Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting It All Organized!

So what exactly should a house look like when you're homeschooling five children? Anyone? ANYONE?
I'm sure everyone's methods of organizing are different. We do what works for us and I am certainly not a very organized person! But I'm learning!

I like to have all the year's books at my fingertips, which can be difficult with a toddler who likes to keep her fingertips busy with all the books!
Here is my overly enthusiastic toddler! I call her the "reorganizer"!

One of the things I started this year was "book baskets". I got this idea from My Father's World. I picked up some inexpensive baskets at my local thrift store and use them for my boys to place many of their reading books for the year. When my son is done with a book, I can just say, go check your book basket and he can find another book. Here is our high school book basket.

A second book basket holds all our audio/visual student aids such as The Teaching Company Cd's/dvd's, Diana Waring's History cd's as well as our Apologia curriculum cd's.
A third book basket holds all our daily devotional books and my third graders reading books and work books. He knows right where to go to get his school workbooks and where to put his school workbooks back when he is done.
And because this is our life right now with high schoolers and toddlers and a new baby on the way, we've converted our changing table to a multipurpose space. A changing table with library underneath! This holds all of my 3rd and 8th graders' books for the year.

Ane here is what it all looks like put together!

A somewhat organized space. It works for us, and my husband even said it looks somewhat organized!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Curriculum This Year!

School starts tomorrow for us so I thought I would put on my blog what we are diving into this year! It should be lots of fun. I've spent HOURS pouring over curriculum and ended up going with a variety of sources to fit our needs. I was originally looking at purchasing the BJU Press DVD courses for all of my kids but read a lot of blogs that said while the material is top notch, most parents felt their kids didn't enjoy watching ALL the dvd's. I couldn't see RENTING DVD's that my kids may or may not watch. So we opted to go with several curriculum packages that offer DVD instructors that I will OWN and can RESELL at a later date when we are done with them! The DVD's do really enhance our homeschooling experience though. I am able to offer top notch "private school teachers" to my kids at affordable rates!

For preschool my little girls, (turning 2 and 4 this fall/winter) will be learning along with their older sibling for 3rd grade history and Sonlight science. They will also have their very own curriculum using a variety of soucres including Hooked On Phonics, Phonics Pathways, and Weaver Interlock Program. I also bought the Veritas Press Phonics Museum. This is just an absolutely beautiful program. We will probably take a few years to go through this program but I really like the way integrates great works of art into the alphabet and phonics program. Math will be learning through play and hands on activities. Lots of fun and make believe time too with blocks, playdough, puzzles, dress-up, sand/water table, etc.! Learning through play will be the focus but there will be workbooks too as they show interest.

We are going to be studying U.S. History and biology using Sonlight Core D with my 3rd grader. My preschoolers may join in on many of the fun activities and read alouds too!

My middle schooler will be studying World History/U.S. History with My Father's World and this will be the core for our entire family essentially. I plan to integrate the two U.S. history cores together at different points so the whole family can learn together. There are a lot of fun activities with this course, including cooking and hands on activities using Story of the World Activity Pages. This also includes an art program using God and The History of Art that I will be doing with most of the kids. The music and Bible activities we will use with the whole family. This course suggests a one year study of "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan a look at 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories. I'm really excited about that so my kids can learn about the rich heritage of hymns and how they came to be. My high schooler will learn to play the songs so we can all learn to sing along! For science he will be studying Apologia Physical Science. Math we are finally switching from Switched on Schoolhouse to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. My son is very excited about his new math program. We were hoping that SOS was going to be similar to Teaching Textbooks but found it to be so much more frustrating and time consuming than FUN.

My high schooler will be finishing up his credits for World History and Geography using a variety of sources,
Mystery of History , BJU World History, Around the World in 180 Days (geography course), with a variety of living books as well as Teaching Company has a wonderful DVD World History course to go alongside his textbook studies. For math he will continue with our much loved Teaching Textbooks Geometry. For science we can't wait to start Apologia Chemistry! We purchase the instructor DVD to go along with this course and find that it greatly enhances the whole learning experience. Red Wagon tutorials carries a wonderful DVD companion to the Apologia course. There will also be outside reading and notebooking/lapbooking to further enhance the course. There are a couple of sources that carry lapbooks/notebooking for Apologia. We have only used Knowledge Box Central so far and really liked the product but I am also looking at another site, similarly priced here, Live and Learn Press.
Language Arts as well as some Bible will be a literature study of World History and the History of God's Kingdom (using Sonlight's Bile core program) literature studying The Cat Of Bubastes,The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's The Iliad and the Odyssey, Julius Ceasar, The Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, and other great works including The Pilgrim's Progress, The Hiding Place, Animal Farm, Heart of Darkness, The Abolition of Man, Here I Stand, The Imitation of Christ, Mere Christianity,Eric Lidell Pure Gold, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, John Calvin, and many others. On his own, my high schooler continues to study Modern U.S. History and botany and whatever else interests him.
There will also be an in depth study of The Iliad by Homer using the Teaching Company cd course as well as an in depth study on the differences between polytheism and monotheism based around the book, The Secret of The Scribe. More work in Wordly Wise vocabulary books and 10th grade compostion with Writing Strands and Writer's INC.
He also is working through Rosetta Stone for Spanish and Learn and Play the piano DVD's.
I also have a physical education curriculum to follow so my high schooler can get a 1/2 credit for.
Chemistry 2nd Ed. Exploring Creation with 2-Book SetPhew! I know there's more we will do, this is just what I have plotted so far. I hope we can get it all done!        The Mystery of History Volume II