A lot of homeschooling families do the “ease into it” approach at the beginning of the school year. I don’t think that would work very well for us; my kids just don’t have that personality. You give them an inch (in this case, a light day of school) and they’ll take a mile (requesting to have the entire day off instead). So last Tuesday, we just dove in head first.
I mentioned in my post last week (about our curriculum for this year) the list of subjects, so I won’t go too overkill on listing them all again. Instead, I’ll talk about how they’re working so far and how we like them.
The kids’ hands-down favorite activity so far is spelling. We’re doing word games for this subject at the moment, and they’re a big hit. The kids like them because they’re fun; I like them because they help the boys with both spelling and logic skills. The way the games work is this: we have two sets of alphabet cards with a few duplicated letters (the common ones). Each day, the children are given a set of cards, usually 7-9. There are clues such as:
Make a two letter pronoun for I (me)
Add two letters to mean “get over here” (come)
Swap a vowel and rearrange to make a group of rodents (mice)
And so on. In fact, it was such a big hit on Tuesday that Munchkin decided he’d rather do that with Seahawk than continue with Spelling You See (which he was doing because he likes it anyway, so switching over was no big deal to me).
Our next favorite so far is Fix It! Grammar. This is such a great program. Like I mentioned last week, I don’t want to say too much now because I have a review to write on it in a few weeks, but it’s going to be getting a great review, I’ll tell you that much now. The kids like that it’s such a short lesson – and thus far, a pretty easy one because it’s mostly just going over concepts they’ve already learned. I like that they’re getting a real life applicable grammar program.
They are also really enjoying the speedy lapbooks for science. So far we’ve done two: the brain and the heart. The boys have learned quite a bit from those two, and they like these lapbooks better than the ones we’ve done in the past. It provides them good handwriting, cutting, and pasting practice as well as teaching them science.
We’ve finished the “introductory” lessons in our history text and have started into the very beginning of history: Creation. This isn’t new to the boys, of course, but the author makes some great observations that I hadn’t considered before.
I think the kids are looking forward to getting some new options for Bible besides What on Earth Can I Do? They don’t dislike the lessons, but the notebooking that goes along with it can be a bit much for my boys. We’re expecting some new books from Apologia later this week – part of their iWitness series. Look for that review in about six weeks. They’ve also been keeping up with their chapter-a-day Bible reading. Last week they read aloud together and completed the book of Ruth.
For reading, I changed my mind a little bit. I’m not going to give the boys free reign on what books they read. They will have assigned books each month, and when they finish that book (both for the month and their chapter of the day), they can read what they want. Munchkin will be reading whatever his book club assigns. Seahawk doesn’t have the same love of books as his brother, so he doesn’t participate in book club; therefore I’ve created a list of books for him to read this school year.
I just got word last week that we’ll be reviewing a new foreign language program starting later this week. We’ll still be studying French, but the method will be a little different. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
In addition to our core subjects, we started a unit study on the Eastern United States this week; that will take us pretty much through to Christmas. The unit study will cover geography, writing, art (they’re going to be creating a poster for the states they study), American history (in addition to the world history we’re studying with Truth Quest), and give them presentation skills (I’m going to have them present their work at the end of the quarter; maybe we’ll even have a party with grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins for it). That’s why I love unit studies so much: one topic covers so many different subjects!
I guess that’s it – our first week of homeschooling in a nutshell.
How did yours go?
I’m going to take a break from the Simplicity posts for a while. I had a lot to say on the subject six months ago, but I feel like I’ve exhausted my ideas, at least for the time being. It was becoming more stressful than anything to figure out what to write about to fit that theme, and that defeats the whole purpose of both simplicity and why I blog. I want writing to be fun, and the simplicity posts were starting to take the joy away from blogging for me. I don’t want that, so I’m going to let them go even though the year isn’t up yet. We still live a simple life, but it’s hard for me to quantify it in words, so I’m not going to make a point to try anymore. When an idea for one comes, I’ll write about it, but I’m not prepared to promise one a week anymore. In fact, it’s been so rough for me that I’ll even be changing the blog name in December . . . Anyway, thanks for understanding.