King Man taking a water break during a soccer game.
What are your plans for the year? I've been thinking about ours all summer. I was inspired by another blogger mom Confessions of a Homeschooler to put together a post about what resources we'll be using this coming year to learn and grow. Maybe at the end of the year, I'll do a wrap up to share how things worked. Enjoy!
Spirituality: I have not been able to find a culturally affirming Bible study curriculum or devotional. Help! I have heard great things about AWANA and we will be attending an open house in September for a club 10 minutes from our home. I considered taking us through A Course In Miracles, but decided to wait until he's older. I've always loved the work of Deepak Chopra, so in the meantime we will read A Spiritual Guide for Teens.
Math: We are sticking with Singapore Math as our core program. I love it and so does my son. We especially love the word problems. It's very visual, boy-friendly and graphic. More importantly, it works and the states of California and the Scarsdale, NY School District have adopted Singapore Math. Read more about it in the article Singapore Math Demystified.
We will also incorporate Supreme Mathematic, African Ma’at Magic, an African-Centered Math book that will 1) show the African origins of mathematics; 2) show relationships between African mathematical objects, terms, and concepts to modern mathematical objects, terms, and concepts; 3) show how African mathematical methods can be used to solve certain problems not easily solved by modern mathematical methods; and 4) show the importance ancient Africans placed on mathematics to solve problems, establish Truth and Order (Ma’at), and apply knowledge to create, develop, and engineer systems and technologies needed for survival and well-being.
We fully embrace the idea of Living Math, so we'll also spend some time exploring the Life of Fred, a novel about Fractions.
Finally, for fun and mom to learn the rules of the game, I plan to launch a online Fantasy Basketball League that I will open up to everyone once I figure out how to get started. I'm not sure if we'll wait until the actual basketball season begins, but we'll be using the book Fantasy Basketball and Mathematics. It's a math program based on real-life sports statistics. I'm so excited about this because I see it as a way to get my husband involved and an opportunity for my son to "school" mom.
Science: Zion has asked me for 2 years to find him a Chemistry program. So we are going to give Systematic Approach to Chemistry a try. We're going to also have fun with Max Axiom Science Series a cool, African-American Superhero and comic book approach to tackling complex science topics. Finally, as our core text we will use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. I found out about this book through a listserv. The author provides continual support and you can even join his Yahoo group Teaching Science K-5 to ask questions. He was kind enough to send out sample lessons for his next title geared toward the older grades.
Grammar: We are sticking with Rod & Staff. It's a clear and solid program. We'll throw in some School House Rock Grammar CDs and Shurley Grammar Jingle CDs to have fun memorizing grammar rules. I'd actually like to get my hands on a copy of the whole grammar set to see how it compares to Rod & Staff.
Writing: Here's one subject area where I feel like a "real authority." As a professional journalist and writer, the Institute for Excellence In Writing Program (IEW) immediately appealed to me as the way I learned to write in college. IEW will continue to be our core writing program. I will also incorporate lessons from Writing Strands, and I've got my eye on the Trait Writing program.
History: We are using several texts for history, including Story of the World. We'll also read Your Story for dictation and copy work exercises. But our core focus will be Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization book and workbook. I'm really excited about using this book because the author lives right here in DC and we will be studying history as a family. Other books we plan to include are African People in World History and The Pan Africanists. The illustrations are oil paintings by Barrington Watson, a famous Jamaican painter. This book will be used to create our own historical timeline cards.
Social Studies: As a special treat, we will examine the film Avatar using Tony Browder's book: A Historical and Cultural Analysis of Avatar. We'd love to do this as a group unit if anyone is interested.
Like Skills: Learning About Sex Series: How You Are Changing--ages 10-12 and The Afrocentric Self-Inventory & Discovery Workbook. I'm looking forward to the thought provoking conversations these books will inspire!
Nutrition: Developing healthy eating habits begin early and understanding how certain diseases disproportionately impact African-Americans is the key to preventing them. We will use Real Food Nutrition and Health as well as the works of Llaila O. Afrika.
Critical Thinking: Thanks to the wisdom of Mama Lifoma, Critical Thinking is now a part of our core curriculum. We will start off with their core program Building Thinking Skills.
Geography: Spectrum Geography Grades 5 & 6. We love, love, love Geography! Both of my sons will also work on continent boxes Montessori style.
Handwriting: We are sticking with Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success.
Spelling: We will continue using Spelling Workout. It's a very boy-friendly spelling program. But I'm also considering Sequential Spelling.
Vocabulary: Vocabulary from Latin Roots -- love it!
Memory/Drills Work: I used to think drills were a dirty word, but the term "practice makes perfect," makes perfect sense. I plan to have both sons memorize great passages from memorable people. Although we do not "officially" participate with Classical Conversations anymore, we still use their Memory Masters resources. We plan to collect all three cycles and become Memory Masters at home.
Music: Z-man will continue as a 3rd year piano student with Levine School of Music at THEARC. He will also continue African drums with Baba Mahari at the Farafina Kan Ensemble.
Art: Z-man will resume *free* classes at the Corcoran School of Art program at THEARC. More boys please join us!
Foreign Language: Help! I need suggestions.
Sports: Z-man made the Capital FC Soccer
Listservs: I have to give a "shout out" to the listservs that been such a blessing and helped guide many of my curriculum choices. As you can see, I pull from a variety of diverse resources.
Sankofa Homeschool Community
Teaching Science K-5
African American Unschoolers