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Here it is, our curriculum of their current importance in our household. Lessons average 15-20 minutes long, some shorter some (like art/science) longer. Reading by far tops the list. If she is half the avid reader as I, life will be good.


Reading (Phonics)

Main curriculums used every week:

  • Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (OPG) – 4x/week; main coursebook
  • Explode the Code (ETC) – 3x/week; workbooks we’re reviewing what we’ve learned. Just started, so we’re going very quickly through the books (A,B,C,1,2) until we catch up, then go at a slower pace. Good lowercase handwriting practice for now in the beginning books.

Supplements used on occasion:

  • Progressive Phonics – Free, colorful and fun website, we mayread these books and do activities occasionally
  • ReadingEggs.com – subscription based online reading site that Satori enjoys now and then
  • Starfall.com – free site, we should use more often!
  • Early Readers: “Now I’m Reading” books by Nora Gaydos – cute, colorful little books, sticker incentives. Bob Books, Starfall books…

Next in importance, taking into consideration Satori’s interests, would be Handwriting. She writes ALL THE TIME. Progressing from little scribbles half a year ago, to letters she tries to sound out, learning handwriting is a great joy for Satori.


Handwriting

There are some curriculum choices I wonder about, this is not one of them. We use Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) – a multisensory handwriting program that is fun and easy.

  • HWT K – “Letters and Numbers For Me”: 3x/week; Satori is reviewing her capital and number formations and learning lowercase letter formation for the first time. She loves these workbooks, and colors almost every little illustration. We just started this in August, and she’s already almost finished it! We will finish the workbook this month, and although Satori goes very fast through it, she definitely needs to refine and practice! Sometime later this fall like November, or as late as January 2010, we’ll start up HWT again with the First Grade book – “My Printing Book” which emphasizes printing lowercase letters correctly and using them in words and sentences.
  • StartWrite – Handwriting WorksheetsNot started yet. This is a very cool software handwriting worksheet wizard program. They have HWT fonts, as well as all the popular handwriting fonts. I plan to use this to practice handwriting phrases from books we read, in penpal letters, in journals, and more. That is, if Satori lets me, she seems very adamant about writing on her own!
  • Other courses from above also cover handwriting, such as Explode the Code and Progressive Phonics.

Spelling

I never would have believed that Spelling would usurp one of the 3 R’s (above Math), but again, Satori’s mad about spelling and writing letters! This is another program that I am soo happy we are using – All About Spelling. In fact, I recommend people start with this when first starting to learn to read, if not use it for their actual reading program! Don’t wait, the first book is very easy and appropriate for a kindergartner/first grader who is learning to read. This is also a multisensory program—auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), and kinesthetic (touching).

  • All About Spelling – Level 1Currently 2x a week, but thinking about making it 3x/week. Satori is currently on lesson 11 (out of 24) in the first book and enjoys putting her stickers up on the chart! So far everything has been a review, but starting with lesson 12, we will learn new spelling rules, such as “th”, “sh” and “ch”, which it already has her prepared for by introducing these phonograms in level 9. We plan to start Level 2 early spring 2010.

Math

Ok, Math is important to us (the parents), so we’ll take pride if Satori is also good in math. For preschool, we started with Math-U-See Primer and it went quite well for our first 15 lessons (halfway through the book), it did a great job introducing place value, counting to 20, and simple addition. Then, the continual researcher that I am, delved in and discovered other great Asian math programs (high math success) like RightStart and Singapore. Here’s what our plans are this fall.

  • RightStart Math A3-4x/week. I cannot believe how great this program is! I wish we had started with this. I wrote a RightStart review on my blog last week. I love it so much, we will probably end up doing it 4 times a week and bump out MUS completely. Lessons teach Satori to think in chunks of 5, so she doesn’t have to count on her hands. Fun, addictive math games instead of boring drills. Interactive, multisensory activities. Lessons don’t look like they’ll ever be boring!
  • Singapore EarlyBird1-2x/week. a very highly rated program from the math loving homeschoolers. Colorful workbooks that are pretty fun.
  • Math-U-See Primer? – I would love to finish this up, and I’ve already purchased Alpha. Sadly, one look at our workbook today (after having so much fun with RightStart and Singapore) and both Satori and I shook our heads. I’d love to watch the DVD lesson and do one page out of six for their lessons, but we shall see. Maybe after the novelty of RightStart wears off, we will get into this again.

History


Literature

  • Five in a Row – Program for 4-8, takes quality children’s literature and read it five days in a row, each day discovering something new in Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Math, and Science. We usually just read it 3 days in a row, and they turn out to be Satori’s favorite books that we read again and again in the future!
  • Various Read-alouds

The rest of our curriculum is new to us, and we’ve just started or will be starting this month.


Science


Art

I want Satori to develop her creative side, so we’ll be starting both art and music programs this fall. Artistic Pursuits will be our main art program, and Piano lessons will be our main music.


Music

We have a baby grand piano that sits un-played and this fall Satori is going to learn how to use it. 🙂

  • Pianimals (Phonics 4 Piano): I think this will be a fun and easy way for Satori to get into playing piano. If she gets into it, I will pay for formal lessons. I had a few years in elementary school, and I would like to retake lessons as well!
  • Listening to classical music, we do this quite often as we study or ride in the car.
  • Classics for Kids – free website, great resource
  • WiiMusic – we already have this, I thought it would be fun to try out their 60 different instruments and play with David and I. Teachers are using it in their classrooms as a unique tool. If all else fails, we have RockBand. 😉 We’ll see how it goes, hopefully I can share a video of us in action soon.

Logic

  • Lollipop Logic : Critical Thinking Activities – 1x/week. We just got this and already had a lot of fun doing the first pages! Introduces complex thinking skills suitable for grades K-2. We are looking for computer games as well, let me know if you know of any suitable for K-1.

Physical Education


Curriculum THOUGHTS…

As this is our first year homeschooling, I expect a few hits and misses. I am an avid researcher and a bit of a curriculum junkie, but I try my best to pick what might work best for Satori’s learning style and my teaching style. Satori’s curriculum is an eclectic mix of several styles. We started “preschool at home” in February 2009 with unit studies with Five in a Row, then added the 3 R’s, but went very slowly in the spring. Over the summertime I fell in love with classical education, and we will follow a classical education fairly closely. This fall I will be researching Charlotte Mason methods and mix that in as well. I will talk about the various homeschooling “styles” in another post.


First Grade Curriculum

This spring, we are calling it First Grade, as there are several subjects we’ll be wanting to move on in. Satori should be reading fairly well, writing well, and be ready for the next step. This is when we start a definite “classical” education! Subjects we will add are:

  • History with Story of the World: Ancients (or other similar history)
  • First Language Lessons – we already started this and love it, but thought we should wait until first grade to continue 🙂
  • The Complete Writer – Writing With Ease
  • Song School Latin