Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011/2012 Curriculum: 2nd/3rd Grade

As I mentioned previously, I'm making some MAJOR changes to our classroom this year!  No more killing myself trying to come up with my own lesson plans.  That stuffs for the birds (obviously the birds are much more organized, creative, and better at time management then I am)!  I'm trying some new stuff this year that hopefully will make my life a WHOLE lot less hectic!  This year my son will be attending a classical hybrid charter school.  I will be his primary teacher, but he will attend school 2 days a week where they will teach him History & Science, with a little of everything else on the side.  We're REALLY excited for it!  In addition to teaching for me 2 days a week, they also provide me with the curriculum I need at home.  They give us a curriculum catalog, along with points (equal to an amount of money) we can use throughout the year to purchase the resources we need at home.  If we don't like a particular thing we are using, we can order something new with the extra points we have.  It's a REALLY cool setup!  We totally benefit.  "Technically" my son should be going into 3rd grade, but with his continued struggles in reading, this last year we focused more on reading and not enough in other subjects, so he's a little behind.  He decided he wanted to repeat 2nd grade, so we'll be wizzing through 2nd grade math, and quickly moving on to 3rd grade stuff.  This is the part of homeschooling that is so wonderful!  So here's what we've got planned for this year (by "we" I really mean "I," just to clarify):

Language Arts




  • Phonics Pathways - This was the one good thing we used this past year.  I have a child who really struggles to read.  This has really help things be a little more clear for him.  I've learned a lot of new things as well (either I wasn't paying attention, or my good ol' public school education missed a lot of stuff).  So we will be using this a lot for review!

    • Explode the Code - We're sticking with Books 1 & 1 1/2, as well as the Teacher's Guide/Key for books 1 & 2
    Spelling & Vocabulary: 



    •  Math Mammoth: 2-A & 2-B - Before I knew my son was going to attend the charter school, I went looking for an affordable math curriculum that had good reviews.  I came across Math Mammoth over and over again.  I didn't really find any negative reviews on it.  For the complete Grade 2 package, it cost me under $30!  And it was downloadable, so if I find I like it, I can use it for my younger children as they get older.  I figure its worth a shot.  If we don't like it, then I figure we can always get something through the school!
    Since my son's school will be providing Science, I won't be doing the bulk of it, but rather supplementing, so this isn't exactly all I would get if I were doing it all myself.  This year the focus of science is on Biology (plants, animals, & the human body).  Most of these books I already had in our home library already.

    Again, the school will be providing most of this, so we'll just be supplementing.  This year they'll be focusing on Ancient history.

    • Story of the World: Vol. 1 - I'm really excited about this!  This book is written so simply for children (and adults) to understand.  My husband, who majored in history and is quite the history buff, has been reading it.  He's a BIG sceptic when it comes to history books, especially those that "dumb down."  He's been really impressed thus far.  I myself have only had the time to make it through the first 2 chapters, but from what I've read, its wonderful!  I love how they explain what history is and why it is important.  Can't wait to dig into this!


    • Maps, Charts, & Graphs: B - This is one of the supplemental materials the school is providing.  I'm planning on focusing on neighborhoods as far as reading maps, charts, & graphs is concerned, but we're also going to focus on the countries that we'll be learning about in our history studies.

    I haven't quite decided what program I'm going to use just yet.  I think I'm going to stick to a free online one for now.  Here are a few of the ones I'm looking at:
    Practical Skills
    I know that scouting isn't a typical school subject, but my son just started the scouting program a few months ago and is REALLY into it.  So I decided to incorporate it into his schooling with the thought that this might be a good motivator.  If he does his math or language arts, then he gets to do some scouting before he moves on to more language arts, etc.  We'll see if it works, but either way he's going to be working on it to pass some things off. 

    Art & Music
    This will also be taught at my sons school, so I'll be supplementing where I feel it is needed.

    • How to Draw Aquarium Animals - We picked this up at Monterey Bay Aquarium this summer.  Thought it would be a good activity to use as a "break" subject.
    I haven't really decided what I'm going to do here.  I don't know if I'll add more then our normal family scripture stories at night or our morning family scripture reading.  Right now we're reading a story each night from this book:

    I'd like to coordinate our History lessons with scripture reading if I can organize myself to do so.  Since we'll be learning about the Ancients, I'm thinking I may use these books:

    PE & Health
    I haven't really decided what exactly I'm going to do here.  For part of PE we're going to get family passes at the local pool (they're only $50 for the entire family for a full year!).  We're also going to be doing a unit on the food guide pyramid & healthy eating.

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