Friday, August 29, 2014

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


This post contains affiliate links.  


Our very first row!  I mentioned in our 2014 curriculum post that one of the reasons I chose Five in a Row was because it would allow us to explore topics based on current interests.  So with that in mind, I chose Truman's Aunt Farm to kick off Emory's Kindergarten year!  He hasn't stopped talking about his Aunt in months, and I knew he'd adore activities that related to her!

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row

Truman's Aunt Farm is about a little boy who receives the gift of an ant farm from his aunt. The problem is that when he sends in for his ants, he receives a lot of aunts instead! What is Truman to do with all these aunts!?

We actually did this row over two weeks, spending just a few days each week on school as we get back into the swing of things.  There were other days we just did regular reading and played board games for math!  We didn't necessarily do one subject per day when we rowed, as we mixed and matched since some lessons were conversational, but I'm grouping the activities by subject.


Language Arts

Narration
I asked Elliott to tell me about the book after the first reading.  It left a little to be desired, but we haven't practiced narration in a while.  However, I did hear him making up a song when the boys were goofing off and it included an aunt that could do back flips with her eyes closed, and they were also talking about ants vs. aunts during their tickle fest!

Homophones
Emory understood the ant/aunt word play, but this lesson was definitely for Elliott.  We discussed homophones (as opposed to how the FIAR manual described them as homonyms) and then did a quick homophones worksheet.  He was also able to give Daddy a very good definition of homophones later in the week.

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Writing a Friendly Letter
The boys each wrote a letter to one of their aunts since Truman and his Aunt wrote back and forth.  This tickled Emory!  I used a simple friendly letter template since we haven't really written a lot of letters.  He made me find out her favorite color so he could draw a picture with it, hence the amount of blue!

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row



Writing Prompt
Since we were writing letters and talking about stamps during the week, I used this cute writing prompt "If I were going to design a new stamp I would make it look this this because . . ."  I found it in the Creative Writing Prompts (May) at 123 Homeschool for Me.  We looked at images of stamps online and then the boys designed their own.  They went the character route!  My goal for adding these writing prompts are to encourage Elliott to write more than one or two sentences at a time.  We will obviously be building up to that.  Handwriting is on my radar too.

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Emory created a Skylander.

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Copywork
Elliott's copywork came from the Truman Aunt's Farm activities at Homeschool Share.  Emory had a very simple Ants Worksheet which was basically a coloring page with the word Ants in traceable font.  We talked about each letter and practiced tracing them.  He colored a glow in the dark ant and a Knight ant.  I thought he meant "night" at first, obviously, since the other one glows in the dark.  However, I was corrected when he later drew swords for his Knight ant.  When we realized what he meant, Elliott immediately recognized that these were homophones!

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row



Social Studies

Relationships - Aunts
In addition to the discussion in the manual, the boys named and counted all of their aunts.  This naturally led to discussions about cousins as well.

Geography 
We looked at our U.S. map and pointed out where each aunt lives.  All of the aunts on Daddy's side live in our state or border states, while the aunts on Mommy's side live much further away in Georgia, so we placed our story disk on GA!

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Mathematics

Counting Change
We talked about the price of stamps and counted out different ways to equal $0.49!  Elliott quickly pointed out to Emory that counting by 10's was the easiest way to count out 49 pennies.  I was reminded to put all of the coins back through the mouth of the jar and not to recount them, as they use an electronic counting jar and want it to be accurate for the next bank trip.  ;-)

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row



Science

Nature Study - Ants
One day we watched The Magic School Bus Gets Ants in its Pants.  Emory really enjoyed this.  His favorite facts were that ants smell with their antennae and that "baby ants" look like worms!  I will probably add more episodes to our science as they match up.  We generally do educational videos like this during afternoon snacks or when we need some quiet time.




I am not going to lie.  I didn't want an ant farm.  We tend to believe nature belongs in nature as much as possible.  So we had a little fun and attracted some ants with a plate of food.  The boys crumbled a few cheerios and an animal cracker, put a little lettuce, bread crust and some banana on a paper plate.  We went to the shade of the apple trees and they used a {rotten} apple to make sure the plate didn't blow away, and because they've seen windblown apples with ants on them before anyway.

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row








Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a RowThe kids played around for awhile and only saw a few ants, so we went inside for a snack and returned later to find a lot of ants!  There was one large ant roaming, and several tiny ones.  We talked about foragers, and I asked them to pay attention to which food the ants seemed to prefer.

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row

The large one liked the banana, while the rest seemed to prefer the animal crackers.  There was very little activity on the other food.  Elliott said because the banana was "sweet and healthy" and he didn't know why they liked the animal crackers because he didn't like those kind!

Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row

Oh, Emory saved some of his string cheese from his snack to take back out to the plate.  It was popular with the ants too.
Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row




Food Stuff
The kids had "little hot dogs" like the aunts in the story for lunch one day, except we were out of buns.  They didn't care.  I'm not a hot dog fan, so I had a sandwich.  We also made the traditional ants on a log.  Of course, after Elliott got excited about ants on a log I realized I didn't have plain raisins and had to raid the trail mix!  I probably could have planned this one better!


Truman's Aunt Farm with Five in a Row


Book Basket Titles (with tie-in theme)
Ant Cities by Arthur Dorros (Science-Ants)
Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Collection of Family Poems by Mary Ann Hoberman (family)
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant (extended family)
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish (word play)
Berenstains' A Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain (letter "A" and Ants)


Next Up:  Elliott has asked to study Japan, so we're looking for A Pair of Red Clogs and/or Grandfather's Journey next.  We had a lot of fun with our first row, and I look forward to sharing more with you!!


This post is linked up to the Five in a Row Blog Roll and Link-UpMy Week in Review and Weekly Wrap-Up!



©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Essential Skills Advantage {Schoolhouse Review}

Every involved parent, homeschooling or not, understands the importance of literacy, and likely wants to assure their child is a skilled and competent reader.  When given the opportunity to review Essential Skills Advantage, I knew it would be worth looking into for the boys.  Essential Skills Advantage (ESA) is an online reading and language program for K-6 students, so I knew it would have differentiated material suitable for both of their needs.

Essential Skills Advantage Review



I was given a full year access to the complete online program.  It includes courses in Reading, Spelling, Comprehension, Vocabulary and Grammar, so you can target any or all areas of language arts!  Each student can log in to any unit with their own username and password.  This means that students can work up or down according to their individual needs and abilities, and we aren't relegated just to one grade level.  The units are designed to build gradually and sequentially, but it is also possible to skip around, so again, you're not locked into a specific way of doing things.  The flexibility of this program is a huge bonus for me!


Essential Skills Advantage review



Kindergarten
Emory just turned five during the review period, so he hasn't really had a lot of formal reading lessons yet. He wanted to start Kindergarten this year though, so I've been looking for interesting and engaging activities that will meet both his desire to learn and his developmental needs.  I looked through the Activity Guide for Kindergarten and knew it would still have a lot of content to offer Pre-K and young Kindergarten students during the early stages of reading!  Here's a breakdown of the Kindergarten curriculum.

Essential Skills Advantage review


Readiness Skills - 4 Units (79 activities)
Phonics -3 Units (70 activities)
Sight Words - 2 Units (83 activities)
Stories - 1 unit (63 activities)

As you can see, that's 295 activities for my kiddo to explore!  According to the Guide, it is a complete and comprehensive Language Arts program for pre-reading and readiness skills to successfully take students through the end of Kindergarten.


Essential Skills Advantage review



We have started at the beginning in Readiness Skills.  It covers Picture Vocabulary, Visual Skills, Auditory Skills and Basic Concepts (biggest/smallest, opposites, etc).  I really feel like these units are a great place for beginners to build confidence and learn to use the program.

Essential Skills Advantage review



Second Grade
Elliott is my math whiz, but doesn't particularly care about reading.  He will do it, but not voluntarily or with enthusiasm, so I like using a variety of curricula for him, to keep him engaged.  The Complete Reading for Grade 2 program has a variety of language arts activities needed for mastery through the end of second grade.

Essential Skills Advantage review


Phonics - 9 Units (554 Activities)
Sight Words - 5 Units (579 Activities)
Language and Grammar - 1 Unit (61 Activities)
Language - 1 Unit (9 Activities)
Reading - 6 Units (396 Activities)

That is a LOT of activities to explore!  We've been skipping around the different units, working on different concepts.  It's been a good end-of-summer review to get us back into the swing of things.  This is where we started in Phonics - Short Vowels.  The stars represent how well he performed, and obviously the goal is to get three stars.  This is a great little reinforcement for kids who really like to see their progress.  You can also click that gold star in the blue circle on the right, and it will show you a graph of all the stars, which is an another awesome visual!

Essential Skills Advantage review



The activities vary greatly, and some things you might find are word searches, missing letters, scrambled  letters and concentration, just to name a few.  There are a lot of activities to build visual and auditory memory skills, as well as standard spelling and reading comprehension activities.  This curriculum goes broad to cover different skills, but it appears to go deep too!


Essential Skills Advantage review


Parent Portal
When I am in the parent portal, I can see all of the units for each grade level, or look at each of the boys' accounts.  Looking at their individual accounts shows which program (reading Grade 2, Spelling, etc) they have been working in and the percentage completed.  You can "view marks" to see which specific unit they have worked on, as well as their number of attempts, their scores, and even how long it took them to complete it.  I always sit and work directly with Emory, and I am at least in the same room as Elliott, so I am pretty aware of what they are doing, but if you allow your children to work independently, this would be a great way to check their progress and look for any weak areas.  I just wish you could directly print the reports, because they would be nice for our portfolios.  One thing you can print, however, are certificates!  When a unit is completed, you can print a certificate for them.  If your student is motivated by these types of awards, this is a great incentive to encourage them to complete their units!


Final Thoughts
I think this is a nice supplement to any language arts program.  I really like that you can access the different levels for creating a unique reading plan based on your own child's abilities!  The program is user friendly for both parents and kids.  The graphics are a little cheesy and a little outdated looking; if you look back at the Kindergarten animal matching screen shot, you'll see some silly looking cartoon animals.  I would have preferred more realistic pictures over the generic clip art.  There are also little sound effects for right and wrong answers, but they aren't overwhelming.  Now, there is an ongoing cricket sound in the background at ALL times, and perhaps it is supposed to be soothing, but it can get tiresome after the kids are on the program for awhile.

Both of the boys were willing to do a few activities in one session before asking to move on.  They never really asked for the program, but they never complained either, and that's saying something that two very different little personalities were willing to use it for me!  I think it's a fun and comprehensive program that can be used for practice and reinforcement, and hopefully build confidence for all types of learners.

Essential Skills Advantage currently has two versions.    There is a new sponsored version that is a completely free reading program, though the parent area is different than the premium version.  However, this is probably a good way to find out how your kids will respond to the the program before you subscribe.  I reviewed the Premium Plan, which offers the student tracking, printable certificates and other features, and is usually $9.99/month, but here is an awesome coupon code for you!  If yous sign up for the premium plan before October 1st and use the code TOS50 you will receive 50% off the monthly subscription, making it only $4.99 per month for each student for as long as you subscribe!



You can read more reviews from the crew or find Essential Skills Advantage online for more information!

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©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Friday, August 22, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ 8/22 ~ A lot of BIG news!

1.  We've had a busy week.  We had our official first day of school.  It went more smoothly than I anticipated.  ;-)

2.  Our Emory celebrated his 5th birthday recently.  We had water balloons and other outdoor water fun at his request!  I can't believe how big my little man is getting!  He's so full of energy and giggles, and he's handsome at that!  I love this little boy so very much!




3.  I have been in the mood to cook again.  I made the chicken bruschetta that the Husband loves.  It's a great summer recipe for those fresh tomatoes.  It's also quick and easy, which I love.  I also tried out some new potato and corn chowder recipes, which feel more like winter recipes, but I'm looking to add some new favorites to our repertoire.  We need more variety!


4.  So the kids know how to work their mawmaw and pawpaw.  Every time we visit, they come out with some type of snack.





5.  Oh, and the other BIG news for the week!?  Believe it or not, Eleanor called it!  Baby #4 is going to be a . . .






The Pebble Pond




©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day of School 2014

We don't exactly follow the public school calendar, we just go with the flow.  We sometimes take breaks when kids are in school and we sometimes school when they are on break.  We also do educational activities on and off all summer, though I had too much of the first trimester blahs for us to do enough to be considered year-round.  So we had an official First Day to help us ease back into things.  This year we have a 2nd grader (grade levels are required on the NOI, so we have to declare one every year anyway) and an unofficial Kindergartner!

Our First Day isn't anything spectacular, just more to recognize the fact that we're transitioning back into a bit more structure and routine.  We actually take a vacation in September, so August is usually still pretty slow for us, but it's more intentional once we have our First Day.

All we did this year was take a few pictures, complete a First Day Interview, work on an upcoming review and together we did a few short lessons from our first row.  (We're trying out Five in a Row, if you missed our curriculum post.)


If you know our Emory, you know the title of that book pretty much sums this kid up!


Interview Highlights

Elliott - 2nd Grade
His favorite color is still red, he wants to work in a LEGO store when he grows up, his favorite thing about himself is that he's the oldest kid, and he wants to do geography this year.


Emory - Kindergarten
When he grows up he wants to be a ninja turtle, something he really likes is eating, and something he really doesn't like is green peppers.  When asked what his favorite thing about himself he laughed:  "I don't know what my favorite thing about myself is, because I am myself!"

Reminds me of the Dr. Seuss quote "Today you are you!  That is truer than true!  There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"



You can read more First Day posts on Be the One.  First Day signs are from One Sweet Party and First Day Interviews are from Positively Splendid.   




©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Leftover Fruit - Smoothies and Smoothie Pops

We go through a lot of fruit in my house.  All of my kids love fruit, and it's one of those things that's always on the grocery list, even if we're not close to being out when we make said list.  They eat it all day every day.  If the refrigerator is open, the toddler always manages to slide in and ask for some type of berry!

Usually we buy more than enough to get us through the week, so by the time the next round comes in, there's that one really ripe banana, or just a few berries left in the container.  My favorite way to make sure these lonely pieces of fruit don't go to waste is to toss the last few pieces into the blender!

{Sometimes I freeze the fruit to use in the smoothies later, but you get the point.}

The combinations are always different, depending on what we have had in the house and what's leftover.  This week I used a peach, a banana and probably about five strawberries.  Add a splash of milk and a little yogurt.  Blend with ice.  As if you don't know how to make a smoothie.




The boys always love guessing what color the smoothie will be.



 If it's particularly thick, I'll add another dash of milk to Eleanor's so she can manage it in her straw.



These are a great healthy afternoon snack that all three of my kids love, and are particularly refreshing during the summer after playing outside!  My 5 year old is probably the most selective with fruit, but none of the kids have ever turned their nose up at any smoothie concoction that I've offered.  He never eats peaches, but devoured that peach smoothie.

After everyone gets their smoothie, I usually have a little smoothie mixture leftover, so I pour it into a popsicle mold and then they can have fruity "smoothie pops" the next day as another refreshing snack or for dessert!





 Delicious!




Linked up to Try a New Recipe Tuesday!


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com


Friday, August 8, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ August 8th

1.  Our baby bluebirds fledged a few days ago.  I realize this must be what empty nest syndrome is all about, because I'm a little sad they're gone!  It was definitely a fun nature study, but I never did remember to get any pictures.  Oh, and my kids are never allowed to move away.


2.  We have a birthday quickly approaching, and Emory will be FIVE years old.  He has requested to start Kindergarten because he wants to move up to the K/1 Sunday School and into Sparks.  After much deliberation, the husband and I have decided to honor his request.  Because he is so young, we will likely stretch his Kindergarten year at home into two years (he doesn't reach compulsory school age until next year) and let him take his time and enjoy it.

3.  We will also have our first "official" day of school soon.  I don't follow a specific calendar or anything, but we choose a Monday shortly after public school starts and declare that our First Day for a quick photo op and to declare a grade level--which only matters for a few outside activities that are based on grade rather than age.  I'm not sure what fun stuff we'll get into for our First Day, but I will certainly let you know!  (And if you missed it, here's our loose plans for Kindergarten and 2nd Grade)


4.  I went shopping on the Kohl's website the other night.  I saved 91.01% with sales and coupons.  Then with more back to school sales and coupons, I got the boys some jeans from Children's Place for $7.50 each today.  That's my kind of shopping!


5.  Lately our days have been full of list making for Elliott, LEGO building for Emory, crazy potato head creations for Eleanor and outdoor play for everyone!









The Pebble Pond






©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mathletics {Schoolhouse Review}

We're always looking for fun and engaging supplements for our homeschool, even for mathematics, which my oldest son enjoys.  Recently, we were given the opportunity to review Mathletics from 3P Learning.  Mathletics is an online math practice site for Kindergarten through high school.  We received a full year of access for two kids, so both boys got the opportunity to try this one out!


Mathletics review

Getting Started & The Parent Account
Within the Parent Account, you can choose each student's grade level, but also more specifically you can choose from various common core/state courses.  I'm not looking to align with common core, but for parents who want to for testing purposes, they can choose the one that most aligns with their needs.  I left Elliott (entering 2nd grade) in a 2nd grade course, but since Emory is not-quite-five years old yet, and has had little formal math instruction, I decided to choose Virginia Pre-K for him.  My account says that my home license allows me to change their course up to six times, which means I can always adjust him up later if necessary.

In my account, I can see each student's profile and progress, and also use the Task Manager.  The Task Manager allows you to assign specific tasks, and these would have to be completed first.  Since we've been on summer break, I haven't really utilized this feature, but I can still see the last score of activities that have been completed.  This is nice, because if I saw any low scores, I could determine if he needs more work in that area.  I'll probably use this feature more during the school year if I want Elliott to get more practice on specific concepts.


Workbooks
Another feature in the Parent Account are the Instant Workbooks for each grade level.  There are separate student and teacher books divided by content area.  I have been looking through the Series A (Kindergarten) and Series C (2nd grade) workbooks.  In Series A there are five primary content books, and in Series C there are seven books.  Each book (which cover topics like Numbers, Measurement, Space and Shape, etc) can be downloaded whole, or further divided into sub-topics so you can download and print just specific material that you need at the time.  We haven't used them yet, since we haven't started back into school full force, but I like what I've seen.


An example of two workbooks, to show how they are divided by content and sub-topic.  (Series A)
Mathletics review


The teacher books can also be downloaded in sections.  I can see the answer books being useful for higher levels, and the Assessments being good for pre-test/post-test type material or for portfolio fodder.

These workbooks would be great if your student needs more than just online practice, or if you need physical samples of the work your child is doing.  You can also access the workbooks for all grade levels, so if you need to go up or down a level for more practice, you can do that here with the workbooks.


Weekly Reports
In your Parent account, you have the choice to receive weekly reports by email.  I get separate weekly reports for both boys, which is great for record-keeping.  I do keep a portfolio for annual evaluation, so printing these reports periodically will be helpful.  The email is detailed, and starts with how many times the child logged in for the week and how many total minutes they spent.  It shows the activities they completed and the exact date they worked on it, the score for each activity, and how many points and gold bars they received.  If you need to keep a detailed record of your child's progress, or even occasional records for portfolios, these emails are perfect!


Student Accounts
Once they initially login to their account, they can create a personalized avatar.  As they play, they can earn points and gold bars for doing Activities, and enough points earns a certificate.  The scope of the activities obviously varies by grade/course level.  Just a few of the other options the student has are Live Mathletics, Problem Solving, and the interactive Rainforest Maths.

Kindergarten
Some of the topics Emory has covered through the Virginia Pre-K course and Level A Rainforest Maths include Counting, More or Less, positional words, shorter or longer, and subtraction.  I don't do formal math at his age, so I wanted him at an appropriate level to make sure he could work through it confidently.  We sit together, I read the instructions, and he plays!  This the perfect level for a rising Kindergartner, and he finds the graphics and activities fun and engaging.  He also loves getting the green check marks for correct answers; green is his favorite color after all!

Mathletics review


Second Grade
Elliott is working in 2nd grade, and some of the topics covered in his course are Model Numbers, Expanded Numbers, Place Value, Fact Families, Money, Fractions and so much more.  Since he's older and has more experience with formal mathematics, I went ahead and put him in the grade level that he's entering this year.  I'm nearby and available if he needs me, but he generally works independently.  So far, it has been mostly review and even topics that we haven't covered formally were easy enough for him to grasp once I explained the first problem.  It's just enough to challenge without frustrating him.  There is an option for "easier" or "harder" questions, but we haven't needed to try it yet.  He does like getting the whole set of questions correct in one try, so if he does miss one, he likes to repeat the section.  That's fine with me!

Mathletics review


There's an App for That
There are a few different apps available from the Mathletics team, and the student app that allows you to access your account and work offline is FREE.  It's available on both iOS and Android devices.  I haven't downloaded it yet, but will definitely get around to it.  The Mathsterious Mansion is listed as free for a limited time as well.

What do We Think?
We've tried a couple of different online math programs, and this has been everyone's favorite.  I think this makes an excellent supplement to nearly any math curriculum, and that's how we will continue to use it for Elliott.  Since I don't push formal curriculum in Kindergarten, this is more than enough for Emory this year!  However, between the online component and the printable workbooks, this could possibly be used as a complete curriculum for early levels.  (I don't have experience with the older material, so I cannot attest to the depth of its content.)  The online questions are adaptive and increase in difficulty as the child answers correctly, and material can be repeated with new questions for more practice.  There's also an option to choose easier or harder material.  With this flexibility, and the added range of the workbooks, it really is easy to work at the unique level of each individual child.


The Final Details
Purchase price is currently listed at $59/student for 12 months access, which is a competitive price for something that can potentially be used as complete curriculum.  You can find more information on the 3P's Mathletics informational page and sign up for a trial, explore Mathetlics website, or connect on Facebook and Twitter.



Also be sure to check out more Schoolhouse Review Crew Mathletics reviews to get even more opinions on this learning resource!




FTC disclosure



©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com


Saturday, August 2, 2014

K5 and 2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

As always, the following curriculum outline is subject to change, but this is my tentative plan for the 2014-2015 school year.  Emory is almost 5 and wants to start Kindergarten.  Elliott is in 2nd grade.


Some links in this post are affiliate links.  


Five in a Row

Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Art and (practical) Mathematics

Volumes 1 -3 by Jame Claire Lambert
The Five in a Row Cookbook by Becky Jane Lambert {This is digital, but I bought the physical version from Rainbow Resource.}

We're changing things up a bit this year by trying an almost-inclusive curriculum, especially one that is based on unit studies.  However, I wanted to find a more encompassing way to include Emory and keep our learning family-oriented, rather than separate them by grade level.  I needed something flexible, exploratory and literature based that would feel comfortable with our general homeschooling philosophy.  Five in a Row seems like it will meet my needs for being gentle enough for a five year old, but having enough material and opportunities to explore and rabbit trail for in-depth learning for a second grader.  Even though it's a curriculum, it is flexible enough that we can pick and choose units based on our interest, the seasons or other unique factors, rather than going in a specific order.

My current plan is to spend one week rowing, and one week off.  The weeks we row will be primarily Five in a Row, Reading and Math, and we will use the FIAR guide as a loose starting point for interest-led learning opportunities.  The weeks off we will focus on reading and math, and different activities from the "other" subjects, personal projects or whatever else we find ourselves getting into!

Resources to compliment Five in a Row
Children's World Atlas
Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World
Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton
The 50 States Jumbo-Sized Fact Cards
My First Book of Animals
Draw Write Now by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Bostford Comstock



Mathematics 
Math U See Beta - Elliott, 2nd Grade
Mathletics - Elliott 2nd Grade, Emory PreK/K (my review)
Life of Fred - We'll read together; Emory can just follow the story once the math exceeds his abilities
Family Math for Young Children: Comparing and Family Math (Equals Series) together to enhance other activities



Reading & Language Arts
Language Lessons for Little Ones by Sandi Queen {Found free at curriculum swap; I intended to try some of the narration, poetry and picture studies}
Spelling You See - finishing up the review we set aside
Essential Skills Advantage - Both boys will probably use this occasionally (my review)
Starfall & other game websites - Emory
Scheduled Reading - Elliott will also be asked to read aloud for practice and fluency.




Other
Bible - no specific curriculum
Literature - Poetry and quality chapter books
History - I am considering Story of the World Volume 1 Audio CDs for the car
Science - Nature Study and various experiment books
Art - ARTistic Pursuits; we have lessons in both Book 1 and Book 2 that we haven't finished
Music - I want to add in some more Maestro Classics, since we enjoyed the two we reviewed.
Character - We Choose Virtues (review) as it ties into Five in a Row
Spanish - Various resources
Handicrafts - various activities
AWANA - Weekly
Gymnastics - Elliott has a Boys and Homeschool class; Emory is in the Homeschool class
Co-Op - FIAR, Gym, World Cultures and a LEGO class scheduled for this school year



It looks like a lot now that I have it all typed out.  I tend to over plan in the beginning, and then pare down as necessary.  I'm sure halfway through the year I'll update with how things are going!



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