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The Best-Laid (Curriculum) Plans: Year 1

After a year of planning and evaluating various options for Year 1, it’s finally done – our super-schmancy, fine-and-dandy Complete Jewish Homeschool Curriculum!  Sort of.  It’s an ambitious list, and I’m scared I won’t be able to do it.

Points to keep in mind:

  1. I’m flexible.  If something doesn’t work, I drop it – period.  Maybe pick up something else, or maybe drop the subject if it’s not a crucial one.  I am very open to this, though I think everything I’ve chosen for the year is do-able.
  2. It LOOKS ambitious, but most of it is just extensions of what we are already doing.  Nothing here will be a big surprise if you’ve been reading this blog all along.
  3. Most lessons are VERY short!  Depending on the lesson itself and Naomi Rivka’s co-operation, an average lesson is about 10-20 minutes.  Some subjects in some weeks will really involve ZERO additional minutes; they’re just books included in our regular family reading schedule.  A typical lesson in First Language Lessons takes less than 5 minutes at this level.  Math is usually something like 5 minutes of skip counting drill plus 15 minutes.  If we start at 9-something, our school day will likely be finished by noon (though we are probably more likely to start around 10 and finish by 1).
  4. Most lessons are fun!  Most of these subjects are already ones Naomi asks for, at least part of the time, if not every day.  As a grammar-stage learner, she loves discovering the world’s “hidden secrets” – stuff like the names of the continents, rules for identifying geometric shapes, parts of a flower.  I see this every day and love “indulging” her by sharing these secrets.

I plan to update this list if there’s anything I’ve forgotten – or if something I’ve planned doesn’t work out for us.  I also plan to add links to curriculum wherever possible.

So here, without further [as they say, and it drives me crazy] adieu... The List:


Year One Curriculum

Term 1:  June – Aug 2011 – Composer:  Mozart, Artists:  Van Gogh, Cassatt, Mondrian

Term 2:  Sept – Nov 2011 – Composer:  Mendelssohn, Artists:  Picasso, Monet, Homer

Term 3:  Dec – Feb 2012 – Composer:  Bach, Artists:  Remington, O’Keeffe, Hokusai

Term 4:  March – May 2012 – Composers:  Bartok, Hindemith, Artists:  Matisse, Degas, Kahlo

* For artist/composer information, scroll to the bottom of this list.

Weekly schedule:

·         Limudei Kodesh – 4x/week

o   Tefillah:  daily davening, plus occasional copywork & translating

o   Reading:  Kriyah v’Od, Part 2

o   Begin Chumash reading & translating/understanding

o   Dinim – Shabbos, Kashrus, Yamim Tovim, other mitzvos / middos?

o   Weekly Parsha – copywork, reading, 1x/week narration

·         Math – 4x/week

o   JUMP Math, Books 1.1 & 1.2

o   Weekly “random” math with dice, Cuisenaire rods (Miquon Orange/Red) and other hands-on materials

·         Language Arts – 3x/week

o   First Language Lessons, Books 1 & 2

o   Handwriting Without Tears

o   Finish Explode the Code 2, continue into Spelling Workout A

o   Nursery Rhymes – memorization & fun w/Literature Pockets

o   Reading from BOB Books, Set 4 / Dick & Jane, then into McGuffey Readers

o   Keep reading our regular chapter books several times a week AT LEAST! (see list here)

·         History – 3x/week

o   Story of the World, Book 1

o   Readings and activities from Story of the World Activity Book

o   Readings from Fifty Famous Stories, Famous Men Greek/Rome

o   Activities from History Pockets

·         Geography – 1x/week

o   Weekly readings and activities from Expedition Earth

o   Various songs, mapwork, etc.

·         Science – 2x/week

o   Elemental Science

o   Weekly Readings

o   1x/week narration

o   1x/month (AT LEAST) nature study plus narration

·         Music – throughout the week

o   Listen to music by term’s composer in car, at home, etc.

o   Supplement with bios from Classics for Kids and other sites

o   1x/term composer biography & narration

·         Art – 1x/week

o   Every other week, Meet the Masters artist bio, information

o   Every other week, Draw – Write – Now lessons – every week if there’s time

o   1x/month Meet the Masters practical project

·         Physical Education – 2x/week AT LEAST

o   Continue with swimming lessons & weekly dance classes

·         Social – whenever possible!

o   Weekly homeschool drop-in, shul program, and MORE

* How I chose our artists and composers:

  1. The composers here ROUGHLY follow the Ambleside schedule.  I want to do four terms per year, though, and Ambleside provides only three, so I have picked up a “make-up” composer – for this year, it’s Bach.  Well worth learning about, I figure.
  2. For artists, Ambleside tries to pair the artist to the period of the composer, leading to a pretty obscure list, with few good “beginner” artists (for 2010/2011 the artists were Durer, Caravaggio and Delacroix).  Having failed a few times at doing art in a really compelling way, I recently bought the Meet the Masters program for 50% off through homeschool buyers co-op.  This takes all the thought and most of the prepwork out of it.  The package I bought covers 20 artists – more than enough for one per month – in a well-planned order.

So… your thoughts?  Link up your own curriculum ideas if you’re already planning your coming year!

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