We officially started out 2016-2017 school year with a field trip in July, but last week we started the book work. While Sebastian is in fourth grade this year, Kaelyn has graduated to first grade. I have changed my mind since Sebastian was in first grade so there are changes in what I am doing with Kaelyn. Now that Sebastian is older he can do more independent work and I am trying to find an appropriate balance for him as he starts his journey as an older elementary student. Seriously, where has the time gone?
Every school day we start the same way. We pray together, read about the Saint of the Day, recite the Pledge of Allegience, and then do our memory work. Our memory work includes Poetry Memorization from IEW as well as Classically Catholic Memory which includes Latin, religion, math, science, history, geography, timeline, and great words. This year we will be working on Gamma Year at our co-op so our focus will be on Early Modern Times, Chemistry and Physics, Geometric Formulas, and North America. There are 18 weeks total and we meet as a co-op every other week to introduce the memorization and then we spend the next two weeks at home putting it to memory.
All About Spelling: Sebastian breezed through level one as a review in the last couple weeks of school last year. We are going to review book two and move on to book three this year. I assume we will get through both of those books this year because he is older. If he finishes them and we still have decent time at the end of the year, we will get into IEW's Phonetic Zoo.
We will be following Catholic Heritage Curriculum's reading program which includes Rare Catholic Stories and The Father Brown Reader plus study guides. Sebastian loves to read so I expect him to read a ton of books from the library for fun. He normally picks up non-fiction books, but he has a healthy appetite for all kinds of books.
IEW's writing curriculum has been working wonders for us so we are continuing along the path. This year Sebastian picked out Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales as his writing book. I will be working on his independence with writing this year so that he can do more of it on his own.
Although I love Catholic Heritage Curriculum, I felt it lacking in the grammar department. This year I am having Sebastian work on IEW's Fix It! Grammar The Nose Tree. I think he will like it because it is short and sweet each day.
We have been a Math-U-See family for the past five years so it is no surprise we will continue to finish up Delta (division) and begin Epsilon (fractions) this year.
Science/Health and Physiology
We are continuing the Behold and See series from Catholic Heritage Curriculum for science this year. This year we are focusing on human anatomy and health so I am also supplementing with a human anatomy coloring book.
Geography/Civics/History of the United States and Pennsylvania
This year I am looking forward to work through Our United States of America: Catholic Social Studies this year. Included in the history book is geography, U.S. map study, and an extensive nine-week state study. Because this book includes so much we are only supplementing Map Skills D once a week.
I don't have a set curriculum for physical education. Sebastian will be taking ballet, jazz, and tap classes 2 1/2 hours a week. They also play outside almost every day and are very active.
I am restarting piano lessons this year. We use the Faber Piano Adventures books because I can easily teach the kids myself. There will also be a music class at co-op.
We are continuing to do Art With a Purpose: ArtPac 4 this year. I like it because he can do it on his own without my help. There is also an art class at co-op.
Although I plan on singing the kids up for religion class at our church, I still am teaching them at home. It is the most important class and I am happy to "double up" on it at home even if they are getting religious ed on Sundays. We are working in Faith & Life 4: Jesus Our Guide.
All About Spelling: Kaelyn began level 1 last year and is picking up about halfway through the level for first grade. I expect her to finish level one this year but I am unsure whether or not we will start level two.
We are using two different curriculums concurrently to teach reading. We are using IEW's Primary Arts of Language: Reading as well as Little Stories for Little Folks. They work nicely together and it gives her extra practice to do both. If I had to choose to do just one I would stick with IEW's PAL program because it is amazing, but I like adding in a little Catholic reading with the Little Stories as well. It has nice virtues embedded in the cute stories.
We are using two programs here as well. IEW's Primary Arts of Language: Writing will start this year off with copy work but then move into composition, which is an important step for kids before we begin a more formal writing curriculum with IEW. Parallel with the Little Stories is CHC's handwriting book. It is a handwriting, phonics, and reading book that coincides with the story for the week.
Kaelyn finished Math-U-See's Primer last year and is eager to start work on the Alpha book. She is ready to start mastering addition facts!
Science/Health and Physiology
Kaelyn is SO excited to start a "real" science book this year and we will be doing Behold and See 1: On the Farm. It is a fun worktext that takes the kids on a year-long journey exploring the seasons on the farm. There willbe plenty of experiments and she is sure to learn how science and religion go hand in hand.
We will be working in Maps, Charts, and Graphs A this year to have an introduction to geography. It is minimal and only done once a week, so this is more of a supplementary than a full curriculum but I don't much is needed for first grade.