Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grade 1 Curriculum Plan 2015 - 2016

All About Reading

Explode the Code

All About Spelling (start halfway through the level 1 of All About Reading)

Creative Writing
"Write About Me" by EPS

Singapore Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition
Manipulatives from Learning Resources

"Handwriting Without Tears" first, "A Reason to Handwriting" after if more practice needed.

Story of the World - most likely finishing up Vol. 1 "Ancient Times", and moving on to Vol. 2 "Middle Ages"

"Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" by Dr. Nebel
"Let's Read and Find Out Science" series
"One Small Square" series by Donald Silver
Various Unit Studies, like the Magic School Bus unit study from Eclectic Homeschooling.

Geography/Mapping Skills
Apple Press "My First Mapping Book"

Social Studies
Picture books about Canada (from "Come Sit By Me" book list)
Books about Community Helpers.
Printables from Teachers Pay Teachers about Community Helpers.
DK Eyewitness books about the middle ages, castles, etc.

Health & Nutrition
Books about stranger danger and personal safety.
Memorize phone number and address.
Discuss 911.
Introduce the Food Groups with books, videos and activities.
Dental care.
Read "The Story of Me"

Computer Skills
Nothing yet.

Fine Arts
"Drawing with Children"
Ballet lessons
Art projects from

Piano lessons - Little Mozarts Vol. 2

"The Llama Who Had No Pajama"
"Talking Like the Rain"
Poetry Tea Parties

Little Pim - Spanish? or Chinese.
Song School Latin - maybe.

Bible Study
A Beka Flash-A-Cards
"Road Trip through the Bible" curriculum with notebooking pages

Bible Devotionals
"The Bible for Little Eyes" by Kenneth Taylor
"Read N Share" Bible DVD series

Read Alouds
Various choices from reading lists, award winners, etc.

Nature Study
Charlotte Mason style nature journals.

Logic & Critical Thinking
"Building Thinking Skills" from Critical Thinking co.


Potential Unit Studies
- Biomes (specifically ocean life)
- Dogs
- Horses
- Story of the Orchestra
- Fruits of the Spirit - character development, manners, etc.
- A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky - constellations, astronomy, etc.
- Food Chains

Grade 3 Curriculum Plan 2014 - 2015 and a Sample Schedule

Our plan for Grade 3:

Reading (Structured):
All About Reading

Explode the Code workbooks

All About Spelling

Creative Writing
"Just Write" by EPS

Singapore Math Primary U.S. Edition
Manipulatives from Learning Resources
"Life of Fred" Elementary Mathematics Series (Supplement to our core curriculum, it's just a fun change of pace. Some people use this as a stand alone curriculum. It's very quirky and hard to describe. It's very unique and unlike anything else out there, highly recommend.)


Handwriting Without Tears - Printing Power,

(Why 3 different ones? HWT is the easiest but not quite enough practice, I like the style of cursive in ARFH better and it's extra practice. The Scripture verses are a nice touch. Draw. Write. Now. is just a fun addition and doesn't even feel like work, it also doubles as credit for art.)

Draw. Write. Now.
A Reason for Handwriting - Transition

Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times
with supplemental books, videos & activities.

History Through the Ages: A Record of Time - Binder and figures

Drive Thru History DVD series


Originally I was planning on doing Apologia but after going through several of the books I decided to stick with something written by actual scientists.

Unit Studies, some I'll put together myself and some I'll use from Eclectic Homeschooling.

"Elementary Science Education: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" by Nebel

"Developing Critical Thinking Through Science Book 1" from Critical Thinking Co. (these both my kids can do at the same time - mainly physics experiments)

"Let's Read and Find Out Science" series from Harper Collins

Geography/Mapping Skills

Canada Map Book 1 by Apple Press

The Complete Book of Maps and Geography

Social Studies

I bought "Canada, My Country" by Donna Ward but I don't like it. We'll read some of the books listed but that's about it. I found free printable's about each Province from Crayola Canada online and he is learning about the flags, Provincial birds, etc. that way.

Our Communities Outlooks 3 by Oxford Press
(If I can get a hold of a copy, if not then I'll just put together a unit study this year or use the "Let's Discover Canada" workbook from Apple Press. The Ontario textbook "Discovering Communities" is also available at our local library but I'd prefer the B.C. curriculum).

Computer Skills
Keyboarding Without Tears

DK Help Your Kids with Computer Coding

Fine Arts
"Drawing With Children" Monart Method drawing course

Piano Lessons - Little Mozarts 4 and Faber 1

Poetry (for "Poetry Tea's" and Unit Study)
"A Child's Introduction to Poetry"

"The Llama Who Had No Pajama"

"Talking Like the Rain"

Song School Latin

52 Weeks of Family German

Bible Study

Bible Road Trip Curriculum from Thinking Kids Press

"What's in the Bible?" with Buck Denver DVD series #1 - #7

A Beka Flash-A-Card series, chronologically as we study history.

Bible Devotionals
Kenneth Taylor books

Read Alouds
Various choices from, "The Well Trained Mind", Ambleside Online, Veritas Press, etc. Preference given to award winners, books that correspond with our history lessons, and biographies.

Nature Study 
Charlotte Mason style journaling/sketching.
Field trips to wildlife reserves, parks, etc.
"Handbook of Nature Study" by Comstock

Logic & Critical Thinking
Workbooks from Critical Thinking Co.


If time and money allow I'd love to get started with an Astronomy software like Starry Night.

Potential Unit Study Ideas:

-Story of the Orchestra
-A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: Constellations
-Human Anatomy
-Biomes (ocean life in particular)
-Family Tree
-Mennonite culture and history
-Emergency Preparedness (Earthquake drills, basic first aid, 72 hr packs, etc)
-"One Small Square" books by Donald Silver (ecosystems)
-Composer Studies ("Beethoven Lives Upstairs")
-Artist studies

Biography Ideas:
-George Lucas
-The Wright Brothers
-Bill Gates
-Louis Pasteur
-Marie Curie
-Missionary stories from Trailblazer Books
-Issac Newton

Sample Schedule for Grade 3 Student

This is a sample of my Grade 3 student's schedule. A typical school day is about 2-3 hours on extracurricular outing days (Mondays and Fridays) and about 4-5 hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (I don't include our read aloud, fitness or devotional time in this - that's extra time at the end of the day). We stick to tasks instead of a set time so each slot could be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 2 hours. It really depends on the day and where we are at with things in each subject. 

We do most of our read alouds before bed time every day so they are not listed on the schedule.  My kids don't like doing school work together in the same room at this point and they both still need enough assistance that it's easier to work with them separately. When my Grade 3 kid has his break time with a show, I have up to an hour to work with my Kindergartener. Then we do piano practice and reading later on in the day. There are some things they can do together at the same time, like art, Bible study, science experiments, devotionals and unit studies. My Grade 3 kid just likes being alone when working on his core work. Next year my Grade 3 kid will be able to do more independent work and then I will end up spending more one-on-one time assisting my daughter who will then be in Grade 1. Monday and Friday are our "extra-curricular outing" days currently, with gymnastics and piano lessons. I tried to keep those days a bit easier and put some of the most fun subjects after our outings since we are all pretty tired those days.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Homeschool Update

We are not quite halfway through our fourth year of homeschooling. Figured it was time to write an update of what we are up to!

There have been a lot of changes lately, which just does not surprise me anymore. I've never been able to stick to a very specific plan for very long because my kids are constantly changing and their interests are changing and I'm finding new things to incorporate into our plans. In this case some of the changes were even more major then that - but the nice thing about homeschooling is we can go with the flow! :) It's been very exciting for me to consider new things to bring into our learning adventures.

Firstly, I really want to get regular with blogging on the topic of homeschooling, planning and curriculum in the near future. I need to change this blog over to Wordpress and re-design the site first. Rest assured I have big plans for this blog.

Secondly, I've become enthralled with history. We've been focusing on history more then anything lately and it's been so much fun for all of us. We are going through it chronologically. We are finishing up with prehistoric times and starting Ancient Civilizations. So far we have read books about Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and Ancient China but we will focus on Egypt specifically now for a while. There is a ton of stuff to cover for Egypt so I expect to be here for a while.

I started off the year with a very structured daily plan which was working well for us. We ended up getting things done faster then expected which was great cause I was sick for a few weeks in October and we didn't do much then. We also changed some of our curriculum since then for various reasons so I've been focusing on the basics while researching and planning what we're going to replace some of our curriculum with. It's been a major shift, but I'm close to having a set plan for the next few months. The core curriculum is staying the same. For math and language arts we've figured out stuff that works for us that we will be continuing with. The only thing I still have to choose is writing and grammar curriculum. We were just doing random things in those area's so far. I'm looking into Writing with Ease, Brave Writer and Just Write. I have all of them, just have to read them through now!

Looking ahead at the next few months our priorities are:

Grade 3

Math -  multiplication, division, fractions. Life of Fred books.

Language Arts - writing, grammar. "Real books" about grammar. Poetry. Lots of read alouds.

Socials - communities, mapping, Ancient Civilizations.

Music - Faber 1 in piano

Art - studying the "Monart Method" of drawing, ocean themed art projects (together with Cousteau biography)

Bible - integrated into history studies for the most part, "Fruit of the Spirit" unit study.

Science - complete a "Science Fair Ready" project and present it on a video.


Geography workbook

Biography chapter books


Art - study "Monart Method" of drawing

Lots of read alouds - art, science, Ancient Civilizations (she join us for any of the "Story of the World" parts she finds interesting. She doesn't have to join us, but inevitably she is sometimes drawn into the stories and will come and sit with us)

Finish Explode the Code "Get Set" books and start Book 1.

Find some different resources for math (maybe Critical Thinking Co.?)




Other things I'd like to work on before the end of the school year (time and energy permitting):

- Science journals (Charlotte Mason style)

- Larger writing projects.

- Logic workbooks.

- Extra word problems in math.

- Chemistry unit

- Foreign languages

Charlotte Mason talks about the importance of mother culture. I've only read a little bit about it so far but my interpretation of it for myself is that mothers need both time to themselves to regroup (and self care... I'll go as far as saying a bit of pampering is necessary!) and also to keep learning and keep their passions alive. For myself right now that means studying the same things my kids are learning, but at an adult level. It helps me stay interested and passionate about teaching them. My plans are to read:

"Mama School"

1.) History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer

2.) The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

3.) The Chemistry of Life by Steven Rose

4.) A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if you Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley

5.) Lehningers Principles of Biochemistry

6.) Various books about good writing and grammar.

7.) Various Theology books including "Telling God's Story" by Peter Enns
8.) Various books about the intersection of Science and Christianity.

9.) Various books about time management and efficiency (see how I tagged that one on? lol)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Teaching Kindergarten Art with Living Books

The Mini Masters Series:

Quiet Time With Cassatt

Sharing with Renoir

Painting with Picasso

In the Garden with Van Gogh

A Picnic with Monet

Sunday with Seurat

On an Island with Gauguin

Dreaming with Rousseau

Pink Lemon by Herve Tullet

 The Big Book of Art by Herve Tullet

Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product! by MaryAnn Kohl

Favourite Art Projects for Kindergarten:

You Be You Watercolor Fish Art
Fun With Portraits
Fun with Painted Paper
Shape Robots
Watercolor and Pastel Resists

Activities and products that go along nicely with these books:

Lyra Color Giants pencil crayons

Lyra Color Giants Skin Tone pencil crayons

Reeves Student Watercolors

Hygloss Tissue Squares - 2500 pieces (for collages and suncatchers)

Sunworks Smart-Stack Construction Paper

Easel Paper

*this post does not contain any affiliate links

Teaching Kindergarten Science with Living Books

Living and Non-Living Things
What's Alive?
If You Find A Rock

Earth & Space Science:
The Solar System - Usborne
Planet Earth - Usborne

Weather & Seasonal Changes:
Weather - Usborne
Animals in Winter - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Clouds - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Snow is Falling - Let's Read and Find Out Science
The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen
Waiting Out The Storm - by Joann Macken

How Flowers Grow - Usborne
(or How A Seed Grows - Let's Read and Find Out Science)
From Seed to Pumpkin - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Tree's - Usborne
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Compost Stew - Marry Siddals
A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds

Animals, Biomes & Habitats:
Under the Sea - Usborne
Starfish - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Ducks Don't Get Wet - Let's Read and Find Out Science
One Little Square: Pond by Donald Silver
One Little Square: Backyard by Donald Silver
Where Are The Night Animals? - Let's Read and Find Out Science
A Nest Full of Eggs - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Animals Animals by Eric Carle
Dogs - Usborne
Horses and Ponies - Usborne
Cats - Usborne
Penguins - Usborne
Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle
Dolphins by Seymour Simon
Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone
Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck
Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby by Jennifer Blomgren
Why Do I Sing? Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest by Jennifer Blomgren
Where Would I Be in An Evergreen Tree? by Jennifer Blomgren
Hello Ocean by Pam Ryan
What lives in a shell? Let's Read and Find Out Science
The Seashore Book By Charlotte Zolotow
Over in the Ocean: In A Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes
Beach Day by Karen Roosa
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson
Humphrey the Lost Whale by Wendy Tokuda
Whales Passing by Eve Bunting

Life Cycles:
Caterpillars and Butterflies - Usborne
Eggs and Chicks - Usborne
Tadpoles and Frogs - Usborne
(or From Tadpole to Frog - Let's Read and Find Out Science)
An Earthworms Life by John Himmelman

The Five Senses & The Human Body:
My Hands - Let's Read and Find Out Science
My Feet - Let's Read and Find Out Science
How Many Teeth? - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Sounds All Around - Let's Read and Find Out Science
Sleep is for Everyone - Let's Read and Find Out Science
My Five Senses - Let's Read and Find Out Science
The Usborne Flip-Flap Body Book - Usborne

*this post does not contain affiliate links.

Recommended videos & activities that go nicely with the books:

Living and Non-Living Things
Watch Classic Sesame Street - Ernie Dresses A Snowman
Watch Sesame Street - Is it Alive?
Do Living & Non-Living Print and Play Pack

Earth & Space Science:
Watch Solar System Lesson for Kids | Learn about Planets, Stars, Galaxy
Watch  Introduction to Earth Science
Watch  Introduction to Our Solar System
Do Solar System Fun Pack

Weather & Seasonal Changes:
Watch  Sesame Street: Grover Weather Monster
Watch  Peep and the Big Wide World: Stormy Weather
Watch  Sesame Street: The Weather Show
Watch  Let's Learn About the Four Seasons - for kids
Watch  Learn all about the four seasons
Watch  A Book of Seasons
Do Day and Night Sky Venn Diagram Picture Sort
Do Weather for Little Learners Pack
Do Weather Flash Cards and Chart
Do Animals in Winter Freebie Printable Response Worksheet

Watch  That's How a Pumpkin Grows - music video for kids
Watch  Time Lapse Radish Seeds Sprouting Tops and Roots Growing
Do Plants & Spring - A Gardening We Will Grow - Math, Literacy, and more! Pack

Animals, Biomes & Habitats:
Watch Introduction to Biomes
Watch  The Amazing Water World of Marine Animals
Do Ocean Animals Math and Literacy Fun
Watch Fish Friendly (Animal Atlas)

Do Animals in the Pond: Facts, Habitat, Mini Book + Pack

Watch Big Cats, Wild Cats, Kitty Cats
Watch  Dog Days (Animal Atlas)
Watch  Happy Cat (Animal Atlas)
Watch  The Horse, Of Course (Animal Atlas)
Watch  Feathered Friends (Animal Atlas)

Watch  Zoo Stories: Night Animals
Watch  Zoo Stories: Backyard Animals
Watch  Zoo Stories: Safari Animals
Watch  Zoo Stories: Jungle Animals
Watch  Zoo Stories: Farm Animals
Watch  Zoo Stories: Ocean Animals

The Five Senses & The Human Body:
Watch  Learn all about the Five Senses