Tag Archives: Lesson plan

Singapore Math CA

25. Life After Singapore Math 6B

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 CA

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.

AoPS Prealgebra

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!

10. Course Schedules and an Art Gallery

I have updated my Golden Gate Prep Teacher Manual with the remaining course schedules (history, Latin, art, health) for our upcoming school year. (I’ll update the math schedules to include the second semester soon).

R-Health2

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).

Art photo 3

I’ve completed the first three steps of my planning for the school year:
1. Standards
2. Goals
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!

9. Course Schedules

I am well into Step 3 of my preparation for the 2013-2014 school year: Course Schedules!

A-Math5

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.

 

8. Goal Sheets Completed…Finally!

The goal sheets took me longer than usual this year.  We’ve had some other stuff going on this past week.  The kids were supposed to have summer camp Monday – Wednesday (9am-4pm), and I was going to get all kinds of school prep done.  BUT, we had a crazy heat wave , and the kids’ summer sports and splash camp felt more like punishment than fun.  Ryan made it to noon the first day; both kids were home after lunch the second day; and we totally skipped the third day (opting to stay cool at home instead).  So, there went my quiet work time.

Thursday was the 4th of July.  We spent the morning doing an art and literacy project with my Rotary Club.  The idea for this project came from our time living in New York.  The New York Parks and Recreation department had this great program called Art in the Park, and I used to take Ashby when she was just a couple years old.  They offered free art projects right there in the parks.  I always wanted to recreate this program after I returned to CA, and last year my Rotary Club welcomed my idea with enthusiasm and helped me to make it a reality.  So, now we have a mobile setup and provide literacy-based art projects and opportunities to read with Rotarian volunteers.  Every kid leaves with a book of his or her choice, too (and a mini-book of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution in this case).

Our setup

Our setup

Ashby has turned out to be my best helper.  She loves to come up with project ideas, help us set up, and read with the younger kids.

Number 1 helper!

Number 1 helper!

I enjoy this program for lots of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that Ashby and Ryan get to meet and talk with lots of people (kids and adults) while doing something that contributes to our community.  It’s a few hours out of our month, but I hope it will have a lasting effect on them.  Mike joined in recently, too, and it’s a great way for us to spend time together as a family.

We did the project on the 4th from 7-10 am just outside a pre-parade pancake breakfast offered by a local church (this was their 60th annual breakfast).  Kids came for the pancakes but stayed for the art and books(…I’m tricky like that).  After the project, we watched the parade (from these same shady seats, by the way).  It was a great day…which turned into a great four-day weekend (when Dad’s off work, we play).  Of course, I got absolutely no school preparation done for these four days.

photo

Eventually, I finished the goal sheets for the remainder of our 2013-2014 courses.  You can find links to each subject on the Goals page of my GGP Teacher Manual.

Art-R2

Goal Sheet

Now that I’ve finished our goals, I’m on to step 3 (one of my favorites): scheduling.  More about this in future posts.

3. Standards

I’ve spent the past few days reviewing the CA state standards for education (slowly becoming the national Common Core Standards).  This is always my first step in preparing for the new school year.  I realize that many homeschoolers want nothing to do with state standards; that’s partly why we homeschool, right?  But, for me, the standards are a natural starting point.  Maybe this is a byproduct of my time as a public school teacher.  My credentialing program taught me to design lesson plans based on the state standards.  Additionally, I was encouraged to write those standards specific to the day’s lesson on the whiteboard so that the students would know why we were studying whatever we were that day.  I’d be shocked to learn, though, that even one student paid any attention to what I wrote.  Kids don’t care about state standards.  Why  would they?  The wording is so convoluted that, often, even adults have to reread them several times to understand the meaning.  From the students’ point of view, standards are just another set of rules they are asked to follow without question.  Writing the standards on the whiteboard might have made my classroom appear more focused and exemplary to visitors and administrators.  But, did it actually serve a useful purpose and benefit the kids?  No.  In fact, I think it might have overwhelmed some of them.  I stopped writing the standards on the whiteboard.

So, why do I still read the standards?  I believe they are worthy goals for teachers.  Granted, it’s very difficult to achieve these standards in a classroom setting with 20-30 students.  With just two students, though, I can do it.  Also, as a teacher and mom who likes to plan, I feel most confident organizing my curriculum around concrete goals.  The standards give me a framework.  In reality, as I read the state standards for each kid’s grade level (which can take a while and be somewhat tedious), I find that Ashby and Ryan are already secure in many of them.  So, I just highlight the ones I want to address in the coming year and build from there.  As the school year progresses, I occasionally review the  highlighted standards to make sure we on track and adjust future lessons accordingly.  This review process takes only a few minutes at a time and gives me a sense of reassurance that we are headed in the right direction.  Of course, I never ask Ashby and Ryan to read the standards; they’re just for me.