I am very excited about this school year. I loved reviewing all the curriculum last year, and it really gave me a feel for what I like and don't like. But alas, there is a time for everything, and I am very glad that I get to choose all our curriculum this year. I am really going to be focusing on language for my 6th grader. I do not have all my lesson plans done yet, because I just got the books today. I would still like to share my list of books we will be using.
History: We will be finishing up Mystery of History Volume II which goes up through the middle ages. This was one of my reviews from last year, but with everything else we were reviewing we did not have time to finish. I love it because I can teach both kids at the same time, but the activities can be tailored for approximate grade level. I can give a bit tougher project to the 6th grader.
Science: First, we will finish Real Science Odyssey: Chemistry. This was another review that we got toward the end of the year. After we finish that we will move on to Apologia's Exploring Creation series with Sea Creatures and Land Animals. I would like to finish both of those this year, because my oldest will be a 7th grader next year and will be ready for General Science.
Spelling: We are going to continue with the All About Spelling series. My 2nd grader is going to review book 1 first. My 6th grader is going to start with a review of book 2 and then move into book 3.
For the 6th grader:
Reading Detective from The Critical Thinking Company. He will be doing level A1 for 5th/6th grade. I ordered the CD-ROM as opposed to the workbook so I can reuse it for the little one.
Word Roots (Level A1) also from The Critical Thinking Company on CD-ROM. This is designed for grades 4-12. It teaches prefixes, suffixes, and latin roots. The benefits listed on the CD are improves spelling, increases vocabulary, enhances reading comprehension, and sharpens deductive thinking skills.
Red Herring Mysteries Level 1 (a workbook) from The Critical Thinking Company. It is for grades 4-6 to help with logic and critical thinking skills.
Novel Units are study guides to all different kinds of literature. They include activities to teach reading, thinking, and writing. I have tried a similar program from Total Language Plus, but have not tried Novel Units. I just ordered one to see if we like it. The study guide I picked was "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books 1 and 2. I think it should take about 8 weeks to complete. We also have a Total Language Plus to finish for "The Whipping Boy". I will decide what to do next after we finish the Novel Units book to see if we like that.
Wordsmith Apprentice, a self-directed program for grades 4-6 that will develop appreciation and enthusiasm for written language through imagination-stretching exercises. Basically, they become the editor of a newspaper.
Mind Benders and Scratch Your Brain from The Critical Thinking Company. Two more little workbooks to improve thinking skills.
I know that sounds like a lot. That is where the lesson planning is going to come in very handy. I need to plan very carefully how much he will do each day.
Finally, for math my friend introduced me to a very unusual program called Life of Fred. Fred is a five-year-old who teaches math at the university. The math book is written as a story, and all the problems relate to Fred's life. It totally avoids the problem of "when am I ever going to use this?" because they are all real life situations. This program starts after the student knows all their basic facts through long division. I ordered the first book in the series which is Fractions. It should take about 1/2 the year at which point if we like it, we will order the next book Decimals and Percents for the 2nd 1/2 of the year. Completing those two will have him ready for Pre-Algebra next year. I can hardly believe that he grew up that fast.
I do not have quite as long a list for the 2nd grader. For math he will be continuing Math Mammoth that we got to review near the end of the last school year. He is on unit 2 of 3rd grade. Yes, you read that correctly. He is starting 2nd grade on unit 2 of the 3rd grade math book.
I also got a Novel Units study to try with him. His is for three Frog and Toad books.
He has almost completed Language Smarts Level B from The Critical Thinking Company. I ordered Level C so we have it ready. This is a great program for teaching grammar and language skills. What is especially great is that he loves doing it. I wish I'd have know about this program when my oldest was that age. I probably wouldn't have to do all the back work that I am doing this year with him.
Cursive Handwriting from Handwriting Without Tears. He got interested in cursive near the end of the year last year, so I figured I'd go ahead and order it. The main problem we've had up to this point is that his thinking skills have developed far quicker than his fine motor skills. He is finally catching up, and now I think he is really going to start flying.
Reading Detective CD-ROM beginning level for grades 3/4. I ordered this, because I needed some kind of CD game for him to avoid issues of "my brother gets to play on the computer, I want to play on the computer too".
That's it for now. I will try to update as I get my lesson planning done as to how we are going to fit it all in. Then again, I will update when we start to see if real life actually works out as well as my plan. We are planning of starting August 16th.