Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Curriculum Changes

'Tis the season for curriculum changes!

School is pretty much done here in my house. My youngest is definitely finished with his kinder work but I plan on maintaining a "light" daily school schedule; an hour at most for reading, light math work, and some phonics. My 3rd grader has some work he still needs to do in math and history. Taking most of April off for a vacation put him a little bit behind. I am so thankful he has fallen right back into the school routine without any balking.

With that said though, I am knee deep in curriculum choices and considerations. Throughout this past year I have gravitated towards classical methods of teaching. I like the structure and rigor that the classical method encourages. And while I don't plan on following The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (TWTM) to a "T", I want to implement many of their ideas into our routine this coming year. So, here I sit with a borrowed copy of TWTM organizing the curriculum I have already purchased, taking notes of what I still need, and then it hit me. BAM! I want to supplement the history I have planned for my oldest next year.

As many of you know I also use My Father's World for our curriculum base. MFW is a mix of classical and Charlotte Mason approaches. Because this is the first year my oldest will be using MFW, they recommend I start with Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC). Basically, ECC is heavy in geography and non-existent in history as I am coming to find out. So what do I do? I want my son to keep learning history and not take an entire year off to do just geography. On top of that conundrum. . .this past year we studied ancient civilizations. TWTM and Charlotte Mason both advise learning history in a chronological order. Which I wholeheartedly agree with, for lifetime homeschooled kids that is. My oldest though is a product of the public school system for 3 years. 3rd grade was his first year at home with me. If he was still in public school and entering the 4th grade this fall he would be learning American History 1850 to present. He most certainly wouldn't be focusing on just geography. Now, taking that all into consideration please know that I in no way feel like my kids need to keep up with public school or study the same things they are studying. I homeschool for many reasons including the freedom to do what is right for my kids concerning their education.

I have been praying about this curriculum change for quite some time. I even thought of trying to squeeze it in during the summer and progress as normal with the standard MFW ECC curriculum this fall. But 1850-present American history is so rich in material, I do not want to short change my son or myself in this exciting learning period. Even though, it will be out of chronological order I have decided to add The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR to our curriculum for the 2010-2011 school year. I am looking forward to all the interesting biographies and activities that go along with this time period. I suppose if my son wasn't easy at "rolling with the punches" then I would have stayed with the chronological order of history that we started here at home. But he has always been easy going and I know he will do just fine with the jump in time periods from this year to next year.

Anyone else knee deep in books? My entire dining room table is covered right now with books. I am sorting by subject and child. Taking notes on what I have and what I need. The bad part is that this is only the beginning. I have bookcases of stuff 2000 miles away that I need to organize and sort for this coming year. I just pray that we find a house near a library. . .buying books can get expensive.

I am beyond excited for this coming school year. So many fun things planned and exciting things to learn. I pray I can keep it all together and organized though. My workbox system will help with that immensely I'm sure. :)

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