Back to School! (And Our Curriculum Plans)

Wow! Today is the first day of 6th grade for Andrew. I can hardly believe it. I keep telling him to stop growing up but he doesn’t listen. LOL!

First Day of 6th Grade

1st day of 6th grade!

I am really excited about this year. It is our first year going *all in* with the Mother of Divine Grace program. Andrew already had his orientation classes for the Latin, History Book Club, and Fine Arts Appreciation courses. They look like they are going to be a lot of fun.

For religion, he will work through the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism and read through the Gospels of Mark and Luke. He will also go to CCD again this year. I love the program at our church and it is a good supplement for his spiritual development. (It also gives him another opportunity to be with other kids and participate in the Living Stations of the Cross put on every year by the 6th-8th graders.)

For Math, he will continue with the Right Start Math Program. He is halfway through Level E. I love that this program is level based, rather than grade based. He can work through the program at his own pace and it has lots of manipulatives which Andrew loves.

For English, he will use the Lepano (Voyages in English) books. Most of the lessons are done orally and has a *Catholic flavor* I think I will like. He will also be diagraming sentences with this program.

He also starts Editing this year. He will use the book, The Great Editing Adventure, and for each lesson he will use a dictionary and thesaurus to edit and rewrite a paragraph or two.

For Spelling, he will continue the All About Spelling program. He is going to begin on Level 4.

For History/Geography, he will be learning about ancient Egypt. He will be constructing a timeline and using an Atlas. This class meets online once a week. He will meet online every other week. He will also be reading The Old World and America and several historical fiction books.

For Science, he will be using the Concepts and Challenges in Science books which are exclusive to Mother of Divine Grace. Because I had been doing my own thing up until now, we are using the 5th grade books so that he can get in line with their science sequence (just don’t tell Andrew!).

For Latin, he will be following the online program specific to Mother of Divine Grace and meet online once a week. I love how these books show how Latin is the basis of many of our English words and the connections between the two languages.

For Fine Arts (Art Appreciation) he will meet online once a week and they will learn about various art periods and terminology, look at and discuss pieces of art work, and listen to different music pieces. He will also be responsible for writing a short paper for this class.

For Poetry, he will spend the year memorizing three or four poems from The Harp and the Laurel Wreath focusing on one stanza a week. The first poem he will learn is “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Finally, for Typing, he will continue to practice his typing skills using typing club.

Mother of Divine Grace also encourages all 6th graders to read for at least 45 minutes a day.

Whew! I know it looks like a lot; however, several of the subjects only take 10 or 15 minutes a day, such as the poetry memorization, typing, and religion. Even the history, Latin, and editing classes should not be more than 30 minutes to complete so his work should be quite doable. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope these give you some ideas if you are looking to home school. Or, if you do homeschool, what books/programs do you use?

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Curriculum Review: Mother of Divine Grace

I can’t believe that Andrew has just finished up fifth grade! This year we chose to use the Mother of Divine Grace program for the first time. Previously, we used the Catholic Heritage Curricula which I loved, but Andrew wasn’t a huge fan because the program is a little too workbook heavy for hist taste. Then I switched to putting my own curriculum together which worked well.

Curriculum Review MODg

However, as we were approaching fifth grade, I wanted to find a more structured, academic program. Up to this point, I knew I was doing well on my own but I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track and giving him a good education. I knew several families who were happily and successfully using the Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) Program so after some research my husband and I decided it was worth the try.

What I like

Oh, gosh, where do I start?! There are a lot of things to love about this program! First of all, Mother of Divine Grace is a fully accredited distance learning school based out of California that uses the classical curriculum approach. It is a gentle program, especially for the younger grades, with not a lot of workbooks or writing. However, it is still a rigorous, broad spectrum program that is on par with any top-notch traditional school. With this program, the student gets a well-rounded educational that is fun and challenging at the same time.

I also love the flexibility of the program. There are several levels: you can just buy the curriculum as is and use it on your your own. Or, you can take advantage of the teacher services and learning support services. Of course, you can also substitute any of the course materials for something else if it works better for your family. For example, we use the Right Start Math Program instead of the Saxon program recommended by MODG because Andrew likes it and has been doing well with it.

Another thing I love about this program is the opportunity to work with a consultant. This alone is worth the cost of the tuition! The parents have to chance to speak with their consultant several times a year and they help put together a customized curriculum, offer support, and answer an questions the parents may have. I just love our consultant. She is patient, throughout knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the program and has been such a great help.

Additionally, as the higher the grade level the more online options there are. There are A LOT of online classes available to students, especially in high school. Most of the online courses start in fifth grade but as the student progresses there are online classes for math, science, language arts, several foreign languages and enrichment courses. For sixth grade, I have Andrew signed up for the Latin, History/Literature book club, and Art Appreciation.

What I don’t like

Not a dislike, just a heads up, really. The program is a little pricey compared to some other programs and has several fees included. However, the people at MODG are super willing to be flexible with the payments. There is a discount for paying in full, there is a set payment plan, or if you discuss it with them, you can come up with a customized payment plan.

And to be honest, the program is well-worth the price. I personally believe that I need to invest in my son’s education and MODG is a wonderful place to do it. ๐Ÿ™‚

I definitely give MODG five (5) stars and seriously doubt that I will ever switch to another program!

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Tweetable: Curriculum Review: Mother of Divine Grace

Our Home Education Curriculum for 2015-2016

I can’t believe that Andrew is officially in fifth grade. How did that happen?! In any case, in honor of his first day of school, I thought I would share what we will be doing this year.

Curriculum2015through2016

Over the last few years we tried several different things: including Catholic Heritage, and a mix-up of several sources. Personally, I loved Catholic Heritage but it was too workbook heavy for Andrew. He is all boy – very physical and needs to be actively involved with learning. I also needed to supplement the program a bit too much for our needs. Therefore, I stopped using this program after first grade and started to put my own classical curriculum together for a few years.

Now that Andrew is in fifth grade, I feel like I need to settle down and get more “academic.” I want to make sure that I do all I can to help him success in high school and beyond. I also feel like what we have been doing needs some tweaking again. Of course, all plans are subject to change, but here are our initial plans:

1. Our curriculum will be centered on Mother of Divine Grace. I am behind in getting him registered, but will be doing so this week. In particular, I will be signing Andrew up for some of the video classes which I hope he will love.

2. For math, we will continue with the Right Start Math program. We have been using it for a couple of years now and Andrew does really well with it. It is loaded with manipulatives and minimal with the worksheets. (Although, Andrew still moans and complains when he has to do them!)

3. For spelling, we are using All About Spelling. Andrew is behind and struggles with spelling. I’ve tried just about everything I can think of and I am so glad we found this program. We worked through level one in May and June and by the end, Andrew had already improved quite a bit. After we get through level two, I think I will do an in-depth review of the program.

4. For grammar, we may be continuing with Kiss Grammar. It is a free, all-inclusive, and in-depth grammar program. Andrew isn’t a huge fan of grammar in general and particularly thrilled with this program, but we are either going to stick with it for another year or use the grammar course through Mother of Divine Grace.

5. To supplement, and for extra help, we will be using currclick.com. There are a ton of free and paid clubs, classes, etc. that I plan to have Andrew participate it. This website comes highly recommended my one of my homeschooling co-op friends so I can’t wait to give it a try.

As for physical education, Andrew has “gym” for an hour once a week with our homeschool co-op, he also does hockey 3x week, and basketball 2x week. There will also be activities, classes and field trips with the co-op.

That’s about it! Looking at it, it looks like a lot, but most of the classes are only 15-20 minutes, so I am expecting it to be doable. If not, I will tweak/change as necessary.

If you are looking to homeschool or looking to tweak your current program, I hope posting my curriculum gives you some ideas.