Friday, August 7, 2015

Our 2014-2015 Curriculum Wrap -Up

As I am working towards putting together a new semester... a mixture of "yippeee" and "ugh"... I can't help but look back at last year.

The new texts and the very used books (thrifty to the core!).

The huge amazing curriculum that I got to borrow, that just didn't fit:/

The simple text that I really thought I hated, that turned out to be exactly what we needed:)

Our biggest change last year was Tapestry of Grace, Year 1 that I go to borrow from a super generous friend (curriculum and a lot of resource books). I had heard from lots of different places how great TOG was and I really looked forward to covering the same topics with the kids while challenging them at their own levels. Oh! And it's all planned out, so all I needed was to find the books and go!!!



it didn't! I mean it did have ALL it said, but it didn't. The Bible study were more readings with questions and didn't have assignments for each week. So one we we'd read a few chapters, another week there was nothing and the following week there was 20 chapters, which made planning Bible each week a challenge:/

Often you hear people calling TOG "a buffet". And while some can handle seeing all the vocabulary, topics, readings, alternate readings, and projects in front of them, it was overwhelming to see all the things that the kids and I WEREN'T going to do each week:/ Our priorities were in different areas and I just couldn't find the time or understand the need for doing each one.

So went back to Story of the World, vol 1.... sort of:) I used TOG's schedule and some of the resources, but kept SOTW as the core:/ The main reason was because TOG didn't have a single source that we could read together before jumping into the deeper resources.

One thing I LOVED about TOG, Vol 1 though was that it really did help us look into the biblical world. There were insights that really have stuck with me. And I am amazed how much knowledge about the nations around Israel that we got to explore and learn!!

And I loved the reading/literature ideas. We read a lot of the books that TOG suggested! Many of the books that were suggested for the different stages really didn't fit the kids' levels or interests... so the ones I had seen on many different "must read" lists, I read aloud:)

Honestly, I really wouldn't have known if TOG was a good fit for our family if I hadn't had the chance to use it!! Again, I found the resources they suggested to be awesome, it just didn't fit the way my brain works and the goals I have right now with our time together. Great books though! And having volume 1 during the Ancients study was awesome for us.

Another resource new to us  last year was Christian Kids Explore Biology. From the description and Table of Contents it looked like it covered everything we wanted. When I finally had it in my hands I was frustrated with the simple lessons and how the human body was just a week or two of one page lessons.Thankfully I had planned to use it as the spine and then add in science books and encyclopedias (suggested from Well Trained Mind).

It ended up being exactly what we needed. It gave us structure we could do all together, but then we added in a LOT at the kids' level and different projects. With the resources and the spine it just all came together!

I am thankful I can look back on last year with relief... LOL!! We had a great year and pushed through to accomplish all I had wanted by completing the Ancients and Biology well... even with some materials I wasn't sure would work for us;) They ended up working in their own way, by us tweaking them to fit us better!!

And some memorable pictures of our year!
Trying to complete normal tasks without use of the thumb to grasp.

Dissecting an owl pellet.

Exploring a battle ship.

Listening to Nate read sight words from a reader!

Discovering planes, ships and plants at the Air and Space Museum.

Finding the different types of plant roots.... in the yard, of course;)

Lots of photography and visits to the "bird zoo" (we've been 4x since Christmas, gotta love an annual pass)!

No comments: