2013-2014 Curriculum and Plan :: The Basics

It’s a big day around these parts. My big kids are supposed to spend the night at camp for the first time ever tonight. Except my big kids really aren’t so big, and Mom is a bit nervous. But don’t tell them that.

In the meantime, I thought I would distract myself by beginning the new curriculum series. Let’s dig in by starting with the basics, shall we?


John is a six-year-old typical boy. We worked on “kindergarten” last year which included math, reading, and tagging along with older sister on all the content area subjects. We started working on handwriting, but then stopped because he struggled with grip and fine motor strength.

Arts of Language

Reading: Continue lessons in PAL Reading. We got to about lesson 25 last year. He was doing great with it, and since we stopped, I have noticed a bit of a jump in his skills. After a bit of review I bet he barrels forward with this.
Writing: Begin PAL Writing from beginning. Which is great because it will help provide the reading review.
You can read my review of PAL here.
Spelling: Once letter formation is down, we will begin All About Spelling Level 1. Probably largely writing on the whiteboard.


MUS Alpha. Looking over the Alpha scope I don’t think this is going to take long at all! Many of the topics are review from last year, and John already has a good grasp of many of the addition facts. We will cement those, review topics, and probably slow down a little in the subtraction portion.
Daily math drill: Worksheets from the MUS website, games, or online drill.

That’s it! Don’t you just love first grade! His checklist is one page front and back.


Olivia is eight and not your typical oldest child girl. She is a free spirit, very social, and loves to wiggle and move. Very intelligent, she is not inclined to like things she has to sit and work at (which is most of these subjects *sigh*). Her reading improved greatly last year, but she still has not broken free into independent reading at “grade level.” That is going to be a main focus for this year.

Arts of Language

Reading: Review games with John and lots of reading aloud to mom — multiple times a day. Silent reading each day for increasing amounts of time.
Spelling: All About Spelling Level 2. This will also help cement those phonics rules.
Writing: We are going to alternate between two programs unless at some point I decide to postpone or drop one of them. One week on one program and then the following week on the other. Yes, I should just decide, but there are elements of each I like. Of course with Olivia there is always a Bravewriter-esque element as well as she will decide to work on a project and then we use those principles.
Write From Medieval History – We are using this program for its focus on CM-style narration and copy work. There is also grammar discussion based on the copy work.
IEW Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales – This program focuses on IEW’s methods of learning structure and style. I am okay if we don’t finish the entire program this year and carry it over to next. This also includes applied grammar.
Additional copy work: I also have the CC Prescripts Cursive Words and Drawing book, plus the Prima Latina Copybook. She will have copy work each day.
Latin: Prima Latina for grammar and an introduction to Latin.


A good chunk of review from MUS Alpha (mostly the subtraction facts). Then a few weeks into the year we will start Beta. There are many, many topics there that will be review and should go quickly; I just want to be sure we don’t miss anything. I imagine the end will slow down some. I am praying we will finish a portion of Gamma this year as well.
Daily math drill: Worksheets from the MUS website, games, or online drill.

And that’s it — all the basic, skill area subjects. How are you covering skills in your homeschool this year?



  • Oh! I love your plans, Pam! They sound perfectly simple and leave so much space for that awesome free time. We haven’t started using the sites yet but I’ve registered my oldest three to do math drills on khanacademy.com and xtramath.org. They seem like fun sites and my kids will love the idea of being on the computer at all since they really don’t get to do it at all. We really had a hard time sticking with drill last year and now that they get the concepts, I really just want them to get the facts. Just thought I’d throw that out there in case you’re looking for other options.
    Always love stopping by and loving all the updates on your sweet family:)

    • Pam says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. We have used Xtramath, but I have to admit that it sometimes frustrates Olivia. They keying in of the answer slows her down and it frustrates her to “race the teacher.” Sometimes I key for her and that helps. As for John, that little perfectionist never made it past the pretest. It killed him that he missed so many, despite the fact I kept telling him it was OK, it only wanted to know what he knew. Sigh.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Pam! I’m wondering how parent intensive the spelling program is as well as the Write from Medival History. Thank you for sharing your plans…I will be adding more desk work to my daughter’s plan this year and I’d like to keep it simple too.

  • Pam says:

    Elizabeth – All About Spelling is parent intensive, but I am not sure you can teach spelling from a phonics standpoint at this age without it being that way. There is just no way for that to be independent. What I do love about it is that it is scripted for you. There is no prep. I open the book, skim the page and teach the lesson, and in 15 minutes we stop. The next day we pick up from there. As for the writing, I am just not sure, because we have not used that program yet. It is CM-style narration, so I plan to read the passage to the kids, ask for oral narration (because none of mine are old enough for written) and then have Olivia do the copywork each week. I also plan to spend a few minutes discussing elements of the copywork with her — grammar and punctuation. But no more than five or ten minutes. There is not much I turn mine lose to do on their own at this age. HTH!

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