Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Nitty-Gritty: Curricula discussions

WARNING- This will  only be potentially interesting to about 1% of the population- those that are interested in homeschooling, paranoid family members who think we're ruining our kids and want to check up on us, and strangers with such insane insomnia that they've somehow wandered over to this random corner of the Internet.  If you're not one of those people, TURN BACK NOW.  And if you are one of those people- well, it's still boring.  But I'm writing it for myself, and Josiah and Gabrielle, as a record, and for reminders and accountability when we need it.  So there.

Here it is- the obligatory curricula blog.  Below I will list the curricula we will use this year, and the ones we hope to use but may not get to because, holy cow, where did all the time go?!

One thing you should know about us- we do a wacky May-April school year.  I'm not going to bore you with the details why we chose this right now- there'll be plenty of other details I'll bore you with in this post.  So starting April 30, the 2012-2013 school year begins with both Josiah and Gabrielle in the first grade.

We've chosen to do a Classical approach to education.  That can mean a million things.  For us, it means I read The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise, liked what they have to say, and planned our curricula around this.  We'll use the trivium approach, beginning the first of four Grammar years this year.

A copy of the picture of the cover from Amazon.  I am an amateur blogger, deal with it.

We'll use Tapestry of Grace and Story of the World for History, and as our spine.
We'll use First Language Lessons, Writing With Ease, All About Spelling and Explode the Code for Language.
We've chosen Easy Classical Science for, well, Science.
We use Singapore Math for our Math curriculum.
We'll use Artistic Pursuits for art appreciation (although I haven't received this yet, and it will be the first thing I drop if/when we get over-whelmed.)

For anyone still reading, and interested, I'll describe our interpretation of the classical approach.  To me, classical education is defined by three main characteristics: 1) An emphasis on history, 2) An emphasis on language, and 3) The Trivium.  We'll do a lot of reading, a lot of narrating, dictating, and drawing as part of our note-booking, and we'll hopefully get to do lots of fun things like craft projects and science experiments.  We'll chose our literature and projects around what part of history we're in.  This first year, our focus will be on Ancient History through 400AD, the creation of the world through the fall of Rome.  Our second year focuses on Medieval and Early Renaissance history, the third focuses on Late Renassance to Early Modern history, and then in fourth grade we'll study Modern History, 1850 through the present day.  Then in fifth grade, we'll enter the Dialectic/Logic phase of their education, which will last for four years, and follow the same four year pattern.  The last four years, the high school years, are called the Rhetoric phase, and we'll start the pattern over one more time.  So everything the kids study now they'll get two more cracks at before graduating.  I'm excited that this will allow us to choose our pace and depth of study based on our skills.  We can skim Ancient Assyria if we want to dig in and spend extra time on Ancient China because we know we get to do it all over again later.  I also like the fact that they'll be studying history in order.  That just makes so much sense to me.  And, probably most important of all, I just really love the focus on language- the reading of, interpretation of and creation of literature.  

I am excited about this year, but I won'r pretend that a part of me isn't more than a little overwhelmed.  It's a lot to cover!  I hope to do posts every week, on what we're studying, and what we've done.  But as I've said in another post- I want this to be about our lives, too.  We'll just have to see how it goes, huh?

Okay, so there it is.  Wasn't too painful, for me at least...

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