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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Children Are Born Persons – Charlotte Mason

My reading pace of A Philosophy of Education (Charlotte Mason) is moving a bit slower than I had originally planned. I find that I often go back and re-read portions of the text over again. I think that it is quite possible that you could offer up selections of Miss Mason’s writings and people would think it addressing the current educational status.

And so I am just now finishing up my thoughts on Chapter 2, Children Are Born Persons. Why has it taken me so long? I wondered if perhaps I was missing something during my reading. The concept is so simple…perhaps in Miss Mason’s time it was not so. And perhaps we are still struggling with it as well.

A child is a born person. A child has his own personality and characteristics. A child has his own interests or abilities. A child has a mind that can do amazing things! Perhaps we feel education would be easier if a child were an empty pitcher that we filled with the beverage of the day. But they are not puppets on a string! Children have amazing abilities to think, learn, create, imagine, and comprehend. We just need to present them with the ideas, the inspiration, the words.

Children are born persons. We do them an injustice when we treat them as anything less. They are able to think, to understand, to accomplish. Are we giving our children the opportunity to thrive? Are we offering a feast of ideas? So often my children leave me speechless at what they have gathered from their books. Those minds are constantly at work. Don’t underestimate the children!

“We may not take things casually as we have done. Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with those as he choose.” p 40

 

 

Self – Education

As I mentioned in a previous post I am reading through Charlotte Mason’s six volumes on her educational philosophy. I have slowly begun to read A Philosophy of Education which is the sixth and final volume of Miss Mason’s series.

I am a reader who loves to settle in with a good book and binge read for hours. Life does make that a bit difficult now but these writings are not ones to gulp down but to sip slowly. Savor. Let the words and thoughts and ideas settle in a bit.

Chapter One is on Self-Education. I have actually read this chapter twice, marked passages with my book darts, and finally copied them in my journal.

The love of learning is something I hope that all of my children will have by the time they leave my home. Actually I want them to have a love of learning long before they leave my home. That love of acquiring knowledge, learning something new, diving into a book and walking away with a deeper understanding…I want them to have that.

In my mind, self-education results in that love of learning. Self-education is when the child takes ownership and responsibility. She understands the importance of learning or knowledge. There is a desire to learn something new or to comprehend something better. Even in the face of hard work or challenges, that desire to learn makes the struggle worth it.

“A person is not built up from without but from within, that is, he is living, and all external educational appliances and activities which are intended to mould his character are decorative and not vital.” A Philosophy of Education p 28

We can set up a reward system for work completed. Offer a prize when a skill is mastered. Take them for ice cream when a math text is completed. This is all trying to build up from without and in the end will not result in that love of learning. If we must always have a prize or reward or pat on the back for our learning and accomplishments, then we are just puppets. Controlled by whatever or whoever will give us the most praise or the highest reward.

If the child understands the benefit and beauty of knowledge and learning, then it becomes a part of them, of her character. She knows to seek out information, to dive into a book, to practice for herself. Not for a sticker or a good mark on a transcript. Then self-education is born.

“The teacher who allows his scholars the freedom of the city of books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friend; and is no longer the mere instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.” A Philosophy of Education p 32

Self-education does not mean leaving the child on her own. Instead of making a list of what must be learned, rewarding what appears to be mastered, and moving on down the list, you walk alongside the child. Helping her find information, discover the beauty around her that inspires, providing good, living books, and discussing those things that engage them.

I want to stress that I don’t see self-education as leaving the child to learn alone or to struggle through difficult concepts without help. I am walking beside them, discussing, helping, supporting, and often struggling right alongside them. Perhaps one day I will master higher math, eh? But I want them to own their education. Value it. See the purpose.

I always enjoy seeing what books will come home from the library with my children. An old edition of a book of poetry, a cookbook on grilling, a survival guide, or a how-to book on pressing flowers. Always stacks of literature; new and old.

Hopefully the love of learning will continue. This self-education will be a life long pursuit. The wonder of new ideas and beautiful stories and endless possibilities will never die.

What are your thoughts on self-education? I would love to hear them. Thanks for listening to my rambling thoughts.

 

 

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