Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy Beaz Academy: Grand Opening

*Note: this post is very long, and my 5th for the day, so make sure you keep going to get all of the recent posts. I've been busy trying to catch up!

Now, we are proud to announce the Grand Opening of the Busy Beaz Academy!
We will be starting our inaguaral semester on Monday, August 17th.
This is a decision that we did not come to lightly. We have been in constant discussion and prayer for nearly six months now. Bug & Lil' C both had excellent teachers who tried very hard with them last year. However, there were just so many things that didn't go well, that we started discussing the option of homeschooling. We even asked the kids what they thought. As a family, we finally came to the conclusion that teaching our children at home would be the best option.
I've spent several months finding just the right curriculum. I researched to find the teaching and learning styles that would work best for each of us, and got on many homeschool message boards to ask around, not sure if I could find one curriculum that would fit our Charlotte Mason, Classical & Unit Studies interest. (If you want to know more about these teaching/learning approaches, just do a search & you will find plenty of info!) Amazingly enough, about 90% of fellow homeschoolers recommended Heart of Dakota, which I had never heard of. I finally decided this was the perfect fit for us. Almost. I'm substituting the recommended math program, and supplementing the english program. Here is the bulk of our curriculum:
Here is the math program we will be using, Saxon Math. Heart of Dakota (HOD) recommends Singapore Math, but after doing the placement tests for several different programs, we felt this would be the best for us. Mommy isn't so good with math & this is totally scripted for me. You may be wondering why we have Math 2 & 3 instead of 2 & 4. Despite being quite good at math, Bug just didn't learn multiplication all that well, so we decided to drop back to Math 3 to make sure he really learns that before we move on to division. Don't worry though, most of this will be review for him (and some for Lil' C!), so we will probably do more than one lesson a day & be caught up before next year.
Here are our science books. True to Charlotte Mason teaching, HOD follows the belief that children will learn more from "living" books than textbooks. Textbooks are often written by a committee of people with a political agenda, while living books are usually written by one (sometimes more) person with a passion for the subject. This in turn makes the reader more interested in the subject.
This is the HOD teacher's manual. As you can see, we will be using the "Bigger Hearts for His Glory" program. It works for 7-9 year olds, with extensions for older children. We will be using a few of the extensions with Bug, but otherwise they will be studying everything except math together. This is a life saver for me! All the lessons are laid out in a two-page daily format. No more lesson planning!!
These are the history & geography books. In case you hadn't guessed from the science books, we will be studying American History from 1500-1970. The entire program revolves around the history teachings. When we learn about Columbus, we will also learn about the seashore in science, maps in geography, persistance in Bible study, and related art projects. Thanks to our trip to the Wright Brothers museum, I have an additional 2 books we will be using when we reach that unit.
Here are our music & Bible study books:
This book belongs to me. We've had it a few years, can you tell? LOL I will be using this as our preschool curriculum. Each week we read a book (at least once a day), and do one or more coordinating activities every day. It's the same concept as Five in A Row, but much, much cheaper.
I ordered this Spanish book a few months ago, but am not real sure how I'm going to help them since I don't know the pronounciations. However, just this week, I found a FREE online Spanish course that sounds everything out for you. I can't find the link right now, sorry. Just let me know if you want me to find it for you! So I will be adding that in as well.
Here is our handwriting book. It's beginning Italic cursive, which is easy and looks legible! LOL
This is "Drawn Into the Heart of Reading" which can also be found on the HOD website. It is a multi-level reading program, that helps students explore the 9 genres. Bug will be doing this in full. Depending on how quickly she moves through the Emerging Reader books, Lil' C may use this in an extended version.
These are our Language Arts books. HOD recommends the Rod & Staff "Preparing to Build" book. I wasn't so sure, so I found this other program from Advanced Training Institute. It was expensive, and I was kind of disappointed when it arrived. It has good material & activities, but is really scattered, so I ended up ordering the R&S book as well. We will use both because I love English. Weird, I know.
The kids will also be using several on-line learning sites that we like, including our favorite: Spelling City. We are also making File Folder Games (again just do a search) for fun review. For Christmas, each child recieved a recorder, and if we can find the accompanying books, we will use those as well. We'd really like to get the kids proper music lessons in piano & guitar, but don't really know how much that might cost.
As for activities outside the house, Bug is in football and Lil' C is in cheerleading again. This occupies about 15 hours of our time every week. We will also be joining our local homeschool group when they start up again in September. There are about 30 families who currently belong, so I'm sure the children will have plenty of other kids to play with. I know some of you worry about this, but there's really no need to. We aren't going to "move to a cave, start collecting lint, and only come out on Triple Coupon Thursdays"! (quote by Dave Ramsey)
We are also going to be implementing Sue Patrick's Workbox System for organization. I will write more about that when I get it all set up.
I will do periodic updates of how school is going, so don't forget to check back!

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