Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall 2010 Curriculum: What We Like

I'm always reading the Well Trained Mind forum's K-8 board where moms talk constantly about their curriculum choices, what they are tweaking, what they trying, what they are ditching.  I have learned a lot from this forum, have participated in many of the discussions, and chosen, tweaked and ditched a few myself.  This semester we have landed on good soil, and our curriculum choices seem to be working and are very enjoyable.  Here's what made the working list this so far.  Note that Classical Conversations is our spine, and we are following along with that for history, geography, science, Latin, and grammar.  We are supplementing the history and science at home, as you will see below.

For Matty (age 9) and Molly (age 5) together:
Classical Conversations
Story of the World, volume 2
Apologia Astronomy
various read-alouds and audio selections to complement our studies in these areas.  We especially like recordings by Jim Weiss, who also reads in the Story of the World audio collection.

For Matty
Math Mammoth 4A and 4B
Writing with Ease 2
MegaWords, volume 1
Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting book C (and soon D)

For Molly
Math Mammoth 1A
Pathway Readers
Explode the Code book 2
Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting book A and soon B

We also make lap books, which incorporates a lot of research, writing and planning skills.  I find this to be a very useful tool for synthesizing information, as well as practicing good summarizing skills, good handwriting, and also incorporates a creative / graphic layout element to the final project.

I have found Classical Conversations (CC) to be a tremendous help in keeping us on track and holding us accountable to getting memory work done.  I am a person who is typically extrinsically motivated, and so having the external factor of a weekly meeting with other families, a goal to work toward with Matty (he would like to try for "Memory Master" this year), and a skeleton of topics on which to build at home, we are having a very successful school term.  I can compare this to last year, in which I took a break from CC, and while it was a very good school year, I often found it difficult to set goals for the children and meet them on my own, whereas this year, each week I have a goal to work for with them.

Story of the World is a continual HIT in our household.  Everyone likes it, not just the students.  We listen to it obsessively in the car, wherever and whenever we go somewhere, no matter how short the ride, and when we need to review a point we pull out the books at home.  I use primarily the audio recordings, because it helps to fill in the gaps and expand on points that the CC history memory work leaves open.  It also helps to give that context which is lacking in the memory work, which my rising dialectic-stage son needs.  (He is the can be exhausting.)

Math Mammoth is another shining star in our curriculum.  I find that (for us) this program just. makes. sense.  I love how Maria Miller, the author, incorporates thinking strategies and mental math in every operation that is taught.  It is very affordable, and does not include a lot of extras that must be purchased.  I can use whatever I have on hand to teach a point, and can trust that each point is taught thoroughly, almost to the point of exhaustion for my boy, sometimes.  I will sometimes have to work through some of the more challenging lessons with him, but thankfully, Dad has stepped in and seems to have a real knack for explaining math to the I LET HIM.

Apologia Astronomy is the third book we've done in Apologia's Young Explorer series by Jeannie Fulbright.  We like it--the writing in this particular volume is a little "young" for Matty, but good for Molly.  He is getting plenty out of it, though, and it is great for Molly to feel like she's really understanding the science that we're covering.  It works well for us right now, because we are currently covering Astronomy as the science topic in CC, as well.


  1. Thanks for sharing what you're using (I love reading these types of posts!) -- I want to look into CC for next year.

  2. I agree: I also love this sort of post, and will have to look into CC for next year as well.

    Would you be interested in submitting this post to the Classical Homeschooling Carnival?

  3. We love Math Mammoth too!...I haven't tried Story of the World, but have a feeling I will one day...


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