Yep, another year is upon us. Actually, it’s already started. To keep sanity and limbs from being lost, we continued on with school in June and July. Now, lest you think I’m a homeschool nazi, we did not do that much school. If you’ll remember June was the month of strep which carried over into July and crossed over into pregnancy blahs and friends visiting. So, all total, we may have had school for possibly twenty days total. So, don’t judge people. It was for my own sanity’s sake.
Anyway here’s what we’re up to this year:
All Ages: After reading A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and listening to my children yell and scream at each other, I decided that memorizing Matthew 18 would be a great place to start our Bible time. We are through to verse 23. As we memorize, we are also discussing what it means.
After we finish Matthew 18 we’ll start into a more structured Bible time from Lamp & Quill. I’m looking forward to this curriculum as it is written for all ages from Bryant all the way through to me. We should gain a lot out of it. Of course, this does not and will not replace our family worship time during the evenings. This is a little extra that we’ll be doing along with that and our daily Bible reading (we’re reading/listening through the Bible chronologically)
Pre-K/K: I rebelled this year. We’ve stepped back from Abeka and are now trying Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Primary Arts of Language (PAL). Can I just say I love it?! We started this month and the first month is very teacher intensive. Knowing this, I was glad we waited until the others were set on their routines. We’re almost through with the most teacher intensive part and we should be heading towards more learning independence. Liam is the primary student for this with Josiah and Ceili Rain playing the games and listening in at times. This is right up Liam’s learning alley because it moves quickly from one activity to another. So, it holds his attention and he’s starting to read at a slow pace. This PAL program includes both reading and writing and will include spelling later in the year.
2nd Grade: Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serle-I used this last year and enjoyed the easy pace of it for Zoe. So, it’s nice and easy going for Ace who doesn’t seem to want to go too fast.
3rd Grade: Easy Grammar: Grade 3-Zoe seems to be picking up on this and she’s getting her daily dose of grammar without her head exploding diagramming sentences.
2nd & 3rd Grade (Writing): Institute for Excellence (IEW) in Student Writing Intensive Level A (SWI). Last year we used Writing Strands and having never taught writing, well, it didn’t go so well. Zoe and I survived, barely. We got the Teaching Writing Structure and Style (TWSS) and the SWI. The TWSS really is a teacher prep course and I have to say, I am prepared! We’ve been doing this through the summer and it is going so much better! Zoe is getting it and so is Ace. Ace will go through the first two units while Zoe will complete the whole level (this was per the conversation I had with the IEW people at the convention). I can see her brain starting to work and realize that she can enjoy writing! One of the best things about IEW is that if you purchase your material from them and are not fully satisfied at any time you can return it! They also have a great yahoo group which offers super support. And, if you’re not sure where to start your child, request a catalog and there is a grade graph showing where to start what and when.
2nd & 3rd Grade Spelling: Spelling Power-We used this last year and given Zoe’s test results last year, we’ll continue with it. It’s simple and takes about five minutes a day and includes everything I need from grades 2 through 12th grade.
PreK: Saxon Math K-Josiah will start this. We are waiting to start until we get a good routine going for our PAL program. Once that is set, I’ll start it. I’m in no rush although Josiah’s doing a great job with his critical thinking skills.
K: Saxon Math 1-Liam started some of this during the summer but when we started up PAL, I decided to put it on hold until it gets more student independent. At five, Liam can’t really take a full day of mommy’s attention focused completely on him. I can totally understand.
2nd & 3rd Grade: Teaching Textbooks 3-This came after a bit of a struggle last year. Zoe was ready to move a faster pace than Ace. Ace needed more reinforcement of some concepts but could move on, although more slowly than Zoe, onto others. They had started out on the same math because I learned a year too late that Saxon Math is usually set at a grade below what it’s actually teaching. So, much research was involved and we felt that Teaching Textbooks would be the way to go. It gives Zoe that independent and quick learning that she needs and allows Ace to practice and re-practice, if necessary, concepts he can’t quite get. It also gives me a break from having to instruct daily math (at which I’m not very good at) lessons for older kids. All the lessons are included on the software. They get about 30 minutes a day on math and at the end of the day, I review how they did. If they didn’t do too well, I can erase the lesson record and they are required to do it again. There have been zero tears of the math lessons although the fact reviews have brought a bit of tears. With this being our third month, Zoe is on her third of four Cds, which means she is more than halfway through with the lessons. When she finishes, she’ll start in the Life of Fred series. She’s super excited about this as we’ve already done quite a bit of research on it! She’ll pick back up with Teaching Textbooks when we start the next school year (can’t have her get too ahead of her peers now can we???)
All grades: Mystery of History Volume II-I’ve scaled down my expectation on history and we are still loving this curriculum. Zoe and Ace are continuing to work on Memory Cards with it and we are including a geography lesson (that is included in the back of each week’s lessons) with it. It’s awesome and we’re now studying my favorite part of history…the Middle Ages.
All grades: Apologia Science, Zoology 1, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day-This has been a great text so far. Included with several of the Apologia Science books are journals. We are using the journals this year and it’s been great to have everything we need right there. Incidentally, if you are using Apologia Science the best place to get lab kits (with all the stuff you’d spent a week collecting at various stores) is Homeschool Science Tools. It’s also the cheapest.
Zoe is taking dance. Ace is doing something else, but we’re not sure what. They are all doing gymnastics (it’s a homeschool gymnastics that meets twice a month). Zoe and Ace are both still doing piano although Ace’s may change after this winter. We’ve got handbells and art and other fun things to do in case they finish the above and are board. We also are planning on expanding our missions work around our area. The older kids are getting older and we’re all learning that we need to show Christ’s love to those around us. I’m looking forward to opportunities to do that!
I will also say that almost everything we are purchasing now or have purchased in the past is non-consummable, or is in ebook form so we have the rights to print off as much as we need for the time we use it. A lot of what we purchased this year was a bit expensive but taking into account we’ll not need to purchase as the next child goes through it, well, it gets cheaper as we go (and the more kids we have). And that’s one of our minor goals!
So, stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll let you know how we do all this during a day. Well, at least how we’re supposed to do all this in a day.