The New Organic Homeschooling

The New Organic Homeschooling
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Year 1Announcing: Major changes coming to Organic Homeschooling!

Beginning in August, we will no longer be a monthly subscription-based product, but a full-year curriculum. At first, we will offer Year 1 available for purchase. Three additional years will be coming soon as we complete them.

The new plan offers weekly lesson plans. It is available as a PDF digital download, as it has been in the past, or you may choose to purchase a hard copy printed in full color and bound in a three-ring binder.

We are partnering with Highlands Ministries to make the new curriculum available. Organic Homeschooling users will no longer order the monthly curriculum from the Organic Homeschooling website. You will purchase the full-year plan from Highlands Ministries.

Is Year 1 of the new Organic Homeschooling the same as the first year (2010-2011) of subscription-based curriculum? No. Although there is definite overlap between the two, we have completely reworked the booklist and schedule.

Organic Homeschool is for use with all of your children from preschool to age 12. It includes:

  • Bible
  • Read Aloud Picture Books and Chapter Books (Literature, Geography, History, and Science)
  • Memorization
  • Natural Language Learning (Copying and Dictation)
  • Creation Science Reading and Activity Ideas
  • Music
  • Art
  • Crafts
  • Recommended Curriculum for Basic Skills*
  • Continuing Education for Parents
  • Additional Recommendations for: Family Worship, Additional Creation and Art Materials, Nature Study, Art, Preschool, Singing, Foreign Language Resources, Games, and Beyond the Organic Homeschooling Years.

*Basic Skill Scheduling Charts by Grade will also be available.

Look for more upcoming details soon.

 

Curriculum Suggestions by Grade Level*

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Preschool– appropriate for children to begin at age 3–6
Pre-reading: My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt
Christian Liberty Nature Reader K by Florence M. Lindstrom
Pre-writing: Fine Motor Fun by Sherrill B. Flora
Preschool Concepts: Use available preschool literature to teach foundational concepts such as colors, counting, opposites, size, directions, and days of the week. Among the many available, Eric Carle’s books, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, are helpful.

Kindergarten – appropriate for children to begin at age 4–7
Pre-reading: All About Reading Pre-reading
Pre-writing: Fine Motor Fun by Sherrill B. Flora
Math: Math-U-See Primer*
And/or Math manipulatives, activities, and games:
Pattern blocks and activity cards
Buttons to classify, sort, and string
Math-U-See blocks
Card games: Go Fish, Old Maid, Uno, Playing cards
Board Games: Candyland, Chutes and Ladders
One hundred chart and activities
*Math-U-See’s Primer requires a child to be able to write his numbers. It can be skipped if you do not want to use it. Purchasing a curriculum can lead to pressuring a child to “complete pages” and displace many superior real-life activities in which a kindergartener should engage.

First Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 5–8
Reading: All About Reading Levels 1–2
Penmanship: A Reason for Handwriting K
Use for the first half of the year to learn proper letter formation. The Teacher’s Manual includes many helpful ideas and is for the K to 6 program.
Spelling: All About Spelling Level 1 (beginning week 13)
Begin mid-year after AAR 1 is well underway
Math: Math-U-See Alpha

Second Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 6–9
Reading: All About Reading Levels 3–4*
*Available by the end of 2014
Spelling: All About Spelling Levels 2–3
Math: Math-U-See Beta

Third Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 7–10
Reading: All About Reading Level 5*
*When available
Spelling: All About Spelling Levels 4–5
Writing: Understanding Writing
Understanding Writing is a single resource that includes all levels, first through twelfth grade
Math: Math-U-See Gamma

Fourth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 8–11
Reading: Individualized reading list
Penmanship: A Reason for Writing T
Transition from manuscript to cursive
Spelling: All About Spelling Levels 6–7
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 4
Math: Math-U-See Delta

Fifth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 9–12
Reading: Individualized reading list
Language: God’s Gift of Language A
SWriting: Understanding Writing Level 5
Math: Math-U-See Epsilon

Sixth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 10–13
Reading: Individualized reading list
Language: God’s Gift of Language B
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 6
Math: Math-U-See Zeta

[This is the highest grade level for which Organic Homeschooling provides appropriate content]

Seventh Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 11–14
Reading: Individualized reading list
Language: God’s Gift of Language C
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 7–8
Math: Math-U-See Zeta (complete or catch up) or Stewardship

Eighth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 12–15
Reading: Individualized reading list
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 7–8
Math: Math-U-See Zeta (complete or catch up) or Stewardship or Pre-algebra

Ninth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 13–16
Reading: Individualized reading list
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 9–12
Math: Math-U-See Pre-algebra or Algebra 1 (35 lessons)

Tenth Grade – appropriate for children to begin at age 14–17
Reading: Individualized reading list
Writing: Understanding Writing Level 9–12
Math: Math-U-See Algebra 1 or Geometry

*We use the term Grade Level very loosely. A grade-level designation is often assigned to a curriculum to denote a particular skill level, not an specific age. Often mainstream Christian curriculum publishers have already accelerated the content of the curriculum by a full grade level. (Ex. They place what was understood to be “first grade” reading concepts into the Kindergarten curriculum.) You will notice that we use A Beka’s God’s Gift of Language A, B, and C a grade level “behind” where you find them in their catalog.
Testing often drives curriculum decisions as we see in the area of mathematics. When I was in school, pre-algebra was taken by most students (other than math- and science-oriented students) in ninth grade. The practice of taking the (pre) SAT or ACT which include geometry concepts between the sophomore and junior years drove the decision to move pre-algebra back a year into eighth grade. Unfortunately, this has had disastrous results for many math-a-phobic students who are not ready at age fourteen for the analytical thinking needed in algebra.
Because many of our children have been “late bloomers,” children who experience learning delays particularly in reading and writing skills, we suggest a much broader range of ages for each grade level. We have seen that once these children master necessary skills, they usually accelerate in the deficient areas to “catch up” to a more average age/grade level. If that is not the case, we are content to allow them more years in which to complete their studies.

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 12

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

(Yes, I know we’re going out of order!)

Look at Artful Activities: Chapter 12 “Quiet Activities for Downtime and Transition” pages 223–242

Read Introduction (pages 223–224) and “Playful Exploration of Art Ideas and Materials” (pages 240–242) )

Choose an activity to do with your child and report on how it went. Can you use any of these activities to transition into you scheduled lesson time each day?

Artful Activity 36: Hole Challenge Drawing

Artful Activity 37: Self-Portrait on the Mirror

Artful Activity 38: Design-Your-Own-Magnets

Artful Activity 39: Observational Drawing for Young Children

Artful Activity 40: Glue Drawings and Crayon Rubbings

Artful Activity 41: Continuous Line Drawing

Artful Activity 42: Collage Your Favorite Animal

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 14

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

(Yes, I know we’re going out of order!)

Look at Artful Activities: Chapter 14 “Homemade Art Materials to Make and Enjoy” pages 269–294

Read Introduction (pages 269–271) and “The Natural Artist” (pages 294–295)

Choose an activity to do with your child and report on how it went:

Artful Activity 51: Making and Playing with Homemade Playdough

Artful Activity 52: No-Cook Playdough (Alternate)

Artful Activity 53: Puffy Paint: A Paint-Squeezing Experience

Artful Activity 54: Salt Dough Ornaments (in December)

Artful Activity 55: Teddy Bear Bread and Caterpillar Rolls (May-insects)

Artful Activity 56: Paintable Cookies with Edible Paint

Artful Activity 57: Air-Dry Clay

Artful Activity 58: Cloud Dough

Artful Activity 59: Homemade Finger Paints

Artful Activity 60: Dyed Pasta and Rice

Artful Activity 61: Recycled Crayon Shapes

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 7

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 7 “Storing, Displaying, and Sharing the Art” pages 115–127

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

In which way will you keep your child’s artwork. As a mom of ten, I do not keep many pieces but I do like to put a few examples in with each child’s completed schoolwork. Stock up on envelopes to share with friends and family. In what ways will you repurpose your child’s art?

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 6

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 6 “Sustaining Inspiration” pages 91–114

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

In what areas do you already make your everyday artful? In what ways would you like to improve? There are many practical ideas in this chapter, too many to apply all at once! Evaluate and begin incorporating ideas into each of the larger areas: cooking together, getting outside with your children every day, encouraging play and imagination, doing science experiments, incorporating storytelling, poetry, literature, and music, and going on artful adventures. (Sounds a bit like OH, doesn’t it?) Choose two or three practical ideas to implement into your day.

Link to Busy Box Ideas

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This blog post is from a mom of twelve. I like her easy to implement ideas. Our family will be taking the next two weeks off for travel and visitors, but when we return, I plan to use Charlotte’s list to fill our two- and four-year-olds tubs. Enjoy!

Charlotte’s Busy Box Ideas

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 5

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 5 “Encouraging Your Budding Artist” pages 79–90

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

Practice talking about your child’s artwork—what you see your child doing—and ask him about his artwork. How does he respond to this kind of conversation? Does this type of conversation feel natural to you? How can you apply this advice to other areas of life?

Let’s Discuss: The Artful Parent chapter 4

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One of our optional books for Mom’s reading this year is The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul. Read my review here. Over the next few months, let’s read and discuss this resource to see what we can learn from it and how we can apply it to our families.

Read Preparing for Art: Chapter 4 “Gathering Art Materials” pages 49–77

Consider the following thoughts and questions:

It is easy to let the ideas in this chapter overwhelm you. Use the top ten lists to begin building your stash. Which of the “Art Materials You Already Have” (pages 73–75) commonly live in your home? If you are interested, make a marker holder (pages 71–72). Make sure you choose a brand of markers that is easily accessible so you can replace them. Notice the essentials list on page 73:

  • Some sort of paint [we like watercolor cakes] ideally in red, yellow, blue, white, and black
  • Something to draw with (such as crayons or markers) [crayons preferred]
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Playdough
  • A glue bottle

I would add:

  • Pencils, no. 2 and colored
  • White paper
  • Colored paper (construction)
  • Card stock or index cards

Three Little Habits that Simplied My Life

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Perhaps these simple tips will not be as revolutionary for you as they have been for me, but since it took me fifteen years of homeschooling to develop these strategies I might be able to save you some time and frustration.

Clearly Mark Assignments

Since I do not use a planning book, I would often give assignments for independent work for children. Either I would forget to check the assignment or the child would forget to complete it. Tweaking the way I indicate assignments has helped with this.

During my one-on-one time with a child, I write the next day’s date at the top of the pages I want the child to complete independently. I also mark the page (or the first page in a series) with a post-it note. This works as well for preprinted workbooks as it does for blank pages a child is to use for copying or written narrations.

Hoard My Own Stash

How many times did I want to begin a lesson with a child only to spend the available teaching time looking for scissors, a bottle of glue, or markers? Of course we owned all these supplies and had them—somewhere—in the house, but I never seemed to be able to find them when I needed them!

This year I by-passed all that frustration. I purchased all the supplies  I would need and placed them in a “Mom’s Only” container (far from the place where we keep the readily available supplies, I might add). I still have my permanent markers and sharp scissors, but I also have my set of twistable crayons and colored pencils, several sets of Crayola markers, two decks of playing cards, a couple of (sharpened) pencils, index cards, alphabet stamps, all the variety of supplies I use when teaching the children.

Sunday Evening Family Meeting

Now that we have adult children, the family schedule and calendar has become much more complicated. Who works when? Who’s turn is it to drive? What are the upcoming outside-the-home activities?

Also since all the children are not home all the time, it is easy to miss important family announcements such as “don’t leave clean clothes on the dryer” and “we will celebrate Rich’s birthday two days late to accommodate his work schedule.”

Throughout the week Steve and I keep running lists of things to address. (OK, I have a list; Steve has an item or two.) On Sunday evening, we put the little ones (under five-years-old) to bed a little early and we all sit down with the family calendar and our lists and plan our week.

Even though we have missed a few weeks, this regularly scheduled pow wow makes a big difference on the functioning of the household. We often cover everything from which day is a child’s laundry day to how to handle a disobedient little sibling to who can babysit little ones on date night.

These moments together has also become a special time of fellowship and fun that the children look forward to (unless they’re the one that left the clean laundry on the dryer, that is).

What organizational habits have you implemented that impact your daily family life? Share your ideas with us!