School was to start yesterday but, unexpectedly, we had friends come into town Sunday. We saw them Monday & Tuesday mornings as planned. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, though, so I invited them to do a picnic at a park Tuesday night. Last minute plans plus total procrastination on several items I needed to do before we could start meant that school would be a day late. Its times like that that make me glad we homeschool! The schools here are already in session, so our time together would have been already more limited. The freedom to delay school in order to spend time with out-of-town friends is a freedom I certainly appreciate.
This year I didn’t change many of our choices.
Outside of a two-month period where I mistakenly switched to Right Start math, we have been devotees of Singapore Math Standards Edition. Elizabeth is really good with mental math and the curriculum fits my teaching style. She is using 3A & 3B this year. I’ve not previously purchased the tests or word problems but I was able to purchase them inexpensively from a friend. So we are adding them as well. Sadly, I don’t think Singapore will fit my middle child’s learning style, so I will probably have to find a different choice for him next year.
Of all the subjects, spelling is the one I am most excited to use. Last fall, Elizabeth (newly 7) wasn’t reading more than basic cvc words. SoldierBoy had mild dyslexia at her age and I was growing concerned she may as well. I chose All About Spelling for her. We did it sporadically through the fall and more regularly in the winter. Within weeks of getting regular about it, her reading took off. I was learning spelling & phonics rules I always assumed were just quirks of our language rather than actual rules. We both looked forward to it each day and quickly completed level 1. We began level 2 in April, right as end-of-the-year blahs were hitting. We only half-heartedly worked it, so we are starting back at step 1 of level 2 this year.
Writing with Ease is a book we started last year. Elizabeth loves the stories and I love the quality of copywork in it. I have very much neglected reading good chapter books with Elizabeth thus far, something I am working hard to change, so I appreciate this exposure to quality literature.
In years past, we haven’t followed a formal science curriculum instead focusing on whatever topic was of interest. After looking over a copy of Apologia Astronomy that my sister owned, I decided to give this a try this year. I have been hesitant to use it because we lean towards an Old Earth philosophy while Apologia is decidedly Young Earth. After studying it, I decided that, at least for now, I think I can work with it. I appreciate that suggested lesson plans are included, activities are easy and include mostly items you would have at home, or alternates are suggested. I decided on the Junior Notebook to go with it which is recommended for grades K-3.
Handwriting is going to be A Reason for Handwriting again. Last year I purchased level B and then, when she was done with that, I purchased level T. Had I to do it again, I would have skipped B and gone straight with T. T (transition) has both print & cursive letters in it, a detail I missed. We started T at the end of the year and I quickly realized EGirl needed a little while longer before she was ready for cursive. So we will do T this year and then I have C for after that. I love the copywork Bible verse with each lesson and she loves to mail them to out-of-state family.
Our first actual curriculum purchase was Explode the Code’s Get Ready, Get Set, Go! series. We moved from those to their numbered books and, this year, will finish them up. We are starting with Book 7 and should move to Book 8 by January. These books are self-contained (I’ve never purchased a teacher manual) and lessons can easily be split up. We aim to finish one 8-page lesson a week. There is a review every 3-5 lessons and a whole-book review at the end. Knowing what I do now about All About Spelling, I am not sure I will use ETC with my boys and, instead, will just wait until they are ready for AAS.
We discovered Grapevine Studies last year and I fell in love. I came across their Esther series and chose it for our first study. While I know a little about Queen Esther, her story isn’t one I know well, so I’m looking forward to it. The Ester books have recently been updated and are on sale this month! I prefer the printed book for the student version and the e-book for the teacher edition. We use our tablet for school time frequently, so this saves us a few dollars.
Not getting caught up in whether the images look ‘right’ or not by using stick figures keeps Elizabeth (and myself!) from getting stuck on that. I love the freedom of being told I HAVE to use stick figures! Art has never been my strong subject, so the freedom is welcomed. We completed the Resurrection study last spring and, after Esther, we will move onto the Old Testament studies.
Grammar and history I am still undecided on. Yes, school started today and I haven’t made much progress on choosing these two subjects!