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.


Amy said...

Can I come and learn with them? It sounds interesting, especially the science, geography, and history part. I wish my kiddos knew those things. They don't know the difference between Indiana and India, city and a state, and that's in 4th grade. Yay for you!

CJ said...

You are working hard and learning yourself. It appears it makes you pay special attention to what makes each child tick. That is a lot more than many parents know about their children's learning style.

Love ya and wish you all the best. You can teach me Latin when you are done.

Nicole said...

I am going to have so many questions for you in about 3 years when I'm getting ready to homeschool Nate. You will be a pro by then. Sounds like there are lotd of options out there and that you are figuring out what works for your kids' learning styles. Something that kids in public school definitely miss out on is that more individualized instruction.

Jan said...

Rachel, unlike Cindi, I do NOT want you to teach me Latin (ever!).

So great that this is working out for your family. It was fun to learn how much you enjoy homeschool and it looks like you are making sure your kids will enjoy learning as well.

Have fun exercising all that Addison gray matter!

Tristan said...

Nice to meet another LDS homeschool family! Looks like you've made plans for a good year - enjoy it!

Amy said...

I might have to check out all about spelling for the future. (or my own curiosity now. why are words spelled the way they are?) anyway-have a great year!

Sally said...

I popped in from the HOTM blog hop and really enjoyed reading about all the great materials you'll be using this year! I wish you all the best!

Thia said...

I too am going to try the Veritas Press Bible for first grade. I think we can do it! Interesting to see someone else who thinks the same thing. I'm tired of weak children's "Bibles" that are all slightly off in some way.

Michaela Stephens said...

On the writing thing, if you want to encourage composition at an early age, allow your girls to dictate what they want to say and then you do the writing. My mom did that when I was like 5 by allowing me to dictate what she would write for me in my journal. It was a blast!