Thursday, May 19, 2011

HELP! - Putting Together a Curriculum

Today was the last day of school for us. And before I've even got the schoolroom cleared out, I'm already planning for next year.

We've used Seton for the last two years, and while it's been a dream for me (the books in every subject are already picked out for me, the lesson plans are made, I just have to roll in autopilot), I don't think it's the best for my younger niece. The nothing-but-textbook style just isn't the best way for her to learn.

So I think I'm going to (for her at least) try to piece together my own curriculum. She is most definitely a right-brained learner. Art, colors, big pictures, stories, visual-oriented lessons are helpful... anything with lecture, multi-step processes, black and white text, etc. are just not going to cut it. 

Anybody out there with a right brain child? I'm looking for third and fourth grade curriculum resources in every subject. Hit me with your best stuff!

24 comments:

Amanda said...

I love Catholic Heritage Curricula. Also, there is a book by Elizabeth Foss about homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason style learning (living books instead of textbooks and lots of hands-on learning). I can't remember the name of the book, but it is really good.

Laura O'Neill said...

Have you looked at Catholic Heritage Curricula?  We are no longer doing the whole layout, but that's not because I don't love it.  Instead, our charter school here in Alaska requires 4 subjects be secular and I've just tried doing almost exclusively secular materials.

They have some workbooks, but the focus is NOT on textbooks as a whole.  You can see samples on their website (www.chcweb.com) and there is a Yahoo group for users.  Some of us use some CHC and some other program materials.  Unlike Seton's 'boxed curriculum' approach, CHC lets you purchase piece by piece.  Although, I noticed they are starting to do a boxed set so it's just one click to get all the core materials.

Feel free to drop me a note if you want to chat about it.   And, you can find a lot of curriculum reviews on my blog, http://daybydayinourworld.blogspot.com   (All About Spelling is a favorite for spelling.  We love it so much we're affiliates.)

I need to clean out our school room, but also have a LOT of planning to do for the upcoming year.  My eldest is supposed to be starting high school classes this fall and I'm so NOT ready for that!  (Plus, there's the rising 3rd and 6th graders and the toddler to manage.)

karlab71 said...

Take a look at Catholic Heritage Curricula. They have most of their Curriculum online to preview before you buy.

Kansas Mom said...

I use Mater Amabilis (http://materamabilis.org/ma/). I'm not sure you'd want it for everything as it's just about the opposite of Seton, but you might find a few things you like. What are you using for math? I use Saxon, but it sounds like she might like something like Math-U-See. I've only taught kindergarten and first grade, so I'm afraid I'm not much help. I'm looking forward to seeing what others suggest.

Stephanie said...

 I would try to get a copy of Cathy Duffy's "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum."  Her website is: http://cathyduffyreviews.com/.  This book/website is really helpful for finding the right curriculum for the different type of learners that you are teaching.

Also, if you aren't already a member you should join the "Cathswap" yahoo group.  It is a used curriculum Catholic group where you can buy and sell curriculum, so after you figure out what you want, you can post a "WTB (want to buy) post and hopefully get most of  your homeschool materials used.  (I homeschooled for over a year before anyone ever told me about this group-and before I found out that I could get a "teacher card" from the public library that lets me keep books checked out for 6 weeks-that is so helpful!)

We use "Mother of Divine Grace" curriculum, so the history might work for you with all it's historical novel reading-and the art program of using "Mommy, it's a Renoir" postcards....but I'm not sure if the rest would.  We did switch to using "Teaching Textbooks" for math and my kids LOVE this program.  It does move slower than Saxon, but they don't give me half the resistance that I used to get with the Abeka workbook program.  I make up for the slower by allowing them to skip every other lesson unless they get below an 85-then I make them complete the lesson they skipped....This means though that you might go through 1 1/2 years of math, so it's "double" the curriculum to have to buy....but this visual computer program-(that automatically grades the lessons/quizzes)-rocks for my kids!

I know that a lot of people use Catholic Heritage Curriculum and that the books that I have seen from them are all really colorful....though it sounds like your niece might be more of a montessori type learner?

I hope these tips help you out on your journey!

God's blessings,

Stephanie from thesweetnessofhome.blogspot.com

Jennie said...

Mother of Divine Grace is a lovely, literature based, classical curriculum.  Emmanuelbooks.com sells the syllabi and most of the materials needed, and it's easy to tweak if you already like certain materials for certain subjects.

karlab71 said...

You may want to look at Catholic Heritage Curricula. It still has lesson plans, is solidly catholic, but more visually appealing. You can video preview almost everything online at their website. 

Farmer's City Wife said...

Any materials in particular? Seton has gorgeous books with full color artwork, but the lessons themselves are black and white regular -- how is CHC different?

Farmer's City Wife said...

We were using Seton's books for math but in my opinion they're AWFUL. I was going to switch to Modern Curriculum Press, but I've heard a lot about Math-U-See and think that might help her more. The main issue right now, though, is teaching the steps of division. She can do regular division perfectly, but long division is seemingly unlearnable. I wasn't sure if Math-U-See went to that high of a level...?

I haven't seen any of Mater Amabilis' stuff, yet. I'll take a look. Thank you!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Montessori for sure! My sister just got a masters in Montessori (but she's a nun so I can't exactly just call her) so I'm anxious to visit her soon to learn what she knows about it!

I'm so glad to hear something about Teaching Textbooks. I've done a few practice lessons myself and really like them but had never seen anybody use them, so I appreciate that feedback.

I'll look into Cathswap too, thanks!!

karlab71 said...

 HMMM...I guess that I would just use CHC for Language arts, CHC does have a great resource book, Around the Year with God that gives
hands on activities, also they have lovely Saints cards and Friendly
defenders cards ( for religion) then, Math-U-See or teaching textbooks for Math, and lapbooks to incorporate History and Science. ..even religion and literature)
http://lapbooksforcatholics.com/
http://www.currclick.com/
Jessica at Shower of Roses is a catholic homeschooling mom with TONS of great information on hands on curriculum, projects, how-tos...simply wonderful. Go there and browse her website...she has a curriculum link, lapbook link and more.
http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/
the Five in a Row and Beyond Five in a Row guides would be good , too, for reading.
 

Marie said...

Catholic Heritage is good, and cheap. 

Farmer's City Wife said...

Good for right brained learners or just good? Seton is excellent, it's just not for a right brained learner. How is Catholic Heritage different?

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thanks for the links! :) The Around the Year book looks very good -- and oriented to a right brain learner :). Will check out the lapbooks...

Farmer's City Wife said...

Ooh... very interesting. I'll have to check it out (especially for my OLDER niece who is an avid reader).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Well, Seton is a correspondence school with teachers who grade the tests you send in: it's not primarily a bookstore, so it's not setup like CHC. That said, Seton does allow you just to buy their books for individual subjects (which I might do, 'cause I do like some of their books).

I'll enjoy looking through your curriculum reviews! Thanks!

StacieMakeDo said...

Math-U-See goes through Calculus :)

Marie said...

I only used it one year, but I liked it..It was tough enough, but not too hard..My boys who like Saxon math did well, and it was creative enough for the others..I would request a booklet to see if you like it. 

Aimee Landreneau said...

Math-U-See goes all the way through high school.  We LOVE it!  My oldest just completed Delta, which is the level that does division.  My son did fabulously, and I learned new things also. 

Farmer's City Wife said...

Wow. I think this is the route we're going to go for her. Thanks!!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Veeeery interesting. Thanks for the input!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Excellent. I really think we're going to give it a go :). Thanks for the input!

Carley Sanchez said...

Lurker again!  I realized I hadn't seen anything from you in a while and saw this post.  This just happens to be my job!!!  If schooling my own children at home, I would start here:

Math-Teaching Textbooks ( http://www.teachingtextbooks.com ).  Kids love it and it's very homeschool friendly.  Each level comes with disks that have explanation for every lesson (new concept).  It's not extremely challenging, but grade-level appropriate.

Language Arts-I really like Moving Beyond the Page ( http://www.movingbeyondthepage.com ).  Great for hands-on learning.  They also use a lot of classics and they lay out the lessons daily.

Science-Apologia ( http://www.apologia.com ).  Great Christian Science program!  It focuses on one section of science at a time, in depth. 

S.S.-Story of the World (http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/history-and-geography/story-of-the-world.html )!  Hands down...most comprehensive and engaging curriculum out there for learning history! 

Fine Arts-I LOVE Meet the Masters ( http://www.meetthemasters.com ) for art appreciation and teaching various art skills.

I would also use various resources from Angelicum Academy ( http://www.angelicum.net ) for religious instruction.  They use the Great Books program.  I have heard great things about it, but haven't ever used it, nor have I worked with families who have.

I have also really like The Well-Trained Mind and Core Knowledge (great lesson plans, FREE, online!)

Another fantastic option is Calvert ( http://homeschool.calvertschool.org ).  Another auto-pilot, all-encompassing curriculum.  It's more "spicy" and engaging the Seton, but does not incorporate religious instruction.  It lays out the daily lessons and everything comes to your doorstep, in a box...pretty nice!

Let me know if you have more questions about any of these :)  Carley

 

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thanks so much, Carley!! I've investigated all of your links and it looks like there are a lot of winners here :). I'll be in touch...

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