Saturday, May 17, 2014

Summer's Coming, and so is Coussoule Curriculum 2014

Despite the lengthening of the school year by a week due to the crazy number of snow days we had this year, it is, in fact, only three weeks until the final bell rings and Caroline and John are home for the carefree, sunny, lazy days of summer.

Well, sunny at least. While the kids will have plenty of time to have fun, play with friends, go to the pool, and generally goof off, just like last year they'll also have summer curriculum courtesy of Mom. Add in the worksheets with Dad, the summer reading program at the Fayetteville Public Library, swim lessons and tennis camp, and it should be a jam packed ten weeks.

Last year, we had weekly Bible verses to memorize, three journaling prompts per week, an art project, a science topic with hands on learning, and a recipe for Mommy to try. We were triumphantly successful in Bible verse memorization; the journaling results were priceless; the art projects were fun but toward the end of the summer got a little bit overwhelming; and the science projects were hit or miss, at best. I managed to get all but one of the recipes made, learning along the way that the cookbook I had identified for my life list effort was less than gourmet (or less than edible, a couple of times), so I'm giving myself a break this summer until I find a more reliable source of new family meals.

I have had it on my list for weeks now to get this year's summer curriculum written, but for reasons ranging from legitimate (job transition took most of my excess mental capacity for several weeks) to really lousy (I still have three Candy Crush lives left!) it was left undone, a blank slate, until this morning. Thanks to the early-spring-like weather we are having, my morning bike ride plans got pushed to this afternoon, so I sat down at the computer to knock it out:
Given the hit-or-miss nature of some of the pillars of last summer's curriculum, and with another year of the kids' learning and growing behind us, I tweaked the pillars of study this summer to give us more flexibility and to make it a little bit different and challenging. The Bible verses are still there; in fact, they're already written and ready to go for each week:
The journaling prompts are a staple for every summer to come - last summer I came up with probably half of the ideas myself, but this year I asked The Google for some help, and found a fantastic website that has me thinking this could be a year-round possibility for us.

Gone are the art projects; gone are the science experiments. In their place are the combined History, Science, Geography lessons, and a new pillar on Money Management. My dearest wish is that by the end of the summer, Caroline and John never again say "well we can just go buy one!" about whatever toy or object their fickle hearts desire at the moment.

While not a formal part of the 12 weeks of 2013 summer learning, we also read several children's classics together last year, and I hope to do the same again this summer. We need to finish up one book that we started last year, but there are a few new ones on the list, too. Good readers make good writers, and good writers are hard to find, so I hope to equip my children to stand out with their ability to punctuate, capitalize, use appropriate verb tenses, write complete sentences, and all of the other things that this English nerd Mom loves to see.

The biggest difference between last summer and the one to come is the two week summer vacation we're taking out west. I can't WAIT - there are sights to be seen and natural wonders to behold and Rocky Mountain states to be explored. There will be plenty of fun learning on that trip, including (I hope) Mark Twain audiobooks along the way. Those western states are awfully big, and there will be a lot of driving, and there are only so many movies I can responsibly let them watch in the back of the van. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they like Audible as much as I do!

It's an ambitious curriculum, but I hope it's a balance between keeping the kids inside too much and preventing "I'm bored!" by the third week of June. Summer isn't here yet, but we're ready to hit the ground running when it arrives, barefoot, in our shorts, and ready to learn all at the same time.


  1. LOVE your summer curriculum! I am way behind in getting my underway. Last year we really focused on Math and honing our reading and comprehension skills. Your concept of the pillars is brilliant and I think I will need to bring something similar into the Sheldon household. Where are you finding the informational and worksheet resources for the history and geography lessons? Very very cool Mamma Coussoule.

    1. I find lots of stuff just with Google, and then I put together the questions for the Presidents and States based on what I think the kids can find in library books. We're really big on our local library - I'm excited to see what the kids can find for those lessons this summer!

  2. But -- wait! Why are the art projects gone!!! That's disastrous! That's grievous! That's terrifying! What will happen to the right side of their brains?!
    Please text me your current email address. I have some lesson plans to share (with Power Points) :)

    1. Oh, that's awesome Linda, thank you!! Don't fear, though - the art lessons only went by the wayside because my kiddos are constantly creating something artistic, so I didn't think we needed to formalize it this year. Lesson plans make it easier, though, so I'll send you a text!

  3. Glad to see this again this year. I've sent to some friends and planning on implementing some in my own little ones summer! Thank you!