2018-2019 Curriculum Choices – 1st and 3rd Grades

Our 2018-2019 School Year began back in July.  Perhaps not the most well timed start as we had a couple of major interruptions. But such is life, right?

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make a few adjustments to the schedule and book selections. I think that I finally have things set to a good and reasonable flow for my younger students.

We do some studies all together and those things are not included in this post but will soon follow. The selections listed below are used with my Form 1 students.

Math:

Math Mammoth is used by both students at their appropriate level. I switched a few years ago to using Math Mammoth with my younger students and they are doing well. Not only do I appreciate the presentation of the math but the price is affordable as well. I also use Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. My 1B daughter really enjoys it and I think it works very well for mental math work. We use it once or twice a week.

Reading/Phonics Instruction:

My third grade/Form 1A student is working through the Treadwell Readers and has about two pages left in the First Reader. He will immediately move into the Second Reader. He is really enjoying these books and moving at a fabulous pace. Since I prefer a hard copy, I purchase copies from Amazon at a reasonable price. But you can access these readers for free online!

My first grade/Form 1B student is about a third of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love this resource and have used it for several children. Simple, straight-forward, short lessons are a win for me. All of my children who have used this book are excellent readers!

Handwriting/Copywork:

Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner is an italics handwriting program that I am using with multiple children. This resource covers print and cursive writing. It includes pages to practice letters, words, and then sentences. Additional blank pages for practice can be printed as well. The PDF download is only $10! My 1st and 3rd grader are working through the print pages at their own pace.

Within this post, the books highlighted link to Amazon. I choose to link to Amazon because they offer a great “look inside” feature that often allows you to read a few pages of a text. I have always found that helpful. However, I often use ThriftBooks.com because I find better pricing. It has helped my budget tremendously!

History:

All of my children are studying 1650-1800. For my Form 1 students there is more of a focus on just the years of 1700-1800 with a slight bit of the “heroic age” tossed in for my 1st grader. A First Book of American History and Meet the North American Indians are our current history books. I am also including a historical fiction read aloud. We are currently reading Johnny Tremain. A couple of times a week, I read a chapter or two during lunch. In a separate post I will share the history free reads that are available to the children; these include picture books as well.

Geography:

I have a few resources on hand for geography. We will be working through Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling as well as Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography. To add a bit of fun in the mix, I am including Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski. Her regional stories of America show the beauty of the different ares and people! Naturally we will work with a few basic maps and use our wall maps often to locate places we read about.

Science:

Sam and Martha will be enjoying Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. This one is always a favorite! We are also reading A Drop of Water and doing some of the experiments shared in the back of the book.  This term our Special Study will be on trees and dragonflies. I may be adding in reading Tree and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley. I do not have a copy of this yet so we shall see if we work it in. Science is a favorite with Sam and he asks for it daily!

Literature:

Form 1B typically includes Fairy Tales and Form 1A often incorporates Mythology if I am remembering correctly. I am alternating reading fairy tales and Greek myths. I am utilizing a copy I own of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While I have D’ aulaires Book of Greek Myths on my wish list, I am trying to use what I have. I own Greek Myths by Oliva Coolidge and Usborne Greek Myths. Which one will I use? I’m not quite sure!

I am also reading Swallows and Amazon by Arthur Ransome. This was just a spur of the moment decision. I am fairly confident that my third grade kiddo is going to love it! I may also have him listen to the audio of Pilgrim’s Progress in the evening as he falls asleep.

I think that covers the Form 1 work for the coming term/year. This is such a delightful age. I love their insights and narrations on the things we read and observe. We do not read these books daily and some are not read even weekly. My goal is to spread a feast for my children. We are savoring it slowly.  My hope is that this might be helpful to someone. As time allows, I will try to share a weekly schedule for my Form 1 Students.

 

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Reading Charlotte Mason

I am not sure when I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education. Perhaps it was while researching curriculum online or maybe a friend mentioned it. I do know that I was already unknowingly implementing some of her ideas and practices in my home.

We had always used living books and narration seemed a natural response to all our reading. I remember when my oldest children were little and I read to them about Leif the Lucky. As I read they quietly played with Lego blocks. When I finished our reading, they all had various Viking ships to show me as we chatted about Leif Erikson. Letting young children enjoy time outside exploring and playing and running and climbing has always been a part of our days.

When I stumbled across Charlotte Mason I felt that in a small way I had found a kindred spirit. Someone I would have loved to chat with and learn much from I am sure. I definitely had the opportunity to chat with her in a way. She left behind a six volume collection of her thoughts and practices in education. There are the infamous “pink copies” of her writings that are now out of print (but you can still find them used). Thankfully there are new editions of these books now available and budget friendly. You can also read them for free online.

Here is a confession: I have never read Charlotte Mason’s original writings in full. I have read snippets here and there. I have read many great books on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and ideas of education. Excellent books that help with the understanding and implementing of Mason’s practices. There are a few that I definitely recommend and have found super helpful! You can see them here if interested.

 

I have found that I am not satisfied with this second-hand encounter with Miss Mason. I appreciate other’s thoughts but I want to sit at the table with Miss Mason. Ponder her philosophy without other’s ideas tainting my view or assumptions. I will continue to read other books that address aspects of  Mason’s teaching; I am currently reading Know and Tell by Karen Glass. My main attention and focus will be on Miss Mason.

I am going to be a bit of a rebel. Normally I would begin with Home Education, Volume 1. However, I do have older children so I have jumped ship and am first reading A Philosophy of Education, Volume 6. It is my plan to perhaps share my thoughts here.

Morning Time Plans

Morning Time, Circle Time, Morning Basket…the names for this time of gathering everyone together for shared learning is as varied as the houses that practice it. Most often in our home is it, “Everyone Grab Your Bible and Come to the Living Room” Time. Catchy title, right? I can already see it on t-shirts and coffee mugs. It works for us and it seems silly to tell my high school students to get ready for Circle Time.

Before our unplanned summer break, I was almost completely winging this portion of our day. In different seasons the method of winging it works better than others. This season we all needed a bit more structure and planning. Planning and organizing are not my strengths and it took me longer than I wanted but I think we finally have a Morning Time Plan.

For our Morning Time, I will have eight children at home; ages 15 down to 10 months. For this term, we will read/discuss Bible, poetry, government, science, history, literature, etc at varying levels. We have already started and the discussions we have engaged in have been delightful!

Here is the Morning Time Plan:

Daily:

Bible Reading: Each day we will read Scripture. We are alternating between Joshua and Matthew for four days. On Fridays we will be reading a Psalm and from The Ology. ( I am loving this resource!) While it may seem that alternating text might be confusing for the younger ones, it has not been an issue at all. We practice oral narrations after our readings and there is almost always discussion. It works beautifully! Utilizing the New City Catechism (they also have an app) is a new addition for us this term. I am simply offering up one question per week. We shall see how that goes!

Poetry: This time can get a bit crazy. For now we are using Favorite Poems Old and New. Each child calls out a page number and I read from that page. It is quick and fun. And you know what? My children love poetry. We have stumbled across new favorites. My older children do read poetry from an assigned poet as well in their individual studies.

Recitation/Memory Work: As a family we work on a Scripture passage together. We are currently working on Matthew 5: 3 -16. There is other recitation/memory work required but it is handled individually.

Hymns: Our Morning Time always starts with a hymn. We have a few hymnals that we share. Our current hymns are Come Thou Fount, Brethren We Have Met to Worship, and My Father’s World.  My goal is to have a balance between songs we sing often in church and hymns we just enjoy as a family.

Weekly Rotations:

Read Alouds: Generally we have more than one read aloud for Morning Time underway. For this term we have a selection for History (I, Juan de Pareja), Science (Science Matters), and Literature (Haven’t quite decided on this one yet! Pondering a little something by Dickens.)

Government/Civics: In the past this has not been an area covered in our Morning Time. We are going to give it a go for a few weeks and see how it flows and decide from there. I will likely choose one topic/article from the week to discuss for Current Events or perhaps let one of my teens offer up a topic that has intrigued them in their individual studies. I will also be pulling a Civics’s Question of the Week from the Learn about the United States: Quick Civics Lessons from the Naturalization Test. There are so many facts and interesting points of history that we forget or have never learned. This is simple enough for my younger ones to join in and my older ones can always expand from this to deeper reading/discussion/study. It also fits well with our current time of history being studied.

Artist/Composer: Jan Vermeer is our chosen artist and Vivaldi is our composer. We will enjoy paintings and music throughout the week. However, once a week we will have a bit of discussion about a particular painting, an interesting fact about the artist/composer, or share a favorite piece of music. Simple but effective.

This time of everyone coming together is not always easy. However, it is an important part of our day, our life, our family. These sometimes chaotic moments are building connections and memories that will last a lifetime and longer.

Up next? I’ll try to share what else we have in store for the coming year!

 

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