A couple of the kids are finishing up schoolwork for this past year, but the new school year is on my mind. I always love a new school year. All the disappointments of the last school year get wiped away. All the stuff we didn’t get around to gets re-evaluated and adjusted for next year. Old curriculum gets put away, new curriculum gets ordered. It is just so exciting!

I thought I would share some of my planning for next school year…

**Science**

I am going to try something new for science. Normally I don’t teach formal science until Jr. High, then I start them on Apologia’s General Science. I like for my younger guys to experience science in a natural way. We do nature walks, plant things in the garden, keep all kinds of critters, etc.

However, this year we are all going to work on The Human Body. Kendra will be a Senior and she will be doing Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology. She will be working with me on an herbalism and nutrition course and it requires an A & P course, so it should fit together nicely. Tristan will be a Freshman and will be working on Biology. I believe the last couple of chapters cover the human body.

And new for us this year will be the elementary Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology book by Apologia. There were several reasons I decided to change things up for the young ones this year.

~The older kids will be studying the human body and I thought it would be nice for us all to learn together. My goal is to foster cohesiveness between the kids. I am hoping that by all of us learning one topic, we can discuss it and learn from each other.

~The girls will be in 4th and 1st grades. The Apologia anatomy book is perfect for this age.

~Apologia uses a Charlotte Mason type learning approach. They recommend narration, short lessons, and hands on learning.

~The girls love projects and notebooking. I ordered the Anatomy Notebooking Journal to go with the text book. The journal is not required, but it does make my job easier.

~The science experiment supplies can be ordered in a kit. I don’t know about you, but if we don’t have the supplies on hand it may be awhile before I remember to get them (if I ever do!). I am planning on ordering the experiment kit so that everything will be on hand and ready to go.

**Math**

Math is fairly easy and straightforward as far as planning goes. Several years ago we started using **Math-U-See **and it has been a great fit for our family, especially for elementary math.

It uses a hands on approach with manipulatives to explain and help the students grasp the math concepts. There are also videos that come with the teacher’s pack that cover each lesson. Honestly, we haven’t used the DVDs a whole lot. I usually just go over the lesson and teach the concept, then let them work on the pages on their own. A few years ago when Tristan was working on upper elementary level math, he would sometimes watch the videos by himself and do his math afterwards. Kendra reads through the lesson and then goes on to work on hers without watching the videos. She will ask me for help if there is something she doesn’t understand, but most of the lessons are explained very clearly.

Tristan will be finishing up Algebra 1 next year. I have him working through **Jacob’s Algebra**. I find Jacob’s to be much more in depth (and harder). Actually, I feel like Jacob’s Algebra covers much of the MUS Alg 2 material. The only problem with Jacob’s is that it doesn’t do a very good job of explaining some of the concepts and neither do I.

I have always loved math. It was my favorite subject in school and I went on to get my degree in Accounting. My problem, though, is that I can’t explain math very well. I will work out the problems and get the right answers, but a lot of the times I don’t know how I got it or why I did it the way I did. This is very frustrating when you are trying to teach it to others. Most of the time the kids get upset because they don’t understand it, and I get upset because they don’t understand it. (This is why I caved and let Kendra use MUS for Geometry and Alg 2.)

**More in this series:**

Science and Math

History and Literature

Bible and Language Arts – coming soon!

I have a first grader this year too! We’re enjoying Math U See. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for this year.

Are you using alpha this year for 1st grade or did you start it last year? We started alpha for K, but only did about half of it. Our plan is to finish the second half this year, and hopefully get a head start on beta. I don’t know why, but we always seem to get behind in math.