Since we started this school year late, at the end of Sept, due to bringing home Brendan, we are still going strong in most subjects, though I'm getting a bit weary and ready to plan for next year. I am thinking we may move to a year-round model of school, though we kind of do that now. I really like the options given for year-round school here. I'm not sure how we will do it exactly--3 weeks on, 1 off; 6 weeks on, 1 off; or possibly just taking natural breaks when we need them to enjoy the weather or get well or just rest. I do like the idea of schooling through the heat of the summer and then taking more breaks in the fall and spring, when we WANT to be outside.
Next year I will have 1 in 3rd grade, kindergarten, and preschool. I have most of our curriculum figured out and purchased, and we are making some big changes this year.
I will be working through Sonlight's P4/5 curriculum with Brendan and Iona.The reading time should be lots of fun, and it will encorporate Bible, world cultures, and science as well. I'll be starting Iona through the Developing the Early Learner workbooks--I'm not sure if she is ready yet, but we'll try. I may also add Get Ready for the Code since she is showing some interest in learning to read. And I'll start her on the preschool handwriting book with Handwriting Without Tears. I bought Math U See's Primer book just in case, but again, I'm not sure if she will be ready for it. I'm planning to track her learning along with Brendan, but I don't want to throw too much at her at once. I do have the K4 program from Confessions of a Homeschooler, but since the Letter of the Week stuff was so time-consuming, I'm not sure if I'll do the next level. I may instead just pull the pieces from it I want to highlight. Iona does not like me to just give her work to do and walk away to help her siblings...she will act out and run away and refuse to try most of the time when I do that. I need to take the time next year to sit with her more and help her build confidence in her abilities and show her she is loved through my time.
Brendan will also work through Sonlight's P4/5 curriculum at the same time as Iona. I expect he will be more interested in the workbooks than she will be. Since Brendan has learned to write his name and is very interested in learning to write his letters, we may even start the preschool HWT book this summer. I also bought the kindergarten workbook for him. And he is definitely ready to start Math U See's Primer book. Brendan is a hard worker and often is the first one done with his workboxes, so I want to strike a balance with challenging him and getting his caught up with also just experiencing the easiness of kindergarten. He will continue with speech therapy--he understands so much of what we say, but he can't communicate with us as well because of his speech delays. I am going to slowly work through Sonlight's Language Arts K to teach him to read, but I'll admit I'm nervous that I won't know if he is getting the reading down if I can't understand what he says. I'm heard Sonlight's learn to read program is very gentle, and I think it will work much better for Brendan than the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, which I used with Aidan with complete success. Brendan loves to sit and "read" a stack of books to his stuffed dog, so I think it's worth a try to teach him this next school year.
We are making a big shift this year in curriculum to Sonlight Core D, American History Year 1 of 2.
We did use Sonlight for his kindergarten year, but we've dabbled with it here and there since, just not using the full program. Every year when I get the Sonlight catalog, I pour over it. I LOVE the choices they make for junior high and high school especially. Since we use their booklists anyway, I decided to make the complete switch and allow them to plan out the year as well! Thankfully, I was able to buy the IG AND Language Arts 3 used for very cheap, and I've been able to get a hold of all the books separately. This was a huge shift for us because it meant we needed to step away from Story of the World for history, which he LOVES. What we ultimately decided was that he just loves history in general, not just SOTW, and with Sonlight, we will revisit SOTW in middle school. It also means we will stop the scope and sequence of using Peace Hill Press for grammar and writing and instead use Sonlight's program. I think it will be a good fit for us. And I love that Sonlight includes a list of age appropriate chores and skills they should learn.
Bible--I'm don't think we'll use the exact Bible Sonlight recommends because Aidan already has one we want him to use. The 3 kids also do AWANA, so we may or may not also do Sonlight's scrupture memory program. We will continue to read missionary stories, and with this core, since we will be studying American History, we will be praying for different American Indian tribes. We may still continue to work on some hymns. I also have a devotional for kids that focuses on animals and character building and God's character that we may try out. This area is one of the areas I'm still a little up in the air about. I do know we will include all the children in on this.
History/Literature/Readers/Geography/Language Arts--Sonlight Core D. We will use the Readers D Advanced, 5 day, since Aidan is such a voracious reader. I like that the LA is tied in with the history and literature.
Math--Math U See Gamma
Spelling--All About Spelling Level 3
Handwriting--Handwriting Without Tears Grade 3, Cursive. I have the books for grades 3 and 4. We tried this in Grade 2 and he wasn't ready, so we shelved it for a year.
Science--Apologia's Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day and the notebooking journal. I may pull in the littles for some of the activities for this.
Art and Music--Harmony Fine Arts Grade 3. Aidan will also take an outside art class, since he's really interested in art.
PE--We will continue with the co-op we are in, which includes PE, art, and nature classes, along with periodic field trips and community service opportunities. Sonlight also has some PE ideas in the IG.