Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What we use in our homeschool (2016-2017)

We are really only doing specific things for Kindergarten this year since the younger two are only 3 years old and 1 year old and they don't need anything other than listening to their sister's schoolwork readings, and learning life skills type things.

Our main curriculum is Mater Amabilis (MA), although I am modifying it.  My kindergartener is doing Prep level.

For religion, we are combining the MA Prep level and Level 1A Year 1 (2nd grade) because I was teaching a 2nd grader for a little while (not my child). MA Prep religion is a mystery of the Rosary weekly, although we use the Holy Heroes Rosary CDs instead of the Speak, Lord I am Listening book recommended. We are also doing saints a few days a week using the book from Level 1A Year 1. We are also using the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism 1 although we don't do the questions at the end of the lessons.

We use Logic of English Foundations for phonics and handwriting. We have completed Level A and we are about halfway through Level B and she is reading simple words well. Level A teaches all the sounds of the single letter phonograms and they start reading and spelling simple words around lesson 20 as handwriting of all the lowercase letters. We use cursive although you can do manuscript. Level B starts teaching multi letter phonograms, long vowels and rules for silent e as well as other spelling rules. For handwriting, Level B covers uppercase letters. There are 2 additional levels, C and D, and they include vocabulary, comprehension and writing in addition to more phonograms and spelling rules. We split each lesson over 2 days.

For literature, poetry, fables and some gentle introduction to mechanics, we use English Lessons through Literature Level 1. It uses Beatrix Potter stories, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, etc. We split a single lesson over a week. One day we do the literature selection, the next we do the poetry selection, then we do the fable or picture study (every few lessons there is a picture study) and there are picture narrations of fables every few lessons meaning that the child draws a picture to illustrate the fable.

For math, we use Mathematics Enchancement Programme (MEP), which is a free program from the UK. She has completed the introductory level reception and is working on Year 1. I like MEP's focus on mental math. They practice adding and subtracting mentally with manipulatives. In reception, they don't write numbers, but writing of numbers is introduced gently in Year 1. We are only on Lesson 11 but greater than and less than as well as filling in a missing number has already been introduced.

Science focuses on nature study. We are focusing on insects right now, birds in the spring and we'll cover plants if there is time. We are reading the Tarantula Scientist right now (although spiders are arachnids not insects). When we study birds, we'll read the Burguess Bird for Children as well as a Peterson field guide coloring book on birds and a local field guide.  We also use One Small Square for nature study reading.   We are currently using One Small Square: Woods as we live in a very wooded area.

We are using Connecting with History Volumes 1 and Volume 4A. Volume 1 covers Ancient history starting with creation. It follows the time periods of the Great Adventure bible study.  Volume 4A covers American history beginning with the European exploration of the new world.  We don't do all the extra work suggested because she's in kindergarten.  We just read from their notes and read the books from the booklists.

We are still working out our music and art appreciation.  We are trying Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children from our local library.  We are going to try some Classical Kids CDs starting with Mr. Bach Comes to Call.

We also do a Classically Catholic Memory co-op twice a month at a local parish.   It covers religion, Latin, history, science, math, geography, timeline and great words (poetry or important documents). We are doing Beta year.  We listen to the memory work in the car most days.  My 3 year old has most of the memory work memorizes as does my 5 year old. 

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