Dec 22, 2010

Getting Ready

We are having a great time on our Christmas break, and some of us are getting very excited about the upcoming week full of celebration. I, however, am also busy with preparations for our next school term. We have pretty much reached the point in our educational lives where "just do the next thing" is preferred. We have all burned out a bit on fancy projects and lots of extra book gathering and heavy planning. Toward the end of last term we were pretty much just putting one foot in front of the other and were slightly surprised to find that it worked and we liked it. I am happy that, thanks to some TOS Crew review items, a freebie from a local homeschooler, and a few other things I can throw in, Daniel and Abbie have a complete curriculum that doesn't involve me scouring the Internet for ideas. Put that together with our workboxes and our daily routine and I foresee a lot of "getting stuff done" without extra stress and strain on the mom. Maybe the house will even stay clean this term???

This is what we are doing:

Kaytie and Nate (3rd and 2nd grade, respectively) will be starting Math U See level Gamma. I am also supplementing with Math Mammoth Measuring 1 and Early Geometry. I really like the looks of these as a supplement, and the price is great!
Daniel and Abbie and Kevin will be starting on Shiller math. It's based on Montessori theory, and the lessons are quick and easy enough that I can/will let each kid go through the book at their own rate. I am expecting Daniel to fly though it, Abbie to jog through it, and Kevin (who is nearly six months younger than Abbie) to move at a regular pace. The books were free (to me) and we already owned, in some form or another, all of the manipulatives required. I'm hoping this will keep Daniel busy and engaged until he is ready for Alpha next fall.

We are starting Rod and Staff Grammar with Kaytie and Nate, and I am hoping it will be more hands on and practical than First Language Lessons. I liked FLL a lot until we got to the end of the first book and I realized that we had just spent a year on nouns and the kids still struggled with what exactly one was. They can memorize definitions and spit them back out at you in the blink of an eye, but they need to actually use the information before they can understand it. I like the look of Rod and Staff, it remains to be seen what the kids think. We are starting with Grade Three: Beginning Wisely, since everything they don't know in the Second Grade scope and sequence is also addressed in the Third Grade.

We are still trudging through Story of the World. The kids do not enjoy "living history" as much as I thought they would. Although, they did engage in the story of King Tut, and memorized every book I could find on the subject. I'm hoping that once we get out of the ancient ancients and into the Greeks and Romans they will find it a tad more interesting... I really really wish they would incorporate more Biblical history into their timeline, though. We had a flicker of interest when we were able to see where Abraham and Joseph fit into the timeline.

We are off schedule on the number of states we have studied, but since I never could figure out how to fit 50 states into 39 weeks to begin with, I don't guess it signifies much. We are just going to pick up where we left off and study one state at a time. I have decided to drop all the "living books" and just have them read a couple of factual books about each state. The story books don't usually have anything to do with the state to which they are "assigned" and the kids are not making the connection. So I'm going to drop those books off of my library lists and use those slots for books of their own choosing.

We are going on with Apologia's Swimming Creatures. The kids are really enjoying this and getting a lot out of it. I do wish there was more experiments for their age level, but we are not exactly lacking in impromptu scientific experiments around here. Little boys and science just seem to go hand in hand. It has been easy to find library books to go along with each creature as we come to it. Some I read aloud to everybody, some Kaytie and Nate read to themselves, some sit idly by until I give up and take them back.

We are finally starting All About Spelling Level Two. I am loving this program. The kids remember the rules, even though I can't, and when they are writing on their own, they apply the rules. It's great!

We are reviewing Latin Is Not So Tough, so I will talk about it when the review comes out...

We are still happily working our way through Bible Study Guide for All Ages. Kaytie and Nate are working on the Intermediate Level, Daniel and Abbie will be starting the Beginner Level this term. I'm interested in seeing what it looks like and if it works as well as the upper level.

I am tweaking Peterson Directed Handwriting a little. I made a salt-tray and I copied all the letters and numbers onto half of an index card for quick and easy instruction or review. Kaytie will be focusing mostly on numbers and Nate on the handful of letters and numbers that give him trouble.
Daniel, Abbie and Kevin will just be working their way through the alphabet, learning to write. I have some large foam letters for them to "finger-trace" as well.
And the manipulative ideas that I have collected for Kaytie's backwards writing will be used by everybody.

Kaytie and Nate are still reading aloud daily. More to help with their pronunciation of big words than for any other reason. It's sad to have a large vocabulary of big words and not be able to say them properly.
Daniel and Abbie will be solidifying their letter/sound knowledge with Get Ready for the Code workbooks. They will sit in on Kevin's introduction to the alphabet. Kevin will be working with all the different manipulative alphabets I have, listening to alphabet books, working on puzzles, playing on Starfall, and singing the alphabet songs I found on youtube.
Daniel and Abbie will also be using a reading curriculum that we are reviewing. So far, I am liking it a lot. The review will be out in February.

The kids are still using Talking Fingers for fun and typing instruction.

In addition to the handwriting, math, and phonics I mentioned before, Abbie and Kevin (and Daniel, too) will be busy with puzzles and coloring and shapes and colors and cutting and pasting and...
Gracie will just be playing/working Montessori-toddler style. She will be included as she chooses in the bigger kids lessons, and left alone if she so desires.

So there you have it. That is our line-up for the next 13 weeks. I can not express how happy I am that the only researching/planning/hunting for ideas I am going to have to do is for science. Everything else is just sitting there, ready to go... :)

1 comment:

Inspiring Jibberjabber said...

I totally understand what you're talking about in the first paragraph! Glad I'm not the only one who likes things "simple yet effective"!


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