I've had the teacher's manual for the Living Books Curriculum for some time now. I really like what I see and am gearing up to get started on Grade 5 the first full week of October. Since I also have a 2nd grader and kindergartener to homeschool, I'm planning ahead as much as possible. I didn't order a curriculum for the younger two so I'm planning those lessons using various resources I've collected over the years with available resources from the internet. I also combine them with the oldest daughter as much as possible. My goal was to simply life by ordering a complete curriculum for my oldest daughter. She is actually in 6th grade, but the grade 5 curriculum picks up where she needs for history. In this post, I plan to explain how I will modify the curriculum to fit our particular needs. I also will tell of substitutions we plan to use.
The LBC Curriculum is very complete and truly you could just open and go following the instructions in the manual. Even if you aren't all that familiar with the Charlotte Mason philosophy, there are a number of articles and resources included in the curriculum to explain how to implement various subjects.
A suggested daily schedule shows that you can easily finish your core work before lunch, leaving your afternoons free for silent reading, music & picture study, nature study, handcrafts and life skills. I am using a book called Training Our Daughter's to Be Keepers at Home for lifeskills and handcrafts. It is an excellent book and even includes some character study that I will incorporate into the Christian Studies lessons. This is the first year my dd will have a written schedule to follow independently. I have a list of subjects with times next to them. It is her job to follow the schedule. She is very excited and sees this as a new freedom. She doesn't have to wait on me for instructions and thus can make the best use of her time.
Science and History are exciting to me and this year will be a little different than how I've handled those two subjects. In the past we have alternated history and science doing each subject a couple of times per week. This year she will have both subjects daily. American History and World History will alternate days. In American History the focus is Growth and Industrialization. In World History the focus is the Renaissance and Reformation. This picks up where the LBC Middle Ages guide ends. Geography is integrated into the history lessons. Literature selections are also complimentary to these studies as well as the science studies. Science will address four major strands: life, physical, earth, and health. We have a Botany book that we are incorporating as well so some of the lesson plans will substitute this book instead of buying a new book. We also look forward to using a microscope this year.
The Language Arts section is the area that I will modify the most. Because my daughter is dyslexic she has needs that wouldn't normally be present in a language arts program for this age. I will keep all of the language arts suggestions of Grammar, storytelling, copywork, dictation and Shakespeare, but will also add in phonics and spelling as she still needs special instruction in these two areas.
For math, I use Math U See. Singapore Math is recommended, but we've been happy with Math U See so I see no need to switch. The lesson plans call for daily math instruction for 30 minutes which is just about how much time we take now.
I love the way that ChristianFaith Studies is laid out in this curriculum. The child is to read from both the New and Old Testament each week along with time to reflect in a journal entry. This year she will be reading from Matthew, I Samuel, I Kings, Daniel and Jonah. We will also incorporate the character lessons from The King's Daughter and Other Stories for Girls.
Picture Study is an area where I have not done a very thorough job of teaching. I am very glad to see that the curriculum includes clear instructions on how to study great works of art. The pictures are included in the curriculum and just require that I get them printed in color and framed for us to view during the week. Sheila Carroll estimates the cost of having a picture printed to be around $1, plus you can recycle a picture frame or find one inexpensively at a dollar store. If you prefer, you can also study the picture from the computer with no additional costs.
Composer Study will include a study of Handel, Haydn, and Mozart. My children are familiar with some of these, especially Mozart. You can either find CD's to listen to or there is an online service where you can listen for free, or for a small fee make your own CD's. When I taught public school there were many studies on how listening to classical music increased language skills and we were required to listen to Mozart and Beethoven daily in our classrooms. I have yet to meet a child that doesn't enjoy classical music.
For other Electives, we will do daily exercise (PE) with Jack LaLanne, play games with other homeschool families, take music lessons, and hopefully start Latin instruction.
We found the Jack LaLanne website after reading an article on just how fit he is in his 90's and how sick he was when he was 15. His exercise show was televised for over 30 years. He gives God all credit for making our amazing bodies and encourages healthy eating habits with lots of exercise. It is a black and white TV show and the kids seem to like his enthusiasm--at least one of them does ;-). We also hope to organize a regular "game day" with other homeschool families so that we can learn team sports such as baseball, volley ball, basketball, etc. My husband and I decided to hold off on having the children join organized sports leagues until they are older, but we would still like them to learn team sports in a non-competitive way. It is good exercise and lots of fun.
Last night, Miss A was gifted a used flute from her Meme and Grandad. If it isn't too late, then she will start the beginner homeschool band. That will be an inexpensive way to have music lessons as they are group lessons instead of private lessons. This will require driving 30 minutes to a nearby town so we will adjust that days schedule to reflect that day trip.
Latin is the other elective I would like to add later this year. I'm still researching which program to use and if it is the right time to introduce it. As I find out more about this area, I'll have posts with resource links under the label Latin.
The only other thing I'd like to mention about this curriculum is that I will likely write my lesson plans out to make it a 4 or 4 and a half day curriculum. It seems like it will be pretty simple to do. On the suggested lessons, Friday are the lightest day of work. So it stands to reason that when we need a four day week, we can easily double up on a couple of things and have that fifth day available for field trips, music lessons, or project days. In addition there is a flex week built in for narrations, field trips, etc. I'm so excited to start this curriculum. It is going to be easy to implement and we have been so pleased with the reading selections in past LBC curriculum guides.