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Our Curriculum This Year

The students at Terrace Hill Academy are crazy!

The students at Terrace Hill Academy are crazy!

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 and MathLanguage Arts includes phonics, copywork, reading, and literature

      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.

Reading Notebook

       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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

They are also creating number cards

They are also creating number cards

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 Streetand 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.

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First Day of School 2015

Today (on the first day of my fifth second trimester!) we started school.  Normally, I like to start earlier in August, but this year (due to being in my fifth first trimester) I just was not ready any earlier.  Thankfully, flexibility is the name of the game in homeschooling.  We roll with life’s seasons.

First Day of School

This year, we have a third grader, a second grader, and two preschoolers… with the new addition arriving in February to give us a little something to look forward to mid-year.

First Day of School Kids

The day started with Bible and singing (our modern hymn, Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery) where I had the two older kids help read the Bible passage.  It is exciting to have them in this reading stage!  There has been so much growth in that area over the last year; it has been exhilerating to witness it.

After the “First Day of School Photos” we all sat down on the couch and I read the first chapter of Winnie the Pooh as our preschool readaloud.  The older kids were not required to be a part of this, but they were drawn by the tale and so we enjoyed some time together.  Princess K was seriously anxious to start school, but the pregnant mommy needed 10 minutes to doze on the couch while all the kids played with blocks and legos on the floor.

Funny First Day of School

When I woke up, Princess K eagerly ran to the schoolroom and I followed her in, letting X-man continue his fun with his little brothers.  K took inventory of her new school supplies and found a letter in her little mailbox.  This letter was written by mommy last night because the Princess could not stop talking about how excited she was to get a letter in her mailbox again, after such a long time of not getting one.  She got the idea that she would get a letter on the first day of school because she got one last year and she is just like her mommy: one single occurence of an activity that is liked is enough to make a tradition.

Anyway, then she and I worked on her math and when X-man wandered in to figure out what we were doing, I sat him down and started him on math as well.  The preschool boys were happily building large constructions out of blocks.

Preschooler's Block Construction

After math, it was snack time.  While their mouths were happily occupied, I read their history lesson (out of Story of the Romans) and we had a truly excellent conversation about plebians and patricians.  They completed a notebooking page and gave wonderful narrations and then it was time for phonics.

X-man's notebook page

 

We had a great time with phonics- we discovered a pattern with the sounds of the letter C.  It is always a delightful part of my day when the kids discover a pattern or idea on their own.  They cried all the way through 7 minutes of cursive handwriting practice since it has been 2  months since their last practice.

K's notebook page

During lunch, I read Mystery of the Roman Ransom, our current literature selection and they loved it.  They begged and begged me to read another chapter.  I resisted and so they will be very motivated for handwriting tomorrow!

Lunchtime at the counter

After quiet time (and another nap for the pregnant woman), we pulled out our chalk pastels and Hodgepodge’s A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels and had a wonderful time exploring the chalk pastel medium.  Princess K had specifically requested “more crafts” when asked what she wanted out of her second grade year (X-man specifically requested “no school”) and I’m so glad I went to effort to make sure we did something craft/artsy on our first day of school.  It was relaxing and fun, a time to be together while working independently.  It was a perfect homeschool moment.

Chalk Pastel Fun

Our Masterpieces

Our Masterpieces

And this was a few weeks ago, when we told the kids the gender of the new baby (blood test to determine gender- among other things- at 11 weeks? Wow!)- X-man was so incredibly happy for his sister getting herself her first and very longed for sister.  And I love the love.

True Sibling Love- shared joy over K finding out she will finally get the sister she's been wanting

True Sibling Love- shared joy over K finding out she will finally get the sister she’s been wanting

Fun in Ancient Greece

Greek 0

For the past few months, our history studies have focused on Ancient Greece.  We read some great books and tales and had some fun along the way.

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Books We Read:

Story of the Greeks by Guerber, published by Nothing New Press

Usborne’s Ancient World

A City Through Time by Philip Steele

Pegasus by Marianna Mayer

D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths

Trojan Horse by Warwick Hutton

Hour of the Olympians by Mary Pope Osborne

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Greek Athlete

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Damon Pythias and the Test of Friendship

Mary Pope Osborne’s Tales from the Odyssey  (and they are making their own personal comic books based on this book)Greek 1

Activities We Did:

1. We ate fig newtons (that’s totally authentic, what are you talking about?), grapes, bread & cheese

2. We held a Family Olympic Games with a Torch Run, a Rock Throwing Contest, a Long Jump Contest, and a Ball Toss.

Olympics Torch Run

Olympic Games3.  After looking through Usborne’s Ancient World at the examples of pottery we saw, we created our own Greek inspired pottery using clay planting pots and black acrylic paint.

Greek B

Greek 2

Greek C

Greek D

4.  We made Greek costumes with thrift store pillow cases, scissors, saftey pins, ribbons, and scarfs or strips of cloth.  I thought Z-urchin looked especially stately.  Like a Greek politician.  And my little princess like Helen of Troy.

Greek A

Greek 3

Greek 5

Greek 4

Greek 65.  We played a more modern version of an Ancient Greek version of hockey.  That is to say, I read that they used to play a hockey like game, hitting a ball with sticks.  So that’s what we did.

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6.  Finally, we learned the Greek alphabet using two YouTube videos (a Song and a Lesson) and wrote our names with Greek letters.

The Song

The Lesson (really impressive- teaching the Greek alphabet using a story- my kids were totally into it)

Greek F

Then they watched Hercules on Netflix (totally inaccurate, but fun anyway- and they were excited about the red pots painting with black that were all over the movie!) and we played Seven Wonders.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life

Now that we are in our 11th week of school this year, I finally feel like I’m getting into a rhythm.  I’d like to invite you to walk with us today and see how a day goes at Terrace Hill Academy.

Kids on a fence

 

About 7:15-  Breakfast & Bible.  We reviewed Awana verses and since we took a little extra time with this, we didn’t get to singing the hymn we are currently learning: Victory in Jesus.  Then we read our Bible story about God providing manna to the Israelites in the desert.  We had a great conversation about how manna, God’s heavenly bread, was a picture of Jesus, the Bread of Life from Heaven.

About 7:50- The kids did their morning lists (make bed, get dressed, put away clothes, brush hair and teeth).

About 8:20- Phonics.  We started a new word wall and read Rain and What Makes a Rainbow.  It was such a timely phonics lesson, since it rained this very morning.  One might even think it was deliberate based on the weather forecast.

Manna from Heaven with Betty Luken's flannelgraph; Our new word board

Manna from Heaven with Betty Luken’s flannelgraph; Our new word board

About 8:50- Turned on a LeapFrog for the younger boys (thank you, Netflix streaming!) while I did history and handwriting with the older two.  I read the chapters in our book, Story of the Ancient World, about the death Joshua and the first few Judges.  X-man and Princess K illustrated what I read to them and they narrated the stories back to me.  In handwriting, they learned the cursive g and had to give me 6 perfect g’s.

Narrations done on notebooking pages (thank you Notebookingpages.com!)

Narrations done on notebooking pages (thank you Notebookingpages.com!)

About 9:45- We took a post-rain puddle-splashing nature walk.  It was great fun!  They jumped in puddles, explored what the world looks like after rain (we don’t get to see that much in California these days), found sticks and stems to make instruments for a band, gave me an impromptu performance, and enjoyed the smell of rain that hung heavily in the air.

Puddle Splashing

Puddle Splashing

Exploring

Exploring

X-man found a branch with leaves that he felt should be held over a marching queen or princess.  Princess K happily played the part of the princess and even handed him her purse to carry as he shaded her from the (non-existant) sun.  He walked behind her carefully and respectfully until she accidently got a stick in the eye and the princess decided she’d had enough shade.  He then used the branch as a broom and swept the leaves off the ground ahead of us.  We appreciated his efforts.

I am always amazed at how many things the kids can think to do with such simple items from nature.

Princess K with her servant X-man

Princess K with her servant X-man

About 10:45- We came home and decided to have a late snack of hot chocolate and English muffins.  With snack, we first practiced our Spanish series (from Cherrydale Press’s Speaking Spanish curriculum) and then read the next chapter in Charlotte’s Web.  We were especially excited about this book today because we found a web on our walk this morning, covered with raindrops and looking amazing.

Spider web covered with raindrops

Spider web covered with raindrops

About 11:15- Math time.  I do 15-20 minutes of math with one student while the other plays with the younger boys and then the older two swap places.  This system has been working out very well for us this year so far.

Today we had a real breakthrough day with the princess that left us both smiling huge and then the lesson for X-man was a game to practice skip-counting.  He liked the game so much that when I took it away so as to keep it nice (and not lose all the cards), he acquired some index cards and a pen and made his own version.  This turned out to be great practice and reinforcement and since it was his own idea, it was that much more meaningful and motivating.

Math time

Math time

About 11:45- The kids had some free time while I did some chores and made lunch.  We had a later lunch today, since we had a later snack.

About 1:00- Lunch & science reading.  We are doing Apologia’s Flying Creatures book this semester, and today we started reading about migration.  We discussed the chapter afterwards and talked about the time when Daddy had found a couple of birds in our house and had to chase them out.

About 1:30- School is done for the day!

The kids went outside while I worked on some things I needed to get done.  They dug in the rocks and found all sorts of things, including a little centipede.  They were so excited and a bit creeped out by it.  Princess K wanted to know its name (soil centipede) and Z-urchin had observed it closely enough to explain it very fully to his father at dinner time.

Silly & Sweet kids

Silly & Sweet kids

I didn’t do any dishes today, but I talked with my kids about Jesus and I walked with my kids and found a spider web filled with raindrops, a few totally awesome things about this day.  I’m thankful.

My intended schedule goes like this:

7:00 Kids do their morning list

7:15 Breakfast & Bible

7:45 Morning Chores

8:15 Phonics

8:45 Leapfrog/History & Handwriting

9:20 Quick break while I prepare snack

9:30 Snack & Read-aloud

9:45 Preschool Hour

11:00 Math

11:30 Break

12:30 Lunch & Science

1:30 Reading (a picture book for my younger ones, practice easy-readers 10 minutes each with my older ones)

2:00 One last project or book for school/Naptime for Shortstop

2:30 Free time

That’s the goal, but it hardly ever goes that way.  I’d like to start using a timer to help me make sure I’m keeping to my intentions to have short lessons.

Though really, so often I’m interrupted by the loud toddler, the really good questions that I have to take the time to discuss, or the sounds coming from the other room that mean my almost four-year old might be destroying something.  Again.

But these interruptions are what the homeschooling life is all about.  Love. Family. Curiosity. Deep discussions about God. Learning to let go of my own agenda and follow God’s leading.

It helps that this little weapon of mass destruction is so cute.

It helps that this little weapon of mass destruction is so cute.

So there it is.  A day in the life of me.  Me and my four little learners.

Our School Room: Where Learning Happens and So Does Mess

When we moved into this house two months ago, we made a lot of changes.  One of those changes was our schoolroom.  My husband’s step-dad decided to build us a schoolroom in the garage and I was so thankful and so excited.  He took the wood from the deck we tore out to help build the floor so that the floor would be level with the kitchen, instead of a few steps down.  It also means that our schoolroom floor is nice, rather than a concrete floor and he gave us storage underneath the schoolroom!  He also gave us a window and it is a very nice little room where we can do all of our learning and then shut the door on the mess.

Not that the rest of the house is free of mess at this time.  Or any time.

Anyway, I would like to give you a little tour of our schoolroom.  We also do school at the kitchen table (I like to read while the kids are eating and are therefore more quiet than at other times) and we do some reading cozied up on the couch.

1 Circle Area

This is where we do our “Circle Time.”  Circle time includes practicing our verse or passage (right now it is Psalm 100), practicing our Spanish series (from Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francios) or poem, and then an activity from our daily focus.  On Monday, we focus on geography (right now we are learning the continents and the oceans of the world), on Tuesday, we focus on music (right now we are learning about Vivaldi), Wednesday is poetry day, Thursday is art day (Renoir is our current artist, as you can see), and on Friday, we read a chapter from Wisdom and the Millers.  We finish Circle Time with reviewing our phonograms and playing phonics games.

Underneath the easel, I store GeoSafari stuff, clothespins for pinning cards to our clothesline timeline, and dry erase boards and activities.

2 School Supplies and Kits

Here is where I store our art kits and some of our school supplies.  In the baskets we have a loom, door plaque kit, a flower box kit, perler beads, pony beads, a bracelet kit, pastels and special art supplies, an aquadoodle mat and magnet letters.  In the plastic drawers, I have all the normal office/school supplies: dry erase markers, pencils, pens, highlighters, tape, printer ink, label stickers, notepads, a labeler and things like that.

The basket on the top has our phonics cards and things I use for Circle Time.  And we love having an electric pencil sharpener easily accessible for all to use!

3 Teacher Desk

I sit here (right now, as I type this) often to plan, prepare, print, and pray.  Underneath the desk is a lot of stuff that is only barely organized.  I know where everything is, but it is not efficiently organized like I would like it to be.  I just have not had the time to devote to that yet.  Right now, I am keeping a huge box of stickers ,drawers with pens, pencils, and markers, a file box for school records, my laminator, a box of stationary and my three-hole punch.

 

4 Student work area

Here are where my students sit.  Each of my older two students have a set of drawers and a basket for their school supplies and books.  The whiteboard is magnetic and the perfect size for our needs.  The table was made especially for me by my sister-in-law’s ver skilled brother.

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In this corner, we have our main craft supply cabinet. Way up at the top, we keep paper bags (for puppets), paint sponges, a wood working kit, and our math balance.  The next shelf contains books, special markers, and a ship-in-a-bottle kit.  The next shelf down contains our math manipulatives and supplies (for RightStart Math).  The middle shelf contains a spice rack of little art supplies (including pompoms, googly eyes, sequins, brads, and glitter) and paper of all kinds.  In the lower shelves, we keep paint, do-a-dot markers, big pompoms, craft sticks, stencils, pipe cleaners, and a puppet making kit.

5 Preschool WallI would really like our world map up here, instead of our USA map, since we are doing ancient world history this year.  However, due to several moves happening between my last use of the world map and now, I cannot find it.  Yet.

We also have a chore chart up here.  I haven’t started using it yet, but it is up in hopes that I will be reminded to start that soon.

The pocket chart holds our preschool project.  Z-urchin and I are going through the alphabet and putting stickers (from my big sticker box that is under my desk) on the cards for each letter.  Z-urchin loves this activity and it is sweet time with him.

6 Shelves

Finally, this is our wall of shelves.  We have our nature shelf and nature board, ready to fill with nature things.  We are focusing on learning about birds (through Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures), so we have some bird guides and pictures up, with our other science books and nature tools.  Then all of our current curriculum and some art books are on the other shelf so I have easy access to them.

We also keep our Child Training Bible and Virtue Training Bible on this shelf.  These are resources we love, designed by a dear friend from college.  Her system reminds me very much of how she liked to study and our study sessions together!

We are now in our fourth week of school, using our new little schoolroom and it is great!

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First Day of School Pictures, 2014

The new school year here at Terrace Hill Academy has begun!  We have a 2nd grader, a 1st grader, a 3 1/2 year old preschooler and a 2 year old preschooler.

First Day of School 2014

 

We are still trying to settle into our new home (and if you think that sounds familiar, you are right.  We moved this summer- for the third time in three years), but we have started school all the same.  Because I like chaos.  I thrive in it.  Or survive in it, anyway.

I have some wonderfully crazy students who make my life interesting, bright, fun, and full of laughter and joy (and who bring frustration and tears too).

Crazy kids on the first day of school

 

My second grader:  7 year old X-man.  He loves math, thinking, legos, and video games and doesn’t really like to read (to himself… he does like stories read to him).  I hope to change that last item this year.

X-man, 2nd grade

 

My first grader: 6 year old Princess K.  She loves handwriting and drawing and stories about little girls and their sisters who lived long ago.  She also doesn’t love to read to herself and I hope to change that as well.  And on the first day of first grade she lost her first tooth (so it may have technically been the 2nd day, but we hadn’t actually started school yet that morning and it sounds so much better to say that she lost it on the first day).

Princess K, 1st grade

 

My almost-four-year-old preschooler: Z-urchin.  He is full of life, exuberance, charm, determination, and mischief.  I plan to continue to have preschool time where we snuggle up and read books or put together puzzles or play a game and continue to shepherd his heart toward the Lord and toward obedience.

 

Z-urchin, Pre-K

 

My two-year-old preschooler: Shortstop.  He is sweet and full of love.  He loves being tickled and he loves to draw and he loves for mommy to read books to him.  So I plan to read plenty of books with him and give him lots of paper (so that he doesn’t draw all over my floors, furniture, and walls again this year like he did last year).

Shortstop, 2 years old

 

On our first day of school, I wrote them letters in their little personal mailboxes (they received from their Auntie Lindsay one Valentine’s Day) and they loved them.  We also decorated the cover of our binders, did a little notebooking, read a few great books, started the science curriculum I’ve been looking forward to starting for 8 years, and put together an alphabet train puzzle during preschool time.

 

Getting their letters from mommy on the first day of school

Getting their letters from mommy on the first day of school

 

First Day Activities

 

So other than the thankfully brief episode of vomiting visited upon my 3 1/2 year old and the cold plaguing my 2 year old (that he passed onto me the next day- what a good sharer), it was a great first day of school.

 

Our Curriculum Choices for 1st/2nd Grade

1 Curriculum

It is hard to believe that another school year is beginning.  Terrace Hill Academy will have two official students this year: my 2nd grade son and my 1st grade daughter.  We also have two unofficial preschool students (aged 2 and almost 4) who really love to run around like crazy; noise and chaos and mayhem seem to follow wherever they lead.  I think I’m going to need to do something about that.

Anyway, planning school is one of my favorite things to do, so although I have had illness, moving, house renovations, VBS responsibilities, four children to care for, many meals to prepare, visiting family, and many birthdays to celebrate this summer, I have managed to come up with a school plan for this next year.  And I’m excited about it.

Bible:  We will be reading through stories of the Old Testament and watching through the What’s in the Bible series by Phil Vischer (we LOVE these videos!) as they correspond with our reading.  We will also be reading Wisdom and the Millers, some stories of Trial and Triumph, and Little Pilgrim’s Progress.  We will continue to learn hymns together as a family, about one a month or so.

Math: We will complete Right Start Level B.  With X-man, who will finish about half-way through the year, we will start Right Start Level C.  We really like this curriculum.  It is well-laid out and easy to use.  I find it easy to tailor to my kids’ needs and the kids love the games.

3 Math

 

Language Arts: For phonics instruction, the kids are working through Explode the Code books.  We also have a plethora of easy reader books.  Each student will select a book and read to me or their dad ten minutes every day until we finish the book, and then they will select another.

We will read poetry from my collection of favorite poems and each will select a poem or two to memorize.  They will also use poetry, literature or history selections, verses, and hymns as sources for their copywork to practice penmanship and to be exposed to proper spelling and syntax.

We will read many short and long stories that correspond with our history readings and our science topics.   A few of these include: Burgess Bird BookMr. Popper’s Penguins, Trumpet of the Swan, and Greek and Roman myths.

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History & Geography:  This year, we will be studying ancient history and read through a few of Guerber’s historiesStory of the Ancient WorldThe Story of the Greeks and hopefully we will at least begin The Story of the Romans.  I have the Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World to use as a supplement and for all the awesome pictures.  For geography, we will use Knowledge Quest’s  Map Trek: Ancient World.

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Science:  During the first semester, we will study birds with (the 1st half of) Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  In the second semester, we will study astronomy with Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  We will also be using the accompanying Junior Notebooks and we will continue to do nature walks and nature study as normal.
 I must add here that I am so very excited about finally starting this series.  This was the first curriculum I ever chose after we decided to go with homeschool as our educational path.  I was pregnant with my first child and I was researching homeschooling curriculum because I’m crazy like that.  And also I love curriculum and school planning.  Anyway, so I’ve been looking forward to when it would be time to use this series for nearly 8 years now.  So I am SO excited!  (Here’s hoping it at least meets my expectations, since they have been a long time growing!)
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Spanish: We will be using Cherrydale Press Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois We will also read and memorize short Spanish nursery rhymes from the book ¡Pio Peep! and watch the Whistlefritz DVDs.

Art:  We will study 6-8 paintings of 5 artists: Renoir, Bruegel, Rubens, Waterhouse, and Degas.  Each student will select 3-5 new crafts to learn and enjoy.  We will continue to practice drawing using a variety of drawing lesson books (and internet resources).

Music: We will listen to and discuss the music of 5 famous composers: Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Beethoven.  Hopefully we will begin piano lessons this year.

Physical Education:  We will get daily exercise through bike riding, walks, jumping on the trampoline, and playing active games as a family and/or a variety of exercise videos/video games.  We may also participate in some community classes, such as ice skating.

So that’s the plan for Elementary School at Terrace Hill Academy.  I’m looking forward to all the learning and fun I’m going to do and have and what an awesome bonus if my kids learn anything with me.