Before I begin to delve into the posts that showcase what we are doing on a weekly basis, I feel that it is necessary to explain what we do as a whole. I began homeschooling (I use that term loosely) when my oldest (A) was a toddler. I laminated shapes and colors, we did puzzles, painted, listened to music…all the typical stuff that moms tend to do with toddlers. Once he turned three, we began a more structured preschool program. It involved a lot of reading, finger plays, flannel board, and crafts. At the age of 4 we dove into Five in a Row. We enjoyed the re-reading of the same book every day and I incorporated lapbooks for each book we covered. I still use Five in a Row during the summer. For kindergarten, we started with Sonlight and then I shifted to piecing together my own curriculum. Unfortunately, Sonlight was a little dry for us as our core curriculum.
As you can see, I can be a bit fickle with curriculum choices. I made the decision last year (A’s kindergarten year) that we would school year round. This was mainly due to the fact that we didn’t school for months after the birth of T(the current toddler). It was a difficult transition for everyone and T wasn’t a great napper early on, even when I was wearing him. So, we do 3 weeks of school and then 1 week off year round. We still take about a month or so off during the summer where I can plan. Generally, I use Five in a Row or something more literature based and hands-on so that our summer months are a little more low key.
This year, for A’s first grade, I decided to go with Charlotte Mason. Through Ambleside Online, I have a complete Charlotte Mason curriculum and I add in my own math, science, and phonics. A reads at a solid 5th or 6th grade comprehension level but I still include phonics to make sure he has mastered blends and digraphs and the tricky silent letters so that he can decode larger words on his own more effectively. I am a firm boycotter of workbooks. Okay, that’s not entirely true. But I do try to use them minimally. I include them basically so A will know how to sit and do seatwork.
For math lessons, I use a Scholastic book called Shoebox Math. I then assign one or two workbook pages to practice skills.
For phonics I use Hooked on Phonics. I got lucky and found all 5 levels at Goodwill for $25! Score.
For handwriting I use Handwriting Without Tears. I have my own chalkboard so I only use the instructor manual. A also has a copybook that he uses to practice writing letters and he will eventually use this for copywork.
For science, I have a combination of books in my library that I plan to use. Right now, we are using Usborne’s Science in the Kitchen. This was another Goodwill find!
I’m still trying to hone in on a Spanish curriculum that I like. Right now I am searching the internet for some resources or complete lessons that will be interesting for all of us.
That is the basic overview of school at W.C. Academy. I’ll follow up by breaking down each subject area in its own blog post. Until then, be well and be happy!