The Atkins Home School is definitely flexible. We have started as late as September and as early as June (this year). Our summer vacations have also varied. At first we kept a more traditional school year, but then I realized that when we lived in FL, I would rather work through the summer in our AC house and be off in the late-fall, early-winter time! This year our summer has only been two weeks long, but we have made the most of it!
I thought you might like to see what each girl will be studying this year. (If you want to know more about our curriculum choice, you can look here.) I got my first taste of teaching 3 levels this past year, but K is pretty light. This year Lydia will be doing a little bit more. She is definitely ready!
Y1 reads one page of her child's Bible daily to me. This is very short, but she enjoys it. Then she and Y4 will read Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus, by Sinclair Ferguson with me. This simple 34 question catechism has suggested readings and activities for the week. Y7 girls will read a chapter from their Bible and enter a favorite scripture or question or thought in their Bible notebooks. (These are not the same notebooks I spoke of in the previous post.) We may discuss the chapter some weeks but mostly we will dialogue through the notebook. This will be moving them to more independent study.
Bible History (One reading per week)
All will listen while I read aloud a story from Trial and Triumph, which is a book on the heroes and martyrs of the early church. (This will probably be done as part of family worship since Daddy and Memaw like to learn church history too!)
Bible Devotional (One reading per week)
Y4 will read a short devotional passage to Y1 at bedtime. The book we are using this year is The Little Girl's Treasury of Precious Things compiled by Annie Brooks. This was given to Sarah by dear Mrs. Ruth from church. The Y7 girls will be reading Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald. This will be read and discussed with Mom, possibly at bedtime.
Year 1 -- early history, focusing on people rather than events. I will read to Lydia one or two stories per week from the books An Island Story by H.E.Marshall and Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin. She may narrate if she likes. We may put a picture or two on our timeline on the wall each week.
Year 4 -- 1700's up to the French Revolution and American Revolution. Mary's main history book is This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall. But as this will only have one reading per week, she will also be reading some historical fiction for the time period. She will read Betsy Ross by Ann Weil, and The Will Northoway Series by Susan Olasky which has 4 books. These 5 books will be spread over the year. I will also read to her from George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster. This is a wonderful book telling in story form about all the other major world events during the lifetime of George Washington. She will be making a folding time line of the years this covers and placing photos of significant people and events on the timeline. We also buddy read one night per week an historical fiction book. During the year we will read The Sign of the Beaver, Calico Captive, and The Reb and the Redcoats.
Year 7 -- 800-1400's Middle Ages. This is the second pass (for a few major events it is the third) at this part of history for the oldest girls so hopefully some of what we have studied will be familiar to them. We will be building on and adding to this previous learning! We started a Book of Centuries that year so it will be fun to look back at it and add to it or even redo it. The girls will be using mostly historical fiction for history, but one book that will be used all year is The Birth of Britain by Winston Churchill. This is the first volume of a 4 volume set. It covers from Julius Caesar's conquering of Britain up to the discovery of the New World. Along side this, we will be reading 2 books per term. Many of these historical fiction books are from G.A. Henty since we love his books: In the Days of Alfred the Great, The King's Shadow, In the Days of William the Conqueror, Winning His Spurs, In Freedom's Cause, The Daughter of Time, and Ten in Time (a great book written by a local author and given to me as a gift from my favorite teacher, Becky Hancock).
Geography (1-2 days per week)
Y1 will listen as I read to her from the book, Paddle to the Sea, in which "a young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region."
Y4 will read Minn of the Mississippi by the same author about a turtle, Minn, as she travels downstream in the Mississippi. The big girls have read both of these and Mary "heard" them also but I wouldn't be surprised if they all want to listen in on it again.
Y7 On the AO page for Y7 are some links to maps for the time period. The girl will be using these as we read about the events. Also we are learning the countries of the seven continents. So far we have completed North America (learning the 50 U.S. states also) and South America. We will begin with Europe next since this is the region of the history they will be studying. I am really enjoying this too!
Science/Nature Study (2-3 days per week)
All- 1 day per week we go outside (backyard, park, etc) and study something in nature). The girls have these beautiful Nature Journals made by sweet Maralena and her daughter.
Y1 will listen to Burgess Bird book stories and other animal stories (1 per week). On the other days she can color a picture or look at picture books for the bird or animal. The girls love to visit Wild Kratt's on the web. We also had a subscription to Discovery: Scripture and Science for Kids. I will probably read one story per week to Lydia from these.
Y4 AO recommends the Story Book of Science by J. Fabre. We will probably read two stories a week. The older girls didn't use this in Y4 so they will join her for this.
Y7 Sarah received a chemistry set for last Christmas. I have been terrible about helping her do the experiments. We will be doing a couple each week until we have completed them. This will only be for the first term. Following that we will use Rod and Staff Science as the spine for science.
Literature/Poetry/Shakespeare (1-3 days per week)
Y1 Lydia will read an Aesop Fable and narrate it. Every three weeks we will read a Just So Story by Rudyard Kipling. She will also read a phonic reader story to me from Pathway Readers. For poetry, we will read together a poem from A Child's Garden of Verses by R.L.Stevenson.
Y4 Mary will listen to (librivox.org) and follow along with 2 chapters per week of Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, and The Incredible Journey (one book per 12 week term).
Y7 The girls will read a chapter a week from Ivanhoe for the first two terms and Little Men for the last term.
Y4 & Y7 I have a copy work book for big girls which is mostly
poetry so we will use this to combine poetry and copywork.
ALL- Also once a week they will all listen to a fairy tale from
H.C.Anderson or a Shakespearean tale retold by the Lamb's. (This is one area I do not follow AO. I do not care to use the actual plays at this point.) This will
probably be at snack time. Nothing like "tea time" and a short story! ;)
Grammar/Spelling/ Copywork (Daily work - 10 min. lessons)
Y1 Daily copywork - very simple word lists basically at this point.
Y4 Mary will listen to one chapter per week of Grammar Land and will complete the spelling Y4 from Rod and Staff. Weekly copy work poem as mentioned above. Mary will be beginning dictation this year slowly.
Y7 The girls will complete spelling Y7 from Rod and Staff. They will also do one or two days of grammar lessons from Rod and Staff. One day per week, they will have a poem for copy work and study it for dictation later in the week.
Math (30 minutes per day)
Y1 Lydia will continue working on Saxon 1 which we started in K. We are working very slowly and using other workbooks and games to reinforce as we go along. I have some Saxon 2 pages that we may use to bridge between Saxon 1 and Rod and Staff 3.
Y4 Mary will finish Rod and Staff 4 and begin Rod and Staff 5 at her own pace. I don't rush math. We just work slow, steady and consistently.
Y7 Hannah and Sarah will be finishing Saxon 76 and then will begin Saxon 87. Again, I don't worry if we aren't finished with a book by the end of the year. I like them to work at their own pace and master the concepts before we go on.
Foreign Language (20-30 minutes daily)
Y1 Lydia has her own Spanish workbook for next year. She will also do many vocabulary games/flash cards with us as we continue to learn together. We love the Salsa videos so we will be watching one per week again this year!
Y4 Mary also has her own Spanish workbook to work from. She will do many of the games/flash cards with Mary as well as Salsa.
Y7 The biggest difference will be for the big girls to try a more formal approach with the middle school level spanish books I bought. We will see how it goes. I am still praying for a native/fluent speaker to help us with this. Also the big girls will be completing Vocabulary Bridges (Latin and Greek Roots) from Trivium Pursuit. I was able to get this download for free.
Picture Study/ Artist and Composer/Music (30 min weekly)
ALL - We have loved picture study for the last several years doing AO, but I really wanted something more this year. We will still have a main artist for the term whose work will be displayed and discussed during the 2 weeks per term, but we will also use the book Discovering Great Artists to study about more than just 3 artists per year. Likely we will do artists around the same time period as the main artist. This is something we all do together as much as each one is able.
Similarly, I enjoy the composer study as well, but wish to do more. We love to listen to Classics4Kids for the composer for the term. I also have been teaching the girls to read music and play piano. This will continue and I plan to start teaching harmony singing for voice.
Other school related activities are handicrafts (sewing, plastic canvas, etc.), typing, free reading, and home economics.
This will keep us very busy in the weeks to come! We are looking forward to a great year!
With All My Heart~