Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homeschool Conference - Part 2 - Curriculum

As I look to next year, I realized that thankfully I didn't need much curriculum for most of my children.  Christopher obviously needed new things since he is my oldest and I haven't taught his grade yet.  Curriculum at the high school level is not cheap either!

I had thought some about what I would be purchasing, but had not done a lot of research on some areas.  As I entered the vendor hall, I wanted to make good use of my time and money.  One of the weak areas in our homeschool has been writing.  I have not had much confidence in my own writing growing up (not sure why) and have not done a great job in teaching it.  I tried using another program in 2006 and then when Eliana was born, it went out the window.  I haven't been able to get back to it either.  I thought perhaps a change was in order.  I went to a vendor workshop on Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I decided to give this one a try.  It looks like it is organized in a nice fashion and I like that there are dvds helping to teach the concepts.  I'm  planning on teaching it to several of my children and a friend's children at the same time and am excited about that!  As I've done more writing the last couple of years, I've grown in both the comfort with writing and also the enjoyment of it too.  I hope that my children can learn this at an earlier age than I did.  As a unit study mom, I love anything that brings us together to learn. 

Learning together.  Isn't that one of the perks of homeschooling?  Doing things together as a family - creating memories together and having common threads of learning.  I found a new (to me) curriculum this year that will incorporate our family - and I'm very excited about it!!!  It's called the Picture Smart Bible

Please click on the link to visit the site to get more details and a visual of how the program works.  In a nutshell, you will be reading through the Bible and drawing pictures to go with pieces of the story.  You will end up with a 1 page picture from each book of the Bible that tells you the story of that book.  Each child starts with an outline so that you will have room to fit it all on the page.  It was so neat to be able to see the pieces of the story just by looking at a page - and it also made it really easy to share it with others.  I think this will be a great way to get the flow of the story of the Bible and a visual help in remembering more of it too.  Did I mention that I'm excited about this?

I wasn't planning on purchasing a Bible curriculum and wasn't even sure why I wandered over to their table - other than the gentle leading of God.  (He is good!)  As my friend and I listened to the author of this program describe how it worked, I became very excited!  I shared it with Rebecca who was also very excited and asked if I was planning to buy this for our family.  This was too good not to share.  We told as many of our friends as we could about it.  Many of them are excited about using it with their families too!  This was a really neat find.  I'll be sure to share more about it as we start using it this fall.

Those are my only two really new choices this year.  We are using new levels of curriculum we have used in the past - MathUSee, Notgrass, Apologia, Handwriting without Tears, and of course Five in a Row (my favorite!!!).  I'll share more about what each child will be studying as we get closer to starting our new school year (in  August).  We are still trying to finish up a few subjects and are already enjoying some of our summer break.  I need a break.  We've been going without one since Christmas and I really need some down time - to organize, plan and prepare.  For that reason, I haven't planned a summer camp this year.  For the first time in probably 12 years.  I'm feeling a little guilt over it too.  Especially when one of my boys asked me tonight if we would be doing camp again this summer.  *sigh*  I may have to muster up some energy and do something!  We'll see.  Hope you are enjoying your week.