Curricula 2012-2013 - 1st and 4th Grade

Monday, August 20, 2012

This year I decided to go with Heart of Dakota Bigger Hearts for His Glory. This is the economy package. Last year we worked through Story of the World Ancients for History. I am a huge fan of SOTW, but I thought it would be nice to teach American history this year. SOTW doesn't work specifically through American History, so this is my little detour. When I asked Aedan if he knew this or that about well known figures in American History, he knew very little. Aedan was in public school from K-3. I'm so excited to bring him home this year. I love that I can include both of my kids in this program.The Eggleston books were written in the early 20th century, and may take some getting used to for my boys. I've read through them though, and think they can handle it. I plan to give a more balanced explanation to American history figures. Many of them had flaws that weren't talked about when I was in school.

This is the HOD Science Add-On package. We are adding in additional science, but I hated to miss out on these books and activities. They are all really easy to do and really enjoyable.

These are the Boy Interest Storytime Read Alouds for HOD. We will read from the biography, adventure, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, non-fiction, humor, realistic fiction, and folk tale genres this year.

Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) is Heart of Dakota's reading program. Silas will be doing level 2/3, and Aedan will be doing level 4-5. I hesitated to use it for Silas, but am going forward with it. It's great for keeping Aedan accountable to actually read what he's supposed to. So far the activities have been doable for both levels.

This is the DITHOR Level 2 Book Pack which Silas will be reading this year. We switched out Amelia Earhart for Squanto Friend of Pilgrims. I got many of our books at Half Price Books in brand new condition. Others had to be ordered. Some could have been found at the library, but anytime I procrastinate finding something, it just plain doesn't get done. I was so happy to get such fair prices when I sold my used curriculum on The Well Trained Mind forums. I thought it would be worth it to just buy them and have them ready, and sell them next year.

This is the Dithor Level 4/5 Boy Interest Book Pack. Aedan will be reading through these selections. We switched out Sign of the Beaver (We read it last year, and loved it!) for Ben and Me.

This is HOD's Extension Package for older students. This extends BHFHG to an older level for Aedan. Pedro's Journal is used next year in Preparing, so I think I may opt to wait for them to read it next year. I took Ben and Me out of this pack, and added it to Aedan's DITHOR readings instead. I also will be reading By the Great Horn Spoon during Storytime instead of having Aedan read it as an extension. It took me a while to figure out how where there is overlapping with book packs and levels in HOD.

Singapore Primary Mathmatics (Standards Edition) is my favorite of all the math programs I have tried. Silas will be doing levels 2a-2b. Aedan will be doing level 3a-3b. We don't use all the books. We have the Home Instructor guide, the textbooks, and the workbooks for both boys. Singapore works about a level ahead of public school. Aedan was in PS until last year, and was behind in math even though he was in their gifted program. I worked through level 2a and 2b to get him caught up after school last year. I'm hoping to get past level 3b, and to have 4a completed by summer.

 I don't know what happened to me but I am beginning to love Rod & Staff. I might have judged you last year if you told me you were using it (that sounds terrible I know.) I was all about conceptual math, and wouldn't dream of doing something so traditional. Some people think drill is bad. I was one of them, but found last year that even though I love Singapore, the kid's math facts lacked the glue I wanted them to have. We will work slowly through these books to cement some facts that are still not there. Aedan will be working through Grade 4, and Silas through Grade 2. I found both of these sets new on Ebay for nearly half off, so don't forget to check there. Last year we did more added Singapore books like the Extra Practice Book, and the Word problem book. Instead of doing that we will work slowly through these in tandem with Singapore. Strange mix I know. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Can you say math junkie? Guilty :) We are HUGE Life of Fred fans here. Last year we worked through Apples, Butterflies, Cats and Dogs. This year we will work through 4 books as well. It was the dessert of our homeschool day. Silas always wanted to save it for last because it was his favorite. Aedan read through the books for fun on his own.

Math isn't fun you say? I used to hate math, so it was really important to me to find a way to make it less boring. We play lots of math games here. The kids ask to play them when we're not in school (which I love!) We started in RightStart math level B last year, and completed it over the summer with Silas. You really can't beat their math games book. We will play LOTS of games here at the Monarch Room.

Again, Rod & Staff happened to me here too. I'm a huge fan of Susan Wise Bauer. We used First Language Lessons 1 and Writing with Ease 1 last year with Silas. Both programs were great. I thought Writing With Ease would be overload because we are already doing so much reading, narration, dictation, and copywork with HOD. I actually own Level 2 and 3 of WWE and FLL. I'm kind of mourning not using it. When I looked through it for Aedan though, I was pretty sure he couldn't do much of it. Grammar was non-existent in PS for him. I want to teach him how to narrate and do dictations before moving him to something else. HOD will have plenty of that. R&S Grade 3 will be a nice place to start for him for grammar. Silas will work out of Grade 2.There is so much review built in, I think we will have success with this program. I used to think the R&S books were so dull. When I went to the homeschool convention though, I (gasp) loved their little display. The books looked so innocent sitting there on the shelf, and were colored like a spring day. I couldn't resist. We'll see how it goes I guess.

We worked through All About Spelling 1 and 2 last year with Silas. This year I plan to work through level 3 and 4 with both boys. I know you're really supposed to start at the beginning, but I really don't want to do that. My plan is to work through the phonograms and rules of level 1 and 2 (I still have the cards for those levels) with both boys before getting into the program in level 3.

Rod and Staff again! These affordable workbooks are great. We have so few workbooks this year, so these are kind of my way of getting the dishes done in the morning. Don't judge :) Silas will be working through level 3. He worked through Grade 2 last year. It was pretty easy for him. Aedan will be working through Grade 4.

You're probably thinking I'm on spelling overload. I might be. I believe in dictation, and I think HOD's are great. It helps me feel a little better about letting go of WWE for now. They only take 5 minutes. I think they're great practice for both boys.

This year Silas will work through Elemental Science Earth and Space. Heart of Dakota's science is very gentle and sweet. I do like it a lot, and think the boys will enjoy the simple experiments. I can't, however, break out of the Classical science rotation. I think the boys would be missing out if they didn't follow this model. Last year we did Real Science Odyssey Life. I hadn't heard yet of Elemental Science. It follows the Well Trained Mind's suggestions for many books. Last year I found RSO to be difficult to get done. All of the experiments in Elemental Science are completely doable and fun. I really look forward to working through this program. Again, I opted to buy the books rather than to wait for them at the library.

Aedan will work through Elemental Science Physics for the Grammar Stage. I gave him the option to work through chemistry or physics, and this is what he chose. I will share many of our experiments here as we start to do them.

Both boys will work through Trail Guide to US Geography. I bought the downloadable student pages as well that includes maps of each state and other activities. Heart of Dakota has one day of Geography a week. It's usually a fun activity. We will still do that, but I wanted to do American Geography in tandem with American History. We will work through about 1-2 states a week, twice a week. Silas loves geography, and learned all his capitals this summer by himself. Aedan didn't cover much geography in school, so this will be a great place to start. We love GeoPuzzles, and geography games. We will read through the geography books we already have to find the information we need to fill out the maps.

Heart of Dakota does an excellent job of incorporating bible study in with the rest of the curriculum. We will learn 13 hymns over the course of the year. My church is a modern church, and I love it. They won't learn any of the hymns there, so this is a nice way to learn them. Every week we will also cover a Godly character trait, read out of a weekly devotional, and learn a memory verse.

I bought REAL Homeschool Spanish last year on HSBC. We didn't get around to using it, so we plan to use it this year. My sister in law and family are here from Spain for 6 months, so it's a great opportunity to learn some Spanish. I may hire one of my nieces to help me.

We will do Nature study once a week on Fridays. The Nature Connection is a great book! I've always been a fan of the Handbook of Nature Study, but few people know how to use it. I love that it's written in an old fashioned way. Some of the descriptions are beautiful. We plan to read up on what we discover on our outings.

Heart of Dakota suggests Cheerful Cursive. This is a great little book. The letter size is too large for my 10 year old, so I'm having him follow the course on smaller paper. The strokes are taught with cute little characters. Aedan took the book the other day just to be able to read it for fun.

Well, I think that about covers it. I was so afraid that I had over-scheduled, but after completing our first week, I wonder if I under-scheduled. We got everything done in about 4 hours (though I was light on math.) I was so worried that adding a child would lengthen our days undesirably. So far so good. I'll share what works, and what doesn't here with you :)


  1. I have a question about the extra science you added for Bigger. I am in my 2nd year homeschooling and have started the classical cycle this year. I am wavering back and forth between continuing this way and switching to HOD. My oldest would be in R2R and my youngest in Bigger, so I LOVE your blog!! How did you like adding Elemental Science to Bigger? Was it too much? IF I don't do HOD, ES is what we'll be doing for science, so I'm intrigued by the idea of doing both. What about with RTR? Is there room to add ES to that?
    Appreciate any input!!

  2. My kids both love science, so adding it wasn't hard at all. Elemental didn't take that much time. I don't feel like it was too much. I also loved HOD science as well. It's a totally different approach with living books. My kids really connected with the figures in the science biographies. Pioneer Sampler was also so fun! I really liked Elemental, but have found other programs that we have loved more since that might have been easier to implement.

    As far as RtR, we have loved the science this year. I do feel like I needed to add something to it. When we studied the planets we checked out books each week for each planet. I also added in science option #2 on top of option #1. When I get to RtR again, I may add Science in the Industrial age that just came out. We'll see though :) It will be a while until we get there again.

    I came from a classical mindset when we started Bigger, but have leaned more CM. I still love the classical cycle though. That has been hard for me to let go of. HOD starts feeling more classical in the upper guides and has been a nice mix for me. We absolutely love HOD and will use it long term.

    Thank you so much for visiting :)

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I feel classically inclined, but I have two boys, too, and they seem like they'd be a better fit to CM.

    Do you mind if I ask what you found that would have been easier to implement with Bigger?

  4. I never thought I'd like Apologia science, but my boys have loved it! It looked a little too textbookish. I have found it was the total opposite. We are enjoying Botany right now. It was covered so briefly in Elmental that I wanted to do a longer study this year. I may add in Apologia Anatomy when we get to Creation to Christ again. Next year I will add Science in the Beginning to Preparing - at least that's what I think so far.

    My kids did enjoy Elemental. We did Grammar stage biology, astronomy/earth and physics. My son then did Apologia Land Animals for science in CtC. He absolutely loved it far more so than what he had done previously. I love that you can get a notebook and buy a science supply kit. That has made it super easy to implement.

  5. I just wanted to say thank you again for sharing so much of your school year. I think after looking through your post on Elemental Science, we will probably be adding in Earth Science to our upcoming school year :)


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