Curriculum for 2012-2013 School Year

There is a Back to School buzz in both the public and private school communities as well as the homeschool community and I’ve been taking advantage of this to get Kyri excited for all the new stuff we have planned for the school year. Even though we did a light summer school to keep up with Math and Language Arts, as well as lots of reading, we will be getting into our full curriculum in two weeks when the schools go back into session around here. We will be participating in our Science and History co-op again this school year and I’m using our co-op start date to get our First Grade officially rolling around here. Here are our Curriculum plans for the year.


We were working on First Grade Math throughout our Kindergarten year, so this year will be a continuation. We will be doing a lot of reinforcement of skills as well as some newer stuff – Word Problems and addition/subtraction with two-digit numbers.

Harcourt Family Learning Math Skills Grade 1 – finishing up

Flashkids Flash Forward Math Grade 1

Kumon Addition Grade 1 – finishing up

Kumon Subtraction Grade 1

Flashkids Place Value Grade 1 – finishing up

Flashkids Time and Money Grade 1

Kumon Word Problems Grade 1

online supplemental – Starfall and Aha!Math

Language Arts 

Like Math, this is a continuation of what we have been working on with phonics and spelling. Additonally with the overview Language Arts book, we will start working on sentences (capitalization and punctuation) and parts of speech. We will also work on Reading Comprehension of fiction and nonfiction selections.

Spectrum Phonics Grade 1– finishing up

Harcourt Family Learning Spelling Skills Grade 1– finishing up

Flash Forward Reading Grade 1 – Reading Comprehension Fiction/Nonfiction

If Basic Skills Language Arts Grades 1-2 Inferencing

Spectrum Language Arts Grade 1 – overview workbook

Handwriting – copywork using selected quotes and Kyri’s reading selections


Literature-based Lessons 

We finished up FIAR Volume 1 over the summer and really enjoyed it! Great reading selections and while we did not use FIAR as a core curriculum as some do (making lapbooks and doing a lot of additonal activities) we rowed each book several times and used the manual for discussion. Volume 2 has an even larger book selection and so this will be spread over the next year and a half.

Five in a Row Volume 2 – we will spend two weeks per literature selection since we use this as a supplement and do not row 5 days in a row.


Social Studies 

We are continuing our Story of the World reading and activities with our History and Science co-op. We will be reading the chapters as well as a fair amount of the sugggested literature listed  in the activity guide.

Story of the World Volume 2: Middle Ages

Story of the World Volume 2: Middle Ages Activity Guide


Civics – continuing study. Will introduce the topic of US Elections since this is a presidential election year. This will include literature selections and perhaps a lapbook session to pull all the information together for a better understanding.



We will continue working with our History and Science co-op. We are switching from Elemental Science that we used this past year, over to RSO.  

R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Life Level 1  



We are still piecing together material for this subject. For this year, I am mainly focusing on building vocabulary and some basic greetings and phrases.  

Larousse Spanish Children’s Dictionary

Vocab Flash Cards


Logic/Critical Thinking

I like using logic exercises as “brain warmups” for Kyri to develop her critical thinking skills.

Logic Lollilop Volume 1

Lollipop Logic Volume 2


Art & Music 

This year we will be doing Art and Music appreciation. HFA has a great schedule to introduce composers and artists. Each month will focus on one composer and one artist. We really didn’t do anything last year for Art or Music and so I am really excited to start this study.

Harmony Fine Arts Art and Music Appreciation Grammar Stage First Grade


Nature Studies 

While we do nature walks together, we do not have a consistent schedule or goal. I really like the simple schedule and suggested activities at the Outdoor Nature Hour and I think this a a great stepping off point for our nature studies. We will start with weekly outdoor sessions and incorporate a Nature Journal and specimen collection.

Handbook of Nature Study and the Outdoor Nature Hour


Bible/Christian Studies 

Though we are secular homeschoolers and do not use Christian-worldview materials, we are Christians and want to introduce Bible and Christian faith topics.

My Favorite Bible Stories Activity Book – fun activity sheets to go along with well know Bible Stories

Read and Share Devotional – weekly devotionals that touch on different character topics, such as  patience, as well as other Bible topics.


*For books and workbooks, I’ve added affiliate links over at Amazon. My Amazon affiliate links are not working currently, but will be fixed soon. For other subjects, I have linked to the curriculum website directly.


Vegan Homeschooling and Sea World

A sea turtle we got to meet up close at National Aquarium in Baltimore. She lost her front flipper and has been rehabilitated and now resides at the aquarium. Cases like this are what puts aquariums in the gray area of vegan philosophy for me.

Here in San Antonio we live quite close to Sea World. We can actually see the roller coasters when we drive out of our neighborhood. Many of our friends frequent Sea World or have season passes.

And yet, every time we drive past, my daughter and I talk about how it’s not nice to keep animals in small tanks for entertainment purposes. We talk about riding the roller coasters at Fiesta Texas instead because they don’t have animals there.

Sea World hosts a Homeschool Day each fall. This year it is on October 4th. There are no rides or attractions, just hands on interactions with the marine animals. It sounds like such a wonderful educational opportunity, it really does. And I do understand that Sea World is not just about entertainment but also helping marine animals and educating the public. This is why I think zoos and aquariums are a gray area for so many vegans, because there are educational opportunities and if we expect people to be moved to protect animals, we need to expose them to the animals.

We had a membership to the National Aquarium in Baltimore before relocating to Texas, and enjoyed it the few (two?) times we went. We saw the dolphin show there once as well. I think these facilities train dolphins because they are so smart, and these shows are a wonderful way to showcase their intelligence. At the time, I was unaware of where many of the dolphins used in shows such as this come from (The Cove was enlightening).

Even with the positive work done by facilities such as National Aquarium in Baltimore (they were active in habitat restoration and wildlife rehabilitation), and here at Sea World, I  have an internal debate with myself of whether to support them because they have captive large marine animals such as dolphins. Perhaps if I knew that all the animals were rescued and rehabilitated there, and that is how they came to be there, I might feel different. But this is not usually the case. I admit to putting an aquarium in a somewhat separate category in my mind than a marine park – though we have not joined an aquarium or zoo since relocating.

As for the Sea World Homeschool Day – we will be declining the opportunity to spend the day with the animals at Sea World. I am considering an alternative field trip for the kids that day.

How do other vegans handle these situations? Do you go to zoos or marine parks? Do you consider large reputable aquariums acceptable but not marine parks? I’m curious where vegans fall in this discussion.