We’re about to kick off the school year here at The Hill Preparatory Academy for Girls. While the summer has been fun and relaxing, we are definitely missing our routine. The girls and I have actually been ready for school to start for a couple of weeks I know… we’re big nerds. We own it.
This year our curriculum choices aren’t much different than last year. It seems like we’ve hit on a good collection of curricula that we feel like teaches what we want in a way that fits Mary Anneliese’s learning style. We’ve sort of hit our stride. So here’s what we’re doing this year…
Math: Big shout out to Saxon, which we have used since the very beginning of our homeschooling journey. We love, love, love the repetitiveness of it, as MA needs that for it to stick in her mind. We’ll be on books 6/5 this year, and we’re hoping to cover two years of math this year. It’s a tall order, and I really won’t be upset if we don’t finish it. But I do know that if we don’t set the goal, we won’t be motivated to push ourselves.
Bible: We’ve been reading through the Bible since we started homeschooling. We started in first grade with Genesis and ended fourth grade in Ecclesiastes. I can’t decide whether to begin this year with Song of Solomon or skip it and go straight to Isaiah. Not sure I’m ready to discuss the content of Song of Solomon with my ten year old. Then again, maybe it’s a good place to start with those BIG discussions. Hmm, still need to consider what to do on that one. But wherever we begin, we will read through the text, usually 1-2 chapters at a time, and discuss it as we go. I don’t use a formal Bible curricula. We simply read and discuss and talk about life lessons and how the stories fit into the big picture of God’s history. Reading the Bible like this has been one of my very favorite parts of homeschooling. Both MA and I have learned so much about God’s Word as she reads aloud and I provide commentary.
Last fall our church began a three year study of the Bible, which includes Sunday school lessons that start at Genesis and go straight through to Revelation. Our pastor is preaching his way through the Bible in conjunction with the Sunday school lessons. We are currently in 1 Kings. This study has piggy-backed what we’ve been reading at home and has provided fabulous additional insight into the passages we’re reading. Every Monday morning, MA’s Sunday school teacher sends out a five-day devotional that goes along with the passage they will be covering in Sunday school that week. She reads these each morning as her daily devotional.
We will continue to memorize scripture, both single verses and longer passages. I have talked about WHY we memorize scripture here and HOW we memorize it here. We continue to review previous years’ memory verses, so at this point, Mary Anneliese knows a LOT of scripture.
Science: Last year we hit on a science curriculum that we really want to stick with. Jeannie Fulbright has a wonderful creation-based science curriculum called Exploring God’s Creation, which correspond with the days of creation. This year we will do the second book, Botany. We will definitely throw in lots of field trips to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Aldridge Gardens. We’ve never done a lot of nature study before, but I think we this year will be a good year to start. We’ll keep a nature journal with notes and sketches. As there are only 14 chapters in this series of books (and we’ve studies a lot about plant life in previous years), I think we can finish this one by Christmas. Then we’ll move on to Zoology after our Christmas break.
Grammar: Rod and Staff is our curriculum of choice for grammar, and this year we will be in their fifth grade book. I’m hoping that we will be wrapping up our study of grammar and move into more writing this year. You now, at some point you have to put all those parts of speech into use.
Spelling: We liked All About Spelling last year, so we’re sticking with it this year. I like how they teach the rules of spelling and why words are spelled the way they are. We’ll be in their fourth book this year. We’ll continue to learn commonly used words and words from our history and science texts for our weekly spelling tests.
Reading: Great classic literature is the backbone of our homeschool. We won’t change that this year. We’ll read literature. Lots and lots of great literature.
History: Last year we finished Story of the World, which completed our four-year history cycle. We’ll begin again this year with the ancient civilizations, using the same curriculum, but delving deeper into it with additional reading and research. MA is really looking forward to diving back into the ancient people groups, which seems to be one of her favorite historical eras. Weird homeschooled kid.
Latin: We will be using a combination of Latina Christiana and Visual Latin. We are at the point where we need to read books in Latin, as opposed to just doing worksheets and vocabulary. Visual Latin has some interesting Latin primers on their site, which I’m sure we’ll be downloading. I also found Latin copies of Ferdinand the Bull and other classic children’s stories which will be extremely helpful!
Fine Arts: We’ll be back for year number 7!!! of the Briarwood Ballet. She’ll take two classes weekly at an hour and a half each. Through our homeschool group, we’ll attend several plays at the Birmingham Children’s Theater. On Wednesday nights, we’ll participate in choir with our church. And as part of our nature study, we’ll do a ton of drawing and painting. I’m holding out for piano lessons at some point, but I’m really not sure how we’d fit it in, much less practice time. Maybe one day.
PE: Between the six hours of soccer each week and three hours of ballet, I do believe we have PE covered. We’ll throw in playing on the church playground on Sunday nights and Wednesdays after church just for fun.
Little Pitter Patter will go to preschool three days a week this year. She loves time with her friends, and is really looking forward to the year with her new class and new teacher. We are going to miss her so much, but know that she will be having a great time.
That’s it, folks. We’re ambitious and like to load up our schedule, but if we don’t we get grumpy and bored. So it works for us. Hope you find a style of learning that works for your kiddos, too!