Finding a groove for our homeschooling has been tough this year. I unexpectedly got a job (as church administrative assistant) at the start of summer. It is part time, and and kids come with me. We do school there, usually. We call it “schworch.” It is not ideal, but it’s what we have to work with.
Anyway, after about six weeks of school, I finally feel like we are getting in to the swing of things, so I thought I post “the plan.”
2012-2013 School Year
Boy and Girl are both learning at home this year. We are using Moving Beyond the Page 8-10 for Girl’s language arts and science/social studies, and MBtP 6-8 for Boy’s language arts. Girl is also continuing with Latin and harp. Boy has started piano, and they will both start swimming lessons in October. For math, we are using the Life of Fred elementary series by Stanley F. Schmidt. They both have Zaner-Bloser handwriting practice books (Boy is learning cursive; Girl is practicing). We are occasionally using Spelling Workout B for Boy, and slightly more consistently using Vocabulary from Classical Roots 6 for Girl, as supplements to the spelling/vocabulary in MBtP. Oh, and we use the Draw-Write-Now books because Boy loves to draw, and those help me get him to do some copywork, too.
I wanted to try Lift of Fred because both my kids are story fiends – telling stories, listening to stories, writing or making up stories, reading, reading, reading. A story-based math book seemed like a great idea. They love Fred…but they still hate the part at the end of each chapter called “Your Turn to Play” – the problem sets. Now, these problem sets are pretty minimal – maybe 4 or 5 questions – but the rule is that they have to write the answers before moving on to the next chapter. This is the author’s rule, by the way. I didn’t make it up. 🙂 Even though the kids would love it if I dropped the rule and let them plough through the books without writing the answers, I won’t. That little bit of writing requires them to slow down enough to let some concepts really sink in. Not to mention that Girl, at least, would have already read all the books in the series by now.
I’m not sure how I like MBtP. I really am a straight-line-through-history kind of a girl, and MBtP hops about a good deal, while focusing on a “Concept” (such as “Interdependence”) for several weeks. Science/Social Studies and language arts units are correlated, so that, for instance, during the Interdependence concept, the first lit unit is Little House in the Big Woods, while the first science/social studies unit is Dirt and Plants. That was a tough unit to get through, weirdly. Girl has read all the Little House books more than once, so doing the reading was not a problem for her, but stopping after each chapter to answer questions and do activities that she obviously did not see the value in, really bugged her. The Dirt and Plants unit started out pretty simplistically, and neither of them was particularly interested.
The next unit in this concept is The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare for L.A., and Native Americans for social studies. This is more promising. Both kids are willing to work on the activities for the social studies unit and seem to be learning. We will be starting The Sign of the Beaver tomorrow (we are a little out of phase). Girl has not read this book before (Amazing! There are books she hasn’t read!), so she won’t know what’s coming. With luck, that will make the question answering more useful.
Using the 6-8 MBtP curriculum with Boy is, uh, challenging. We are only using two concepts from this level, (“Community” and “Culture”) to give him something more at his level for language arts while he participates in the 8-10 level science/social studies activities with his. He hasn’t quite learned the art of eye-rolling, but much of the community stuff he already got in public school kindergarten and the private preschool he went to. I’m trying to choose bits that he hasn’t covered before, and supplementing heavily with anything having to do with dinosaurs. (Sauropods lived in herds and velociraptors hunted in packs…those are communities, right?)