Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tackling the Trivium

I have been eagerly waiting for two years to begin this next year. Up until now, we've focused on reading skills, math, and some basic geography. This fall, my son will be entering first grade, and we will begin our first year of a classical education.

Our core curriculum for this year will be Tapestry of Grace, a classical curriculum that beautifully integrates classical study for multiple ages with a strong foundation in Bible and church history. Eventually, our writing, literature, and art will tie in with the history, geography, Bible, and church history studies. But for right now, just starting out, we'll use Tapestry for history and Bible with a little geography sprinkled in, enjoying the fun projects and read-alouds without adding a lot of pressure to "do it all."

For first grade phonics and spelling, we will be continuing with A Beka, adjusting it as we need to fit our family and our homeschool style. His reading will be a mix of the A Beka readers, saved from the days when I was homeschooled, and some Tapestry books.

We'll be using A Beka first grade math as well, but this year, I'm armed with materials to supplement when we get stuck or when A Beka moves too quickly. Math Mammoth has been the perfect solution for us to supplement A Beka. I love how smoothly the material presents each concept and progresses through the drills. The curriculum is a download program, which makes it extremely affordable and very convenient for use as a supplement. It also provides a number of games suggestions and internet resources for each concept being introduced. I love this curriculum! (Math Mammoth also offers a ton of free samples on the website.)

These are our priorities, our everyday subjects. I also intend to add science and art appreciation into our school year, but more as activities than as a complete subject. I ran across the idea of "one more thing" in the afternoon that is perfect for what I want to do with these activities. For science, I'm putting together some unit studies on anatomy and nutrition using a mix of resources from our own library of Usborne books and some internet resources and notebooking pages.

For art, we usually pick one artist and one composer to study sporadically throughout the year. This summer, for instance, we will be learning about Monet and Mendelssohn. I haven't yet decided which artist we'll be using in the fall. For our art study, I usually use the material from Harmony Fine Arts first grade curriculum (this is my second year to use this one year's worth of curriculum; it's immense!).

My daughter is starting K4; and instead of buying new books for her, I'm collating the papers we did not use from A Beka's ABC-123 book and A Beka's K5 book. We'll have more than enough when I supplement with Letter of the Week K4 and School Sparks downloads. So, essentially, I'm getting by with a free year of school for her. She'll also be tagging along in our other subjects as much as she wants to.

That's our year, in as much detail as I've planned out so far. We've had so much fun these last two years  that I absolutely cannot wait to begin this next stage of our journey.

Tracy is a pastor's wife and homeschool mom of three. She herself was homeschooled from 1st grade to graduation and, after college, had the opportunity to write and edit for the Christian textbook publisher A Beka Book. Tracy loves a rainy day, a cup of coffee (lots of cream and sugar), and Rachmaninoff. She blogs at Growing In Grace.

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