2011 “Not” Back-to-School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week

I’m not really sure where our summer went, but it’s once again time to start getting our things together for school. Overall, I was very pleased with our curriculum choices last year. I have mulled over our choices and decided to tweak only a few things. MA (9) is entering fourth grade and is nine years old. She is a good student who tries hard, is focused on her work, and does pretty well in school. She picks up most new concepts easily, so that makes curriculum choices a little easier. Patterson (3) will be going to preschool two days each week at our church, which she is very excited about. We don’t call it “school”, because that freaks her out a little bit, but when we talk about going to “church” on Tuesdays and Thursdays she lights up. Even though she is in preschool, I will add in some additional work with her on the days she doesn’t go.

So, without further ado, here are our curriculum choices for the 2011 school year at the Hill Preparatory Academy for Girls:

Math: Saxon has been such a fantastic choice for us, and we are sticking with it. We love the repetition of spiral math. We love that the pages are uncluttered. We have been very happy with Saxon.

Bible: We are once again reading straight from the Bible. We finished Esther last year and will pick up in Job this year. We’ll probably do Job-Isaiah, but if we do more or less, I’m okay with that. We spend time each day reading the scripture and discussing it. We memorize verses each week and review all of our old verses.

Grammar: I was very happy with the Rod and Staff curriculum we went with last year, so we’re using it again. I thought she learned more from the Rod and Staff grammar books last year than she did with other books. Grammar has been a tricky subject for us in terms of finding a curriculum we liked. We have used two others that we ended up trashing. I feel like Rod and Staff is the real deal.

History: We adore Story of the World! We are big fans of Susan Wise Bauer. This is our fourth year with her series, and we are eager to get started on Modern Times. I feel like history is going to be very robust for us this year, as there are so many resources available. We plan to discover as much as we can about the US and the world around us!

Latin: Last year, we used Prima Latina. We are continuing their series with Latina Christiana this year. We have been very happy with this video series. It has been great for MA to see and hear the teacher while learning a new language. We will definitely have to be more diligent and intentional about memorizing vocabulary and phrases, however. I see notecards in our future.

Science: Those of you who have followed my blog a while know that I have never found a science curriculum that I love. I have used several in the past, but have never felt like they were enough. I have always ended up supplementing with library books on various subjects, but I’ve never felt like my approach was organized and systematic enough. It just felt sort of jumbled.This year we are going with Apologia’s Young Explorer Series. My books arrived today, and I have flipped through them just a bit. I have high hopes that this might be the one! We are starting with Exploring Creation with Astronomy. It looks very promising. We have the book and workbook, which go hand in hand. I’m excited to start digging in to this one.

Memory Work: Besides memorizing our weekly Bible verses/passages, we will also memorize other poetry, speeches, and documents. Since much of our history lessons will be about modern American history (from the Revolution to the present time), there are many important bodies of work from which we can choose. Some of my favorites are the Gettysburg Address, the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, the Preamble to the Constitution, and parts of speeches given by US presidents.

Spelling: I was very happy with All About Spelling last year. We began using this curriculum mid-year, and finished through level three in a few short months. We will begin with level four and go at Mary Anneliese’s pace. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if we finish this series early in the year and move onto something else.

Fine Arts: We will continue with ballet lessons at the Briarwood Ballet. This has been one of the great joys of our year, and we look forward to having two days each week with Mrs. Barbara Barker, the founder of the Briarwood Ballet, as our teacher this year. I have wanted MA to take Mrs. Barker’s class for some time, but we never could get it to work out. This year is our time, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Mrs. Barker is very disciplined and requires her girls to be the same, so I am looking forward to the structure and rigor of her class. We will also attend as many of the Birmingham Children’s Theater productions as we can. This year we will see “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, “Willie Wonka”, and “Sacagawea”. I’d love for MA to be able to participate in another play or musical this year, but we haven’t had luck finding an avenue for that to happen. We will continue with choir each week as well.

Physical Education/Health: There was a time when we struggled to get enough PE done. Not anymore. MA is playing on a competitive soccer team this year. That means 3 practices per week at an hour and a half each, and weekly soccer games. Some weekends we will play in tournaments, where the girls keep playing until they either lose or win the whole shebang. That’s a ton of running!! Of course, the Briarwood Ballet lessons are also very active. We have decided to take a wait-and-see approach to gymnastics for MA. If the new soccer commitment isn’t too much, we might add in a day or two of gymnastics each week. She really hates to give it up, but also really wanted to play competitive soccer. But, of course, her favorite PE activity is the two playdates we have each week on the church playground. Bliss for a nine-year-old.

Home/Service/Social: We continue to consider home activities/chores/responsibilities as one of our subjects. We continue to keep up with our service projects so that we can be sure we aren’t being too inward-focused. Doing for others has become one of my girls’ favorite activities. And as always, we monitor social activities to be sure we are getting enough down time with friends.

Now on to Pitter Patter…

As I said earlier, my little one is going to preschool twice each week, and she couldn’t be more thrilled! I’m excited for her because I know how much she adores Sunday school and VBS. This will be right up her alley, and it will give MA and me time to focus on getting some teaching time. How we look forward to doing math without someone whining that they want to play with us! 😉

In addition to preschool, I will be using Beyond Five in a Row with her. I received this curriculum in the mail today, and I think it’s something she is really going to enjoy. And, of course, she will still go with MA and me on all of our field trips and outings.

So there you have it. The Hill Preparatory Academy for Girls is ready to be back in full swing. I pray you will have a fantastic school year!

I’m linking this post to:

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.