Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Curriculum (continued)

In the last post I covered how I compiled the curriculum that we do together.  Here I will go over how I compiled curriculum for the subjects the kids do separately.  Again, with very minimal budget, I just bing'ed my heart out and found resources as much as I could via the internet!

Math: I wrote to The Book Samaritan and asked for a few things, math being one of them.  They sent a BJU Pre-Algebra for The Boy and a fairly old version of a 5th grade Houghtin Mifflin text for The Girl (but it's math, how out of date can it be?).  So I started with those.

  • The Boy: BJU Pre-Algebra and Khan Academy 
  • The Girl: Houghtin Mifflin 5th Grade text and Khan Academy and lots of math games.
  • I also found this website with some virtual manipulatives that help The Girl visualize things. 
  • This website is a PDF book of fun math worksheets
I love using Khan Academy.  I had the kids take the placement tests and I became a "coach" for each of them.  I can recommend assignments for them and give them due dates.  I can also see what they are struggling with or what they have mastered or need more practice in.  They earn "badges" so it's like a game to them.
Writing: I got copies of Write Source for grades 4 and 7 for shipping only.  So we use this as a guide and I make up my own assignments.  This has some great ideas for writing.  I also found a great source for journal prompts.

Grammar:  I use archives and just do a couple lessons a day depending on their level.  They each go in order, but The Boy can usually do three lessons a day and The Girl gets one or two.

Spelling:  I really wanted to get All About Spelling for The Girl but it was out of our budget and I couldn't find any used copies in our budget at the right level.  My next choice was going to be Apples and Pears Spelling which I have heard great things about, but again a bit out of our price range though more affordable than All About Spelling.  While searching, I came across Spell by Color, the first year is free so I figured it was worth a try.  We are on the fourth week and I am not sure about it still.  We are sticking with it for now, but I may invest in Apples and Pears soon.  I do like the idea of teaching her the rules rather than having her memorize lists.

For The Boy, he is a natural speller.  So I wanted to focus more on vocabulary and roots for him, but then I noticed he does need to practice more first.  So I found a free spelling course for homeschoolers that I thought we would try.  It is great for the word lists but I like to add more in the way of definitions and using a dictionary.  He is also registered for the Scripps Spelling Bee so we will start using that list probably at the end of November and he will be in the Bee in January.

Critical Thinking:  I assign them different things each day.  Once a week we read from Logic to the Rescue (a free Kindle book).  Other days they do a worksheet or a game on the iPad (Sudoku, Chocolate Fix, Where's Waldo).  The variety is great for them and I like to see them stretching their minds in different ways.  I had considered using The Art of Argument, until I read about some topics being in there that I am not ready to discuss with my 10 and 11 year olds!  Maybe we will use that later.

Reading: I include reading in their Science and History.  They also read for at least 30 minutes each night before bed, anything they choose to read.  I have been happy to see them grab history books from the library bin to read more at night! 

I think that covers everything.  So there it is, how I compiled our curriculum for nearly free!  What other resources have you found?

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