A New Year & A New Homeschool Schedule

I’m pretty excited about our spring homeschool semester.  We started yesterday, with some old favorites from the fall that we’re continuing with, and some new additions for this semester.  As a TOS Crew member, I expect that we will be reviewing some new curricula as well….but I’m not sure at this early date what those will be!

Here’s a rundown of our curricula for the spring:

Bible:  We start our homeschool days with family and individual Bible reading.  We’ve just started Experiencing God At Home Day-By-Day by Tom Blackaby and Rick Osborne.  This book takes a family through an overview of the Bible on a week-by-week basis, from Genesis to Revelation.  There’s a daily verse or chapter reading, a devotional thought, plus individual activities/readings for each child, whether they’re younger or older.  Like its predecessor Experiencing God, written by Tom’s father Dr. Henry Blackaby, it’s very focused on a loving relationship with God (and between family members).  It’s very sweet….so far it’s been the perfect start to our mornings!

History:  We’re going to be taking a look at the history of the ancient world (a favorite topic for me, if not for Jackson) with Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World Volume 1.  I’ll be linking up to my friend Vic’s SOTW Linky, where lots of homeschoolers who use this share tips, crafts and projects for the book.  This textbook will form the spine of our history lessons, covering the years from 7000 BC thru 476 AD.  We’ve started with the nomads of the Fertile Crescent and will move through ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Canaan, Babylonia, Assyria, India, China, Phoenicia, Greece and Rome.

We’ll be able to add some cool historical fiction to this history spine.  We just started Jeanne Bendick’s Archimedes and the Door of Science (a living history book describing in novel form, Archimedes’ life, inventions and discoveries).  I’ve found a book about Mother Teresa to use when we hit India, and Mystery of the Roman Ransom when we get to Rome.  (We read the same author’s Detectives in Togas several years ago….fantastic mystery for adventure-loving kiddos!)  The House of Sixty Fathers will be our China reader.  I have a long list of other historical fiction books….we’ll try to read as many of those as we can, either aloud as a family or for Jackson on his own.

Science:  We’ll be continuing with our beloved Apologia’s Chemistry and Physics study, which we reviewed for TOS Crew in the fall but will be finishing this semester.  Apologia does such a gorgeous job of teaching science and is full of fascinating experiments.  (We’re making the lava lamps on Thursday!)  The Archimedes book is a fantastic aside to this chemistry and physics course, too.

Piano:  Jackson’s continuing with his piano lessons, and will be starting the John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano book 3 next week with his piano teacher.

Math:  We fell in love with the Teaching Textbooks math courses several years ago.  They are succinct, funny and interesting…..as well as pretty thorough.  These are whiteboard learning CDs that instruct the student in a daily concept, then use the spiral method to teach the new concepts and review the old.

Literature:  Some of Jackson’s reading will be the books about other cultures and times that I referenced above, and others will just be good quality books for sixth graders.  I’ll be using some of the books from Susan Wise Bauer’s reading lists, some from Sonlight’s and others that either I enjoyed or I know will be right up his alley.  (Most of these will be courtesy of our beloved public library!)

Language Arts:  We’re using a combination of online curricula for several of Jackson’s language arts programs.  SchoolhouseTeachers.com has very good Daily Grammar and Daily Writing courses.  Each of these has a daily lesson plus activities that he’ll be doing, providing growth in grammar skills and usage as well as a creative writing outlet.

VocabularySpellingCity provides his weekly spelling lists plus additional ones (like science or foreign language vocabulary, which I can input for him) for other spelling work.  This has made our spelling work much more enjoyable for Jackson!  You can read my review on VocabularySpellingCity here.

Of course, for handwriting, it’s a bit harder to do something online!  Therefore, we’re continuing with the handwriting program Jackson has used since 2nd grade, A Reason for Handwriting.

Foreign Language:  Jackson started using French Essentials last fall after we used and reviewed it for TOS Crew.  It has been a very pleasant way for him to learn a foreign language; plus it provides excellent pronunciation, spelling and listening skills.  We’ll continue with that several times per week.  (Read my French Essentials review here!)

Electives:  We expect to participate in our local homeschool coop this spring.  However, registration is not until next week so I’m not quite sure which classes Jackson will get.  We’re hoping he’ll at least be able to take one class there.

Otherwise, we’ll be doing PE (biking, walking, hiking, outdoor games….and hopefully swimming later in the semester), keyboarding, and art journaling for our elective classes.  There’s also a filmmaking class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that we’re planning to check out.  I’m not sure yet if the filmmaking is a few years too old for him or not….we’ll know more after we “attend” some of the classes.

We’re so excited to be starting a new semester.  What classes are you planning for this semester?

Enjoy!  –Wren