Sunday, January 10, 2016

Curriculium Choices 2016

We begin our 2016 school year tomorrow. My how our time off has flown by! We've filled it with a great number of things, but we are truly ready to get back to our books again.. or at least most of us are. I'm looking forward to a year filled with adventure & learning, the same goal & hope I hold each year. While every day may not be filled with such beauty, each day is full of learning.

I'm curious to see how our newly glasses glad child will fair in certain subjects. He's never really loved the subjects, but realising he was seeing double, rivers, & a fair few other oddities certainly didn't endear the subjects to him I'm sure. He's nervous, & slightly grumpy, at the idea of getting back to business, but I keep reminding him that each year is a fresh new start & he has an extra special new start because he now has extra helps for the problems he was previously dealing with. As a note, all BookDepository links are affiliate links.

History: Both boys will be using Bookshark Reading With History 7. I've pre-read most of the books, all though we'll still read them together. There are so many deliciously wonderful books in this pack that I cannot wait for the kids to get to them. I know they will befriend many new characters, both fictional & real, & enjoy a great many journeys as we travel through time this year. We will be adding in a few books to this lovely set, merely because they fit, we own them, & they are totally worth reading.

Book Basket: Our book basket is loaded for Term 1. We'll be reading 90 Devotions For Kids throughout the year, or until we finish it. Do Hard Things was a book we acquired last year to read as our first "speak to me/theology" book this year. 

Pinocchio was the requested next classic we're choosing to read & I'm eager to share the story with my boys. I have fond memories of Mom reading this book to my siblings & I from a glorious tall hardback copy that had beautiful illustrations in it. Our copy is equally beautiful, but it is not the same. 

We keep a Horrible Science & a Horrible Geography book in our basket & read from one or the other depending on the day of the week. We have a minute amount of Raging Rivers left to go & then we'll move into Stormy Weather.  We'll continue reading A Child's Geography, which we were enjoying late last year. We don't do any of the extras in it, as we're simply enjoying reading the information. 

We'll be reading a few fictional science novels this year in our book basket, but for now we're starting with Fatal Forces & Robert Boyle. We never finished his biography last year so we're back at it. European History will pick up where we left off. Despite the odd name it's a lovely book & chock full of information, & we really love it. Elizabeth I is our first added in history book, but it's in the book basket as it's a no pressure extra. 

The final books are 52 Weeks Of French which we were using last year. We learn a new set of words each week to practice using on each other or label the home. Foreign Language is not required here by law, so all our French studies are for fun! The last book is What To Do When You're Scared Or Worried which is part of our boys recovery process. He's doing so well, but still gets nervous in certain situations. So we continue to work with him.

Science: This year will be a variety of things. First on the list if working more with Bookshark Science 6. We started it rather late in the year & have only made it about 1/4 of less of the way through. So we'll start here for Term 1, all though we may dig deep into botany later. The boys will continue playing & experimenting with the Chemistry Kit we purchased; on the weekends with Mr S. There's an awful lot of laughter & craziness that happens with the kit, & much gushing of all the cool concoctions & such that they've created with it.

Writing: We're continuing with the same writing curriculum this year. I truly love Writing With Skill, & I always feel that's reasonably high praise because I'm incredibly picky & snotty about writing curriculum. My boy really loves this curriculum which is an added bonus, & it's quick, to the point, & sets the types of challenges he will face in University. He's about halfway through the book, or less, & will simply pick up where he left off & continue with the next volume when he's done.

Jayde will stick with Writing With Ease for a while longer still. I won't say he gushes praise for it, but he does enjoy the methodical pattern & knowing what to expect from it each day. He does, indeed, enjoy all the book choices they use for his narration & dictation which always makes it lots more fun. I'm curious to see if he'll have any added enjoyment with it now that he'll have his glasses & the book printed on his specially coloured paper.

Math: Math continues where we left off with MUS. Sadly each child had 5 lessons left in their previous books before we ended our old year. When Mr S has his 2 weeks holiday at the end of one year & into the new year, all books & pencils are officially put away so we can spend as much time enjoying doing things with him while he's home. Thus, both boys will pick up where they left off & then jump into their new books. 

Grammar I debated jumping back into another Winter Promise Language Arts programme as we all ready own the next level, but for this term, at least, we're opting to stay simple & focus more on the writing & enjoy the slower pace of Grammar Ace. We'll use the optional School House Rocks! video, all though we'll probably watch the clips on YouTube are our DVD player is iffy at best.

Spelling: Nothings changed here as we continue forward with Sequential Spelling. The boys didn't have to do a spelling test with their Specialist this year which disappointed at least one of them. While he's always nervous spelling in front of others, he's made such huge leaps & bounds this year having his glasses normalised & working on his Ocean Blue paper that he felt prepared to tackle whatever she presented him with. 

Bible: While we'll read through the New Testament this year {skipping around a bit} & read through a small portion of the Old Testament our Bible Study this year will be on John. We had intended to tackle it last year after finishing up 2 Timothy, but we went with something else instead because I was missing Book 1 in this series. Despite the fact that it's not in the picture, we actually do own it & will dig into the book of John this year! 

Reading: Reading is a little different this year. As we're working through the Bookshark Core together I don't assign the readers as readers. We simply read them together. Morgan finished the reading programme we worked him through last year & has, with much hard work & determination, reached a point where we can grab books for him & assign them to him with the stipulation that he will need to take them at his own pace. He's not a fast reader, & very well may never be, but we don't mind.

He & I sat down together & picked out 8 books for him to work through this year, unfortunately I can't find several of them on the shelf & may only have them in storage in the USA. Thus he'll be waiting for the library to get a copy of his first book in while the rest of them come via the mail.

Jayde is a bit of a harder cookie when it comes to reading. His tastes are very defined in what he prefers to read & with the troubles he was previously exhibiting he labeled himself as, "Not that Guy" when it comes to reading. His Specialist & I both told him that he was "That Guy", but that he didn't have all the tools to accomplish the job. He now has those, & so picking books for him has been a wee bit difficult. I selected books I knew he'd love, but when I presented them to him he was able to tell me the stories of each of the books all ready. Ahh, that boy! Much like myself he can remember books for a long time afterwards.

It was back to the drawing table for me & I came up with another stack of books for him, a few of which {pictured above} he was not familiar with. The rest that I plan to stick in his stack I will need to order as well. My objective was to find books unique to his tastes {adventure, cliff hangers, & no mushy nonsense or obvious morals} that would hook him in. We'll see how that unfolds through the year.

Electives: This year our electives are equally pretty much the same. We'll all continue forward with French. I have one opposed to learning it in leu of something else, but my hope is to convince him learning a new language is easier with friends on board so you can practice it on each other. We'll see. The biggest hiccup some have had with learning it is getting past that first hurdle to realise letters don't make the same normal sounds you're use to. We'll tarry forward, & if you visit us & find our home labeled with odd words, just remember it's all part of the fun!

Programming will continue as normal. This is honestly something the boys do in their free time of late. Morgan has created a few games with his skills & had Mr S test them. What a laugh this has caused because it use to be the other way around! It has really intrigued Jayde to want to get into some of it & as Scratch is free we thought it might be the best way for him to start out.

We'll continue with some fun robotics, possibly inviting friends to join us. We're unsure on that portion yet. We've been debating having Morgan teach the "class" if this unfolds & he was a bit nervous about it at first until we reminded him that he knows these children & sees them often anyway. When he stopped & thought about it like that & he realised he didn't have to teach the parents he thought it might not be too bad. We, his parents, think it would be a great adventure in learning to speak in front of others, organised ideas & plans, & learning to work with others. We'll see what unfolds.

Music remains the same as they plod forward with Mr Hoffman. Mr Hoffman's latest release of the freebie for the StarWars Theme Song might have enticed a certain young man to consider trying some piano lessons. He's not sure because what he'd really like to try is drums, & between you & me, I think he'd totally rock at it {no pun intended}.. I'm just not sure if I could handle it. I don't do well with a loud beat, but I'm also all for encouraging my children in their passions. I'm pretty adapt with a variety of ear plugs & I suppose I could just gift some to my neighbors as well, right?  Having said all that, the addition of a real piano {goal for 2016} might entice him more then the electric keyboard..

There will be a vast array of other projects happening this year for them too. We have a few household maintenance jobs they'll be learning how to do, cooking is on the books for them to take over a day each week to make meals on their own, & of course a few school related projects that I have up my sleeve this year.

We'll continue with our sweet little Art Club so long as classes are running, & in between we're looking at some fun little art classes on Craftsy. There's a few lovely ones several of us have been eyeing up, but I'll probably let the Drawing Master choose something to help refine his skills.

All in all it should be an awesome school year!

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