What in the world have I been up to? This summer has been a busy one full of visiting family in other states (actually ALL our family live in other states), working on Catholic Schoolhouse stuff, and lately planning for my own homeschool! I don’t often write about my personal life or my kids here, but I thought it could be fun to share with you our plans for homeschooling this year. I have a 6yr old who is starting 1st grade (on a 2nd grade level) and a 3 yr old who wants to do school too. Oh and the baby, who’s only job is survival with minimal property damage.
(This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon, anything other than Amazon is just a regular old link to show you what I’m talking about)
As many of my readers may already know, I do a lot of work for and with Catholic Schoolhouse, which is a Classical Catholic homeschooling ‘spine.’ It provides memory work for lots of subjects, and basically you add on fun stuff, printables, and living books. I add a reading and writing curriculum, and a math curriculum according to ability level.
So naturally, this year we are using Tour I of Catholic Schoolhouse. I’m pretty excited because this is the tour that goes over American History, US geography, zoology and anatomy are a couple of the science subjects, and I love the composers we study this year. I’ll be adding lots of books from our own shelves as well as library books, and doing a ‘morning basket’ time.
Eva has finished all four levels of Little Angel Readers, which we both really liked. Little Angel Readers was an open and go sort of phonics curriculum, so it made that part of homeschooling take little effort on my part. This year though, we are going to focus on spelling and go back to using All About Learning Press materials by starting on All About Spelling Level 1. We did All About Reading Prereading with Eva when she was 3 and it was great. Speaking of which, I bought just a workbook and Charles will be doing the AAR Prereading this year! As for reading and vocab: I’m going to have her do some reading aloud everyday using the Catholic Heritage Curricula books, Bigger Stories for Little Folk and a couple others TBD. Vocabulary will come from our CSH subjects like history, science and geography.
As for math, we’ve had really good success with Critical Thinking Company’s Mathematical Reasoning books. They are definitely a more traditional workbook style of teaching, as in I teach a concept and she does workbook pages to reinforce and practice. But I like how they’ve included fun into the pages, and also mixed them up. By mixed them up, I mean a topic is introduced and practiced a little, then an old topic is practiced. It’s not like learn addition and then 10 pages of practicing addition. That can be overwhelming. We’re doing Level C this year (we did B last year and A the year before. We average 10 pages a week or 2-3/day of school).
Catholic Schoolhouse Tour I teaches about 7 saints this year, and various catechism topics. But I’m also excited to be using Tell Me About the Catholic Faith. I’m trying to convince Lacy (Catholic Icing) to finish up her post series of those notebooking pages, so hopefully I can use those this fall (cough, cough Lacy!) That book has such a great layout, with two page spreads telling stories about saints, teaching about sacraments, various events in church history, etc. I’m excited to get a good baseline of knowledge in my kids heads this year using it. It’ll be part of our ‘morning’ basket time. My plan is to read it to the kids, and then have just Eva do the notebooking pages while I do All About Reading with Charles. We’ll see how that goes.
My Catholic Schoolhouse ‘add-ins’ :
I view CSH as my vanilla icecream at Marble Slab, and then all the other books, worksheets, notebooking etc are the add-ins or toppings to make it really yummy.
A quick summary for the non-CSH users who read my blog. Tour 1 of CSH covers American History, USA in geography, Science is Zoology, Weather, Anatomy, Electricity and Magnetism, Religion is Catechism and American Saints (like St. Kateri, St Damien of Molokai etc), Music is Bach, Beethoven, Sousa and Joplin, Art is American artists, and then basics in Math and Language arts.
For History we’ll be just adding in living books that we have on the shelves or get from the library, and doing silly activities (like reenactments using stuffed animals and dinosaurs). For Geography I’m adding in Draw the USA and the free notebooking pages from Life of a Homeschool Mom. I may also use some of the geography lapbooks I’ve made.
For music I thought about adding some books about the composers, like Opal Wheeler’s Boy from Thuringia, but have decided to just immerse ourselves in the composer’s music during play time/quiet reading time/wheenver I think to turn it on, and continually remind my kids who the composer is. My main goal is for them to be able to recognize the composer based on listening to his music.
We’re also doing Draw Write Now Books 2 and 3 (they fit in great with American History and Science about weather), for handwriting practice and just for fun. And for Science, we’ll be reading books (a trend here right), going outside and to nature-y places, and using these Pocket Books I got from my Usborne (my friend Andrea is a consultant, and really good at it in case you want to throw your own book party). Plus lots of other fun Usborne books I got this spring, like Secrets of Camouflage (Week 2 of CSH Tour I).
I think that sums up my specific goals. The big picture goal is to have fun while growing in faith and virtue. Math is important, History is important, but the reason I homeschool is so I can really influence these little people I am raising to be faithful followers of Christ and contribute in a positive way to this world in which we live. Whether you send your kids to public school, private school or homeschool (or any combination) I know all of us mommas are just doing the best we know how for our kiddos. So, seriously, no judgement here on how you educate your kids, I just thought I’d share my plans 🙂
I’ll be homeschooling with a 1 yr old around this fall, so I don’t know how much spare time I’ll have, but the plan is to keep blogging for CSH as well as continue posting fun coloring pages and activities on here 🙂 And if I ever find the time, I’ll finish up my Rosary Cards!
What are your plans this fall?