Times Are a Changin’

New School BooksWhile most of our curriculum has remained the same throughout these last couple years, this year some noticeable adaptations have been made. It seems times are a changin’.

My oldest gal, “T”, has begun junior high and, with junior high, comes a few new “requirements”. These classes aren’t compulsory through the state, but rather suggested courses through our PSP. (Though they were needed anyway, to develop a more balanced learning environment.)

One of the biggest changes we’ve made this year is to beef up our science course. Previously the children and I did a unit study which focused on Biblical character traits (KONOS). While we truly enjoyed studying with this curriculum, it seemed we were lacking in our exposure to the sciences.

In an effort to give my kiddos more science fun, which they were requesting, we have opted to switch our curriculum over to aBeka’s science lessons and give it a shot.

A good friend was selling off her son’s curriculum which he had finished using (he is a year older than “T”) and we got the curriculum for a steal! I opted to avoid getting the teacher’s guide and I am so glad I did. Just looking through the book, I already knew I was going to need to make a few changes.

The curriculum itself is really great stuff, I am very excited about what we are learning this year and so are the kiddos. There are so many hands-on activities we can do and explore with! The one problem I saw right off the bat… the order in which the chapters were laid out.

However, after a few minutes of sitting down and perusing the book, I quickly laid out myScience Outline own plan for administering the lessons. (Well, if we are going to be honest; I would have to say it was more wisdom from the Lord in how we are going to do things; totally not me at all.)

Once the basic chapter lessons were laid out, I did a quick rundown of our year. We figured out how many pages a day we needed to complete in order to finish the book (remember, I’m OCD; gotta finish the book!) and how many projects we wanted to complete.

What we ended up with was a perfect blend of both worlds. Mondays and Wednesdays we are going to be doing “book work”, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays we are going to be doing activities based on those readings/conversations.

We will still be doing our science in a group format, meaning all the kiddos will be working on the same area of science at the same time, we are only going to be changing our curriculum.

Due to our change in dropping KONOS for a more formal science lesson, this prompted us to also look for an alternate history lesson as well. ABeka once again came to our rescue (as did my friend with another awesome deal).

We will handling history in much the same fashion as the science, only we will be keeping the original order as was intended. Lectures/conversations will be every other day, followed by activities the day after.

Being a more hands-on person myself and not seeing the need for exams to be given when we are all learning together, written tests are still not something being included this year. Oral quizzes and “brain drains” (as the science book likes to call them) will be given periodically, but their grades will primarily be on participation.

What about Friday, you ask? Don’t we “school” on Fridays? Fridays will still be a slower day in our house. Any spelling tests and arithmetic tests needing to be taken will be done on Fridays, but book work is kept to a minimum. We prefer to use Fridays for library visits, park days, field trips, and other such learning moments.

This year is definitely going to be full of small changes, but I believe they are all for the better. Our learning will be a little more focused and my entire year is already planned. (Unlike KONOS, which I planned every quarter.)

I know the Lord is totally involved in our planning for the year. The books we are using and even the way the curriculum is being laid out is totally from Him. (Our history and science matched up perfectly, even though I changed around the order of the science and I didn’t even plan it out that way! It was an afterthought to double-check the two and see how they corresponded. This rocks!!)

We are so excited to see what the Lord does with our year and in our home. I pray we are faithful to continue what we have started and that we will have an exciting year together as a family.

What changes have you made this school year?

18 thoughts on “Times Are a Changin’

  1. I’m interested to hear how Abeka works out for you this year…please keep us posted! I’m piecing together science and history with a spine and living books this year, but it has proven to be lots of work. I’m definitely keeping eyes open for a good backup plan in case we need a more structured curriculum. Best of luck with your change!

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  2. Off subject–my four year old daughter just woke up out of bed this morning and came to sit on my lap while I’m here on the computer. As I checked out your post, she said “Well, she’s a pretty lady, mommy.” 🙂 (Yes, she is!)

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  3. It sounds like you have a good plan. Hope it goes well. Blessings on your home school year. I make changes every year, in fact just the last two weeks of school last May, I ditched Saxon Math for my youngest daughter in favor of Math U See. (This meant ditching a free curriculum I already have in order to pay 150 dollars for something new!) But I know it was the right decision.

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  4. I just love your blog. DD is only 17 mo old (we only learned to use the scissors yesterday — LOL), so we are seemingly forever away from curriculum-based homeschooling, but reading you blog makes me so excited to start! I feel like I was really blessed to find this, because hearing… er, reading, I mean, what you have to say really makes me feel much more confident. I can see how homeschooling can work, and you always reinforce all the Christian benefits from doing so.

    Sorry. I know this was kind of a pointless comment, and didn’t answer your question at all, but I just wanted to tell you that anyway. 🙂

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    • What a blessing to know you are enjoying what you find here. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and share your heart. Rest assured, no comment ever left is pointless.

      I pray that as your DD grows, you will be further encouraged on your journey in the homeschooling world. I KNOW you can do it! 🙂

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  5. I’ve been enjoying your back-to-school posts (one in particular was especially encouraging to me) and this was another goodie! I love how God’s giving you the wisdom for formatting your studies! This is going to be a year where we are doing much in terms of leaning on Him for order and direction, as we’re not going with the boxed curriculum I’d expected we’d be doing. The adventure is about to start!

    Also—I wanted to let you know we’re hosting a giveaway on our blog for “The Old Schoolhouse” Magazine’s Schoolhouse Expo. (It’s a wonderful online homeschool conference with fantastic speakers like Andrew Pudewa, Hal and Melanie Young and Todd Wilson, among many others.) Please stop by if you are able! The conference is August 19-23 but the winner will be able to either attend as it’s being produced or listen to the recorded sessions after the fact.

    Blessings!
    :)Wren

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  6. We just loved A Beka Science and History! Just the magnificent illustrations alone, were enough to launch an in depth discussion in our school. 🙂

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  7. We just started homeschooling last year and LOVE it! We are using A Beka for all of our curriculum and are very happy with it. I think it is challenging, yet clear and easy to understand. I too, feel that we must complete all of each book! We start on Sept. 3, and I will very soon be counting all of the chapters to lay out my plans for the year! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  8. Pingback: Third Quarter Evaluation | A Homeschool Mom

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