Saturday, August 10, 2013

Curriculum Choices 2013-14

Just call me a curriculum junkie.  I won't be offended.  I don't have to own it, but I'd sure like to.  And I at least love to know about all the cool and amazing teaching tools out there, even if I'll never use them.

Cause the goal, when buying curriculum, is to use it. 

I really enjoy the process of choosing curriculum each year.  I've had moments of uncertainty, frustration, and of feeling overwhelmed, but overall, I love that I get to tailor our curriculum to fit each of my children.

If you've read my blog in the past year, you know how much I loved My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  It was our first homeschool year departing from The Weaver curriculum and as much as I loved The Weaver, I had no idea what I was missing!  Having the lessons all planned and all the core books included was exactly what I needed.  I felt like our year was complete and didn't have a lot of gaps in it.  I loved the notebooking pages and the general emphasis of the core.

So it's no surprise that for the 2013-14 school year, I've chosen My Father's World again!  We will continue to follow the Family Cycle and take the next step, doing Creation to the Greeks.  I've spent the last two weeks acquainting myself with the books in our new core and I'm really excited!  You can see the entire package here, but these are the elements I'm most excited about:

English From the Roots Up

My Father's World breaks this study of Latin and Greek word roots up into the next two years. This year, we'll be learning Greek word roots.  It looks fun and simple! Our first Greek word root is "photo" which means light. We'll think of lots of "photo" words we know and some of their definitions!  As a word lover and  the kinda gal who loves diagramming sentences, this kind of geekery is right up my alley!

Patricia St. John Read Alouds

 I've heard amazing reviews of her books from other moms. In fact, I haven't heard a complaint, ever, from moms or their kids.  I love reading aloud and I'm amazed at how the stories stick with my kiddos.  The power of story is profound.  I can't wait to read these for the first time.

Celebrating Biblical Feasts

I have long been interested in the significance of the major feasts of Israel.  We know several families who celebrate Passover each year and have participated in the past.  This year we'll be celebrating the seven major feasts as a family, assisted by this book which is full of recipes, crafts, songs, prayers etc.  I'm hoping and praying these will be memorable celebrations for the kids, or at least a great time of learning more about what God intended when he instituted the feasts.

I'm also really excited about the new math program we're using this year...


I first learned about JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) math from the Timberdoodle catalogue.  They sell the JUMP at Home workbooks and gave them rave reviews.  JUMP breaks math down into the smallest incremental steps and their philosophy is this:

JUMP Math is a numeracy program. JUMP Math is dedicated to enhancing the potential in children by encouraging an understanding and a love of math in students and educators. JUMP Math replaces the self-fulfilling myth that some people are born with mathematical ability while others do not have the ability to succeed with assumptions that all children can be led to think mathematically.

JUMP is a not-for-profit company founded by John Mighton.  I read Mighton's book The Myth of Ability which covers how JUMP Math began and it's success with students that were otherwise far below grade level in mathematics.  It is a Canadian based company but provides books to meet US standards as well.  I purchased the Canadian versions for my kiddos via Amazon Canada.  The cost for BOTH children with shipping was $56 for one year of math.  That's because teacher's guides are FREE online.  The company truly is not-for-profit and interested in helping teachers and students achieve math success.

And we sure need some help in that department!   I am really, really excited about JUMP Math.  Our philosophy this year, as encouraged by Mighton in his book, is "I will not let you fail".  We won't move on til the kids are ready and I'm going to do my best to eliminate the math stress from our home.  Stay tuned through-out the year for updates.

(As a side note, if you are looking into JUMP Math, teachers guides are FREE online with registration.  Both my sister-in-law and I had major failure trying to register on the website.  We would never get a confirmation.  However, I ended up creating a Yahoo Canada email address and got my confirmation within ten minutes and I'm now in the system.  I emailed JUMP about this problem and received a personal email with access information for my regular email address. )

Considering God's Creation

Our core from My Father's World includes science using Genesis For Kids, a book of science experiments based on the seven days of Creation. I have to admit I am not at all excited about this book.  One glance through and all I could do was turn up my nose and curl my lip. However, Josh will be doing these experiments with the kids and I'll be doing Considering God's Creation with them!  This notebooking, Charlotte Mason inspired program is also based on the Creation week, but is much more my speed when it comes to teaching style and what I think is effective for my kiddos.   We'll be getting out in nature and keeping a notebook of what we learn. 

I'll be writing a separate post about what Petite will be doing this school year, but these are the highlights of the upcoming school year for the oldest two and myself!  I am always amazed at how much I learn, too. If you're homeschooling, I hope you're excited about the upcoming year and the curriculum you've chosen.  Have a great time growing together!

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