Friday, August 19, 2011

Our School Year at a Glance

Last week I wrote about giving my plans over to God as I begin to prepare for the upcoming school year.  Certainly making plans and trusting in God go hand-in-hand.  We plan, with all the wisdom and creativity that He has given us, but in the end, we hold those plans loosely to see what He will do with them.  Over the past few years I have heard the term, "holding your plans up to God with open hands instead of clenched fists".  So, as I've been planning, I've been praying also.  Praying that God will give me direction....and wisdom.  Praying that the curriculum will not be an idol, but simply a means to an end.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
~Proverbs 16:9

Here is a look at some of my plans for this school year.  No curriculum is perfect.  It is all just that....curriculum.  Some of it will work well for us, and others won't.  And so as we go, we will tweak and change and muddle through.  What matters most is the heart in which it is taught in.  Oh my, don't I need a reminder of that these days!??!!

We've structured our entire year around Classical Conversations, the national homeschool organization that we are a part of.  CC strives to teach students classically through memorization.  On class days, our kids will be learning new grammar in the subject areas of English, Latin, History, Science, Math, Geography, Bible, Art and Music.  Our kids will be doing art projects, science experiments and an oral presentation each week.  It is truly the highlight of their week!  For those fellow CCer's - check out this blog.  It has been SO helpful in my lesson planning for the year.


The kids will be memorizing John 1:1-7 and then learning to translate it in Latin this year.  That should be interesting!


Draw to Learn the Book of Proverbs   -     
        By: Ray Notgrass, Charlene Notgrass
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!  Combines art and bible.  Read through the Proverbs with your kids and they illustrate as you go.  Also available:  Psalms, Acts, Letters of Paul and Life of Jesus.


We're using Abeka books again this year for math.  My kids seem to like them (the books are real colorful and fun) - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

A couple of websites I am planning to use to supplement are:

Math Drills


Khan Academy

We're also a HUGE fan of Justin at Mathtacular!!


For those students from 3rd-6th grade, Classical Conversations has an intense Language Arts and Math program called Essentials.  For the first time this year, my daughter will be taking their Essentials class. The Language Arts program uses a combination of The Essentials of the English Language Guidebook and Andrew Pudewa's Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).  So, so, so, sooooo good!!!

For my beginning readers, we have used this book:

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Joseph just finished it up and will be going on to "real" books.
For handwriting, we have always liked A Reason For Writing.  Kaya will be continuing on in cursive, while Joseph finishes up his mastery in printing.

Cooking and Science Elementary
So, I was trying to figure out how to teach chemistry to elementary students.  Enter, Cooking and Science.  And, it can only (to my knowledge) be found at  Truly one of the nicest family-run curriculum companies to work with!


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We're studying human anatomy this year in our Classical Conversations community.  Looking forward to using this resource!


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 I'm excited by the reviews on this book and am hoping it will be a great resource for years to come.


This year in Classical Conversations we will be studying US History.  Abeka books has a myriad of sources that we are using to supplement our memory work in both history and geography.

We'll also be working on memorizing a timeline of the world using Veritas Press' Timeline Cards.

Old Testament & Ancient Egypt Flashcards

A couple of websites that I have been introduced to also as supplements:

Paper Toys


FREE Audiobooks on Librivox

In the past we have used....

The Mystery of History Vol 1
and LOVED it!  But unfortunately, they do not offer an American History volume yet.  Maybe someday! :)


Classical Music for Dummies


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And, finally, Jackson is starting preschool at home this year!!!  I found this website with FREE printables for preschoolers.  It is AWESOME!  I was able to print off all kinds of their "preschool packs" in Star Wars and Peter Pan and Disney Cars.  Plenty to keep little hands busy.  I'm also intrigued by a book called, Preschool in a Bag, but I have yet to get my hands on a copy. :)

At this point, we have field trips penciled in, lessons plans written out, and objectives submitted to the local school district.  We're almost there!!!

Now, for me, the planning is the fun part.  I am a geek in the sense that I LOVE lesson planning.  BY FAR, my most favorite assignments in college involved lesson planning.  It's all fun and creative and in my mind it always plays out PERFECTLY.  The hard part though, is the reality.  When science experiments flop, and the baby poops on the floor during reading time, and my three-year-old clogs the toilet while I'm trying to teach math (don't ask - as you can see we have A LOT of bathroom issues here. :)  When life takes over and I'm left to pick up the pieces of my beautiful lesson plan gone awry.  Praying for a lot of GRACE this year!!

So, here's to a new year beginning.  It sure couldn't come soon enough!!



  1. It looks like a wonderful year! I LOVE the planning part. One day I'm going to be a personal curriculum planner for home schoolers. You know when all my kids are grown :) We're using lots of similar books. We are loving the Draw to Learn Bible books! We're doing the Life of Christ now and the kids just love love love it! History we're sticking with Story of the World, we're almost done book 2 and are moving on to book three. With Samuel and Kiah, lots of their literature reading will come from Veritas Press, overlapping what we're studying in history. We came across two amazing new resources. One is Noeo Science. A family business and it is so wonderful. We're doing Biology this year and all the kids love it! They provide various notebook pages so that it's really at the right level for a variety of ages. The other is Harmony Arts. She has art and composer studies for each grade from 1st through 12th. She organized it based on the Trivium and Charlotte Mason techniques. It's been the highlight of our studies so far. Nathan asked me yesterday if we could please play some George Handel music while we worked. So cute! Can't wait to see you soon! We'll all have to compare notes and tips, especially in the keeping-toddlers-busy/engaged-while-we-teach department!

  2. Wow! This is what scares me about homeschooling. Thanks for sharing about your plans.

  3. This is great Kirsten - thanks for posting. I love seeing other people's plans/schedules - helps me figure out mine! Maybe I will blog our routines/ideas too...I've had friends ask me what we "do" in homeschooling and this would be a good way to show it. Anyway - your blog is fun to read and I love your openness:)