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 my 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?