Home Education Curriculum; books and websites

Okay, so having talked about all the computer and curriculum choices out there and how we use computers here’s what we have been up to. It will be half term on Friday so we are half way through this academic year.

My children are half way though UK rec (pre-K) ; yr 2 (grade 1) and yr 11 (gr 10)

Here it all is so far:

Learning to ReadStarfall (free) and MoreStarfall;(sub) all three of the younger ones use this site.I think it is aimed at pre-k to about grade 2ish (nursery to yr 3;UK) For Heleyna its just fun with nursery rhymes, numbers and colours. For Avila there is phonics, reading and I use the worksheets for letter formation and word pattern work as well as some sentence work. Apparently a heavily phonic based approach is supposed to help avoid dyslexia (or even cure it). Av occasionally shows the odd dyslexic tendency particularly when reading to me so, presuming there is any merit in the suggestion, I am using a much more heavily phonics approach with her. Ronan learned phonics from Starfall too and it has stood him in good stead. He rarely uses the site now as he has outgrown it.

Literacy: The BBC Bitsize sites a quite good as revision or practice sites for Ronan. He also has a Grammar book from CHC — Language of God Level A. He has nearly finished it so will probably move onto Level B not long after half term. I will probably start Avila on Level A around Easter. I want her reading to be a little more fluent first.

A lot of BBC Schools sites are very good for all sorts of things.

Iona uses iplayer for some of the programs such as the one about the history of chemistry that went out recently.

I am always a bit cautious with the BBC because it isn’t always accurate and has a very pro-Govt, politically currect (il)liberal approach-but the school sites we use have been ok. Just go cautiously.

Learning to Read: Avila is still using the Oxford Reading Tree books as her main ltr approach. (Rec. pre-K) Ronan  finished with ORT once he completed stage 10, then he moved to other books, although we have a couple of Stage 11 and 14s he might want to read at some point. He has read The Trojan Horse from the Step Into Reading Series-which I have only bought two books from, the other being on Pompei. He is now reading the lovely Tomie de Paola book 26 Fairmount Avenue. He reads other books around the house as and when he feels like it but the dePaola is his read aloud book for now. I’ll probably buy the series as he likes them and they are well written. If I was designing a curriculum dePaola would be everywhere on it!

We have among others:

The Legend of Old Befana

The Clown of God

The Legend of the Poinsettia

Charlie Needs a Cloak

The Cloud Book

We have a few others too.

Penmanship: Avila is mainly using downloads from Starfall for this. Ronan is using the New American Cursive books. he does have a CHC practice book too, but we don’t use it so much now as he has writing to do for other subjects.

For Maths we only really have Math U See. Heleyna counts the stairs and does number things on Starfall and such like while both Roni and Avila are on Alpha for MUS. It’s written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers so it isn’t by grade but skill. It works well for a math-skill-free-parent like me because of the DVDs! The rest of the maths is in cooking, making and shopping; normal life maths.

Science: Like all good Charlotte Mason educators we do Nature Study. I have recently invested in a couple of books to help with this: Nature in a Nutshell for kids and The Kids Nature Book which were both recommended on a blog or somewhere and are good easy to use resources. We are also using the Ray Mears Nature Detectives’ Handbook which is brilliant and British. There’s a fairly good Nature Detective website too.

We have the book Science which we got for £7 from Costco. It has easy to follow pages and experiments and posters etc. I have to say although the website says its for KS 3-4 I think it’s a bit basic for that.

We also use The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do.

Then we are working through Exploring Creation with Astronomy which is good but has odd moments I feel the need to skip over.

See Inside Your Body gets used a lot.

Then as self reading there is Oh Say Can You Seed and Inside Your Outside.

I’ve got some other books but we haven’t started them yet.

History. We are using Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World. We do this in a group with children aged 5-11 and Iona joins in too. We are nearly at the end of Book 1 and are moving onto book 2 soon. I don’t think this is grade specific and is a pretty good series across the board.

Along with this we read or listen to Our Island Story READ or AUDIO Part 1 and AUDIO part 2 and Fifty Famous Stories or AUDIO.

The Baldwin Book Project is a massive resource.

Geography: We are using Mountains and Volcanoes as the main book for group work and then there are bits of local map reading and using Google maps and an Atlas. Also Ronan likes the Jigsaw Atlas. Of course a lot of geography goes into the history sessions as well.

We also like to use Kids Know It for all sorts of things but frequently for Geog.

Languages: We have the Linney Latin book and use his website for audio as well as the Quiz site a homeschool dad designed. We haven’t done as much Spanish this term but the kids have been learning odd bits of Chinese using the Usborne First Thousand Words in Chinese book with it’s internet links. They have been learning to say “gung hoi fat choi” for the 14th of Feb as well.

We still use Linney’s Spanish

There’s also the Sticker Latin Book that goes down well.

For British Sign Language : Signed Stories and BSL Haiku.

Religious Ed and Sacramental Prep: We are using the Faith and Life Series. Avila is using Our Heavenly Father and Ronan is using Jesus Our Life. I have the box set of the St Joseph Picture books and we use some of them quite a bit; the Mass Book, Going to Confession, Receiving Holy Communion and the little Catechism because it’s simple.

Bibles: My First Bible Stories and my old Hamlyn Catholic Children’s Bible.

Art: The core book is Artistic Pursuits. We potter around the internet for art appreciation and then there’s lots of craft to do. Although we have some craft books such as Pirate things to Make and Do and Monster things to make and do, the kids usually just use their imagination.

Music:  Classics 4 Kids and BBC Music sites such as THIS ONE and THIS ONE. Roni is getting through Usborne Very Easy Recorder Tunes

Story of Beethoven.

Extra stuff 

 lots of stuff from Enchanted Learning. I have bought the sub as it makes printing and access easier.

Blue Fairy Book and audio

Lots of other Baldwin books like Aesop and Rudyard Kipling.

Reading:  St Isaac and the Indians – spent time looking at Canada and some info on Huron Indians.

IONAs Stuff:

Up until the last couple of weeks she was using the Open Uni Open Learn Site but now her Open Uni Course has started she is using the site for her course. She will get 10 points at level 1. ( a degree is made up of 360 points. 120 at level 1, 120 level 2 and then for the final third you can take a further 60 at level 2 and 60 at level 3 or other combinations for Hons etc. If I remember rightly a fourth set  of points at level 3 will give an MA)

She has also been reading and studying: Macbeth, All things Oscar Wilde in particular Lady Windermere’s Fan and one other that I can’t remember.

All things Dororthy Sayers,

Cyrano de Bergerac- play film and for fun Roxanne.

She is studying the Incorruptable Saints- stories and science.

Cooking- loves the Hairy Bikers and their research into mother’s recipes from around the country that often involve recipes from other countries. Fascinating stuff. She teaches some cooking sessions to the home ed group.

History of Chemistry using the BBC program as a jumping off point.

I would like her to read more CS Lewis such as the Screwtape Letters and Til We Have Faces. She has it on her ‘to do’ list. Then there’s a wonderful lecture by Kreefty on Til We Have Faces for her to listen to.

Her OU stuff has quite good links to Dostoyevsky pieces. Got a few of his books here and some are free online.

Now you might notice Iona’s learning is much more broad and less set out; from Hairy Bikers to Dovstoyevsky-her choice.

This is just an overview of books and websites- you can check out other stuff in the side bar.

The curriculum is a bit of Ambleside, a bit of this and that and some stuff we like and some stuff we do with other families that we all like.

Then there’s trips out and things like Beavers, Scouts, Ballet etc.

Now-to get planning for after half term…


2 responses to “Home Education Curriculum; books and websites

  1. love the hairy bikers!

  2. Pingback: Charlotte Mason (ish) curriculum for K (yr 1) and grade 2 (yr 3) « Thinking Love, No Twaddle

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