“Mix It Up May” – taking a break from our regular curriculum

MIx it up May

We’re almost halfway through our school year, and although we love the curriculum we’ve chosen for the year and have no plans to change anything permanently, I thought we’d take about a month to do some different things.

The last thing I want is for our learning to become monotonous and dull.  Before we get to that point, we’re going to side-step a bit in our main learning areas, and come back to our familiar programs a little more refreshed.

My preschoolers are happy enough with our learning times, so I’ll keep our current hands-on approach with them.  It’s fairly simple at their ages.  I’ve also started ‘Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’ with my almost 5 year old, and am finding it really fantastic so far (it’s only about $12 for a bumper book of 395 pages – great value too)

My oldest child is 8 ½, and it’s her program of learning that we’re mixing up a bit for the month.  Some of these things we’ve already begun at the time of writing.

Our Plan for May


Instead of Story of the World (Ancient History), we’re going to focus on these areas of history:


We normally use Writing with Ease and All About Spelling, but for May will look at only using ‘Story Starters’ for some creative writing.  My daughter already does enough copywork practice daily with her Handwriting Without Tears.  I’m also going to encourage her to write in her journal each day, and we’ll be keeping up with the writing in ‘Who is God’ and her nature journal.


We’re currently doing Math-U-See and I like the confidence it gives me that everything is covered very thoroughly.  Maths is not our happiest subject, and I’m not sure that any different curriculum would produce better results where that is concerned.

The left-brained vs right-brained theory asserts that some people are more dominantly creative (right-brained) or dominantly left-brained (analytical).  Scientists don’t all agree that the notion actually exists (I did a test for fun – I was equal!).  Whether the theory stacks up scientifically or not, I’ve certainly noticed that my 8 ½ year old finds areas of learning that have a creative and artistic component much easier than those that are more logical and methodical.  Even a word search can be an unhappy experience.

Her struggle with Maths isn’t so much her lack of natural ability as much as it’s the discipline of working through something methodically, and sometimes it’s also the time it takes to do it.

Instead of trying to make Maths more creative this time, I’m going to try and work on strengthening the areas she’s weaker in.  Here’s my plan for this month (and maybe beyond):

  • Critical Thinking Activities, book 1 and book 2 (K-3, and 4-6) – to use the left side of her brain more.
  • SchoolhouseTeachers.com – has a variety of short videos, including some applied maths, which I think will give my daughter a different way of seeing things.  There are also elementary maths lessons listed by grade that we will revisit for some revision.  Sometimes it helps to have a different teacher or method to explain the same concepts.  I’m hopeful this will be effective!
  • Yahtzee and card games.
  • Xtra Math – a free online resource for addition and subtraction practice.


We’ve just finished Apologia Zoology 1 (Flying Creatures), so before we launch into Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures), I’d like to review what we’ve done.  We’ll do this by doing a Flying Creatures lapbook, and going through our Notebooking Journal and tidying up any loose ends we didn’t finish.

We also still have a Supercharged Science subscription, so will look at some of the other experiments at my daughter’s grade level.

Fine Arts

We have yet to purchase all the books on our wishlist, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to get these on our bookshelf soon!  Here are my favourites:

We have Maestro Classics downloads that are new into our hands (‘Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel’, and ‘My Name is Handel’), so we’ll keep enjoying those and I’ll have a review coming to let you know what I think of them!

As for art, we rarely have to be very intentional about doing enough of this as it’s one of our most favourite learning times.  I’ll most likely make use of the ideas I’ve filed away on Pinterest, and until we can purchase ‘See the Light’, we’ll keep finding creative ways to develop new skills and enjoy ourselves.  Schoolhouseteachers.com also has some Art Technique Lessons we might do (by Brenda Ellis from ARTistic Pursuits).

If you’ve tried mixing things up halfway through your school year, I would love to hear some things you’ve tried.

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