Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Curriculum

This is a listing of all the curriculum we've used over time. It helps me to see the progression. This does not list all the resources and "extras", only the stuff I count as main curriculum choices.

You can find an extensive list of curriculum and resources we planned for kindergarten here.

Language Arts - Spelling
All About Spelling 1 (? - June 2014)
All About Spelling 2 (June 2014 - September 2014)

Language Arts - Handwriting
StartWrite - (? - current)
New American Cursive (November 2014 - current)

Language Arts - Grammar and Writing
Michael Clay Thompson Level 1 (Island) (September 2014 - current)
BraveWriter Jot It Down (not yet started)

Math
RightStart A (? - May 2014)
RightStart B (May 2014 - current)

Science
Magic School Bus retail kits (prior to May 2014)
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding K-2 (June 2014 - current)

History
Prehistory (May 2014 - February 2015)

Spanish
Risas y Sonrisas (July 2014 - November 2014)
Song School Spanish (November 2014 - February 2015)

Fine Arts
Artistic Pursuits preschool level (May 2014 - current)
Story of the Orchestra (June 2014 - current)

Other
Keyboarding Without Tears K (September 2014 - present)

Monday, February 16, 2015

BFSU: Foundational Units

These three mini-units can be done in any order. Keep them simple. They are meant to help lay a foundation for later concepts, so they must be understood, but they will be reinforced repeatedly as you progress through the program.

Introduction to Gravity
Resources: Magic School Bus episode (was a good example of gravity having an effect on weight)

Lesson 1: BFSU D-1: Gravity I: The Earth's Gravity. Horizontal and Vertical. Part 1
Lesson 2: BFSU D-1: Gravity I: The Earth's Gravity. Horizontal and Vertical. Part 2
Lesson 3: BFSU D-1: Gravity I: The Earth's Gravity. Horizontal and Vertical. Part 3
Lesson 4: Magic School Bus Gains Weight


Introduction to Energy
Resources: Magic School Bus episode (just for fun)

Lesson 1: BFSU C-1: Concepts of Energy I: Making Things Go, part 1
Lesson 2: BFSU C-1: Concepts of Energy I: Making Things Go, part 2
Lesson 3: BFSU C-1: Concepts of Energy I: Making Things Go, part 3
Lesson 4: Magic School Bus episode: Getting Energized


Introduction to Living Things
Resources: None. I did use the Science in a Nutshell kit: Is It Alive? for this, but can not recommend it for several reasons. I recommend doing this lesson as written and saving the possible expansions for later topics in Thread B.

Lesson 1: BFSU B-2: Distinguishing Living, Natural Non-Living, and Human Made Things, part 1
Lesson 2: BFSU B-2: Distinguishing Living, Natural Non-Living, and Human Made Things, part 2
Lesson 3: BFSU B-2: Distinguishing Living, Natural Non-Living, and Human Made Things, part 3

Thursday, February 12, 2015

BFSU: States of Matter Unit

Resources: Magic School Bus episode (optional, for fun)
                  Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases (exceptionally good, very educational)
                  Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids (good but not exceptional)

Lesson 1: BFSU A-2: Solids, Liquids, and Gases (I covered this in one lesson without doing the demonstrtions due to using kits. If I were not using the kits, I would have separated out  Part 1 and Part 2 and done the demonstrations.
Lesson 2: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 1
Lesson 3: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 2
Lesson 4: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 3
Lesson 5: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 4
Lesson 6: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 5
Lesson 7: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 6
Lesson 8: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 7
Lesson 9: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 8
Lesson 10: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 9
Lesson 11: Science in a Nutshell kit: Liquids, Activity 10
Lesson 12: BFSU A-3: Air is a Substance (I introduced this in one conversation only, due to using a kit. If I were not using the kit, I would have separated out the three parts of this lesson and done the demonstrations.)
Lesson 13: Magic School Bus Makes a Stink
Lesson 14: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 1
Lesson 15: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 2
Lesson 16: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 3
Lesson 17: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 4
Lesson 18: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 5
Lesson 19: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 6
Lesson 20: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 7
Lesson 21: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 8
Lesson 22: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 9
Lesson 23: Science in a Nutshell kit: Gases, Activity 10

Monday, February 9, 2015

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding in Units

BFSU can be an overwhelming resource. After using it for a while, I realized that many of the topics are set up to flow in mini-units, or flowing chunks of information. Thinking of it this way helps organize it into topics, schedule lessons by interest and availability of materials, and cover prerequisites. I will post and link our plans here as we work through BFSU.

A note on resources: BFSU has extensive book lists at the end of every section. I tended to reserve all of them that my library had and have them in the book bin to go through at our leisure, but did not formally include them as part of science class. The books are a fantastic addition to teaching and I highly recommend including them. In addition to BFSU, I occasionally use prepared science kits, Magic School Bus episodes (often available streaming on Netflix or for purchase on Amazon), and the book Blood and Guts by Linda Allison. None of these resources are required to use BFSU and I will make notes of where I think they were more and less useful.

All of BFSU starts with lesson A/B-1. That lesson is a prerequisite for just about everything and you should start there. I don't list it as a prerequisite below because I just assume it was done first.

Foundational Units - These should be done before moving on, as they are prerequisites for most further lessons. They may be done in any order.
Unit: States of Matter
Unit: Introduction to Gravity
Unit: Introduction to Energy
Unit: Introduction to Living Things

BFSU K-2 - These lessons assume you have covered A/B-1 and the Foundational Units above. Any other prerequisites are listed next to the unit.
Unit: Sound and Vibrations
Unit: Energy
Unit: Matter and Magnets
Unit: Living Things (note: best done during warm months when animals/plants can be easily observed)
Unit: Time and Maps
Unit: Physics (prerequisites: Energy unit and Time and Maps unit)
Unit: Advanced Matter (prerequisites: Energy unit and Basics of Matter unit)
Unit: Land and Rocks (prerequisite: Advanced Matter unit)
Unit: Plants (prerequisites: Living Things unit and Advanced Matter unit; Note: best done in spring/summer, when plants can be grown and/or observed)
Unit: Animals and the Human Body (prerequisites: Living Things unit and Advanced Matter unit)

 Then wrap up using BFSU D-9.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Delayed in Charlotte

Returning from Cancun, we had a five hour delay in the airport, then an unplanned overnight in Charlotte. The Kid did great with all the waiting and delays; she had far more patience than I did!

The delay in Charlotte was so long that we slept there and still had a few hours to fill. We discovered the Discovery Place and had a wonderful morning exploring.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Learning on Vacation for Me

The trip to Cancun that I talked about in the last post was the first time in years that The Kid and I have traveled together without The Husband. What did I learn? That I need to be stricter about our routines when away than I do at home. The first two days were full of meltdowns (from The Kid, I didn't always have patience, but no full scale meltdowns!) before I realized that if I was exhausted, she was, too. Once I instituted a bedtime and a wake up time, she turned into a wonderful little traveler.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Learning on Vacation for The Kid

The vast majority of our vacation looked like this:






Playing in the sand and the shallow waves. And, of course, I forgot the camera when we went to El Rey, a smaller Aztec ruin site, the one part that looked like more traditional learning.

But some things that The Kid did get to experience: hearing lots of Spanish, eating new foods, watching the tides change, building with sand, and airports.