I am in the midst of planning our 08/09 school year. To date I have completed my curriculum for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. This was relatively easy to do since this is the eighth year I have taught kindergarten and the seventh year I have taught first grade. It is always exciting to work with my children during these early years when the world of reading is opening up to them.
Every year I tweak my curriculum a little based on the needs of my children. My son, who is entering second grade, was born profoundly hearing-impaired. He was implanted with a cochlear implant when he was four. We have been working on his language development since his surgery. He has made slow but steady progress. We are thrilled with his development in the past twelve months. He also has a terrific speech therapist.
I believe he is ready for more substance in the areas of science and social studies. This means our artwork and projects will be thematic: we will make and then watch a paper mache volcano erupt, play with magnets and make Indian attire out of a paper bag. We will probably visit a fire station and read more about community helpers.
I usually begin the school day with my younger children participating in "Circle Time". This is our time for songs, finger plays, games and stories. I always include action songs like "The Hokey Pokey", "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes", and "Bow, bow, bow, Belinda". This helps get the wiggles out of their system and settles them down for seat work.
We recite the "Pledge of Allegiance", go on "lion hunts", and sing nursery rhymes, traditional children's songs and patriotic songs. We play games such as memory games; "Duck, Duck Goose"; directional games; and "Simon says". We also work on calisthenics as they love to do exercises like their older brothers. I always receive an enthusiastic response to Circle Time. This is not the case if I just dive into schoolwork.
Now, for the nuts and bolts: I am utilizing a common structure for each of the lower elementary grades with my children working in their grade appropriate workbooks and texts. This will simplify the coming school year, as I am familiar with the material and everyone will be on the "same page" so to speak.
- Circle time
- Bible - Gertrude Hoeksema's "Come Ye Children"
- Phonics and Reading - A Beka
- Penmanship - A Reason For Handwriting
- Language - A Beka
- Math - A Beka
- Social Studies and History - A Beka (supplemented with additional activities and reading material)
- Science - A Beka (supplemented with additional activities and reading material)
- Piano - Bastien
- Art - painting, mosaics, A Beka craft books (this is simply a cut and paste craft book with directions), coloring, and clay. (I utilize a wonderful book by Mona Brookes titled "Drawing with Children" for more formal art exercises.)
I have found that my kids work well with a structured routine that incorporates fun activities throughout the day. However, part of the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility it allows. On certain days, we might read, paint and play games all day. We can always catch up on workbook material later.