I thought I would share an overview of the main books and resources we’re using this year. I haven’t included languages, as I still haven’t decided which ones we’ll tackle this year. We have previously dipped into several different ones, and I now have requests for more, so that will need to be a separate post.
We are working through “Singapore Math” workbooks. All of the children have struggled with maths, and so the levels they are currently working on are very behind where they ‘should’ be. I try not to worry too much, we just plod on and try to do a few pages every day. But I did notice that last year we didn’t even finish one workbook, so I’m trying to encourage one complete exercise every day.
English: spelling, copywork and dictation
We are using a mixture of “Sonlight” language arts and Jolly Grammar books 1 and 2 (for spelling and dictation rather than grammar). We also occasionally do copywork and spelling from a series called “Heart of Dakota”. HoD is an American curriculum that we tried, so I’ll get round to a review at some point.
English: grammar & comprehension
Our main resource for English grammar and comprehension is “Galore Park”. GP is widely used by independent schools, and it is very good. Each book covers one year’s worth of lessons.
We are planning to make use of Kathryn Faulkner’s excellent Sonlight-style plan for British history, starting at the middle ages. That is, we are starting at the middle ages. The plan starts with the Celts/ pre-history.
We are starting with the picture story book “A Medieval Feast” by Aliki, and G.A. Henty’s Wulf the Saxon.
For more details, the plan is available at both the Sonlight UK yahoo group and the Sonlight UK facebook group.
Shakespeare: I decided I need to make a concerted effort this year to introduce my younger children to Shakespeare. I had tried “Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare” a year or two ago, and it wasn’t well received, so this time I am trying Usborne’s “Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare” and we’re starting with “The Tempest”.
We like to read a poem every day, usually in the morning.
We are starting this year with a collection by Rudyard Kipling. *I can’t find it right now, so I don’t have the title, but I’ll add it to my goodreads account at some point.
During our Morning Time meetings, we are using excerpts from “Daily Prayer: Common Worship” (the Church of England’s modern book of common prayer) and “Celtic Daily Prayer” from the Northumbria community.
We’re reading Bible stories from the “Lion Children’s Bible in 365 Stories”, as well as a daily prayer and proverbs from “The Devotional Daily Bible”. We may add Sonlight 2’s Bible reading schedule in later, together with their memory verse selection.
In addition, I’m planning to learn a bit of catechism (The Westminster Shorter Catechism) using the “Book of Family Worship”. I also have a devotional with commentary on the catechism, “Training Hearts, Teaching Minds”, but I think my children are too old to need it.
I would also like to start a bit of church history, so we’ll read short biographies from the book “Trial and Triumph”, maybe one per week, and I will try to make it fit with the period of history we’re studying.
We’re using Curriculum Bank teacher’s books for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These are great because, although they’re old and possibly a bit out of date now, they have photocopiable worksheets for every unit. But they are KS2 and we really want to be moving on to KS3 so we probably won’t do every experiment now (unless they want to – if they’re fun, that’s always a good thing). Sadly out-of-print but sometimes available used.
We read a section (a few pages) from a chapter of one of the junior Apologia science books in the afternoon. We are currently reading “Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures”.
Obviously from the title, these are written from a religious perspective. However, the religious content is easy to skip over (we mostly skip it) and the content otherwise is excellent, and the creationist perspective does not in any way impact negatively on the content. As I may have mentioned before, although I am religious, husband isn’t so I have to be even-handed about creation and history & science as far as I am able to be.
Science: nature study:
There isn’t one specific book for nature study, but the plan is to include nature study at least once a week. That has always been the plan and mostly it doesn’t happen so I think I am going to have to schedule in some specific times for nature walks etc.
History: I have a big pile of great resources for history, but the main textbook we’re using is: “The Kingfisher Children’s Encyclopedia of British History.”
I will add the big pile to the list of resources for History.
An old favourite which is great for learning a chronological sweep of British history (but no dates) is “Our Island Story”. It also begins with myth and is told in a rather romantic, Victorian style. But it’s still a favourite 🙂
In addition, we’re reading the Greenleaf Press version of “Famous Men of the Middle Ages”
We started “A Child’s Geography” volume 2 “Explore the Holy Land” before we moved house, and the children really enjoyed looking at Turkey and learnt a lot from it and so I thought that, since we will be looking at the Crusades, it would be a good idea to carry on with looking at countries in the middle east.
We like to read one page everyday from “You Can Change the World” which gives an outline of a country and its prayer needs. We usually start with this for our ‘Afternoon Meeting’ after lunch.
I did wonder about creating Amazon affiliate links for all these books but I don’t have the energy sadly. But when I can, I will try and add them to my Amazon shop. The aim of having the shop is obviously to earn some extra income, which hasn’t so far amounted to anything at all, so please shop generously! 😀
One last point; this list is subject to change – inevitably as we try some things, not all of them suit as well as I expect, or sometimes we find something better. So I’ll let you know if we have any major course corrections or find any great new resources.