Curriculum 2011 – our work in progress

Owing to the joys of changing countries, learning languages and moving houses (quite a few times), I am allowing myself the liberty of a slowly blooming curriculum, that develops with the seasons and refines itself as we live it.  I needed to review it, so here, I share it with you, Fellow Guider of Young Souls. 

The next step will be to see how the rhythm of our week needs to be tweaked.  Another time. 

For now, the studies.

Discipleship Studies

Bible – mostly reading straight from La Bible, La Segond 21, following the gentle pattern that I read about at A Holy Experience
and also reading The Child’s Story Bible, Catherine F. Vos during our sofa times.
Sometimes using the New Testament notebooking pages from Debra’s Notebooking Pages to remember a story or to write down a GOAL (Grasp this promise, Observe this commandment, Avoid this sin, Live this principle).
Ad hoc use too of You Too Can Change the World, by Daphne Spraggett.

Disciplined Studies

Literacy – going strong with Progressive Phonics (a free phonics programme that intentionally teaches children to read phonetically the Dolch sightwords.  Useful for children who require encouragement, support and lots of interesting repetition, as these reading books are mostly partnered reading, with fun rhymes and pictures).

Writing is still a mish-mash, so this is the ideal: tracing and copying phrases from their reading books, leading to dictation.  The master copy is inserted into a plastic pocket and the girls write with wipeable markers over it.  Nadine has a great explanation of the system in her Practical Pages.

Numeracy – definitely a MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programme) family. It is challenging, thorough and requires hands-on parenting.  It is also varied, fun and free. Already I can see how the different approaches to maths being taught are going to be a great boon in the maths lessons to come.

French Literacy – Daily doses of J’apprends à lire avec Sami et Julie : Dès 5 ans, by Adeline Cecconello and Geneviève Flahault-Lamorère.  We need to add daily handwriting of French too, using the system for English too.

Discussion Studies

Music – oh, this one is vague… we listen occasionally to music from the schedule at Ambleside Online… things might improve now that we’ve discovered the library and it’s zillions of CDs…

Art – still have plans to do monthly or termly Artist studies, but working up to it. Currently enjoying Sketch Tuesday hosted by Harmony Art Mom.

History – this is full on 🙂 Continuing with Scotland’s Story by H E Marshall for the Scottish side. Using L’histoire de France Racontée aux Enfants, by Alain Decaux for the French. Combining this with as much craft in place of narration as we can produce. And all of this needs to be alongside Ancient History, using Heart of Wisdom’s ideas and the Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World as a primary sourceI’m looking at slowing the pace on national history and speeding up Ancient History (we’re still at the beginning).

Discovery Studies

Nature Study – not yet attempted this, even though we have a digital copy of Handbook of Nature, by Anna Comstock, waiting to be used.

Science – we use in-house, shared or purchased lapbooks for units on necessary subjects – like Teeth and Pandas (the first because the girls needed to look after their teeth better, and the second because Giggler has requested it!).  The aim though is to start on Heart of Wisdom’s approach to science soon, and use La Science, from Larousse as a text, since it fits perfectly with the first year plans.

Geography Intellego Unit Study on Continents and Cultures, probably moving on to a study of maps in some form when we finish.

Discretionary Studies

Physical Education – finally both Smiler and Giggler got places in gym lessons, so that sorts coordination.  Just need to add lots more walking in nature for stamina.

Domestic Skills – Somehow we want to create space for each one to cook a meal once a week for the family.  The stresses of the other studies has pushed this aside for months now.  However, they do share setting the table, washing and drying up, and they help regularly with the laundry, shopping and cleaning.

And what gaps do I find? 
I’ve not really thought about reading good literature together. Horrors!  What an admission?  I need to put together a collection of books to read together.  Otherwise we will miss the extra depths of literature by resting in the repetition of familiar stories.
Action point numero uno: fine Literature to feed young hearts and minds.


Scotland’s Story

Having just said that we are doing History from the beginning, there are 2 exceptions. We are also looking at Scottish and French history. It’s for cultural reasons, rather than anything else. We no longer live in Scotland, so the only way they will learn about their home country is if we study it. And we home educate, so the only real way they will learn French history is if we study it.

Explanation done. Let’s look at what we are using for Scottish history.

Click to go to the Baldwin Project for an on-line, printable version

We have no timescale for finishing it, and when the girls get bored, we stop it for a while. But I do want them to be able to remember something of what they read… huh, and narration doesn’t do it for them at the moment.

We’ve been mostly ending each chapter with a type of crafty notebooking page (I’m not a great notebooker, so I really feel like I’m making this up). And just in case, there is someone else who can use the ideas, here are the useful pages that we have done, with the chapters included.

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 1-3: Basic Drawing with text narrated underneath

This method leaves them a bit short.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Mini Pictures and Map, detailing the story

This is my work. I was begining to get an idea of how to make this work for them… I simply photocopied this for the other notebook.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Images relevant to the Scottish/French connection, and the girls' interests

We used this mostly to look at things I thought they should have some idea about, and we had a wee google to pull together some images.

Chapter 7

I cut out the shapes and they place them where they choose.

Took the chance to explore heraldry. They compared their shields to the real Hay shield when we were finished.

Chapter 8 & 9

Symbols for King and Ruthlessness

More to help them remember the bloody theme, rather than details… they were beginning to wane at this stage. Getting the paints out really helped them with their interest.

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Macbeth's half built castle, Macduff's castle with moat, his boat sailing off to England

They really did not want to draw my suggestions, which were ‘designed’ specifically to help their recall. Hence, the rather unclear pictures. And the reason why I’m much more dictatorial when it comes to their history craft at the moment.

Chapter 14

Chapter 14 - Kings of Scotland and England at war, stopped at Alnwick, keys for the castle arrive on a spear, which duly pierces Malcolm's eye and kills him. England wins.

This one was cut out for them, and I wrote after checking they knew what should be written.

Incidentally, for 2 girly girls, they hardly flinch when they hear about the blood and gore. Perhaps it is simply too far removed for it to affect them. They certainly don’t enjoy it (phew), apart from being allowed to use paint if necessary.

How do you make history real and memorable?

Creation Video and Links

We are beginning both history and science studies with Creation, and found this video:

It very beautifully shows some of the wonders of the created world.

Given the age of our girls, the timeline cards on Biblestoryprintables have been really useful too. Find them and more on creation here. The site offers a lot of different topics and is developing over time. It’s worth a look, especially for the younger years.

Do you have any useful creation links?