Our 2013-2014 Curriculum Choices for grades K,3,and 4

2013-2014

Bible

Although I have a deep respect for Bob Jones Bible Truths and we enjoyed using it last year, it proved to be too “schoolish” for our style.  It just ate up too much of our time each day.  This year we are taking a different approach.  We have chosen to go with Kids of Integrity for the spine of our Bible Curriculum.  My review so far is that it provides comprehensive Biblical character training, discussion opportunities, memory verses, and fun activities that make it stick.  Other than the cost of printing Kids of Integrity is FREE!  Kids of Integrity is brought to you by the lovely folks at Focus on the Family and covers 20 character traits including Obedience, Acceptance, Courage, Faithfulness, and many more important traits that parents want to see cultivated in their children.  I am especially excited about this choice for many reasons, but most importantly I believe it is answer to prayer and will touch on the needs of our family and help us all to grow in our walk with Jesus.

In addition to Kids of Integrity we will be doing unit studies on and memorizing The Armor of God, The Fruits of the Spirit, The Ten Commandments, and The Books of the Bible.

Math

By the end of the year we despised Math in Focus!  We are so happy to announce our switch to a combo of Teaching Textbooks and Life of Fred.  I absolutely love Teaching Textbooks for the simple fact that I don’t have to worry!  My kiddies ask to do lessons and I know they are getting everything they need out of this curriculum.  Using Teaching Textbooks frees me up to teach fun math or “living math.”  Life of Fred came into our lives by gift from my homeschooling mentor and aunt.  We were in need of a math intervention last year while struggling through our expensive yet dreary Math in Focus curriculum.  We enjoyed Life of Fred so much that we will continue enjoying it this year.

Life of Fred Elementary, Apples, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Butterflies, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Cats, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Dogs, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Edgewood, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Farming, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Goldfish, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Honey, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Ice Cream, Horrible BooksLife of Fred Elementary, Jelly Bean, Horrible BooksTeaching Textbook Math 3 CDs only

In addition to the tag team of Teaching Textbooks and Life of Fred I will also be leading my bunch through Your Child and Money by Larry Burkett.  In adding allowance this year, I was thrilled to find Your Child and Money in a local used book store.  I purchased it for $2.00, which intensified my excitement.  It is a goal of mine to teach my kids Biblical stewardship  and this book is a great start.

Grammar

The expense and the time element drove us away from Bob Jones English this year.  I would still recommend Bob Jones for its ease of teaching, logical organization, and comprehensiveness.  It wasn’t the right fit for our family long-term.  This year I am nearly in love with our Grammar line-up!  First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind will be at the center of our Grammar line-up.  For reinforcement and extra practice we will be using Easy Grammar Grades 3&4.  A theme for this year was shopping my shelf, and in doing so, I found both of these amazing curriculums.  They were also gifted to us by my awesome aunt!  We will end the week with fun lessons from Grammar-Land or, Grammar in Fun for the Children of Schoolroom-Shire.  To record our learning we are using We Don’t Need No Education’s FREE printable Grammar-Land Worksheets.  I have been wanting to add Grammar-Land into the mix for a long time.

Dictation and Copywork

We will be incorporating dictation/copywork 3 days a week using Hymns for Infant Minds, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and excerpts from literature we are reading.

Writing

Our only formal writing curriculum will be Writing Strands Level 2.

Spelling

I loved the ease and logic of Sequential Spelling, but I have found an equal alternative that doesn’t cost me anything, so I’m going with FREE!  This year I’ve chosen to use McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book.  I’ve decided to start at the beginning (so that I can catch any gaps or trouble spots) and test everyday as suggested in Sequential Spelling, adding trouble words to the test the next day until they are correct 3 days in a row.  Also, as suggested in Sequential Spelling, the kiddies will be self-correcting immediately after each word.

Phonics

Spectrum Phonics Grade 3 seemed like a good choice to seal the deal on their phonics journey.  What I liked most about the Spectrum Phonics books was that it included spelling rules and are neatly displayed in a green box.  I require my kiddies to write these spelling rules in their spelling notebooks under the tab Spelling Rules.

Vocabulary

We will be gleaning words from our other subjects by keeping the words recorded on post-it notes throughout the school day.  In addition to that we will be using Marie’s Word Cards and adding a new word each day.  At the end of the school day we will take all the words from the post-it notes and look them up in the dictionary and record the words and their definitions in our vocabulary notebooks.  I have divided the notebook into subjects and A-Z.

Reading

Our book list so far:

Stories of Beowulf Told to Children

The Door in the Wall

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

The Twenty-One Balloons

The Chronicles of Narnia

Robin Hood

and many more to be announced……..

Handwriting

When I first saw the new handwriting curriculum from Classical Conversations I instantly adored it for it’s beauty, simplicity, logic, and price ($12.99). So far, I have purchased the Scripture Version of Prescripts and plan of purchasing Prescripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons soon.

PreScripts Cursive Words and Drawing

History (Middle Ages)

The jumping off point of our studies will be Story of the World Volume 2 and the activity Book.

Story of the World, Vol. 2 Combo Pack (1 of everything for Volume 2!)

Our support materials will include, but not limited to:

Centuries Around the World (a Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy creation)

Veritas Press Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation (Teacher’s Manual, Cards, and CD)

Streams of Civilization

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia

Eyewitness Books; Knight

Science

We will be taking a Unit Study approach to science this year.  We will be studying Dinosaurs and Dragons, Anatomy, How water systems have transformed from the Middle Ages until now, and Inventors and Inventions of the Middle Ages.  To teach each subject I will be using living books and weekly trips to the library, along with notebooks, and experiments.  I am only planning on spending about 1-2 hours on science a week.  I plan to keep it low-key, and keep the wonder and curiosity flowing.

Geography

As usual, geography will be tied into History and won’t be counted as a seperate subject.

Electives

We will be starting our first year of Latin study with Prima Latina, and Prima Latina Copybook.

            Prima Latina

We will continue our adventure with Typing Instructor for Kids.  My kiddies adore this program and are really improving their typing speed and accuracy!

Since I have no musical ability at all, and I actually don’t even enjoy listening to music I bought a software program called Music Ace and I’m relying on that to teach them the basics for now.  They seem to be learning a lot, but I’m not a good judge since I couldn’t tell you if what they are saying is correct or not. 😉

Physical Education

We live right across the street from the park and we have a back yard.  My kids also play baseball and softball in the summer.

Central Focus

Our central focus will be memorization, and I have compiled a binder with everything in it that I would like them to memorize by the end of the year that I have pulled from different subject areas.  We will practice every school day in the morning right after Bible and Calendar.

A key component to all of our subjects is the use of notebooks.  We will be recording most of the learning process in these notebooks and strengthening our comfort level with writing, and developing ideas.  Our notebooks are set up similar to what The Well Trained Mind suggests.

Kindergarten

Phonics Pathways

Singapore Math, Math Essentials

Lot’s of hands on math experience.

Five in a Row

Veritas Press K&1st phonics readers and their literature selections.

Do you want to know how we seem to fit it all in?

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins Unit Study Guide Chapters 7-9

 

Click this link to download Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins Unit Study Guide for Chapters 7-9.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins Unit Study Guide Chapters 7-9

Don’t forget to head over to Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy on Blogger to view the entire lesson plan and the other Chapter Study Guides.

Preschool – 1st Phonics: Short A Sound

 

First watch the short a presentation by reading bear and then take the quiz.

Next follow across row 1 playing the an and at word games, than reading the book, and last watching the movie.

Have your child complete the accompanying worksheets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cGwUfXv-X4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFsJ5ZsA-Vg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTqbp1Ak4PI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tif2a8vXeAA

Have your child complete this trace, write, and read worksheet

Have your child complete this build a word worksheet

Have your child complete this say it write it worksheet

Have your child play this short a vowel sound game

Have your child make short a vowel sentences and then copy them on a piece of handwriting paper.

Have your child play the chicken stacker game (choose the letter a)

Download and print all of the short a resources.  Have your child do the activities and go over the flash cards with them.

Have your child sort short a and long a sounds in this online game.

Have your child click-through and listen to the sounds of a.

Have your child complete these short a sound mazes.

Download and read the Ab and Bam book with your child.  See how many words he can read on his own.

Read this short vowel a with Jaz book with your child.  Again, see how many words she can read on her own.

Have your child try his hand at this short a sound word search.

Have your child complete this write the short vowel a worksheet.

Have your child complete this cut and paste short vowel a worksheet.

Download and print this Football Short Vowel Sort Game.  Focus only on having them sort the short a words.

Download and print this My short a word families frog sorting game.  (This is a good one and lots of components.  Do not miss this one!)

Turtle and Flower Short A Word Families Sort Game. (Download and Print)

Hot Dog and Grill Short A Word Families Sort Game. (Download and Print)

Under Construction Word Family Sort Game (Download and Print, Use only the short vowel a cards and add the others as you teach new sounds.)

 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you and your little one enjoyed Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy’s Short Vowel A Lesson!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Popper’s Penguins Study Guide Chapters 4-6

emperor_penguins

Click the following link to download Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins Study Guide for Chapters 4-6:
Mr. Popper’s Penguins Study Guide Chapters 4-6

Click the follwoing link to download Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins Study Guide for Chapters 1-3
Mr. Popper’s Penguins Study Guide Chapters 1-3

Visit Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy on Blogger for the complete lesson plan.

Life of Fred; Apples, Chapter 3 Math Lesson

Hersheys Candy Bar chapter 3

Please click the following link to download and print the Life of Fred; Apples, Chapter 3 Math Lesson worksheets.

Life of Fred Chapter 3

Now please click the following link to head over to the step-by-step lesson plan at Noah’s Ark Homeschool Academy on Blogger.

Can You Teach Thinking Skills?

What are thinking skills? Well, the simple answer is the ability to solve problems. More importantly is this a subject that can be taught? The answer is yes and no. In my “expert homeschool opinion”;-) every subject you teach should require problem solving along with allowing your children the opportunity to solve their own problems. For example; A math curriculum that requires a child to memorize formulas but doesn’t required the child to understand why they work is not going to teach your child to problem solve. Another example would be that when your child gets stuck up in a tree you automatically rescue them instead of talking them through how they think they might be able to get down. The emphasis should be on the process of solving the problem and not the answer. At the core of every subject and life experience should be an element of problem solving because that is true education. A child that only memorizes might sound smart, but if they don’t understand the inner workings of what they memorized they won’t be able to apply that knowledge to useful tasks. Many children are bored with their education because they see no use for what they have learned. Memory doesn’t last, it fades into the background with all other things your brain deems worthless. When I look at curriculum my main requirement is does this teach application, and if it doesn’t I see it as a waste of money and time. Thinking Skills as a separate subject isn’t enough for most children to apply it to all learning opportunities. Thinking Skills are a way of life, a thread that ties all subjects and life experience together. All the way down to your children’s toys and games, try to choose wisely. Choose things that require problems solving and imagination. Toys that tell you how to play with them or are too specific are not wise choices for promoting thinking skills.

Chess is a wonderful game to incorporate into your everyday life. The whole family can play it together and challenge each other to grow in skill. If you don’t know how to play yourself Activity Village has a printable chess game with a description of where all the pieces can move. It is worth learning.

Dominoes can be used in so many ways, but just playing the different varieties of the game are a good place to start. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.

Along the lines of dominoes, card games are also a great way to cause your children to be problem solvers. Poker with Monopoly Money is one of my favorites for 3rd grade and up.

Crossword puzzles are another great way to exercise your brain.

Scrabble is the best way to teach spelling. You can encourage using words off of a spelling list. This is an endless spelling curriculum that grows with the child. Activity Village has FREE printable scrabble tiles that could be printed on card stock and laminated for multiple uses, although I do believe the wood scrabble tiles would make a fine investment.

Timberdoodle sells Geopuzzles which are great geography thinking skills for K-3rd.

There are so many wonderful problem solving opportunities in Math. Tangrams are an excellent example of this. Base Ten Blocks can carry you through many years of math over a plethora of subjects. Using math manipulatives in vital especially in the elementary years. Sudoku is a problem solving challenge that motivates you to keep trying, it’s not the worst thing your children could be addicted to, right?

These are just a few of the many ways you can incorporate thinking skills into your child’s everyday education. I am aware there are many more, and I would love hear your amazing and creative ideas you challenge your kids with.

Family Fun Night

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As a family we realized that being homebodies to help our budget wasn’t a realistic goal for our lifestyle. We absolutely delighted in family outings, but our bank account suffered for it. As a result we challenged ourselves to make our own fun at home. We soon realized our family was socially centered and we craved that interaction with the outside world.
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It became clear that we would never become homebodies, and we needed a budget friendly plan to get us out of the house and back to our fun-loving selves. My plan was to make a qualifying check list that would weed out outings that would sink our ship. I began to break down the cost of a typical family outing for us and realized that gas was one of the major expenses. Staying in town became our first qualifier. We live in a fairly small town so naturally our first qualifier eliminated a lot of choices. The next logical question was, what family activities are available in town? When I really dug deep I came across a lot of untapped opportunities. Before I considered any of them they needed to pass another test. Only activities that have low entry fees and low extra fees would pass the test. The cream that began to rise to the top was the local highschool sports events and plays.

Our children are homeschooled so I had never considered going to a public school event, but after thinking about it, it wasn’t any different from going to a pro football game so why not. Soon after making this discovery we attended the last home football game of the season. It was the most fun we’ve had in a long time. Not only did we watch the football game, but we heard the band and watched the half time show, and we admired the skill of the cheerleaders.

Splurging is the icing on the cake of a family fun night and we splurged on hot chocolate, nachos, and hot dogs. Boy oh boy was it sweet to have such a great family night out with splurging and all at a total cost of $28 for 6 people! Even though I planned it, I couldn’t believe we could have so much fun and never leave town and spend less than $30.


I would encourage you to take a look around you and see what untapped opportunities you have around you and get plugged in.