Monday, June 06, 2011

What we're learning

Well we successfully made it through our first year of homeschooling. I learned a lot about what does and doesn't work for us, myself and the kids. The past few weeks and months I have spent lots of time researching different curriculum choices for us for next year.

Tyler doesn't like to write and it is affecting his reading. I found a curriculum for him that separates out the reading from the writing. He'll still be doing writing but not as he works on his reading skills.

The girls did really well this year but need to be challenged more. They can read really well but need more practice in reading comprehension.

So with those things and others in mind here are the curriculum choices I finally settled on:

Tyler (First Grade):
Phonics: Primary Arts and Language: Reading
**This includes a sticker page (the Phonetic Farm) that reinforces the sounds being taught. For example the sheep sticker goes on when we learn about the "squealy ee's." It also has a whole series of file folder games that again reinforce the sounds being taught. For Tyler this should be a lot of fun and I'm excited to start this up with him.

Writing & Spelling: Primary Arts and Language: Writing
**This is a precursor to the writing program I'll be starting with the girls this year. It not only teaches handwriting and spelling but also the basics of composition. It should go slow enough that by the end of the year when he's a little more academically mature he'll be able to sit and write several sentences at a time. Right now its just pure torture for him

Math: I have several places I'm drawing our math material from. We'll be mainly focusing on improving his addition and subtraction.

Karena & Hannah (Second Grade):
Writing: Teaching Writing: Structure and Style
**I'm truly excited for this curriculum. I remember in our last phonics book the girls were asked to write a short story. Karena narrated this fantastic story out loud to me. When it came to putting it down on paper it was pitiful and turned into a huge ordeal. When I was introduced to this curriculum at a recent Homeschool conference the lady presenting compared writing to learning to play an instrument. She said just as it is ridiculous to expect a child to sit down at a piano and play an original composition with little to no instruction than it is to expect them to write an original composition after little to no instruction. This will be a curriculum we will use through high school.

Spelling: All About Spelling
**I love this spelling program. It teaches them why words are spelled the way they are. No more memorizing long lists for the test on Friday only to forget them by that afternoon. We're almost done with Level 1 and will be starting on Level 2 shortly. The girls really enjoy it so far.

Latin: Prima Latina
**Yes, we are going to learn Latin. We are beginning to start following a more classical education model of homeschooling. For a good definition of classical education click here.

Math: Same as Tyler
**Still focusing on Addition and Subtraction and adding in fractions and beginning geometry and multiplication

Literature: Reading and discussing several chapter books such as Winnie the Pooh, Boxcar Children, Little House in the Big Woods, and Little House on the Prairie.

Music: Piano and possibly guitar for Karena

History (Old Testament/Ancient Egypt): Veritas Press
Bible (Gensis - Joshua): Veritas Press
**Both of these we will be studying together. They are a series of cards that have specific information to memorize and then resources to add to it. We'll be doing different projects and worksheets along with these cards.

Geography: Basic geography (maps, continents, oceans)

Science: God's Design for Heaven and Earth
**We'll be studying The Universe, Planet Earth and Weather and Water. I tried to do Astronomy this past year but I couldn't get into our science book. It read too much like a textbook and every time I brought it out the kids eyes would glaze over. (Mine did too, actually.) These books seem to be much better. They have a good balance of activities and reading. There's only a page of reading per topic for their age group. The books we tried before had pages and pages of material per topic.

I believe that's everything. We'll be starting back to school in July. I've been trying to get everything planned and ready so we can just jump in with both feet.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Something I never thought I'd hear

So after a long and crazy week John and I got to have a fantastic and relaxing date night. After dinner we wandered towards Barnes and Noble. We got a phone call from our realtor (that's another topic for later) so we stopped at some tables outside the store to talk. John finished the phone call and we went inside. We made it to the back of the store and started flipping through some books. Suddenly John says, "I have a cicada in my pants." I laugh, thinking he's kidding. As I look up he's grabbing a small handful of his pants on his thigh and I realize he's actually not kidding. He really did have a cicada in his pants! I can't wait for those stupid bugs to go back underground.