Obligatory Curriculum Post

In CategoryHome Schooling, Navel Gazing

So my friend, Tressa, she of the “we’ve mastered All The Latin, Now Onto Greek” homeschool of more excellence than I can ever hope to attain, tagged me for the yearly Let’s Talk About Curriculum post that all us homeschoolers feel compelled to write.

Big is 4th grade-ish this year, something which I cannot seem to get through my head, to the point where I reach for his little sister’s books when I work with him because to me he is still seven. Truly, I feel like the last two years have slipped by without my even registering them, but if I think about that too hard I will cry. Fourth grade? No one around here is old enough for FOURTH GRADE, that’s just nonsense.

When I was in fourth grade, I had Mrs. Nosamond, my least favorite teacher ever and I stole gum out of her drawer during one recess. I STOLE something! I just remembered that. Perhaps I was a bad child. The things I remember most about fourth grade were Mrs. Nosamond reading aloud to us, which was my favorite thing, and also pretty much being in my own little world. A new girl had moved to town and stolen my best friend (Deena, that cow. How I detested her. Or was it Amanda? Either way.), so most of my fourth grade memories are of things that happened in my own imagination.

I read pretty much all through elementary school, openly ignoring the teachers in favor of Harriet the Spy. In retrospect, I can’t believe I got away with that, but perhaps one mousy little girl reading silently was the least of their teacherly problems. It’s strange to see our childhood selves through the lens of adulthood, isn’t it? Sometimes I want to go back and pat Little Deb and tell her to be herself because none of those people matter.


In my attempts to simplify All The Things, I have tried to also minimize school, weeding out the things that seem arbitrary and pointless (like cursive. sorry, I’m in the Cursive is Stupid camp. judge me if you must), and keeping only the important stuff. In spite of these efforts, there are still so many subjects that fall into the important camp and I find myself once again with an uncomfortably large list.

To wit –

• Math. Math will be Math-U-See as per usual. My more experienced friends (Tressa and Melanie, both of whom have kids in college whilst managing to be younger than me) advised me in the beginning to just pick something and stick with it when it comes to math, and that is my plan. MUS is terrific and there is no need for me to be seduced away by glowing reviews of Teaching Textbooks.

• Spelling. Spelling is All About Spelling, which I love. You can read about my love affair with AAS here.

• Latin. Latin is Prima Latina from Memoria Press. I have never really been attacked by strangers about homeschooling (except once)(I think I do not have the kind of body language that invites rude questioning), but every time I bring up Latin to anyone – especially homeschoolers – I have to defend it. It’s so weird.

So those are the Big Three, the We Are Doing These Every Day So Suck It Up Buttercup subjects.

Other stuff –

• History. Still carrying on with reading aloud from my cobbled together living book list. I bought the Early American History pack from Beautiful Feet and then backfilled the gaps with some of the books listed in All Through the Ages. In truth, I suck at history, but it’s on my list of things to Improve At For Crap’s Sake Deb, Do You Want Your Kids To Be The Kind Of People Who Think Bengazi Is Hilary’s Running Mate?

• Science. My kids are very science-y in general, so I’ve never sweated science too much (periodic red cabbage murdering notwithstanding), but figure getting in the broad strokes is probably a good idea. I bought both the 4th and 2nd grade bundles of Real Science 4 Kids Building Blocks. I got a sale email the day before we started school and went for it. It’s not here yet. Because planning!

• Grammar. I have been assured that grammar is A Good Thing, especially for the Latin set, and after buying and discarding eleventy-five intimidating grammar programs (seriously, I took one look at Rod & Staff’s grammar and had a panic attack, but at least I wasted $35), finally settled on Growing with Grammar, which I like a lot and Big tolerates. It is incredibly priced, which is a nice bonus.

• Language Arts. Beyond spelling and grammar, I am planning on not doing any other language arts this year. I know a lot of people start writing around this time, but I don’t think Big is ready. As far as Literature, I just buy books. He told me last year that HAVING to read something ruined it for him and in an uncharacteristic fit of Doing Something Right, I have decided to just stop. He is a voracious reader, like I was at that age, and beyond chucking good books at him, I’m out of it. I’m better served saving my energy for long division.

• I should start Outlining, which I think happens around this year? I know Rod & Staff covers it, but what with my irrational fear of R&S, I will need to find something else. Thoughts? Do you all teach outlining? I know the Classical types do, please advise.

Okay, so that’s it! Plus also we are taking a homesteading class at a local museum, plus I am working on figuring out some extracurriculars like ice skating or gymnastics or ballet or horseback riding. My main problem with extracurriculars being I hate leaving my house, so I’ll need to work on that too. Dang it.

Happy homeschooling, y’all!

I realize I only talked about Big in this discussion, but Little will be doing all of the above as well, just at her level. Except Latin, which they will be doing together, particularly if Big doesn’t stop being so obstinate.

Oh look! Melanie already covered outlining here. I will just make a note to remind myself next year. Melanie has had quite a lot of good advice for me over the years. Like this one on formal literature. I have Mel to thank for the Chuck Good Books At Them plan. More here. Oh look, she wrote to me here, too! And here!

6 Responses to “Obligatory Curriculum Post”

  1. MNKristy Says:

    I loved 4th grade. It was my favorite elementary year and the only year that I actually can remember. Because pre-blogging = no memories! It is also the year that I got my first kiss out in the back field of school. Good times!

  2. Tressa Says:

    You are very sweet! I think your plan looks good! When I taught outlining, I just grabbed an Usborne book, and showed them how to do it. I don’t think you need a book to teach them. Yes, Rod and Staff goes over it, but I used it mainly for their easily outlined paragraphs rather than the instruction.
    Tressa´s last blog post ..Random Monday

  3. Tressa Says:

    Oh, and I loved my 4th grade year. I had Ms. Sorenson and she was the sweetest teacher I had. I was in a small, Lutheran school and I had her for 3 years. It was a good time for me.
    Tressa´s last blog post ..Random Monday

  4. Karen @ Living Unabridged Says:

    Sounds like a plan to me. Except for that whole skipping cursive thing. 😉

    I’d suggest skipping Latina Christiana when you’re done with Prima Latina and going straight into First Form Latin. My oldest two are doing it this year and it’s a better program, I think. (Still from Memoria Press.)

  5. Happy Elf Mom (Christine) Says:

    Mrs. Nosamund deserved what she got. (That’s how I’m gonna justify it, anyway…)

    We use Memoria Press Latin as well! Little people aren’t doing this yet, but Emperor is now in First Form Latin. I will have to blog it sometime! 🙂
    Happy Elf Mom (Christine)´s last blog post ..Do Fundie Homeschoolers Destroy Children?

  6. Lisa Says:

    We use a lot of the same stuff… I wonder if that is a good or bad thing … :p

    I have never heard of this “outlining” thing you speak of … c’mon fess up is it a weird American custom that we foreigners aren’t to know about? To think I have lived to a ripe old age of “cough, cough, splutter, choke” and never “outlined”? Or maybe I have been but just never realised it. I suppose I could just google it but I really can’t be bothered. 😉
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Let It Go … Let It Go …