Monday, August 7, 2017

Gearing Up

It's the beginning of August and I actually can feel Autumn in the air. I'm also feeling the urge to get my act together and get organized. Over the years, I've found that I desperately need a plan; a schedule, so this year I'm assembling and recording my various resources in blog form. This will provide me with a convenient spot to refer to, make changes, and update through the year. This should help me remember all the resources that I plan to use. I always print out my blog entries putting them in a notebook. Hopefully, the girls will look back on these days with fond memories.

This year marks a big change for us. Grace will be attending our public high school—9th grade—and so, sweet Mary will get all my attention during the school day. I have some great plans ahead and am looking forward to an interesting year. Maybe there's something here that will interest you.

We've been successful with Saxon Math so we will continue on. Mary is finishing up Saxon 6/5 and will proceed to 7/6. We love math games and try to play a few every week. We also enjoy doing some critical thinking/logic activities. This Building Thinking Skills book has been with us for a couple of years and this year we'll tackle The Basics of Critical Thinking. Since we do these other brain training activities, sometimes we spread the Saxon lesson over two days.

I'm changing it up a little this year by adding Latin into Mary's English Grammar study. I'll be writing weekly lesson plans incorporating numerous resources. Feel free to follow along if this sounds like your cup of tea. Here is my blog site. Carpe Diem
The resources I'm using are the following:
I know that's a lot of stuff, but I love grammar so much of this study is for me. 😜

Since Mary is in our CC community's Essentials class, she will go through Pudewa's IEW curriculum again but I am planning to tweak it a bit. In the past, I've been intrigued with Brave Writer. This year I decided it was time to give it a try. We'll work through the Arrow curriculum that I bought last year. I'm excited for Mary to work on her grammar, punctuation, spelling, and writing skills by way of reading worthwhile books. She will also keep a daily journal which will be completely her own. She'll do her freewriting here.

I'm excited about this year's history study. We'll focus on American History using CC's history sentence as a general guide. I'm planning to read A Young Person's History of the United States as a read aloud. We'll also work through Kid's Discover American History. One book that we read three years ago is Two Miserable Presidents. This book was not just informative, but extremely entertaining. It will be on our list again this time around. (He has one about King George that's good too.) As we're doing this, we'll study our own state's history, charting US events along with WV history on a visual timeline. We're going to spend some time traveling to different places in our state as we learn about them. I'm not native to WV; consequently, I didn't learn WV history as a child. 

Science is Mary's thing. This year I have an actual curriculum to guide us and provide hands on experiments to follow. We've already started The Building Blocks of Science. So far, so good. It has an interesting student text, well-explained experiments to support the text, and a lab notebook. We also have maintained nature notebooks over the years which we'll continue. We record our observations, identify and press flowers, practice drawing and using watercolors, and copy nature poetry. Exploring Nature with Children has been a helpful resource through the years and my personal favorite is Keeping a Nature Journal. Mary is also planning to get involved with our local robotics program. She's looking forward to that.

I want to focus on American poets while reading and copying their poetry. Mary will memorize and recite some of these works.  Along with the books that she'll be reading from the Brave Writer curriculum, I'll include a few of my own choices. Some of these will be from the Challenge A reading list. I also found a book list at Build Your Library that I'll draw from. She'll make at least one entry in her commonplace notebook each week.

I want to make it a priority to find the time for a weekly art project. I think art is so important in brain development. Last time through Cycle 3, I used Great American Artists for Kids for some inspiration. I'll use this again but I did find another website that has many options. Hmmm... Maybe we'll get started and try one of these projects this week. Middle school art lessons. In addition to Mary's piano lessons, we're going to research American composers learning about their music as we move through our history lessons. I also think that it will be interesting to discover the different genres of music specific to each time period.

As I finish writing this, I see that we have a packed year ahead. Of course, some of this will change as we go along, but I feel that I found some great resources to work with. I hope you all have a wonderful and fulfilling year. If you have any questions about these products or are just wondering how we're getting along, feel free to email me at