Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Curriculum Evaluation

Well, here we are about 9 weeks into the school year and I am trying to decide what's working, what's not, and where I need to realign my priorities...

It is not as easy as it sounds and yet I know I tend to over analyze each element of our schooling...because, well, bascially...er...I'm pretty scared I'm going to get this wrong and our children's academic experience will slide into the gutter. I'm worried that she'll be a Latin speaking child who won't be able to add....or that she'll have the states and capitols memorized but won't be able to write a paragraph. Sometimes in my quest for the best education for her...I lose sight of some simple priorities....reading, writing and arithmetic.

So, here's what we've been trying (unsuccessfully) to accomplish every day:
  1. Chores (appropriate for seven year old: emptying dishwasher, picking up toys, making bed, swiping mirrors, dusting)
  2. Bible (using Veritas Press Bible Cards: Genesis -Joshua; memorize facts & activities & test Friday)
  3. History (One-year condensed World History- Sonlight Curriculum Read text book and discuss: A Child's History of the World by Hillyer, the Usborne Book of World History w/internet links)
  4. Geography (Sonlight- Geography Songs: Sing Around the World by Troxel for memory work, coloring/activity pages, social studies reading from Window to the World by Spraggett)
  5. Reading w/map work and language arts tie-ins

Sonlight Second grade intermediate readers:

Clara and the Bookwagon

The Long Way to a New Land

The Long Way Westward

Prairie School

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie

Riding the Pony Express

The Secret Valley

Third-Grade Detectives #1: The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope (we're currently on this one)

The Chalk Box Kid

The Paint Brush Kid

The Littles

Third-Grade Detectives #2: The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief

Viking Adventure

The House on Walenska Street

Cora Frear

Tippy Lemmey

A Question of Yams

Third-Grade Detectives #4: The Cobweb Confession

Third-Grade Detectives #10: The Mystery of the Stolen Statue

The Last Little Cat


Jake Drake: Bully Buster

6. Math-U-See, Beta (Lesson on DVD, work with manipulatives, worksheet and weekly test)

7. Spelling and Phonics (spelling word list and phonics work from Modern Curriculum Press Plaid Phonics workbook with spelling rules and worksheets).

  1. Handwriting (worksheet from Classically Cursive workbook, daily practice)
  2. Read Alouds with Cultural Literacy & comprehension questions:

The Aesop for Children

A Child's Garden of Verses

Red Sails to Capri

Ginger Pye

Gladys Aylward (starting this week)

Little Pear

Strawberry Girl

Detectives in Togas

The Cricket in Times Square

The Door in the Wall

White Stallion of Lipizza

The Twenty-one Balloons

The Apprentice

The Little Riders

A Little Princess

And the Word Came with Power

  1. Fun reading-student choice for 20 min per day (Emily can choose any books she likes and so far she is devouring the Magic Treehouse series, the Boxcar Children series, the Cul-de-sac Kids series, American Girl Doll Books, Nate the Great series, The Disney Fairy series...)
  2. Language Arts (grammar) Monday and Tuesday
  3. Expressive Writing Wed, Thurs, and sometimes Friday
  4. Life Science with the texts:The Usborne Book of Knowledge, The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible, Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth, Science Activities, Volume 3, Living World Encyclopedia, The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System, Marie Curie & the Discovery of Radium, Science Experiement DVD; includes worksheets, keeping a journal, experiments weekly)
  5. Art (treat as a "special"; read from our text/do activity once a week) using texts as a guide: How Artists See Feelings, How Artists See the Elements.
  6. Music (in the car, CD series with bio story and music of famous composers...may restart handbell choir after January)
  7. PE (not structured other than sports: cheerleading, gymnastics, and soccer)
  8. Latin: Sing School Latin Curriculum with audio CD, worksheets/activity (also treat this as a special...once a week)
  9. Vocabulary Building Activity (Wordly Wise Workbook- once a week)
  10. Field trips, bi-weekly trip to Library, Fun gym for PE occasionally on Fridays, Girl scouts every other Wednesday and Cheer leading twice weekly

So, beginning this week with a new scaled down focus...

Creative writing, language arts, and math to be my primary focus...oh, and well history and geography are important too...and well, we have this neat Latin curriculum, it really doesn't take that long...and she loves doing the science experiments...and well, she has to be active, so we've GOT to do some sort of PE...maybe we can throw in some art and music enrichment once a week...and she has to read, read, read...and well, she has to learn about God and do daily devotions anyway, might as well make them productive, and we have to develop her vocabulary...she'll take those darn achievement tests and I'll , er...I mean she'll fail if we haven't developed her vocabulary...and where was I, oh yeah, scaling back to just the basics! ((sigh))...


Jessica said...

All I can really say to that is WOW! Second grade sounds hard! LY

Helena said...


You sound so much like me that I was not sure if you wrote that or me! :-))