Monday, September 23, 2013

School - Better late than never

I know most schools, even homeschools, got back in business the week of Labor Day, and some even sooner than that. What with our moving, and all, we decided to postpone the start of school to coincide with Toby's first day - September 16. With one week of school under our belts, I figured I was past due to share what is in store for my kiddos this year.

Bible, History & Literature are all brought to us by Veritas Press. We used Veritas for these subjects last year and I was really happy with how it all went. For Bible, we're covering Acts to Revelation, History is 1815 to Present, and all three kids are reading from their grade specific reading lists. Abi's 6th grade list includes Around the World in 80 Days, Farenheit 451, and The Lord of the Rings. Anna's 5th grade reading list has Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Noah, the 2nd grader, will be reading Owls in the Family, Baby Island, and Encyclopedia Brown.

For math, we'll continue with Math U See. We've been using this program for 6 years - since it ain't broke, we'll not waste time trying to fix it. We're now using Beta, Epsilon, and Zeta.

For science, we're doing a couple of things. Abi is using the God's Design for Science: The Human Body. It's largely independent (needful for me, at this point), with some good experiments/hands on options, which she loves. Anna and Noah are both using the Christian Liberty Press Nature readers. Anna reads her chapter from Volume 5 and answers questions, whereas Noah reads and narrates, as there are no questions in Volume 1. We're doing science twice a week, and so far, so good.

The sleeper success has been Latin. It took months to decide on whether or not to do it, so we had already ordered everything else for the year by the time we agreed to give it a shot. On a recommendation, we bought Latina Christiana I from Memoria Press for the two big girls. We originally planned on doing it 3 days a week, but they enjoyed it so much(!) that we might end up doing it 5 days. They would probably benefit from more drills/games, but I don't want to overdo it, either.

Almost every year we make some kind of change to our language arts program - why should this year be any different? The Institute for Excellence in Writing not only has their writing curriculum (which we are using), but they've also put out a grammar curriculum for grades 3-12 called Fix-It! It's pretty straightforward and user-friendly, not to mention $30 for several years of grammar - can't beat that! It ties in well with their writing curriculum, and though you don't need to use the writing curriculum to use Fix-It!, there is some crossover.
We are, for the first time, doing IEW's writing curriculum in earnest, and we're continuing with The Phonetic Zoo for spelling. I know that the girls, at least, are a little old for handwriting as a subject, but we've got some penmanship issues that need attention, so we are giving A Reason for Handwriting a try. The first weeks' writing looks good, but I'm interested to see some of that nice work cross over into their everyday writing.

Since we knew that we were not going to be involved in a co-op this year, I wanted to make it a priority to cover a couple of subjects each week that would bless their hearts and keep school fun for them, namely music and art. Since we don't have a violin or piano at our new place, we'll be covering more composers. I've designed some sheets with boxes to record names, dates, feelings about the piece and interesting facts about the composer. That might sound kind of boring, but it's not when you listen to the kid-friendly versions of pieces on the Beethoven's Wig CDs. If you haven't listened to one of these CDs yet, you really must. You may even be able to find one at your library - our old library in Abingdon had at least the first 4 volumes!
For Art, we're going to do a variety of things. One week we'll look at a painter and some of his works, another week, we'll work on specific drawing techniques (we'll be using the Making Art Fun website for this one, as this mama can barely draw a straight line with a ruler). We'll also be doing some fun doodling and building an art journal. It must be said that although I'm not generally much into art, I am looking forward to doing art with the kids this year. I even did some of my own drawing with them this week!

That's it, for the most part. We'll be making time for weekly trips to the Y, visiting my favorite kids' typing website now and then, and I'm thinking about having Abigail take the Red Cross' online babysitting class. It's a tall order, and things rarely go as planned, but I'm excited for the school year ahead and all that we'll be learning. Together.

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