School has been in session in our household for almost 3 months now. We are tending to start a little later in the morning than I would generally like due to my early morning fatigue (thank you, pregnancy). However, we are learning a lot and having lots of great discussions, and I am really enjoying seeing the academic growth of my children. The difference between this year at this time and last year at this time is vast.
This year, Terrace Hill Academy has 2 students enrolled: one in 2nd, one in 3rd. There are also 2 preschoolers present in the household, making things fun and a bit crazy. One is 3 and is full of life and passion and energy. The other recently turned 5 and the day he did so, he developped a sudden and avid interest in school. This child is a fascinating combination of easy-going and totally persistent. He’ll say, “I’m hungry mommy, can I have a treat?” I will reply, “No, it is not time for a treat.” He’ll say, “Ok, mommy.” A few minutes pass. He’ll say, “I’m hungry, mommy. Can I have crackers?” I’ll answer, “No, honey, it is not time for crackers.” He’ll reply, “Ok, mommy.” A few minutes pass. He’ll say, “I’m hungry mommy. Can I have a cheese stick?” Then, unless dinner is minutes away, I finally offer him an apple or a carrot.
So he has been doing this with school. “I want to do school, mommy. Is it time for my school yet?” (Repeat this according to his pattern, as described above.) I can’t resist him for two reasons: 1. He’s interested! Let’s not let all that great enthusiasm go to waste! 2. He will drive me completely mad if I don’t do something to get him to STOP ASKING.
So, these are curriculum choices and academic plans for a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and a “Transitional Kindergartner” (whose occasional school buddy is the 3 year old preschooler).
Elementary School (2nd & 3rd grades):
Bible– We are reading through the New Testament and will learn 10-12 new hymns (Transitional Kindergartners and Preschoolers are required to be present at this time)
Phonics– We complete one lesson per week in Logic of English D, spending 5-10 minutes to complete one section of the lesson each day (We finished Logic of English C a few weeks ago).
Copywork– My 2nd grader and my 3rd grader each select a sentence or passage from our literature, history, or science book, a verse from a poem or hymn, or a passage from the Bible. They may not repeat the genre in the same week, so they are exposed to a variety of different types of works and sentences. I plan to find some proverbs, quotes, and wise sayings to include in their options.
Reading– My 2nd and 3rd graders each have an Independent Reading Notebook where they keep a log of the books they read. We also chart the types of genres they are reading, keep track of their reading goals and have a place for recording their responses to their reading. I assign only a very few books for them to read themselves (at this time), and for the most part let them choose what they will read. We visit our local library weekly and I try to assist or guide their choices a little bit, hoping to whet their appetite for good, living books that are at their reading level.
Literature– I read aloud living chapter books that either correspond to the history we are studying currently or that I think my children would love.
History– We are finishing The Story of the Romans and then will move on after Christmas to The Story of the Middle Ages. Both of these books are from Nothing New Press and are very interesting and enjoyable to read. We also supplement with a number of living history biographies and books about specific topics in history.
Science– We finished Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy and have just begun Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Botany. We will take many (hopefully weekly) nature walks to observe and explore creation firsthand and take special note of the plants that are all around us. We will also read Seed Babies and Little Wanderers as they correspond with my Boatany lessons.
Math– My 2nd grader is working her way through Singapore Math 2A and will begin 2B this year. My 3rd grader completed 2B a couple of weeks ago and is now working his way through 3A. Playing AnimaLogic is a fun math class reward or enrichment and both my 2nd and 3rd graders enjoy the logic puzzles this game provides. We are also participating in a monthly Math Group with other homeschoolers in our area who use Singapore Math. It is a great opportunity for my kids to work with other kids to solve problems and gives them plenty of concrete, hands-on practice with mathematical concepts appropriate for their level since the mom who leads it has SO MANY awesome math manipulatives.
Extras– The plan is to do Art Study, Composer Study, Poetry, Geography, and Nature Study each weekly. We are also working our way through Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and François and watching our Whistlefritz Spanish videos. We also try to spend some time drawing and doing handicrafts. I’m sporadic at best at arts and craftiness, but I am trying to get better.
Transitional Kindergarten & Preschool
Letter of the Week– We are focusing on a letter each week, reading quality picture books that highlight that letter and completing a page for a personal alphabet book. Both Z-urchin (5 year old) and Shortstop (3 year old) participate in this and LOVE it!
Number Sense– We will be working on understanding number bonds in the numbers to 10 by focusing on a different number each week or two and spending a good amount of time on number bonds of 10.
Extras– Our kids have a blast during our weekly visit to the local children’s museum where we have a membership. I purchased three games/resources to use with my Transitional Kindergartner: Penguins on Ice, Logik Street, and Miniluk. Z-urchin absolutely loves these activities- in fact, we all find them fun and intriguing. I highly recommend these resources! I am hoping to do some fun sensory and science experiments and activities with my preschool boys this year. They also watch Leap Frog and Reading Rainbow with our Netflix Streaming subscription. I love these programs for they are engaging and educational and give me a solid- peaceful- half hour to focus on schooling my older two.