Rainbow Price: $70.95
Whether you've used Little Hands to Heaven or Little Hearts for His Glory and are lamenting the fact that your journey is ending, or you are just starting out with your first or second grader and aren't sure where to begin, take heart! Carrie Austin has taken her organized, enjoyable curriculum series up to the next grade level. Designed for 6-8-year olds, this curriculum guide is laid out similarly to the preceding volumes, with Bible study, language arts, spelling, grammar, mechanics, usage, copywork, reading, story time, math exploration, history, poetry, music, art, science, and geography. The curriculum is divided into 34 units. Each unit is divided into five daily lessons, which follow the history, language arts and math theme for the unit. The daily lessons are divided into two parts (helpfully on facing pages!): "Learning Through History" and "Learning the Basics".
The history section contains the history, poetry/rhyme, Bible study, and corresponding music portion of the lesson, all visually separated into printed boxes with related icons. Geography, history activities, art, or science make up the remaining part of the "history" portion. These activities are sprinkled throughout each unit, lightening the load while covering each of these topics at least once a week. The necessary resources for teaching history include American Pioneers and Patriots, Stories of the Pilgrims, and Boys and Girls of Colonial Days (2002 copyright). As mentioned above, each unit focuses on one event in American history, from 1565 to 1865. The other activities in the history portion of the lesson complement the history story, so it won’t easily be forgotten! For example, in Day 1 of Unit 2, the history story relates how the Jamestown settlers did not want to work to eat or build a town; they only wanted to find gold. The corresponding Bible study is on Galatians 6:9, and focuses on not giving up, even though we may become weary. The poetry selection is "Father, We Thank Thee", and the science activity asks students to perform a small experiment with paper demonstrating why tree squirrels flatten their body to glide through the air.
"Learning the Basics" focuses on language arts skills and math, but also incorporates story time and reading. Each unit features a key theme for spelling, grammar and math that is built upon during the week. Four subject assignments are included for this section of the lesson, including language arts, reading, story time, and math. Language arts usually includes spelling and copywork. The spelling lists for the week follow the unit’s "spelling word pattern" or phonetic construct/sound. The copywork portion has students copying bits of poetry, prose, and other things as they fit the grammar concept for the week. Each day's reading assignment offers three options for graded reading material, depending on the reading ability of your student: the phonics program you are already completing, a recommended title for emerging readers recommended for that unit (suggested books and comprehension questions are found in the appendix), or Drawn Into the Heart of Reading for independent reading. Read aloud to your child (or for you to read together) from books in a variety of genres during Story Time. The author has included book suggestions for nine genres, including biography, adventure, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, humor, realistic fiction, and folk tale. Each of these genres is covered in 20 days of read alouds, except for folk tales, which has 10 days. Because she leaves the Story time discussion open-ended, you can choose your own read-alouds for each genre. Suggestions can be found in the appendix. The math portion of the lesson also follows a theme for the unit, from numbers 1-10, sets, missing numbers, and number pairs in Lesson 1; to money, counting, writing amounts, and making change in Unit 33. The math lessons use Singapore’s Primary Mathematics 1A and 1B, or if you are already ahead of this in math, Carrie has provided an alternate math schedule using Primary Mathematics 2A and 2B. Like her previous curricula, the format is easy to use, and the weekly themes tie the subjects together nicely. The author also places an emphasis on hands-on and full-body activities that develop gross and fine motor skill development (and offer a chance for kids to burn off some "wigglies"). Flexibility is built in, with plenty of options as to which additional resources you use, and how you choose to personalize the lessons. Activities are designed to require no (or very little) preparation time and use around-the-house items. The appendix includes an "Overview of Reading Choices," suggested books for reading time (grouped by unit), suggested books for story time (grouped by genre), two spelling lists for each unit, and poetry and rhymes used for both poetry and copywork time. Whether you’re familiar with Carrie’s approach, or you've never used it before and are looking for a solid guide that lays it all out for you, you are sure to enjoy the early grades. ~ Jess