There are plenty of things you can do to get a jump on next year. This will be especially helpful if you have multiple kids. The proliferation of “do this with me” in the syllabus has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. You don’t have to do all of this, because doing ANY of it will help you later.
- Make sure you understand how Sound Beginnings works. This is your WHOLE Language Arts program and it is NO JOKE. Pretend to teach the first four to six weeks in your head and see if you know what you’d be doing. If not, email me and we can talk. Also, since it’s built on a five day schedule, but MODG only does 4 days a week, the assignments don’t feel consistent. And, the spelling dictation is supposed to go across two or more days, but they’re often back to back. If you HATE that and want to use my personal Sound Beginnings Rework. Feel free. Enter at your own risk. Also, you will need either a primary lined WIPE BOARD or composition book for Sound Beginnings. There’s a lot of writing!
- Print out my MEMORY BOOK, especially if you are a multi-kid homeschool. Do it during circle time. We go in reverse order of age.
- Also, pass an eye over all the crafts and science experiments for the year and figure out where they would fall. Order your crafts and gather the “get ahead” supplies on the science list. If you intend to substitute any crafts or experiments, make plans now so it doesn’t get skipped entirely.
- Order your blank books. If you don’t need a bunch of other stuff from Emmanuel, Barebooks.com is the best pricing. I get the “kits” that have a plastic cover and line guide. See THIS post to figure out how many books you need and what sizes
- Go ahead and cut out your art cards. I have an attractive, cheap way to store them HERE.
- Get a crochet kit. The syllabus says that any crochet instruction will do. We use the DVD Art of Crochet: 4 Kids, starring cute little boy, Ryan Anderson as the teacher. You will also need a ball of yarn and a needle (J size works for us.)
- The recommended book for the recorder is out of print; it’s super annoying anyway. We use Nine-Note Recorder Method.
- The Klutz tissue paper flower craft is out of print. Alex Toys has a kit for giant tissue flowers that will last you through several kids. It makes 36 flowers.
- For the Music Masters Series, there are exactly 8 that are not used in 3GRD-5GRD, and conveniently, that’s the exact number you need for this year. They are: Beethoven, Chopin, Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann and Grieg, and Wagner. Order the whole set (Adoremus Books $58) and you’re covered for all 3 yrs.
- If you intend to use the exact history books in the lesson plans for weeks 20-31, check your library or purchase the following in addition to those on the required list: Pocahontas (D’Aulaire), Thomas Jefferson (Meet Famous Americans Series), Childhood of Famous Americans Series: Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone these are intended to be read by the child, if he can, or by you during the “Read from the booklists” time, if they’re out of reach.
- Print out my 2014-2015 liturgical calendar schedule and adjust it for your tentative yearly schedule. This will help you see what saints resources you need. Here are a few Tables of Contents by Date. We have a static list that we use every year.
- Tear out your math and make your copies for music, Science and Living Things etc.
- Buy Math-It USED. It’s too expensive new, for what it is. OR, at rainbow resource, you can get an “extra student set” of the boards and the guide book for about half what you’ll pay for the whole system. The syllabus only has you use it weekly, but you need to do it or another math facts drill at least 5 minutes a DAY.
THINGS THAT AREN’T ALWAYS IN THE LESSON PLANS
Sad to say, the knee-hugger grades aren’t as fleshed out in math and language arts as most parents expect. Some moms handle that just fine, but many of us FREAK SMOOTH OUT. Or worse, we follow the directs to a “t” for three years and wonder why our kids aren’t reading on grade level or why those stupid Abeka worksheets take SO LONG! This makes for LOTS of work in later years if you have a pile of kids. Lots of reading aloud. Lots of hand-holding in math. YIKES.
- Sight Words: See this post about what sight words were not in 100EZ. Sight words are in the Language Arts Scope and Sequence, but not in the assignments. MODG consultant recommendations limit this to 5 minutes a day.
- Read Alone instructions for 2nd. The online syllabus says 30 minutes, DAILY, not just on Fridays like the printed syllabus. Your supplementary history reading texts are intended for this starting at week 20; we find them too hard still. But before then, it’s up to you to choose resources. There is a list in the back of 100EZ of what to read next along with the words that would need to be taught first. Also, there’s an easy reader list in the back of the syllabus for 2GRD and 1GRD. If the history books from week 20 on are too hard (which they have been for us), put them in read aloud time and continue to schedule your own read alone resources. I often use THIS LIST is what I use to get them up to speed. Alternatively, you can buy one of the $7 Sonlight reader guides that schedules out their practice reading and provides comprehension questions and mapping.
- Read Aloud instructions for 2nd, CIRCLE TIME if you have multi-kid homeschool going. It’s not listed in the syllabus beyond the first week, but it’s supposed to be there 30 minutes a day from the booklists in the back. We make that a few times a week and it’s WITH the other kids. A typical session has a few liturgical or saints picture books from our static family list, especially if someone has a retelling this week, any assigned Bible stories from Knecht (3rd) or Schuster (4th) or Golden Children’s Bible (K), a reading from someone’s supplementary history, and possibly a fiction of living science book chapter. (To see how long many classic fiction books take at 15-20 minutes a day, see my metered list. Starting Week 20, you will be doing the 2nd grader’s supplementary history this way, if he can’t read it alone. Also, the printed syllabus makes it seem like you read a long chapter book in one day. Don’t. 15-20 minutes a day is fine and the order doesn’t really matter. We actually find that with all the other reading aloud, we don’t have time to do all of those longer books, so we do the DYOCC recommended Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans. ACTUAL SESSION EXAMPLES HERE.
- Math Facts Practice. We have Math-It once a week, but your child will need MUCH MORE practice. If you use the Saxon option, you don’t have to add this; it’s already there. But, if you use the Abeka workbook alone, it’s not. The “Speed Drills” seem to be for gaining speed on “already known” facts. Get the instruction manual for Abeka2 Arithmetic if you want it scheduled for you. MODG consultant recommendations is 5 minutes a day, so I just cherry pick form the Abeka manual what I think they need. There’s SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM. Also, you need to check out this post for what Abeka thinks you did last year.
- Nature Walks or Field Trips. It’s part of science AND language arts, in addition to the experiments. It’s expected that the child will do these during the year. I have no idea how often it’s supposed to be. Weekly? Monthly? You decide. See last year’s notes about easy nature walks.
- Reading Comprehension #3-7 on the Language Arts Scope: These are things that can be covered in book discussions, but it would probably be best for you to print them out and have on hand to remind you what to mention. I would think that during your read aloud sessions, you could periodically go over these things. However, if you’re child doesn’t learn to “predict events” or “distinguish between possible and impossible situations” this year, it’s not the main focus. The main focus is building stamina and ability in COPYING. Keep that in mind with all of the dictation and stuff starting Week 18 in Sound Beginnings. Copy, copy, copy.
- Study Skills section on the Language Arts Scope: Alphabetizing and title, author, illustrator. You need to do this yourself. Again, I don’t really fuss with alphabetizing until next year.
- Start a CRATE SYSTEM: a walmart crate, 32 hanging file folders with tabs, printer paper, index cards.
- Put 32 folders in the crate and number the tabs 1-32.
- Tear out/copy/print out all of your worksheets, tests, and whatnot.
- Drop in any weekly flashcards or music masters CD’s.