I've combined our History and Geography, Bible, Reading, and Art this year. I'm mixing some curriculum to see what works best. We are going to follow a Classical Education somewhat but I'm modifying. We are starting with the Ancients; progressing through history chronologically over the next four years, then doing it again 3 times. I'm just not going to be doing the trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages, like CE would suggest. For Jacob and Summer(5th &6th), I'm using Story of the World, text and Activity book, and a list of Books that I got from classical-homeschooling.org I start out reading aloud, but the ones we don't have time to finish during our schedule, they are encouraged to finish on their own. We have built a cave and did cave paintings, made cuneiform clay tablets, Egyptian hieroglyphic scrolls, and are in the process of mummifying a chicken so far. I got some Egyptian toy Toobs for Ronan(K) to play with during our reading time to get him into it. I'm not requiring memory work or narration from him though. Joshua(9th) joins in with us for History Revealed which I LOVE. It tells history strictly from a biblical prospective. I also got Reese's Chronological Bible that we are going to attempt to read through completely. Although I do intend to skip over a lot of the laws and lineages. It's cool to be able to turn directly to a specific time in the bible. Joshua is also reading from a list of "Great Books" I got from The Well Trained Mind. They say to shoot for 8-12. We are only doing 7 but the Iliad and Odyssey are long and I have a hard time getting him to read. We have finished Epic of Gilgamesh and started Iliad. There was a lot of groaning to start with but today he read more even though he already read the required pages for this week.
Last year everyone did Switched on Schoolhouse for Science. We decided not to do the experiments in the curriculum and I bought some kits and they took a science experiment co-op instead. It's was fine but I want to follow the Classical Education format here as well. Doing Biology this year; followed by Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physics. Joshua is still doing SOS without the experiments. We took a six week dissection lab over the summer. I'm not using any text books. Just resources from the internet and library, home experiments, and field trips. So far we've talked about cells and fungi. We have 50 darkling beetle larvae/pupae we are observing and we are planning a trip to find some slime mold to experiment with. Again... Ronan is more of an onlooker.
We are also changing up our math. Last year Jacob and Summer did Teaching Text books. They found it boring, they like the interaction of having me do it with. Plus, I can give them helpful tips as the opportunities arise. Joshua did Jacob's Algebra last year and didn't enjoy it either. This year we are using Life of Fred. Some people say its not a full curriculum but others... And the company... Say it is. So far I like it and think its plenty. Summer, who was hating math at the end of last year, asked if we could do math everyday instead of 3 days a week. I went ahead and got Joshua the Beginning Algebra and Advanced Algebra. We are just reading through Beginning to compare the content and get a good feel for it. We are enjoying it too. I've got flash cards, videos, books, some counting bears and workbook, some blocks with a workbook, some play money, and clock books for Ronan. Very laid back.
Everyone is still doing SOS for Language Arts. Last year I took the writing assignments out and tried to give them more liberty on their topics, but that was a mistake. Then I tried three other writing curriculum that didn't work. This year they are doing the one in SOS.... No negotiation. I have flash cards, videos, Leap Pad Phonics, teaching tiles, Bob Books, Curious George Books, and a ton of other books for Ronan. I also have Hooked on Phonics but I can't see him sitting for it... It's not near visual enough for him.
That just leaves foreign languages and computer science. I got Pure and Simple last year for Joshua for CS. He didn't end up completing it. I'm guiding Jacob and Summer through it this year; Joshua says he want to finish it when we get to where he left off. Also they learn 3D digital design through a game called Mind Craft.
Last year Joshua started out the year doing SOS for Spanish but didn't like it. He's using Visual Link Spanish 1 this year. Jacob and Summer did like the SOS and are doing Elementary French now on it.
I haven't found a good way... or the time... to incorporate music into our schedule yet. I'm thinking it will work itself in to history but we will see. Summer has a keyboard she plays some and a guitar, and both boys have ocarinas, but no one has expressed the desire to take any kind of lessons. I'm sure Summer would like to; I'm just not ready to commit to that right now.
I'll try to post periodic updates on our progress... every six weeks or so. Happy homeschooling!
Its kind of hard to read because I copied over from excel but our basic schedule looks like this:
When the time "falls back" we will shift to a 9-4 schedule... this gives us more time to ease in.