Our 2013/2014 Curricula

Curricula

Curricula

Well the school year is about a third over, but I’m putting this post up anyway. You never know when someone will stumble across it and find it useful.

I know when I started homeschooling I wanted to know what anyone and everyone was using…

MATH

Life of Fred – We’re sticking with what works. I can still say that this is hands-down the best math curriculum around.

HISTORY

myWorld Social Studies

GRAMMAR

Growing with Grammar

ART

Artistic Pursuits

WRITING

WriteShop Junior Book D

SCIENCE

Interactive Science

GEOGRAPHY

Road Trip USA

LITERATURE

Classic Literature Unit Study

HANDWRITING

Digital Teaching Tools

EXTRAS

I set several goals for the year, things that I’d like Babydoll to learn. We’ll be systematically working through those.

Awesome Archaeology: Lesson Plan #1

Arch Image

Last month I mentioned that we’d be doing a full-on archaeology dig for science this year.

I’m terrified, but it’s time we dig in.  As we dig in, I thought it would be great to share my archaeology lesson plans and printables and other fun stuff with you guys!

THE BASICS

Our text will be Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White.  It is an insanely great book for teaching for-real archaeology to kids.

The book provides quite a few worksheets, but to make it more colorful and fun, I decided to make a few printables to go along with each lesson.

Each lesson is primarily put together by Mr. White, but I’ll be providing some filler and extras.  Some of the lessons might not make much sense until you get the book.

The lessons I’ll be doing are designed to be used with this book.

LESSON 1: BUILD A CONTACT LIST

The overarching purpose of this project is to do an actual archaeological dig, complete with real tools, forms, and other supplies.

All the while, your child is practicing math, geography, grammar, handwriting, and tons more.

Before you can start hacking away at the earth, Mr. White recommends building a list of archaeologists your child can consult as they begin their project.

You never know what kind of helpful info they’ll provide.

For this lesson, I’ve designed a fun little printable to help Babydoll flesh out this list.

She’ll determine the types of contacts she’d like to have {professors, local archaeologists, etc.}, where she can find info about these contacts {phone book, website, etc.}, what questions she might have for them, whether she’d like to email or call, a deadline for answers to her questions, and then the final contact list.

You can download the printable here.

Be sure to have access to the internet, phone books, and any other resources available.

This information will eventually be used to contact the list and get tips and ideas for the dig.

If you have a child who would love to do a dig or learn more about archaeology, download the printable and purchase the book now so you can follow along throughout the year!

9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

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9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

Archaeology {or archeology, if you prefer; they’re both acceptable} isn’t a common profession.  As such, it can be difficult to run into materials you can use to help you with teaching archaeology in your homeschool.

Babydoll wants to be an archaeologist {and has for as long as I can remember}, so it’s important to me to somehow foster that desire in her schoolwork somehow.

Here is a compilation of ways you can include this in your homeschool, whether you have a child working toward the profession or one that just thinks it’s cool!

  1. Books and magazines:  This is probably the most obvious choice.  On the surface it might seem difficult to find age-appropriate materials, but you might be surprised by what’s out there.  Babydoll is a fan of dig™, an archaeology magazine for kids.  And just take a look at all the results on Amazon when you search for archaeology books for kids.
  2. Put together your own archaeologist kit:  I’m not talking about cheap plastic junk you can buy as a kit.  I’m talking a what-the-pros-use kit.  All you really need is a trowel and you’re good to go, but you’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can put together a base kit.  We got Babydoll started with a couple of different types of trowels {Marshalltown are the best, supposedly}, measuring tape, a folding ruler, a pencil, and a blue glittery notepad, just for some color.  Store it all in a tackle box or those stacking organization bins they sell at Walmart.
  3. Games:  Babydoll loved Roman Town!  It’s a computer game that takes the user through an interactive dig.  She finished it that day, I believe, but continues to play it.  It looks like they have a new game coming out next month.
  4. Join archaeology organizations:  There are international, national, and regional archaeology societies.  You can find a great listing of them on this site.  Many offer low rates for students and send newsletters, invitations to special events, and even information about participating in local digs.
  5. Visit archaeology museums:  Many colleges and universities that have an archaeology program also have museums that the public can visit.  It might even be possible to contact the museum before a visit and arrange for a professor to give your family a tour.  Many also have special events happening throughout the year.
  6. Look for camps:  Several states have resident camps designed to allow older kids the opportunity to help out with a dig, but these are pricey and not located conveniently for many of us.  Search for camps in your area, or in neighboring states.  At one time there was an archaeology camp offered for younger kids here in AL.  I know GA and FL have also offered family-oriented camps.
  7. Find archaeology celebrations:  Believe it or not, there are special days and months set aside for archaeology.  National Archaeology Day is October 20th this year, and the National Park Service offers National Archaeology Month.  Many states also have statewide celebrations, complete with festive events and many learning opportunities.  Having trouble finding them? Start with your local college or university.
  8. Volunteer at field schools:  If you have an older student, they can always ask to volunteer at a local field school.  They just might get the chance to haul dirt all summer while observing the workings of a real dig.  ShovelBums always maintains a great list of worldwide field schools.
  9. Create a full-year curriculum:  This can be downright terrifying, especially if you’re not a history or science buff, but it’s one of the most amazing things you can ever do for your child.  This is what we’re embarking on this year:  an entire year devoted to a real archaeological dig.  I highly recommend picking up Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White {affiliate link}.  Professor White was a big proponent of teaching proper archaeology to young children.  His guide is hands-down the best I have seen for teaching real archaeology.  I didn’t want a kit that we just hacked away at, finding the stuff hidden inside.  This book has actual forms, terminology, everything you need to really teach your child about actual archaeology.

Even if your child isn’t a die-hard archaeology fan, these activities can definitely liven up a history curriculum or many other aspects of school.

Have you found any great archaeology resources you use in your homeschool?

Photo credit: gordontour via photo pin cc

 

Sweet Critique: Reading Horizons

I, fortunately, began homeschooling after Babydoll had learned to read.

Of course, I helped her, and I went into her classroom each week and listened to all the students in the class read to me.

But, actually having the responsibility of teaching her?  I don’t know if I could have handled that.

Then again, I also didn’t know about programs like Reading Horizons.

Reading Horizons is a web-based program that utilizes a multi-sensory approach to teach the “42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills.”  It also makes use of the Orton-Gillingham approach, which utilizes all three types of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

While the program seemed intense to me at first, I actually came to love how much the program teaches.  Even though Babydoll has been an excellent reader for years now, she still learned quite a bit.

The core skills of phonetics and alphabet sounds are a great foundation for any reading program.

I enjoyed all the information and delivery of the opening video to the program, and it has an excellent user interface.  The program utilized a fun font, and I thoroughly enjoy that they describe the child’s dashboard with the reports and stats.

If you have a child who needs to learn to read, one who is a struggling reader, or just want to hone their skills even further, this is a great program to use.

Reading is one of those subjects so personal and different for each child, that it really can be hard to determine if something is right for your family before trying it.  Reading Horizons gives you a free trial so you can test-drive it.  How sweet is that?

You can visit the Reading Horizons site, linked above, or learn more about them on Facebook and Twitter.!

True Confessions:  I was provided with access to the Reading Horizons program in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Our 2012/2013 Curricula

Curricula1

I am so excited to start this school year!  We start tomorrow, as a matter of fact.

This will be our fourth year homeschooling, as as each year passes, I’ve felt more and more comfortable with a more eclectic approach to curricula.

Some of what we’re using I was fortunate enough to receive as a review product last year.

I know what you came here for, so I’m going to stop talking and give it to you:

Math

Life of Fred {I’m taking a leap of faith and trusting in the author.  We’ll see if you really can just use this for math.}

History

myWorld Social Studies Grade 5

Grammar

Growing with Grammar Level 5

Art

Artistic Pursuits Book 3

Writing

WriteShop Junior Book D

Letters to family members

Science

Hands-On Archaeology:  Real-Life Activities for Kids {So excited about this one!  I’m pretty much using this as a guide and developing an archaeological dig for us this year.  More info to come!}

Typing

TuxTyping

Geography

Top Secret Adventures

Which Way USA?

Creek Edge Press Geography and Culture Task Cards

Letterboxing

Letterboxing North America

Cooking

Our Best Bites

And to organize it all, the My Well Planned Day software.  Loving. It.

What will you be using next year? I wanna see!

Be sure to check out what others are using at the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop this week!