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The Overdue 14/15 Curriculum Post


This post is long overdue.  I started it and restarted it so many times; not because I changed my mind but because I couldn't find enough time to write a coherent post.

It's amazing the difference a year can make.  Last year I had everything laid out by mid-July.  Our schedule, coursework; everything was meticulous prepped.  This year it's August, October, December, January, and I'm just now laying it out in writing.  Of course, last year I felt like I planned well but didn't have the best execution.  Maybe this year my execution will blow me away... or at least the half of the school year that's left  :-)

So let's get to the nitty gritty.  But first, a quick disclaimer:
This is what works for us, but every family is different.  Results may vary.

Our Core Montessori

We are working our way through the Keys of the World Primary album set.  I'll talk more about this decision in regards to my elementary aged child in a subsequent post.  My goal with her is to fly through it as fast as possible and be firmly into Keys of the Universe Elementary sooner than later.  There are some very specific reasons for this that I doubt myself on daily.  But there's still a good chance she'll move to Keys of the Universe before the year is out.

My 5-year-old is on the quick path as well.  The only difference is that once I determine where his mastery ends, we'll slow down and return to a normal pace.

My littlest recently turned 3.  Dear time, please stop.  I still haven't accepted that he's out of toddler.  For the most part, he's still along for the ride.  I let him pick what he wants as long as he's respectful with the materials.  The older two generally jump in to give him lessons.  He has picked up so much simply by being around our Montessori class since birth.  I'll start formally tracking his progress in a few months once I have the older two adjusted.  I'm amazed at what he knows already, so I don't feel bad about putting him low on the priority list.

Classical Conversations
This will be our second year in a Classical Conversations community.  In fact, we're already more than halfway through Cycle 3.  We are certainly not the consummate CC family.  Yes, we review our weekly memory work, and it tends to stick.  At the same time, I tend to use our topics as jumping off points, especially in the areas of geography, science, and history.  I'll expect more as they get older and can read proficiently.  For now, it's fun for all of us.  My children are thriving in the environment it provides.

Exploring Science
Real science doesn't typically begin until the elementary level in Montessori, but I can't help myself.  I had hoped to employ our Apologia related books.  So far, that hasn't happened, and that's okay.  Our first semester was spent studying anatomy, and our second will be chemistry.  I have pulled related resources from various Montessori-based printable suppliers, such as Montessori Print Shop, Montessori Helper, and Montessori for Everyone.  I will probably post the specific related resources at some point, but feel free to drop me a message if you'd like to know ASAP.  

Logic and Computer Skills
As a STEM enthusiast, computer and logic skills are important to our family.  I realize that technology is generally frowned upon in Montessori communities.  My husband and I are the rare birds that were raised on technology 30+ years ago, so I have my own opinions.  At the same time, I fully respect the choices that each family makes.  In our case, coding logic (i.e. computer programming) is an important skill we intend to teach early.  The older two are working on an app called Light Bot.  I'm hoping that Elora will graduate to Scratch sooner than later.  Elora has started a keyboarding program as well.  We are using Keyboarding Without Tears.  She doesn't love it, but she'll do it.  I started her on the Kindergarten level even though she's technically 1st grade.  That may be part of the issue, but I was concerned about starting midway through the program and missing the early finger placement practice.

Physical Education
I'm amazed at how critical physical activity is to improving focus for my boys.  We have a gross motor area for the basic energy burn.  However, I wanted to employ something directed before we officially start our classroom time.  It can make or break us.

I recently purchased the Kid's Fit Deck.  It's so simple to use.  Keep drawing cards until the time is up.  We are also using The Yoga Kit for Kids.  It has simple yoga poses the kids can imitate.  Apparently I equate physical activity with cards.

Once the weather is nice, I'd like to try morning walks.  But that requires making myself presentable, and I'm not sure if I can commit to that.  I'll probably aim for 2 days a week for starters.

Creative School Enrichment

Reading Eggs
Again, for many families, Montessori and technology don't mix, so here is where I part ways a bit.  In the past 6 months, I discovered that Elora is a visual spacial learner (VSL).  Hence part of the reason why reading was a challenge for us.  VSLs generally grasp language exceptionally well but essentially lack the patience to process reading.  Okay, it's more complicated than that, but I'll post more about it at some other point.  I decided to try a visually interactive way to explore reading.  After testing at least 10 options, I allowed her to trial Reading Eggs.  To say it has been successful for her would be an understatement.  Best of all, she is keeping her intense love of books and reading.  It's exceptionally easy to rob the joy of reading from a VSL.  I'm as VSL myself and could write a novel on that topic.  So far, so good for her.  

Art 4 Montessori
I love the Art 4 Montessori program.  It's so comprehensive and easy to attain even for a non-artistic type like myself.  We'll continue with Book 1: Sharing Art with Children in the Montessori Way:  An Introduction to Materials.

Music for Little Mozarts
I've been toying with this one forever.  I couldn't figure out how to best work through the set of workbooks I had.  And then I realized I was missing the Teacher's Guide.  *sigh*  I received it late last year.  Now it makes sense!  We're starting next month.

Grapevine Studies
I have gone back and forth more times than I can count on how to approach Bible Study.  If I had an unlimited budget and time, I would have a lovely Godly Play space.  At present, I don't have the energy to devote to it.  We have decided to trial Grapevine Studies.  We start next week.  We'll see how it goes.  We also need to pick up our family study of Our 24 Family Ways.

So there's the long and short of it.  On the activities side, both Elora and William have been in karate since July.  They are both in scouting programs as well.  Elora is in American Heritage Girls and William is in Trail Life.  It's been a good mix for us.  Elora also started art lessons last week; which is something she's been begging for.  The older two have also expressed an interest in learning violin.  I hope to eventually find someone who can come to our home for weekly lessons.  But at present, it isn't a financial possibility, so we'll keep working on our music theory studies.
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