some felt with my sewing machine.  They're quite the little inventors!

If you have kids in school, enjoy the new school year!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 34-36

Let's finish up this school year!  We're enjoying our first full week of summer vacation and traveling into town everyday for swim lessons!  Soon we've got to get to the task of digging through the kids' bedrooms.  Time for summer clean-up!  Here's a recap of our last 3 weeks of second and fourth grade.  It's hard to believe I now have a third and fifth grader!

Week 34

We were still in Antarctica this week.  For art the kids made polymer clay penguins.  They both loved this project.  The girl made a regular penguin and the boy made a cyclops penguin, inspired by the Percy Jackson books. The kids later made other polymer figures that they have been playing with.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Gets Programmed."  We also got to go to a baseball game!

Week 35

We finished up with most of the stuff in the My Father's World curriculum and kind of coasted along the rest of the way.  We also had a vacation in the midst of this week, so we took a week off. We had our usual handwriting, spelling, math, and english assignments.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Get Ready, Get Set, Dough."

Week 36

We were just so excited to get through this week and finishing our final testing!  The kids did a wonderful job this year and tried really hard (most of the time).  We had personal homemade pizzas and root beer floats to celebrate the last day.  The kids went over their report cards with Daddy and were rewarded with getting to pick out a Lego minifigure and some accessories.  We finished off the evening with a fun tractor/trailer ride through the neighborhood.  We had to pick up the tractor from the grandparent's house and since the trailer was attached, the kids and I got to take a ride in it.  I almost wished I had my camera.  It was delightful to see the pure childhood joy on their faces as we rode up the street to our house.

Now we're on to summer break and I'm still getting things ready for next year.  I think I have everything ordered, except for a few enrichment items that aren't necessary.  I'm still working hard at writing a science curriculum.  It's a lot of work!  What are you hard at work at?

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Father's World - Exploring Countries & Cultures Weeks 31-33

Okay dokey. We're going to speed things up here and do three weeks at a time.  Cause we're done with school and I want to get this recap stuff done and focus on the three bazillion and one other things I have to do.  Like prepping for next year!

Week 31

We started studying Australia.  It would be so fun (and long) to travel there someday!  I can't remember anything real outstanding that we did this week.  I was starting to get to the end of the year slump.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Takes a Dive" because we were studying coral reefs.

Week 32

We continued studying Australia.  We ate some kiwi and the little girl didn't have an allergic reaction to it!  But...she tried fresh pineapple recently, thinking that maybe she wasn't allergic to pineapple and kiwi anymore...but, she reacted and got all itchy.  Poor girl.  The kids built the Sydney Opera House out of nanoblocks.  The nanoblocks were the big hit this year!  I'm so glad we were able to find ones to fit with our units of study.  I watched Amazon like crazy to get deals on the ones we wished for.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Goes to Seed." 

Week 33

We started on Antarctica.  In good ol' fashion end of the year slumping...we didn't do a lot of the suggested stuff.  Bad mommy.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Under Construction."  We did make penguins out of nanoblocks!

One more entry on the end of the school year, yet to come!  Whew!  Anyone else finishing something up?

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Father's World - Exploring Countries & Cultures Weeks 29 & 30

Playing the catch up game, yet again.  Especially now that we're done with school for this year!  Summer break time here!

Week 29

We were studying Russia this week.  Art was suppose to be nesting dolls, but we had some Global Nesting Dolls that we just played with.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "In the Arctic" and Planet Earth viewing included "Ice Worlds."

Week 30

We continued to study Russia this week.  The art project was suppose to be jeweled eggs, but being that Easter was the same week....we just colored eggs.  We looked up information about St. Basil's Cathedral and built it out of nanoblocks.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Plays Ball."  For Easter the kids did a geocache egg hunt.  My husband and I gave the kids an egg with GPS coordinates.  They had to use the GPS and coordinates to locate another egg.  In that egg was a clue to a hidden prize in the house and GPS coordinates to another egg on our property.  They found all the eggs on the property and then found the prizes hidden in the house.  They got a few books and DVDs.  It was a really fun (and educational) way to do an egg hunt.  We've also been reading "Island of the Blue Dolphins."

Short and sweet.  Now to finish the last 6 weeks of school posting!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 27 & 28

Ummmm, I didn't realize two months had gone by.  Whoops.  Time flies.  The last day of school is tomorrow and I've got weeks of catching up to do.  Such is life.

So, let's make this quick.  Cause I've got bazillions of things to do, just like everyone else.

Week 27

We entered Japan.  Darn, the last time I wrote, I was still posting photos of snow.  Now it's rain.  It's suppose to be dry and hot here, but it's cold and wet.  Though, my plants are loving the rain.  I have some blooming that I thought had been dead for years!  Where was I?  Oh, Japan!

Ummm, it's really hard to remember when we're on week 36 and almost done.  I've got to check my notes.  Origami was the art for the week.  The girl loved it and the boy tried a couple.  Our Magic School Bus viewing included "Revving Up" and we watched Planet Earth's "Ocean Deep" to go with the science study of oceans.  We gave up on the Wee Sing songs, the kid's just weren't into it. 

We also celebrated someone's 8th birthday!! (I think that was this week.  I still have to label all my photos from that month.  Ahhhh!  I'm so behind!)

Week 28

Japan again.  The kids built a Japanese building out of nanoblocks.  I forget which one, cause we have a couple from Japan.  And I don't want to venture through the dark house to find out which one it was.  I don't think I have photographic evidence either.  Our Magic School bus viewing included "Goes to Mussel Beach" and "Gets Swamped."  We ended the Japan unit with some "Japanese" food.  The kids had fun shopping in the Japanese aisle at the grocery store.  We got ramen, rice crackers, and some Japanese candy for dessert. We also had shrimp and made some cabbage and egg "pancakes" that have some name that I can't remember at the moment.  This was the first time the kids ate ramen.  They weren't too impressed.  Daddy and I told them stories of our young days when we ate a lot of ramen, because it was cheap.  It's still cheap.  The kids were most impressed with their gift of stainless steel chopsticks.  They've been using those when they think of it.  They practiced on peanuts and had a competition to see how many peanuts they could pick up at one time.  The kids were happy to just get one.  Daddy won the competition, but he's had lots of practice from all his trips to China.  I didn't partake since I'm sensitive to peanuts.  At least I can still be near peanuts, maybe.  My reaction to them keeps getting worse and worse. Moving on....

That's it.  I know you can hardly wait for the rest of the year.  I know I can't.  (Typed with a sarcastic tone.)

One more day of school!  I'm so excited!  I've really been dragging these past couple of weeks!  The end of the year slump or something.  How about you?  Are you falling behind in stuff too?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 25 & 26

I'm trying my best to catch up.  On something.  I can't remember the last time I vacuumed and things are starting to crunch under my feet.  That can't be good.  I'm pretty sure the dog licks up most of the edible stuff, so whatever is left on the floor is not edible.  Hopefully that means we aren't attracting mice. 

This is the crazy week in my life where things compounded on each other.  Wait, every week is crazy.  One appointment meant another appointment had to made and on and on.  Soccer starts, so that's one more practice to add in to the schedule.  I will keep my soccer ranting to a minimum, because the kid just loves to play.  At least I'm not coaching this year!  But in other news....we found our first geocaches this week!  Five of them, actually.  While the girl was at her church performing arts practice, Biker Boy and I took Scooter geocaching and found all that I had on my list to find in an hour.  I think Biker Boy is our lucky charm, because we've gone without him and haven't had any luck. 

Ohhh...we went to another performance at the local university's theater.  We've gone to quite a few this year and the one we went to this week was our favorite!  We saw "The Smoke and Mystery Tour" presented by Nelson Illusions.  It was awesome!  We've been brainstorming how they do some of the illusions.  We have one more show left to go to this year.  We're seeing "Dino-Light" next.  We're looking forward to that one too.  We've seen "The Nutcracker," "Cirque Zuma Zuma," "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley," and "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse."  Scooter would like it known that he did not attend that last show (Lilly).  Chewy entered the art contest for the Lilly show and was runner-up.  She was delighted to have won a Broadway edition Lion King CD.  (The winner got a pizza party...which would not have gone over well in this household with a certain child). 

Alright, let me back up and get on with Weeks 25 and 26 of school.

Week 25

We entered China this week.  I do remember that it snowed.  We had a Friday with some snow and we got out in it.  Then that night it snowed nearly a foot and we hit up the local ski area for the first time this year.  We'll call that PE.  In other school stuff, we skipped art. Kind of.  The kids made cards with rubber stamps, which was close enough to the art for the week.  I'm again lacking on the photos.  What's up with that?  You'd think I don't like taking photos.

Oh, the kids watched "Pippi Longstocking" at their grandparents house and we had the book, so I decided we would read that next.  Pippi makes pepparkakor - a kind of Swedish cookie - in Chapter 2.  I had a cookbook with a recipe for pepparkakors, so we made some!  Ours were in the shape of a rabbit, rather than a pig. 

I think I forgot to mention that we also read "Return of the Indian."  We've listened to some Carl Hiaasen books and the kids have loved them.  "Chomp" was their favorite!  I ordered the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan for next year in school.  I think we'll be done with them by then!  I've already read all 5, Scooter is on Book 2, and Chewy has started the first book and loves it!  I'm happy that Scooter has found some other chapter books he can get into and I'm surprised that Chewy is enjoying them so much.  They're a little more "scary" than other books she reads.  My poor family...I don't read books all that often because I am horrible when I read books.  I totally ignore everything going on around me.  I couldn't put the Percy Jackson books down!  Maybe that's why I haven't vacuumed in awhile.  Thankfully I just finished the last book yesterday.  I will not read any more books for a bit.  Except...Chewy just checked out a "Whatever After" series book by Sarah Mylnowski out of the library and it's one I haven't read or listened to yet.....and we all love those books!  We've listened to the first three in the series and they are a hoot!  Yes, yes...books get me all excited!  I have so many planned for next year that I don't think we'll have time for all of them.  Next week we're starting "Island of the Blue Dolphins."  I can hardly wait!  But I really should get back to Week 25....I'm diverging off on a tangent.  But oh, I love books! 

In other activities, we watched two episodes of The Magic School Bus.  We saw "In a Pickle" and "Inside Ralphie."  I'm still busy writing a science curriculum for next year!  I should probably be doing that instead of writing this.

Week 26

We were still in China this week.  We did some Tangram Designs.  We also finished the unit up by ordering Chinese from the local Chinese place.  I love getting take out from them, they give you so much food!  We hadn't ordered Chinese in awhile and I forgot how much you get.  I think we ate Chinese food for lunch for the next 3 days.  We expanded beyond our usual things we order from there and tried some new things.  The kids had fun helping to pick out things to order.

We were studying oceans, so we did some salt experiments.  We watched Planet Earth: Shallow Seas.  We also watched "Ups and Downs" and "Goes on Air" for our Magic School Bus episodes.

Alrighty, I really should be getting to bed.  It's hot chocolate Friday in the morning and I'm really looking forward to that!  Plus, we've already put some seeds in the garden (oops...I may have mixed a few up...that could be fun) and I'm excited to start seeing some seedlings pop up!  There will hopefully be some tomorrow or in the next couple of days!  What are you excited about?
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