Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School

Yesterday, we began our fifth year of homeschooling.

grades: 4th, Kindergarten, 2nd

It's hard to believe that my kindergartener today was just shy of turning one when my firstborn became a kindergartener.

I thought I'd share a bit this week about what homeschool looks like in our home. Today, I'll share what curricula is working for us this year.

Math: Math-U-See

We are using levels Alpha, Beta, & Gamma this year. What I love about Math-U-See (in addition to the videos that help explain concepts to me & to the kids) is that it emphasizes mastery before moving on. It gave me freedom (and permission!) to go at the pace my children need. Sometimes we spend a few weeks on a lesson if the concept is one that is proving difficult to grasp. Sometimes (ahem, Madeleine) we fly through the whole week's lessons in a few minutes. And sometimes we're right on track.

I also plan on using these books this year, as they were recommended to me by a math specialist last year for more hands-on math concepts.

Language Arts: Rod and Staff

After trying Shurley English and First Language Lessons in the past, this year I decided to go back to a more "traditional" textbook-style grammar program. A good friend of mine has found these to be very beneficial for her kids. We will see.  I think that this type of approach will be great for both my visual and auditory learners. 

We also use a few different things for handwriting, which we work on daily. Hadleigh will be using cursive this year.

We skipped ahead last year to the first part of American History while we lived near Washington DC. So this year, I'm going back to the second year of VP's history course. I love the timeline cards and the source materials and literature that is a part of the course. We will pick up history after Labor Day weekend.

We also like to listen to The Story of the World CD's that coordinate with what we're learning.

Literature: Veritas Press--Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 4th grade

We have Kindergarten through 4th Grade literature/reading books from Veritas Press. I'm excited about some of the titles for Hadleigh this year. The younger kids listen along to those we read aloud. I alternate our read alouds for their ages (they all enjoy listening to everyone else's books).

Our children LOVE listening to books on CD. We will continue to pick up titles for them to listen to, in the car and in their rooms while they play, color, etc.

This program has been a game-changer for us. I began with Veritas Press Phonics Museum from the first. I loved the program but found it just wasn't working for my oldest. Enter All About Spelling, which reinforces reading concepts at the same time as spelling.  This program is multi sensory , which helps so much when you have children whose learning styles differ. I recommend this to all my friends who have a child who is a struggling reader. The lessons are scripted but engaging for the teacher as well.

All About Reading became available just in time for Madeleine, and while she has pretty much taught herself to read, we're still going through the program to help solidify those skills. 

Science: Answers in Genesis: God's Design for Science

I really like this program. It's four courses designed for grades 1-8, to be taught twice during that time. Each lesson has two sections, one geared towards younger learners (the first cycle) and another for older learners (the second cycle). This is also helpful if you have a wide range of ages. This year we will be doing God's Design for Life, focusing on plants, animals, and the human body.

Veritas Press also has a timeline for Biblical events. We have done a few different things in the last year or two, so we're going back to the second set of Bible timeline cards this year which they aim towards 3rd grade. We're also using God's Names by Sally Michael for a devotional study in the mornings.

In addition, the kids will participate in a local co-op taking elective type classes, including PE, science experiments, art, crafts, etc. We are looking to find a piano teacher, so they can begin playing.

I will also be doing some art and music studies through the year...but still working out what I want to use. I'll update when I know more!

One last thing that I think is important to note: 

There are so many great curriculum choices out there now for homeschoolers. But just remember, every family is different. Every child is different. What works for me, may not be the best fit for you. I've even learned that I have to alter some things to better fit each of my own children's unique style of learning. Other homeschoolers are a valuable source of information about what they've used...but make sure to focus on your own family's strengths, weaknesses, learning (and teaching!) styles as you consider what to use in your homeschool.

Let me know if you have questions about any of these and feel free to share what you enjoy using!

I'll be back tomorrow with what a typical school day/week looks like in our home.


Jen Kershner said...

I so admire anyone that homeschools. We have been struggling with a new computerized teaching program that the school started using last year. It took a girl who was a math rockstar and loved math and turned her into a girl with no confidence in her math skills and who hated the subject. She still got all A's but it was hard on her emotionally. We are hoping with a new teacher and a new technique with the program that this year will be better but if not Daddy is standing by prepared to home school her in the subject. Thank goodness I married a man who minored in math!

Shannon Family said...

You are doing amazing!!! It is fun to see what you are doing. I have used Memoria Press with my second grader for the past 3 years and LOVE it! Everything is right in the spiral and for someone like me who is a checklist person it makes it easy.
At her school 2 days a weeks she does Veritas, and Math-u-see.
I love that you put all of this on the blog for us to see. I think it is great to see how others plan their day.


© 2011. All Rights Reserved. | Prefab Blog Design By Penny Lane Designs