It's that time ... Yes, it is! It is officially time to start our 2016/2017 school year.
This summer we logged over 140 hours in 9 weeks of summer school that will allow us to take the extended breaks we like to take later in the year. We had originally planned to start our fall term on August 29th. But we have a grandson due to be born in the next month, and I have a vacation planned for late January that will interfere with our normal scheduling. So I have convinced the kids that we should start this coming Monday, on August 15th. They weren't overly excited, but the promise of a long Christmas break helped to convince them that it might not be an all-bad idea.
As I am every year, I am really excited about our topics for learning. In addition to those basic studies, we will be digging deep into Missouri history, Greek Mythology, astronomy, and literature. It is really going to be an excellent year!
Here is what we have by way of curriculum choices:
EnglishMcGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader and McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader. Last year we used these classics to do recitations and to read and copy good vocabulary, poetry and prose. We will continue to do it each morning this year, as well. It is a special way to start the day.
Fix-it Grammar, Robin Hood (IEW). This program has been a good fit for us as it involves literature, writing, and a slow-progression of learning grammar. We completed about half of this volume last year and will finish it this fall and then move onto the next volume. It is also getting us prepared for the IEW writing program that we will start in the next couple of years.
Soaring with Spelling, Levels 5 and 6. We start each morning with a simple spelling worksheet from Soaring with Spelling. It gets the kids' brains moving and gets them a little extra spelling practice. We do not take tests, just review spelling concepts.
Current EventsCNN Student News. Of course we will continue our year with a daily dose of Carl Azuz and his 10 minutes of current events and puns. We love this show! We had the pleasure of going on Carl's CNN Student News Tour last year in Atlanta and got to meet him. He's a fantastic guy very intent on using his show to educate children.
MathPre-Algebra Tutor Volumes 1 and 2 from ScienceandMath.com. We completed the entire Mastering 5th Grade Math series and the kids decided that Jason is an effective teacher so they would like to continue on with this series.
LiteratureA major component of our school year is our year-long literature study. We use our literature studies as a jumping-off place for history and science. In years past we have done entire studies on the Little House on the Prairie series (with Westward expansion and pioneer days history studies with lots of life and biological sciences) and The Chronicles of Narnia series (which took us on a year-long study of WWII and learning a lot about recycling and energy conservation with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans). This year we are tackling the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and learning about Greek Mythology and Astronomy.
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingrid and Edgar Parin D'Aulaires with D'Aulaires' Greek Myths curriculum from Memoria Press. This is a new company for us, and I doubt we will use it exactly as it is prescribed because we are a little more eclectic than classical in our educational approach. But it is certainly a good guide with loads of information.
ScienceTo go along with our study of Greek Mythology, the kids will spend the year studying astronomy. We will use The Book of Astronomy curriculum from Memoria Press. We will also throw in some other activities, possibly with Minecraft. Again, the curriculum looks a little too stringent for our style. But I do not doubt that the kids will really enjoy learning this information.
There is a good chance that Brynne will be entering public school next year in order to be allowed to play sports. Although we are not at all excited about her reentering public school, we are confident that with her personality and smarts that she will do more than succeed. Since we have never really been a "textbook" kind of homeschool, and we have never done a formal science curriculum, Brynne is going to take on Apologia's Exploring Creation Through General Science. Unfortunately, she needs to be confident in using a textbook, answering questions, and studying for standardized tests if she is going to be going back to public school. This will do the trick in getting her ready for that. And, I actually do think she will get a lot out of this curriculum. She's a pretty "school-y" kind of kid.
We will spend the entire year learning Missouri History. Again because of Brynne going back to public school, she needs to have studied Missouri History and the schools here cover it in the 4th grade. They only get the glossed-over have-to version, but we are going to study it all year using a textbook called Missouri: Then and Now by Perry Mccandless and William E. Foley, prepare a Missouri notebook, and go on many field trips. This is probably the subject I am most excited about this school year. We are going to go all over this state and have some really fun times.
These are the field trips we have planned at this time:
- Fort Osage
- St. Genevieve (Missouri's oldest city), Mastadon State Park, Graham Cave
- St. Charles (Missouri's first capitol city) and Daniel Boone home
- Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kansas City
- Watkins Woolen Mill, Lawson
- Wornall Majors House Museums, Kansas City
- Battle of Lexington site, Lexington
- Jesse James home and Mt. Gilead, Kearney
- WWI Museum, Kansas City
- Federal Reserve Museum, Kansas City
- Liberty Hill Farm, Warrensburg (modern farming)
- Hannibal, Missouri, and Mark Twain home
ReadingThe kids will continue to read books of their choice. Brynne is still working through the Warriors series and has about 10 more books to read. There is also a series involving dogs and bears from the same author that interest her. Eli is currently reading the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. I am going to encourage him to read the 39 Clues series soon.
We will also have a read aloud going at all times that corresponds with either our Missouri history studies or that are going to be plays or movies in the upcoming year. At this time our selections include:
Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine
No Talking by Andrew Clements
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein (this one is just for fun)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Jesse James: The Wild West for Kids by Adam Woog
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono
Enrichment ClassWe are going to try to split up our enrichment classes this year into a boys' class and a girls' class. The boys will be doing a STEM activity each week and the girls will be doing creative writing.
Extra Curricular Activities
Brynne will be playing volleyball, basketball, and softball this year, as well as bowling. Eli will be bowling and attending speech therapy once a week. He is also hoping to get involved in some regular archery activities.