Friday, 28 November 2014

Tweaking the Curriculum

We are almost at the end of the first term of this year and it is time to reassess. There are a few changes. I posted in the summer about my plans for Year One and Year Three. I didn't post about Middle Son who is starting work for IGCSEs. We haven't changed much of his work but have made some little changes for the younger two who are aged eight and five.

We have finished Leading Little Ones to God and are now doing some readings about the prophecies about the Lord Jesus. I need to find something else for next term: Vreugdenhil's Bible History told to our Children is a possibility although I wish that someone would translate it again. It was translated from Dutch presumably by a native Dutch speaker rather than an English speaker and sometimes the translation grates! I do like the content though.

The most major change is that we have added a spelling programme, All About Spelling (AAS). I'm am using this for both the younger two children. We have been using this since just before half term. Generally, I am delighted with this.
AAS is multi-sensory and goes right back to the start of spelling. We use it daily for about 15 minutes. This needs to be one to one so it takes me about 30 minutes a day to use with both children. There is plenty of drill and review plus daily practice writing words or short phrases.
I'm not sure that this would be the right programme to use for strong spellers but for anyone who finds spelling difficult, AAS is ideal.

In terms of readers, Younger Daughter has read some "real books" alongside her reader. I hope, and expect, that the trend to proper books will continue. Youngest Son has needed some variety with his Hooked on Phonics so we have also used Jolly Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree readers.

We took some time out from Galore Park maths for Younger Daughter to use New Maths Frameworking Step-Up workbook by Collins which is a KS3 remedial book (yes, I know she is in KS2 but this was a thought out decision). It worked well for a time, being well presented but then we found that it really wasn't at all challenging. Younger Daughter has now gone back to the Galore Park Junior Maths 1 and this seems to be working well.

Youngest Son has also had a break from his Mousematics to use a Collins New Primary Maths Activity Book 2A. This is well presented and is going well. We try to play maths games several times a week as no one really thinks they are work.

We are using the Apologia Flying Creatures bookbut it has been complicated as many of the birds to which it refers aren't found in the UK. I try to alter the examples as we go along but this has been a challenge. We probably need to do some more bird watching to help this along.

The Veritas Self-Paced continues to work well.
We have also been learning about the First World War. It is time to put the First World War on one side and do another project. I have another, non-historical, project lined up for the rest of this term and a geographical project for the start of the next.

Legends and Leagues plus the workbook has been working well. We added some clay work. Thank you to Beth, at As He leads is Joy, for the idea.
In case this isn't clear, this represents a hill, a mountain, a valley and a river.
Next term, we hope to add a country project.

Spanish hasn't gone terribly well, this term. I need to think though Spanish again but might put it on hold for a term. Younger Daughter is very keen to learn British Sign Language and a DVD is on its way. 

Physical Activity
Younger Son has started to play football. He loves this and this is definitely something that we plan to continue. Of course, we have carried on with our many park visits and walks.

Do feel free to add suggestions. I love to know about curriculum that has worked well for others. At present, I would like to add in something about money management. Any suggestions?

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  1. Your comment about Vreugdenhil made me laugh. I loved his "God's Care and Continuance of His Church" (church history series) as a child, and when I look at it now I really can't believe how bad the translation is. I never noticed it then. We used Leading Little Ones to God last year as well. Now we are using an ESV Children's Bible. Basically, it has Bible Story selections directly from the Bible (ESV), and I have my oldest son narrate (tell back). We have been happy with most of the selections, though I have found occasionally that they leave something out at the end of a story that I would have included (presumeably they wanted to keep the selections at a certain length). The one thing I don't like about it is that it does include pictures of Jesus. I do really like using the text directly from Scripture for our lessons, and I suppose another option I would consider is following a list of Bible stories so my children could get a good overview of the whole Bible without getting bogged down in Numbers. :)

    1. Nelleke, I think the translation in "God's care and continuance of His Church" is even more clunky than in the Bible histories.
      I haven't used narration with the Bible but it might encourage careful listening.

  2. Love reading about the different curricula people use! We love Apologia!!

  3. Hi Sarah
    The best Bible curriculum I've used is the Peep of Day series. We managed to buy a beautiful second had set from the Christain bookshop in Ossett several year ago, published in 1899! Chris Eastwood has several of the books in her Mothers Companion. I've found them very helpful. We read the Bible passage first and then the book as a commentary.
    Thanks for this interesting post Sarah.

    1. Thank you. We have the Mothers' Companion although I haven't used the Peep of Day series. I will have a look-this might well be the answer!

  4. Tweaking seems to be a regular activity for home schoolers. I like how well thought out your choices are. Does your middle son still use Conquer Maths? We are using it thanks to you and so far it has been just what both my maths strong son loves and what my maths weak daughters need- so thank you for the recommendation!

    1. Yes, he uses Conquer Maths regularly. It works well for us. Glad it has been successful for your family.

  5. I too will be making changes in January. We are doing a 'block' schedule where I change some of the subjects every 8 weeks. It seems to be working well, but even so, I've changed our spelling and math curriculum.