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UPDATE: 2017 Homeschool Curriculum Guide

UPDATE: 2017 Homeschool Curriculum Guide Posted on September 16, 2017Leave a comment

Wow! I have a half a mind to delete the 2017 Curriculum Guide I created earlier this year.  Some things worked out for us and others didn’t.  It happens, but instead of rewriting it I’m going to leave it up.  In the hope that it will give someone out there who is stuck, permission to change what needs to be changed so that homeschooling will be a happier experience in their home.  And also because it keeps me honest.

Neko’s 9th Grade Schoolwork

  • Khan Academy
    • Lang Arts
    • Math
    • Coding
  • Reading Skills
    • Read a book of your choice aloud

Twin’s 5th Grade Schoolwork

  • Khan Academy
    • Lang Arts
    • Math
    • Coding
  • Moby Max
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Reading Skills
    • Read a book of your choice for 1 chapter

Lil Man’s 3rd Grade Schoolwork

  • Khan Academy
    • Lang Arts
    • Math
  • Moby Max
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Copy work
    • Scholastic Study Smart: Reading Skills Builder workbook
  • Reading Skills
    • Jumbo Book of Sight Words
    • Click N Kids

We are working with Lil Man on becoming an independent and a confident reader.

The kid is smart and can grasp concepts that his older sisters initially struggled with.  Our focus with him is on reading fluency.

We have completed the wordsearch book I mentioned before.  The BOB books were a breeze once I offered to buy a pack of Pokemon cards for every booklet he completed.  Don’t judge, it was very slow going.  He was suddenly motivated to try.  A month later I found we my son sitting on a stack of Pokemon trading cards and decided to rescind the offer.  I felt taken advantage of or maybe I wasn’t prepared for the response.  Oh well, we live and we learn there is a dark side to rewards.  In the end I can’t be too upset because he is now reading chapter books like Night of the Zombie Goldfish.  Anyhow, to help him build confidence we are using his copy work time and revisiting his Scholastic Study Smart: Reading Skills Builder workbook.  The workbook hits a couple of birds with one stone.  He is familiar with the stories, the stories are funny.  Seeing the work he has done in the past reassured him he can do it again.  It also does a fair job reviewing phonics, word families, and sight words.  For the time being we are writing on lined paper and using washi tape to hold his copy work on each page he has completed.

If you noticed we have partially phased out of MobyMax.

The math lesson generally created more confusion and not enough help with understanding where they went wrong so they could learn from it.  We did enjoy the Math Fact Fluency portion for a time.  We also noticed that there were several new phonics, reading, and spelling sections added.  In Neko’s case, it wasn’t engaging and he was bored by it all.  Making the switch to Khan Academy I noticed several things have changed over the years and I am impressed!  Neko says that he likes seeing what he has accomplished and what he still needs to work on-it doesn’t look like a never ending problem!  The other kiddos enjoy earning points to build their avatar.  I love that it does a good job explaining problems and giving access to past lessons that you can practice at your discretion.  They also have a mastery challenge to help you keep previous lessons fresh in your mind.  I’m equally happy about the way the grammar and coding lessons are structured.  This is the first time the twins have enjoyed the learning pace of the material presented.

Khan Academy has really enabled the kids to have an independent learning experience.  In fact, Honey Bear and I both created accounts to refresh our own skills and learn a few more things along the way. Overall I am happy with this resource because it means fewer books to keep track of, it excites the kids and engages them in a way that makes them want to do it everyday! Plus it hits the heart of my homeschooling philosophy-giving them access to good materials that encourages them to learn and grow.

What we do currently love and use MobyMax for, is their science and social studies units!

Life Skills

Our schedule is noticeably scaled back from where we started because we made an effort to explore and participate in our local homeschooling activities.  I’m not going to lie.  Running around is exhausting.  Getting to places on time is personally frustrating when the kids don’t seem to understand the importance.  They have taken my breathing loudly we get there, when we get there as the goal.  So after several discussions on the importance of being on time, I left some of the kids at home with their dad and took those who were ready.  I came back for them but demonstrating that I was serious about leaving at a certain time helped.  In the past I couldn’t leave the kids because there was only me.  So cancelled the event if we weren’t ready.  I don’t think it helped because they didn’t feel like they lost anything by not being ready.  It’s been a lengthy process that involves personal hygiene and thinking about the stuff we need to bring with us when we leave the house.  One day we will all leave the house with jackets, water bottles, and shoes. One day…

I don’t know about you but it seems every time we leave the home, less work gets done.  So after finishing our lessons we work on noticing what needs to be done around the home.  We discontinued our token distribution because only the bare minimum was getting done.  It has taken some time to get over not having a rewards system and learning to take care of our home, but there is less whining.  I’m not going to go as far to say the kids have learned to do their chores with all the joy of a dancing unicorn on a sparkly rainbow, but it gets done.  For the most part.

What about the other subjects

I feel that the less we structure, the more we end up doing.

We follow quite a few subjects down the various rabbit holes.  Sometimes a lesson or a Youtube video will prompt us to investigate and sometimes a book we are reading will inspire us.  We are currently trying out a few subscription boxes for science and history, that if they work out I will share in a future post with you.  For the most part right now we are allowing what we see and experience during our travels to learn more about the world we live in.  For example when I’m driving I like to have a lively discussion about the rules of the road.  You know, because we have 4 human beings that will someday take the wheel.  I strongly believe a driver’s education begins at home.

Seriously, besides awareness of our driving behavior, traveling has opened up other discussions about current events.  After our trip to London, we are more aware of the terrorists attacks that have happened there.  We talk about why the attacks happen, how the government responded, and how the people reacted.  On my other blog at Keep On Winking I mentioned that the Yeoman, who introduced us to the Tower of London, has Multiple Sclerosis and is a big advocate for MS and the treatment of veterans.  It was a good opportunity for us to discuss what MS is and how people try to live despite the pain and the challenges of the disease.

Everywhere we go, we have the opportunity to learn something new and allow it to deeply impact us.  When we were in the states we try to get to know our neighbors and the neighborhood.  I feel everyone has something to add to our understanding of the world.

When we are not traveling, we like having an outline of resources we can go to.  It teaches independent accountability and learning to be flexible in a changing environment.  I notice that we are the type of people who thrive when we know what direction we need to go in.  We don’t always have to follow the guide to the letter but it helps us answer the question, what do we want to do next?  What about you? What kind of guideline are you using in your learning environment? Do you ever make changes along the way?

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