Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 BACK TO SCHOOL BLOG HOP Day 1 CURRICULUM

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017
Curriculum. That's a dreaded word this time of year it seems. Families all around are scratching their heads wondering what to buy, what not to buy, what will work, etc. What editions do they need to upgrade, what can they pass along to a younger child, and so many more questions.

I only have Mr. B, so I can't say too much about passing curricula on to other kids, but I can speak from a special needs point of view. It seems like our brand of special needs is often overlooked. We aren't the severely academically challenged, so the "special needs packages" don't work for us. And I have to tell you, those pre-formed packages really tick me off in way I don't think I could properly convey. Most companies just slap a "special needs" label on K-2nd...maybe 3rd....grade material and call it a day. Seriously? Why? Just....WHY? Why insult us in that way?! Sure, my son may have difficulty writing sentences properly, or forming a full paragraph. But does that mean he also desires the subject material of a 2nd grader? "See Spot run." can only get you so far in life people! Something needs to be done about this. That was my issue with public school. They wanted to more or less hold him down. They actually told me they never really expected him to read, write, form a solid paragraph, etc. When I called concerned because he was 9 and not writing 4 sentence paragraphs, they told me it was ok...he was special needs, and it was required. WHAT?! I mean...WHAT?! I don't care what is and isn't required, no ceiling is to be placed on my child's learning potential! No cap is to be placed on what he can and cannot achieve. That's just ridiculous, and sadly...that's the same feeling I get when I see pre-made "special needs packages." It truly infuriates me. That is why I work so hard on these reviews to make sure you get a true sense of how they work, how they can be adapted to a special need lifestyle, and if anything could make it better. OR, if something just flat out doesn't work, why not? What could change could be made to make it work?

This is what we are using as our main core this year, and why. Keep in mind, we will work in review items as needed, or change it up if Mr. B becomes bored.

Language Arts: WinterPromise LA6. I chose LA6, because academically the level just fits better, and because of the overall theme. Mr. B is really into all things universe/solar system/outer space right now. The theme of this is about space aliens. So far, Mr. B is eating it up! He loves it! He loves how he's made a space adventurer in the lessons. For example, in the first lesson of spelling, his pencil is now known as an E-Liminator lol. He was murmuring to himself about how those evil space aliens weren't going to beat him. That's the kind of engagement I want to see in my son. He truly learns more like that.

Reading: We plan to use the Sea and Sky reading package from WinterPromise this year. It goes along with the LA6 and everything is already planned out for us. I wish there was more in the way of reading comprehension guides to go with this. I would love to see some included worksheets in the LA6 set to cover this (or your chosen package) but that's not the case. So I plan to look for study guides, etc. to accompany the books. Right now, we're on A Strange Intruder. It's not exactly his favorite to read on his own, but he loves to be read to. So I will gladly read to him according to the daily schedule.

Social Studies: Speaking of Sea and Sky, we have that. It covers more than just history, bringing in some science and geography too. But I plan to keep it mainly a social studies only requirement for him this year since the science part is meteorology and astronomy, and we've exhausted those already. I chose this because of the themes of weather, space, and airplanes. He loves it so far. The Captains Log is a lot of fun, and I like how detailed the plans are.

We are also using MasterBooks Biographies of the Revolution. When he finishes that, I plan to purchase MasterBooks World History Vol. 1. Mr. B Loves history, so I know these will be big hits.

Some may say, WHOA, that's WAY too much. BUT, Sea & Sky is ranged from 4th to around 9th. We have the younger reader set AND the older reader set that was bought for him by a family member. So we can really spread this out for a while, and use it to the fullest over the next few years.

Math: We are going to continue with CTC and UnLock Math this year, supplementing with Math Essentials. He's not quite up to the level of using Math Essentials as a full curriculum, so we will plug in as we can. I will use a selection of workbooks and printed worksheets for extra practice, and we will move slowly when needed.

Science:  I'm going to use Apologia and Masterbooks. I am doing this because I'm not 100% sure where he is level wise here. MasterBooks I know will be a breeze for him because it's 4th-6th grade zoology, but it's kind of reading intensive at times, at least for him. The Apologia is going to be used as a challenge for him. We have been using Apologia Marine Biology, and he LOVES it. And I have Swimming Creatures that he's going to use after this review, and General Science.

I like Apologia because the student journal is really great. He likes using it, and sees it more as a fun activity than actual school work. Masterbooks is great because the lessons are short, and the lesson plans are very easy to use.


As you can see, none of these are labeled Special Needs, but we are easily able to adapt them to his level rather choose a package that is more infantile in nature. I prefer things that are already planned for us, and planned in a way that is easy to understand and follow. I need in your face, right there plans to follow because I don't have time to go searching for stuff. All of these programs are great for us, and in my opinion, perfect for our needs. They are a blend of Charlotte Mason and traditional methods, for the most part, and most combine a multi-sensory approach or hands on. That's what works for us! Let me know in the comments what your plans are for the year!



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