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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum: All Together

While each of the kiddos will be pursuing studies tailored to their particular level and interests (I’ll come to that in a bit), we also have a number of activities that we are sharing as a family this year.

Here’s a peek at what we are studying together this year:

Classical Studies--- This is a new one for us. The idea of a classical education has always appealed to me, but somehow as great as everything sounds when I’m reading books like A Well-Trained Mind, I simultaneously feel hopelessly inept at possibly achieving that sort of an education for my kiddos. That, and I do see some draw-backs to it…but that’s fuel for another discussion entirely.

I finally came to realize that I needed to get my OCD-addled brain (you know, that part of me that has to absolutely do it all, whole hog, and get it all right, or nothing at all?) in check and simply start somewhere by implementing some of the aspects of a classical education that appeal to me and our principal (my dear husband).

I came across Memoria Press’s Introduction to Classical Studies Set, and hubby agreed we should go forward with it. In addition to the schedule which divides up the readings, the curriculum includes the Golden Children’s Bible, the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, and Famous Men of Rome. The schedule also includes discussion questions, vocab, maps, timelines, and topics for further study. We’ve been keeping it simple and following up our daily read-alouds with oral or drawn narration (depending upon the ability of the child). Intro to CS is meant to be repeated over 3 years, with discussion and research becoming more in-depth each time. We’re taking it one year at a time.

Art and Music--- Our art and music appreciation studies have been virtually non-existent up to this point, but I think I’ve finally hit on something that going to work for us, yeah! I may share more about this in a future post, but for now we are learning about another artist every 3-4 weeks (we’ll be adding composers to that rotation, shortly), reading about their life and exploring their work, using plenty of free online resources (I’ll share these as we go along). We’re even making a visual art/music timeline.

003Albrecht Durer’s entry on the timeline

Science---We’ll be concentrating on nature study this year, with the aid of Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Hour Challenges. The children will also be encouraged to pursue their personal scientific interests through the public library, our family library, and experimentation.

History and Geography--- Not a year can go by without me writing/creating from scratch at least one part of the kiddos’ studies. This year we are learning about local history and geography.

Speaking as someone who has always had a very tenuous grasp on where and when I am in the world, I’ve always wanted my children to have a better understanding of the area in which they live. And as this part of the world is still fairly new to us (we just moved into our current home a year ago), the principal and I both agreed that having a concrete, hands-on course on our town’s geography and history would be ideal this year. As we move on, we’ll include the surrounding areas in our county.

We’ll be doing a lot of trekking around our neighborhood, visiting local museums, drawing maps of our area, and more. While much of this study will be specific to our area, I do plan to share some of the activities here as we do them, with suggestions on how you can incorporate them into your own studies.

Literature--- In addition to the children’s independent reading, we’ll be trying to fit in as many read-alouds as we can. Selections will come mainly from our own family library “shelves,” which include hundreds of ebooks on my Kindle. I’ll share what we’re reading as we move along.

Another new thing we are doing this year: allowing more free time for the kiddos to pursue their personal interests. We're also reorganizing all our educational "stuff," like science books, manipulatives and other fun stuff I always forget to use to make them more readily accessible and enticing to inquiring minds.

You might also be interested in:

Our 1st Grader’s Curriculum

Our 2nd Grader’s Curriculum

Our 6th Grader’s Curriculum


  1. It's nice to see you back! The kids look healthy and happy.

    We're doing ICS this year using Schuster's Bible History in place of the Golden Children's Bible. The boys have been enjoying it, and I like how the whole week is mapped out with four days of lessons, and the fifth day for review.


  2. Thanks! Yes, I may try Schuster's, too, if we do it again later. We already owned the Golden Children's Bible and I wanted to make sure the younger children stayed engaged, so we just went with it. I'm actually surprised by the amount it matches up word for word with the RSV 2nd Catholic edition.

    But I'm kinda thinking we might be doing RCHistory ( which incorporates Bible next year. And uses the GM and FMR. I'm feeling a need to immerse ourselves in ancient history again soon. ;0)


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