I am planning for our 2015-2016 school year and am facing a new challenge. I have loved using Singapore Math (CA Standards edition) with my kids. Ashby has used the 1A-6B editions.
Singapore Math 6
Ryan has used K-3B so far. I appreciate the alignment with the (now defunct) CA state standards, which were among the most rigorous in the nation. Now that Common Core has replaced the state standards, however, I am less concerned about keeping our math curriculum aligned. In fact, I have already purchased the 4A-5B Singapore Math Standards Edition materials I’ll need for Ryan (before they disappear). I skipped 6A and 6B, because I have found a new resource that I plan to use when he reaches 6th grade. (As for Sadie, she’s several years away from any math curriculum. I imagine our homeschooling will look different by then…significantly more heavy on technology. In any event, the gap in ages means that little miss Sadie will probably have all new curricula.
So, what resource will we be using? Ashby will start Art of Problem Solving- Prealgebra in 6th grade. I know that it covers much of the same material as Singapore Math 6. But, the teaching style is different and requires more writing on Ashby’s part than she is used to with Singapore. So, my plan is to start it as usual and let Ashby set the pace. If she knows something already, we can skip it and, possibly, get started on Algebra 1 before the year is done. But, I didn’t want to jump right into Algebra 1 with a new math program. I figure it’s better to move fast through repeat material than to jump too far ahead and overwhelm her to the point of hating math.
Art of Problem Solving- Prealgebra
Ashby has done a few lessons already, as we (meaning I) decided it would be best to do some math over our summer break to prevent the dreaded “summer brain drain.” So far, she likes it. The AoPs website offers short videos on many of the topics, and Ashby enjoys watching them in between reading the lesson and doing the exercises. I’ll report back after the year is under way to compare Singapore 6 and AoPS Prealgebra. For now, on to scheduling 6th grade grammar!
When I last posted, we were in the midst of some big life changes. We had decided to downsize, to move to the city to minimize Mike’s commute, and to otherwise simplify life. I’m happy to say that we did it! Well, mostly…
What better way to simplify than to have a baby? We found out that I was pregnant the same day we signed the contract on our new, downsized home. Ironic, right? Sadie was most definitely a surprise; but of all the curve balls life could have thrown at us, a healthy, strong baby is a blessing. Through all the change, though, we have continued to homeschool. More to come soon on that topic. Right now, I hear someone waking from her nap.
We finished week 1, and I’m happy to say it was a success. I feared it would be hard to get back into the school routine after our summer break. But, it seems the kids were as eager as I to start the new school year.
It’s been nice having a routine again. As much as I enjoy summer, the constant playing (aka chaos) gets to me after a couple months. Then comes the new school year.
Ryan’s favorite subject has turned out to be math. This makes my life a whole lot easier, since I like to start our day with math.
Ryan doing math- Wk. 1
Ashby’s favorite subject is science. But, instead of that, I wanted to include this pic of her practicing her Mandarin characters. She works hard at it, and I want to acknowledge that. They never cease to impress me when they bust out some Mandarin in the midst of a conversation.
Ashby Wk. 1- Mandarin
However, since science is so hands-on, I do take lots of science pictures. I include them on our science lab write-ups, which we are doing on the computer this year (to make it more fun and to incorporate some technology into our lessons).
You can also find these lab sheets on my new site page: 2013-2014 Lessons. It will serve as a portfolio of our lessons throughout the year. So far, it has links to the kids’ science labs only. Honestly now, how interesting is a math workbook sheet? I’ll add more as we go through the weeks. But, enough for now. It’s time for another part of the school year we’ve been missing: Park Day!
School starts in a week. So, I’m in the home stretch of preparations. I’ve added the Curriculum Page to my GGP Teacher Manual. This page details the curriculum I use for each subject. It’s a combination of purchased and self-made curricula.
Making Health Books
You’ll find PDF copies of the curricula I’ve made and links to the ones I purchase.
You can download and customize the calendar for your school.
I usually print out several grayscale copies to mark up as I figure out our school year and number the weeks.
Marked Calendar JPG (click to enlarge)
Here are what all my markings mean:
My Calendar Explained (click to enlarge)
The calendar helps me get a visual idea of how many weeks we really need to accomplish all of our goals and how many weeks we can use for breaks. I’ll add my final calendar to the Calendar page of my GGP Teacher Manual when it’s done.
On the Art Course Schedule page of my teacher manual, you’ll find my Art Gallery. This is a homemade book the kids will complete as we go through the school year. I bought a simple binding system (hole punch and coils) last year and discovered that I LOVE making these books. So, you’ll be seeing more of these for our other subjects in the near future. (I have several in mind for Health already).
I’ve completed the first three steps of my planning for the school year:
3. Course Schedules
These are what I consider the hardest (i.e. least creative) steps to planning. But, they set the foundation and ensure a successful school year for us. As much as I enjoy lists and checkmarks, though (and I really do), I get a different sort of satisfaction from the remaining planning steps. Now come the fun parts, the ones where I get to play and put my personal touch on things.
Up next, our school calendar…maybe not what most people think of as fun, but I’m excited!
I am well into Step 3 of my preparation for the 2013-2014 school year: Course Schedules!
Sample Course Schedule
My course schedules map out each subject for the entire year, day by day. So, this step takes me some time to complete. I make course schedules for everything but spelling, writing, grammar, and Mandarin. These subjects are pretty straightforward (or not taught by me, in the case of Mandarin). I do list these subjects on our weekly schedule, but we just do the next lesson each time.
So far, I’ve posted my math and science course schedules. You’ll notice those are the only two links working on the main Course Schedule page of my GGP Teacher Manual. The rest will become active as I complete the subjects.