It's that time of year when it's time to start putting the final touches on our plans for next year. I'm so excited to be back in Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ, but this time I will get to enjoy it with Silas. He hasn't been in an HOD guide for 2 years, so I'm looking forward to him diving into all these wonderful books with him! We will be using HOD Creation to Christ with some changes, but we will keep much of it as is. There are inevitably things we will drop or add, but these are our choices as of right now.
I did much of my planning back in the winter. Over the summer I like to get familiar with any new programs or to read independent books if I have the time. I'm fortunately very familiar with most of these books and programs because Aedan used them a few years back when he was in 5th grade. I can tell you it was lovely having most of this on the shelf already. This is the first year we get to start re-using a guide that I have done before. It was such a wonderful thing that we were only buying one program rather than two this year.
Our main program is Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ. It includes Bible, History, Science, Geography, Storytime Read Alouds, Language Arts, Math and Art lessons. This guide starts at the creation of the world and ends at the time of Christ. Silas hasn't studied this period since way back in K when we used Story of the World Ancients. I look forward to learning alongside him about God's people and the ancient civilizations of the world. There are SO many wonderful things to discover in this guide. I have his notebook all set up which includes HOD's beautiful notebook pages.
This is the Creation to Christ Economy package. These are the main spines for our history reading, geography and drawing portion of the guide. I had thought that I would completely drop the Beechick Genesis book, but I think I will just use it more casually this time. I feel it's a little old for this age at times, but there is still a lot of great information in this book.
We chose to do the History Interest Set read alouds last time. We really enjoyed how these books brought to life the period of history we were studying. The only one we are subbing out this time is The Accidental Voyage. Instead I have subbed in The Bronze Bow. I love anything by Elizabeth George Speare! This book goes perfectly with the period of the time of Christ. I can't wait to read these books with Silas!
My boys are on the oldest age range for these guides. I've always bought the Extension Set of books. Many of Aedan's favorite HOD books were found in the extensions. I feel like they have always added a depth to what we are learning. This isn't necessary if you have a child within the age range. I don't have them do the extension assignments. If our day is too long this will be one of the first things to go.
This year Silas will read many books from the Bible from Genesis all the way through the New Testament. He will also memorize a chapter from Philippians. This CD will be familiar to him as he always sat in with us back when he was a little guy and Aedan was in this guide. Some people don't like these CDs, but we love them. We always just get silly and have fun. I wish they were used through all the guides. Aedan had a harder time memorizing the passages last year without it.
We will continue with Singapore 5a & 5b for math. We have used Life of Fred since kindergarten. Silas adores Fred and would be sad if he ever had to stop doing this program. We started Singapore in K, and took a little break from it before returning. I'm so glad I did come back to it. Recently I had the opportunity to have Silas tested in math. He blew away the teacher who administered the test. It was fun for me as a homeschooler to have a public school teacher see that homeschool really does work. I always thought he was doing well, but I really had no idea until the results came in. It definitely made me want to stick with what we were already doing.
We will also stick with our old tried and true Rod and Staff grammar. He will do level 5 over the next 2 years. I'm looking forward to having this scheduled only 2 days as opposed to 4. We have always used the worksheets and tests. The tests do seem to give me an idea of if they are actually absorbing it or not or if we need to go back and review.
Last spring I scored a great deal on the Institute for Excellence in Writing Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVDs. Honestly, I really hated IEW the first time I used it, but I didn't have the DVDs. Once I watched them a light bulb totally went off. We used IEW SWI-B for the last half of the year and it made a huge difference for both boys. I'm definitely a believer now. We will used the Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales themed guide this year. I'm looking forward to seeing him develop his writing skills this year. I wish I had given IEW a chance for Aedan earlier. It would have made our written narrations so much easier.
Phonetic Zoo is new to our lineup. We have used All About Spelling since K. We used level 4 last year, and I was starting to feel that Silas was past level 5. I heard about Phonetic Zoo from a former AAS mom who said she loved using Phonetic Zoo after around level 3-4 of AAS. It's independent (which sounds lovely because I'm juggling 2 guides.) He placed in level B, so we will see how it goes. We will also continue HOD studied dictation. I may drop formal spelling next year depending on how this year goes. Silas is an excellent speller, but I thought one more formal year may be worth a shot.
One thing we started last year was use Reading Roadmaps which employ the method of Teaching the Classics. This year I'm going to be less scheduled with literature. We will use Reading Roadmaps as a starting place for the books we choose to read this year. The Reading Roadmaps book has a wonderful list books to choose from as well as a starting point for how to approach each book. I have some of the 5th grade books on my shelf, but we will employ the library this year instead of buying a bunch of extra books. Last year I had a harder time selling off random items. It will be nice to enjoy books we already have and save a few bucks as well. Watching Teaching the Classics gave me confidence to be able to branch out and teach lit on my own. We will also veer of the RR lists to other favorites that Silas has yet to read. Sometimes you need a subject to just enjoy without the pressure of having an exact plan for the day. I want my kids to be lovers of books. Leaving a little room in this area will feel like a welcome break in the school day.
This is the one major tweak I am making to the Creation to Christ guide. When Aedan did HOD CtC he absolutely loved the science. It was his favorite year. Silas, however, has done life science until it is coming out of his ears. We did botany in 3rd as well as life and animal science multiple years. Instead of doing Apologia Land Animals and the other CtC resources we will be using the science from HOD Resurrection to Reformation. Silas requested to learn about Astronomy this year, and we already had these resources on our shelf. I don't know if I'll have him read Our Weather and Water just yet. It is the 2nd option of HOD RtR science. I had Aedan just read that book additionally to what he was already doing, but he was one year older at the time. I'll see what the workload is like before deciding in that.
I don't recommend switching out science if you can help it. It was a chore to come up with an additional schedule for this, but I'm happy he will by studying something he is interested in. Next year we will do Apologia Anatomy and Nutrition 101. Silas has always wanted to do that particular Apologia book. I like the CtC anatomy and History of Medicine book, but I think it will be nice to go more in depth with the human body and nutrition. It's the only area that isn't covered extensively in these middle guides.
I am especially looking forward to the Robert Frost poetry study and watercolor art in this guide. This year I plan to work alongside Silas as we paint together. So fun!
HOD CtC does have a wonderful geography book, but I absolutely love the Simply Charlotte Mason Visits series. This year we will do Visits to the Middle East. Last year we did Visits to Europe. Silas learned all of the countries of Europe. He actually beat his dad in a geography game, and my husband grew up in Europe. Needless to say, I'm a fan. We will still read A Child's Geography, but we will do this once a week. The map exercises really cement where in the world we are studying, and the extra books are wonderful. I will check out many of them from the library, and we will use Hungry Planet and Material World which are already on our shelf. He will add the Middle East to his understanding of world geography. These books have been excellent review after doing My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.
One of the things I have enjoyed learning about this summer is about the Biblical feasts and holidays. I want to celebrate many of these feasts this year as a family. It is the perfect school year to do this as it will add to our understanding of the history of the Bible and of our spiritual heritage. It will be a learning curve for me to try to incorporate them, but I'm really looking forward to this!
Like every homeschooler I have tons of wonderful resources already on my shelf. We will use many of these books along the way as we travel through ancient history together. Here's to a great new year!