Eva Marina Homeschools

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Curriculum Review | Horizons Math K

We have been using Horizons Math this year and couldn’t be happier.  I really like that it uses a spiral approach to teaching and reviewing concepts.  There are a total of 160 lessons.  Each lesson consists of a two sided page, usually broken down into four or five sections. 

Here is the Scope & Sequence for Level K:
  1. Counting 1-100 (Counting by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s to 100)
  2. Number Recognition (Recognition of all families to 100)
  3. Number writing (Writing of all families to 100)
  4. Number value (Value of all single digit numbers)
  5. Number After (Naming the number that comes after for all families to 100)
  6. Number Before (Naming the number that comes before for all families to 100)
  7. Number Between (Naming the number that comes between for all families to 100)
  8. Place Value (Digit value: ones, tens)
  9. Addition (Adding a single digit to all families without regrouping)
  10. Subtraction (Subtracting a single digit to all families without regrouping)
  11. Money (Recognition, value, and use of the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, dollar bill and dollar coin)
  12. Time (Naming time on the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour and 5 minutes)
  13. Calendar (Naming the days of the week, the months of the year and the seasons)
  14. Number Theory (Recognition of ordinal numbers, even and odd numbers)
  15. Colors (Recognition of black, yellow, green, red, blue, brown, orange and purple)
  16. Shapes (Recognition of circle, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, star, hexagon, octagon, cone, sphere and cylinder)
  17. Comparisons (Comparisons of items and quantities that are different, pairs, twins, belong together, tall, short, long, larger number and smaller number)
  18. Direction & Position (Recognition of the direction and position of right, left, up, down, top, bottom, middle, inside, outside, first, next, last, front and back)
  19. Graphs (Read and complete bar graphs and pictographs)
  20. Measurement (Reading lengths in inches and centimeters, perimeter in inches)
  21. Units of Measure (Identify and count cup, quart, gallon and liter)
  22. Fractions (Recognize whole, 1/2, 1/3 and1/4)
  23. Sequence (Determine what comes next)
You can download some sample pages (usually the first few lessons) from AOP’s website.  Here are a few more samples for you.

There is a lot of variety within the lessons.  Ignacio likes to write surprise messages to me within his assignments.  :)

We worked on Lesson 146 today.

I’d say it’s pretty well rounded.  It is challenging, but doable.  There are at times a lot of problems, but you don’t have to complete them all.  I usually mark the ones I want him to complete.  If he gets one wrong, he corrects it and completes an additional problem.  He really likes it and sometimes even completes more problems than I assigned.  I’d rather have the option of completing more problems if necessary than having to supplement what should be a complete curriculum. 

The Teacher’s Manual offers a detailed overview, list of necessary materials and supplies, teaching tips, and activities for each lesson.  It is not necessary at this level, but can be helpful when introducing new concepts.  It also includes 40 reproducible worksheets which can be used as a review or assessment. 

The full curriculum might be considered expensive, at $69.95.  I bought my set on eBay for $36 including shipping.  It was in like new condition with absolutely no writing on it.

I should mention that Horizons is a Christian publisher.  I try to only use secular curriculum, but found that the Christian references in their math series were minimal.  We will be using them again next year.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Science Fair / Art Show

Our homeschooling group hosts a Science Fair/Art Show on the last meeting of the school year.  This was the first year that we attended.  Ignacio initially wanted his entire project on Betelgeuse, his favorite star.  Honestly, I couldn’t think of what we could do as the actual project so I suggested we broaden it to include all stars.

  1. He came up with this awesome title all by himself!  The middle panel had random star facts and a size chart to compare multiple stars to planets in our solar system.  We also made an outer space word search puzzle and brought in books to show what Orion and the Orion Nebula really look like.
  2. Our actual experiment was very simple.  We shaped a half circle out of clay and stuck a paperclip in it.  Then we stuck star stickers onto a clear glass bowl.  The clay represents the Earth and the paperclip represents the child.  You hold the glass bowl slightly above the base and slowly turn the cardboard.  Make sure to point out where the different stars are in relation to the paperclip.  This is a simple way to demonstrate that stars do not move.  Stars only appear to move because the Earth spins on its axis.  I found this project in Janice VanCleave's Solar System book.
  3. Orion, Ignacio’s favorite constellation.  The red star represents Betelgeuse and the blue star represents Rigel.
  4. We needed another constellation to keep things balanced, he chose the Big Dipper.
  5. Ignacio and his best friend Mia.
  6. For the art show, Mia made this adorable bean mosaic.
  7. Rigel, Ignacio’s second favorite star.
  8. Betelgeuse, Ignacio’s favorite star.
  9. The science fair ended with a session of creative movement led by two of the moms.  They acted out everything from bears to tornadoes.  At the end they were told to act like their science project.  This is Ignacio’s version of Orion.
For the art show, we chose to share his Earth Day and Rainbow collages.

Here is a detailed view of Mia’s mosaic.  Isn’t it beautiful?!

1st Grade Curriculum

Ignacio will turn six this November.  According to our local school system he should be entering Kindergarten.  If you can believe it, he would have been in K4 this last year.  Their learning targets are so ridiculous, it’s a shame.  I treated this last year as if it were Kindergarten, although I think there is a lot of gray in this area.  We used Horizons K for math this year; I was very happy with it.  My mother works for our local public schools.  She was impressed with the work he was doing and explained that at her school that would be second grade math.  He loves the solar system and geography, and is very knowledgeable in both.  Again, these topics are not even introduced until second grade.  In any case, here are my plans for the coming year:

Explode the Code: Book 4 & Book 5. He really likes this series and tends to breeze through it. If he finishes them as quickly as the others we might also begin Book 6. He reads a lot. I should clarify that we don’t always complete every page of the lessons. We skip some and also do some out loud. He complained that some were too easy and sometimes felt like busy work. He really enjoys our new approach. When I ask him to do certain pages, he happily completes them. I think reading comprehension is very important and will be using Reading Response Bookmarks & Graphic Organizers by Kim Blaise. I will also use Building Dictionary Skills Grades 2-3 by if (Instructional Fair). He always reads out loud in the car and knows that he has to read a minimum of 15 minutes a day on our days off.

We will be finishing Grammar & Punctuation 1 by Evan Moor.  I love this series; we are about half way through the book now.  I think I’ll have him move right into Grammar & Punctuation 2 as soon as he is done.  Once I know he has a firm grasp on the rules, I plan on using Write a Super Sentence also by Evan Moor.  He also enjoys writing letters and fan fiction.  He is currently working on an Angry Birds in Space story.

As for the formal curriculum, we will use Horizons Math 1.  I really like it.  There are a lot of review problems, but I just pick and choose which ones I want him to complete.  We also cook together, play a lot of board games and read Mathstart books.

Social Studies:
I’ve decided to focus on Geography this year.  Ignacio really enjoys it and I would like to encourage him to follow his interests.  Also, I thought he would have an easier time understanding history if he first had a good grasp of the geographical world.  We started using Beginning Geography K-2 by Evan Moor earlier this year.  I plan on finishing the book and then moving on to Map Skills Grade 2 by if.  We have a lot of maps and globes.  We also have a variety of atlases and geography books.  I’m not sure when, but once I feel the time is right I will start introducing cultures, then history.  He has begun reading some simple biographies.


I’ve decided to use R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey: Earth & Space by Pandia Press.  Ignacio wants to be either a meteorologist or an astronaut when he gets older.  This science curriculum focuses on both weather and space, how perfect is that?  We also read a lot of books and go on a variety of field trips.


We began using the Teach them Spanish! Series this year and really liked it.  I’ll continue with the 1st grade book.  We also read along to bilingual audio books in the car and try to watch some cartoons in Spanish.  I’ve been speaking Spanish to him and he understands a lot more now.  His accent has also improved tremendously. 

He will continue taking the weekly art class our neighboring rec department offers homeschoolers.  We obviously do a lot of projects at home.  I am also really looking forward to using some Usborne books I recently ordered.

Ignacio takes a variety of classes at the Y.  He is currently taking a track & field class.  He will be continuing with his swim lessons also. 

He really wants to learn how to play the guitar, hopefully we can find a good deal on one for him.  We listen to a lot of music; his favorite band is They Might Be Giants.  We also have My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby and Jason Chapman.  Ignacio really likes it.

I would like to point out that I school year-round.  My school year runs July through June.  I try to take it easy July and August.  We plan more trips than we normally would the rest of the year.  There are also weeks where we might only school one or two days.  I just don’t like taking the entire summer off.  It makes too hard to get back into our routine.

I'm thinking of reviewing some of my favorite resources in upcoming posts.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Earth Day | Follow-up 2

A little late, but here it goes.  I’ve decided to focus on Earth and Space for science next year.  I thought I would use Earth Day as a sort of introduction into Earth Science.  We saw a documentary about the natural wonders of the world on Netflix (sorry, can’t remember the name).  We also read Usborne’s See Inside the Planet Earth by Alex Frith.  We picked up the April issue of Click magazine, which was devoted entirely to Recycling.  (Although, truth be told we haven’t read it yet, hopefully soon.)  I found a really good experiment in the book Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun: 22 Super-Charged Projects for Kids by Michael J. Caduto.

This was a very simple project.  Simply cut the top off of two plastic bottles.  Place a thermometer inside each bottle and tightly cover one of them with clear plastic.  Place both bottles next to each other in the sun.  Monitor the temperature of both throughout the day.  Make sure to continue the experiment late into the evening.  Do you think there will be a difference in the temperature within each container?  What do you think will happen once night falls?

This experiment is meant to emulate Global Warming.  The sun’s heat does not escape properly in the covered bottle.  I left the bottles out all day.  I checked the temperature when I brought them in at night and had Ignacio fill in the final data the following morning.  He had a lot of fun checking in on the thermometers.

Disclaimer: Please excuse my dirty garden window; I’m too short to reach the glass.  :)