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Earthy
05-04-2004, 04:38 PM
Hi! I have been searching for a forum to ask questions on, I think I've found one!:D

I am homeschooling next year. I am a retired teacher...well teacher turned homeschool mom. My chid will be in the fourth grade. I have been searching through piles of curriculum choices, books from the library, catalogs and web sites. The things I have found that have been most helpful are The Well Trained Mind and Elijah Co. I have decided to building my curriculum from these two sources. Though...sometimes it seems like it just might be easier to use Calvert 'my backup curriculum'.

I would like to share my plans with you all, they are not complete, input would be great! :D

Language: Easy Grammar, Daily Grams, Writing Strands, Handwriting Without Tears (we are doing over the summer), for reading I have several reading books lined up from book lists

Science: Fun with Nature, Keeping a nature Jornal, Physics Experiments for Children, Pets in a jar, also planing to get Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia and The New Way Things Work

History:
Plan one: Calvert-A Childs History of The World includes; textbook, manual, workbook and answers. Has anyone ever used this? It comes with the 4th grade Calvert curriculum it's also sold separately.
Plan two: Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, A Childs Story of America, several sources from The Well Trained Mind

Art/Music: Planing on getting a book that goes with a recorder, Several craft projects lined up. I would like to find books on learning how to draw. If anyone has ideas on this let me know.

MAth: Not sure on yet. My chid excells in this area and I do not. I was going to use SOS but I have read many comments on how the grading is not acurate and you have to go in and say that an answer is ok. Then there is Saxon. I was wondering if the DIVE CDs really go along with this. I am only leary becasue Saxon does not sell them, they come from another company, strange?

Any suggestions will be great! I am eagar to get started!
:D

Thanks!
Nellie

bemax3
05-04-2004, 05:07 PM
It sounds like a great plan Nellie!

We only use a set curriculum for math and the rest is mainly child led here so I can comment on that suject. I would recommend checking out Singapore Math. It is excellent for fast paced learners who pick up concepts quickly and require/want little repetition. My son just turned nine and has loved this program. The word problems once you hit the 5 series are very advanced. Mental math is utilized in this program. Overall it is a solid and lean program. My oldest is taking a short break after completing the 5 series and is using the Key To series for Geometry and Algebra. I would recommend either program or both if your son loves math as much as my kids do.

Michelle

TinaTx
05-04-2004, 08:16 PM
Welcome Welcome:D

Nice to meet you! I too will have a 4th grader next year! I will have a 2nd grader and one in Prek that I think destroys more than he learns right now:rolleyes: :D

Your language sounds great! Rod and Staff recommend by WTM can be for both grammar and writing. If you use their secular choice like Voyages in English then they recommend Writing Strands. However, with R&S it can stand alone as both. Right now, I found Writing Strands boring and preferred some of the writing lesson from Calvert, but not all. So I tweaked them too. My *jury is still out* on what I will be using exactly for writing next year.For reading, if you haven't already done so, order the catalog recommended in WTM for reading called Perfection. I have to tell you that as long as i have been homeschooling (almost at 5 years) this catalog is the most comprehensive as far what RL and IL (interest level) the books are on. I use it and Rainbow Resource to review annotations and my RL's for my next year. BTW, have you ordered Rainbow Resource?. It is A MUST. They have curriculum at considerable discounts. Also, Veritas Press has wonderful literature guides to go along with the books they sell. If you like WTM and Calvert, you'll love Veritas Press as well.

This next year, I'm using both Calvert's CHOW (child's history of..) and SOTW. You don't really need Kingfisher, unless of course you want to buy it. SOTW is a spine and can stand alone. Since this is your first year doing the ancients, the activity guide is a nice guide. She has coloring pages and crafts that even 4th graders find fascinating........

I have used parts of Mona Brooks drawing with children and like it.Also I'm in the process of checking out Artistic pursuits.

As far as math, I prefer Calvert's math. Their teaching manual is a nice little gold nugget for mom if her background is not in math, like me:eek: They give ample examples for the home educator. Their math is colorful and not boring but yet hard because of the 4 step process *Read, Solve, Plan,Check*......I like it very much and am pleased by the academic pace. They know just when to *change pace* and then have a *cumulative review*. They make math easy for me.Their elementary math won an award, I believe it was last year.

Oh well, look forward to knowing you:D and chatting!

Blessings
TinaTx

Anonymous
05-04-2004, 09:07 PM
Hi Nellie, I've been homeschooling my youngest son (4th grade) for 3 years now, and my middle son (8th grade) for the first time this year. There are alot of choices out there for curriculum! As I'm sure you've noticed. If you are a person who likes to view books/curriculum up close, the best place to do this is at a homeschoolers convention. I second the idea of getting the Rainbow Resource catalog!!

For grammar, I've been using the daily grams w/my children (and easy grammar with my oldest). They seem to like that best.

For science, my oldest uses Apologia Science which is written to the homeschooling family. It doesn't really start until the 7th grade though, with General Science. However, they bought out another company (or took over publishing-not sure which) that does sell science for the elementary ages. I'm thinking about using that with my younger son next year.

For math, my youngest has a learning disability - so we've yet to find a program that works well with him. My oldest uses Saxon Algebra 1/2 (also used Saxon 8/7 last summer for catch up) and it was ok. He is having some problems with it. It goes too fast for him. We do have the DIVE CDs and they are a MUST IF your child is visual. If your child can figure it out on his own, then I wouldn't bother. You just have to keep in mind that if you do use them, you must make sure you buy the correct one for whichever edition you will use.

I haven't found an art program that I'm totally sold on, but have heard good things about Artistic Pursuits.

For History/Geography/Literature/Writing, I have been using a WONDERFUL program for the last 2 years called Tapestry of Grace. It is a classical based, unit study, type of program that follows the 4 year cycle. They have 4 different year plans (Y1-creation-fall of rome; Y2-fall of rome thru american revolution; Y3-1800s, Y4-1900s-present day), and you can start at any point that you wish. It is for K-12 (or even mom!), and once you've bought a year plan, that is the last time you need to do so. If you're interested in following the WTM, then I would recommend looking into it. Warning however, the website is overwhelming at first - best viewed over several times. Even better would be to find out if someone in your area uses it and check to see if you can look at it; or find out if they are being represented at a homeschool convention near you. This is a program that we definitely will stay with all the way through high school!

HTH...carol

bemax3
05-05-2004, 01:34 AM
A note to Carol!

By chance have you read The Myth of Ability:Nuturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child by John Mighton?

This book is wonderful read I highly recommend it. There is a website you can look into www.jumptutoring.org if you are interested at all. I thought it may be helpful in finding your way to appropriate math instruction for your youngest son.

Michelle

Earthy
05-05-2004, 07:03 AM
It helps to chew things over with others on what my plans are.

I have not decided on math yet. Saxon, Calvert, Singapore...just don't know. All info about them is welcome. I do know that my son would be using Saxon 6/5 next year if we chose that.

I am glad to hear SOTW is a full history curriculum from Calvert. I am going to get that, I think I will get the cdrom also.

As far as Language: So, Tina you think Writing Strands is boring...yikes! Well, I don't know what I will use, as I was planing on that. Any other options? I do like what I see with Easy Grammar and Daily Grams though.

Yes, I have the Sonlight catalog. I will have to check out the Perfection one.

Thanks for all the help. I want to be ready for next year. My child is currently in a school where Abeka is used. I have not liked what I have seen from that. It will be so nice to have him home. With all the choices I am sure I will find a plan.

It sounds like some of you buy the entire Calvert curriculum and then add in your own things to it? Let me in on any tips!

Thanks.
:D

Earthy
05-05-2004, 07:43 AM
Welcome Welcome:D

Nice to meet you! I too will have a 4th grader next year! I will have a 2nd grader and one in Prek that I think destroys more than he learns right now:rolleyes: :D

Your language sounds great! Rod and Staff recommend by WTM can be for both grammar and writing. If you use their secular choice like Voyages in English then they recommend Writing Strands. However, with R&S it can stand alone as both. Right now, I found Writing Strands boring and preferred some of the writing lesson from Calvert, but not all. So I tweaked them too. My *jury is still out* on what I will be using exactly for writing next year.For reading, if you haven't already done so, order the catalog recommended in WTM for reading called Perfection. I have to tell you that as long as i have been homeschooling (almost at 5 years) this catalog is the most comprehensive as far what RL and IL (interest level) the books are on. I use it and Rainbow Resource to review annotations and my RL's for my next year. BTW, have you ordered Rainbow Resource?. It is A MUST. They have curriculum at considerable discounts. Also, Veritas Press has wonderful literature guides to go along with the books they sell. If you like WTM and Calvert, you'll love Veritas Press as well.

This next year, I'm using both Calvert's CHOW (child's history of..) and SOTW. You don't really need Kingfisher, unless of course you want to buy it. SOTW is a spine and can stand alone. Since this is your first year doing the ancients, the activity guide is a nice guide. She has coloring pages and crafts that even 4th graders find fascinating........

I have used parts of Mona Brooks drawing with children and like it.Also I'm in the process of checking out Artistic pursuits.

As far as math, I prefer Calvert's math. Their teaching manual is a nice little gold nugget for mom if her background is not in math, like me:eek: They give ample examples for the home educator. Their math is colorful and not boring but yet hard because of the 4 step process *Read, Solve, Plan,Check*......I like it very much and am pleased by the academic pace. They know just when to *change pace* and then have a *cumulative review*. They make math easy for me.Their elementary math won an award, I believe it was last year.

Oh well, look forward to knowing you:D and chatting!

Blessings
TinaTx


I am searching for the Perfection catalog. Is it at PerfectionLearning.com? I looked on the WTM site but couldn't find it's link. Thanks.

TinaTx
05-05-2004, 04:49 PM
Nellie......

Yes its perfection learning:)

I guess I find Writing Strands boring because I compared it to Calvert 3rd grade writing. I also compared Rod and Staff 3rd to Calvert and liked it real well. Its more on tune with what Calvert does. Although, I did find slight differences. This year we did 3 book reports in Calvert and Rod and Staff didn't have any. IMHO I think book reports are solid enough in the sense they don't require any *creativity*. Its just retelling the story in a logic sequential manner. This doesn't mean that Rod and Staff won't cover that in 4th grade. You know how curriculums will fill in the gap when you stay with them long enough.

Yes...I like to buy Calvert and tweak it some. Calvert is as good as everyone says it is. I have taught Prek,K,1st,2nd and 3rd. But I don't ever do all of it because I tweak a lot. I always want it as a guide.It can be expensive doing in that way, so I don't really suggest that to a lot of people.:) But it works for me. I'd rather have more and see what is possible for this level, than not have enough.

Writing Strands is suppose to be just learning plain ole writing until it hits the older grades. So again, it may change in the older grades. Also I don't know what type of writer your son is.

My son is typical boy, he is a reluctant writer. I don't know, I say that but he does the Calvert lessons and I don't have a lot of the problems some other moms have.I means he does write more than one or two sentences. He actually will write 2 paragraphs, even though one well written one is all that Calvert wants them to do in 3rd grade.

I am looking at Classical Writing:Aesops Fables and the other is ...I think the correct title is Wordsmith Apprentice. I'm still not sold. I do think dictation and copy work is still needed in the 4th grade. My son still needs to see a good model of a pargraph. So its the writing part of Calvert that I like, which btw always has been their strongest point.

As far as Calvert reading they used basal readers until 1/2 way through the 3rd grade. I know some teachers fall out over that;) but I feel good basal readers are one of many tools that I can use, but not my whole program. So I add my own readers because his reading level and interest level are both very high.

So since I'm dealing with high reading levels and on grade level writing I tweak a lot of things.I have heard though that Calvert's 4th grade is *really tough*, one of the toughest years. They still talk about it in 5th and 6th grade (LOL). So I don't know for your first year if you want something like that. Its nice to kind of get to know each other the first year and see what you like best as far as curriculum.

I know you said you were a teacher, I just don't know what grade/subject;) so I'm not sure how much *hand holding* you might want. GEEZE...We can't expect to KNOW EVERYTHING:D :D lol

I do like some hand holding or prepared curriculum since I still have a 3 foot tornado in my house!:rolleyes: :D I also like the freedom to choose for reading.

Maybe it was just a *typo*:) but i wanted to point out that Calvert has the Child's History of the World(CHOW) and not SOTW. SOTW (Stories of the world comes from Peachill press by Susan Wise BAuer) SOTW 1 is a stand alone spine. CHOW does start off with some evolution in the beginning but goes through that pretty quickly. Otherwise, its a wonderful MUST read imho. CHOW will be supplimentary this year for us using our SOTW 2.

Hope this helps!
TinaTx

Earthy
05-05-2004, 05:12 PM
Well, hand holdin' isn't needed:rolleyes: Just good suggestions to get my curriculum going, opinions and so on.;) (exteacher of preschool, kindergarten and highschool. I've been home since my children have been born, and lovin' it)

I don't really want to buy Calvert now that I have bee researching what I want to do for the past four months now. But, it will be my 'fall back' if it comes down to the wire and I haven't decided. In my origional post, I will probably come close to those things still.

Calverts A Child's History of the World, yes my fault or my fingers typoed'. It seems good and that is what I will most likely go with for History.

I was also looking at Calverts Discoveries in Reading? Have you tried that. I am a sucker for books. We are BIG readers here. :eek: Books all over. I was thinking maybe I'd use that for Reading, along with the other ton of books lined up I already have. My child continues to read and listen to books no tape all the time. He loves it. So, if I get the Discoveries in Reading I don't know what level to get. They all look good. Does Calvert 4th curriculum include those Readers?

I also like the way Discoveries in Science looks. Have you used those? I thought I might get those along with all the other stuff I already have, just in case ya know;)

How are the Calvert Reference Library materials? I need some good reference materials, that is why I thought of Kingfishers Science, History and so on. Also, I would like a good Dictionary and Thesaurus. Any suggestions?

I might as well cover math while I am still on here, again...I notice Calvert does not sell the math separately. So, I will have to use Saxon or Singapore-which I haven't even looked at yet.

Thanks for all your help.

:cool:

TinaTx
05-05-2004, 10:36 PM
Nellie..

I guess I wouldn't make a good salesman for Calvert:p hee hee because as far as the books are concerned in Discovies of Reading, you can buy them cheaper with your educator's discount. I just look them up in the catalog and buy them outright. The books they use in the curriculum are not the same ones they sale as supplimentary.

Ditto for the reference books..Look at the ones they recommend and see if you like them. The one that is tops on my list for dictionary is the one he has been using since 1st grade. Its by Houghton Mifflin called the American Heritage for grades 3-6. He kind of passed over the *First Book of anything*. This dictionary is excellent.The thesaurus we are using is by Macgraw Hill that I like real well. Actually this year, i will perusing for another just to have back up. However I have been very satisfied with both of these books as reference books.

As far as audio tapes, we loooove Jim Weiss. He has to be one of the most excellent story tellers I have heard. His voice is so pleasing. I buy his cds or tapes through Rainbow Resource, however he list all of them at his website that I can't recall, but its something prenticehall. I bet a google search will bring him right up. We pop those cds in the car everytime we drive. His stories lean toward the classical side.

Math IS sold separetly with Calvert. Yes! Yes! They even offer a free placement test to insure a good fit. Here again, math was not my thing and their examples are priceless!

As far as science I have not used their discoveries in science. We do science the WTM way. I use Usborne books and Kingfisher books.

As reference I have Kingfisher Encylopedia on History, First Book on Animals and Human Body (for my younger crowd...even though my big guy likes it too). I have TONS of Usborne books from space, to history, to animals.

In addition, we subscribe to Muse, ZOO Book, My Big Backyard, Ladybug, Weekly readers. The Zoo books are WOWEE..I can easily make a unit from those.

My library could easily rival a small town library. I think I must have every Usborne book they make:eek:

Calvert will serve very well as a *fall back*. Thats how i use it!

Also, don't forget Sonlight...gotta love em:D because of their WONDERFUL selection of readers! You get TONS...have you checked them out? I also use their readers. I have a lot for second and third grade plus I have some for 7th on up. Thats what they are best at BOOKS!:D I go crazy looking through their catalogs.

One more thing about Calvert! Their spelling CDs are what suppose to be good! They are interactive along with vocabulary. I will be ordering the 3rd and 4th grade this year. This allows him to do this while I teach the younger two. Between that and Spelling Workout, he can pretty well work independently.

Ok....I tend to be the longwinded kind:rolleyes: :D

Hope this gets you going!
Tina

Earthy
05-06-2004, 07:49 AM
Thanks for all the info.

I am going to check into the dictionary by Mifflin and the thesaurus by Mcgraw Hill. I also like the stories told by Jim Weiss both tape and books. I didn't know it about Calvert's math, so I will check it out; though they do stop at 8th grade.

I need to build up my library. I have a long booklist of 'togets'.:D

The only reason I liked the look of the Calvert Reading Discoveries is that it comes with guids and stuff.

The Spelling and Vocabulary CD's from Calvert -Does that mean I wouldn't need Easy Grammar or Daily grams if I use those? Maybe it is mostly spelling on those. Oh, I see they have a 4th grade grammar cd also. Maybe the spelling and grammar cd together would be good.

There is much to decide.:eek:

Oh, I just bought a bunch of books from Bookcloseouts.com! They have very inexpensive books, I got most of mine for 99cents! :cool:

More later...:p Thanks again. It is fun to talk this over with people. I only know two people who home school and one doesn't even live in the usa.

Earthy
05-06-2004, 08:20 AM
Jim Weiss books you can get through http://www.greathall.com/home.html there are many sites I guess to buy his books at.

I also bought some of his through http://www.bookcloseouts.com/bc/home.asp This is where I got the inexpensive books from.

Anonymous
05-07-2004, 06:07 AM
Scholastic puts out a good children's dictionary and thesaurus that you can sometimes find at Sam's Club.

We're doing Saxon math with my oldest, and Horizons with the younger. Saxon has a placement test that will help you determine where to place your child. Mine placed a whole lever higher than I would have put her in, and has done very well there (averaging above 90%).

HIstory next year will be starting with the Ancients, using "The Mystery of History". I friend had it, and I previewed hers (though not as thoroughly as I'd like, since she was still using it!) and happened to come across it used the very same day for half what Rainbow lists it for!!!

Language.... No, I am NOT listening!!! NO ONE said that Writing Strands is boring!!! (See me standing with both hands over my ears and my eyes shut tight, lol!) I'm planning on using both Writing Strands and LLATL next year. Plus Natural Speller, which I'm previewing from the library and I'm hoping to find tonight at the first of several used sales.

For Science, I want to keep a "science journal", where we record any and all science observations. Am not sure what exactly, but I want to try it!

LisaN
05-08-2004, 09:50 AM
Unless it is required with your homeschool group, or state or for whatever record keeping you have do to, keep in mind that you may not HAVE to include all that! I mean, my daugher, a 5th grader this year, writes SOOO much, and so well that it is a waste of her time and my time to do any grammar/spelling things at all. I keep a close eye on spelling and it is always perfect, and when I would give her lists she would get them all right on the practice test. Her work always includes great grammar, vocabulary etc. so it would be a bore and like I said, a real time-waster, to do any of it just to say we did!
Another thing...do not make firm plans for science and social studies/history. Your daughter may have interests you are free to explore in homeschool! Again, unless you are bound to certain topics at certain ages by a regulatory group. Let her choose what she is interested in. It may not be chronological, but if it interests her she will get more out of it. We did Revolutionary War at the beginning of the year, I was planning to go into westward expansion, then gold rush (we are in Calif.) but my children (5th and 2nd) wanted to learn more about Ancient Egypt. So we are!
We only use a curriculum for math. We found the Key to...series this year for my 5th grader. It is wonderful! The district texts have been fine until this year when they became too test prep crazy. Key to... has them learn about a subject before moving on. No lower math, like addition or muliplication, you have to know those things already. Fractions comes first. It will take us through middle school and maybe the algebra into beginning highschool. Not expensive either. We get ours from timberdoodle.com since they have the best prices.
We include a lot of art in our history lessons. We had fun doing an artist study too. Learn about the artist, the technique used and do your own version. We did quite a few and displayed them on a tri-fold board and won a prize at the county fair!
Above all, have fun! We are just finishing up our 11th year homeschooling! Try not to listen to relatives who don't understand! Of course, as a former teacher they will believe you are able. Even after all these years, and a successfully graduated son (graduated hs at 16,5 units away from an AA) my own mother still questions me on my abilities! Oh well...

bemax3
05-08-2004, 10:13 AM
Loved your post LisaN!!

We use the Key to series as well. We started out with Miquon, then
Singapore and now onto Key to. Math is the pretty much the only subject we use a curriculum for as well. Our approach is mainly self guided, child led here.

Michelle

TinaTx
05-08-2004, 06:04 PM
Hey LisaN:D :D

Just wanted to say HI!:)

I don't remember seeing you on abcteach in a looooong time! OR too I might be losing my mind:eek: :D

Hope all is well! I always enjoy your posts!

TinaTx
05-08-2004, 06:18 PM
Hey Jackie, beat me now!;) because I might be eating my words about Writing Strands later.

My sister is borrowing mine right now, and her 4th grader likes it. I'm still on the fence! So many WTM uses swear that if you stick to it that it does get more in depth!

She is suppose to give it back to me to look over again. Right now, if I don't find anything comparable I will stick to that and Rod and Staff. I was trying to avoid having to buy Calvert's 4th grade package curriculum this year, but their writing is their strongest point and its calling me *Tina, Tina....buy me*:D

If did get it that would probably be the only part I would use right now, so I'm having a hard time justifying the $$$$$. On the other hand, writing is No. 2 on *Subjects of Most Importance* to us in hsing!

GEEZE....decisions, decisions...I use to be so good at making them!:p
DH says to use ALL 3 and tweak!:rolleyes: After all, isn't that my favorite pastime? GEEEZE *What does he KNOW anyway?* (LOL)(LOL)After all isn't that what homeschooling is all about! Gotta love the guy!

Ok.....off to ponder some more important things of life!:D :D lol

LisaN
05-08-2004, 08:13 PM
Yes, this is me! I haven't been on abcteach or this board for awhile that is true. Then I found it was posting as nonregistered and I didn't notice! Mostly I have just been too busy to take the time to read and respond. Thanks for enjoying my posts! Funny, I never really noticed or planned that my name was the same here as there! Sometimes I forget what name I use where.

Anonymous
05-09-2004, 07:19 AM
Lisa, when I did the "switch over" to here, I tried to register and it said someone already had registered to that e-mail address. So I tried to log in using the nickname I've had since highschool and I usually use, and it took! Here I had registered about two years ago and completely forgot! Amanda graciously changed my name from the old to the new...as I was afraid my ABCTeach friends wouldn't "know" me with the old name.

Anonymous
01-08-2005, 03:12 PM
Nellie,
I just joined and was looking at old posts so I don't know if you still need this but I thought someone might like it. They really do have great stuff.
Look into Dover Publications at doverpublictions.com
for books on learning to draw. They have alot of great stuff and not just on drawing and most of it is under $5.00. You can sign up for a free sampler that they send out ( I think it's monthly) via e-mail that you can even print up. I hope this helps.
Lisa

Deena
01-09-2005, 06:03 PM
Wow, I totally missed out on this thread! It was interesting! How is everyone doing with the choices they made since all this was written?