Saturday, December 19, 2009

New semester changes

I had thought that I had the perfect plan for the year back when I set it all out initially. After 18 weeks of using the materials and seeing what works, doesn't work, and plain never makes it into the rotation I'm revising.

In math: At the beginning of the year we were using Sinapore Earlybird Mathematics in conjunction with Miquon. I'd read so many glowing online reviews of this combo and so many people seemed to adore both of them. We had already used Singapore's Earlybird program last year, so I was pretty comfortable with that choice, and I was willing to give Miquon an honest go. Unfortunately, we are Miquon failures. I love the idea behind the program, and I think with all the explanatory materials it's easy to implement and add into a homeschool program. Sweet Pea was initially a fan and even was known to refer to it as math games. She quickly changed her mind, though, and didn't want anything to do with it. In retrospect I think she just liked playing with the cuisenaire rods and the rest was a wash. So we jettisoned that and spent most of the semester finishing the Earlybird series, using an abacus, working on skip counting, and basic arithmetic. I then added in Math Mammoth's blue addition series, and that seems to be going well. Sweet Pea appears to just be a traditional worksheet kit. And that's fine!

Language Arts: At first I thought there would be huge upheaval and changes here. I detested Writing with Ease at first. We stuck with it, and it's a good fit and we will be keeping this. Our current grammar program is First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. I'm a little more mixed here. It's got a lot of repetition built in. When I say a lot, I mean a colossal amount. Really. Sweet Pea seems to be learning and retaining with it, and the poetry included for memorization is nice. I had intended to at least use this through second grade (which is in the same book) but now am less sure. I do think that we'll finish the year with it, and then possibly try something else like Growing with Grammar. I do think that grammar is vital and whatever we use we'll continue regular lessons and diagramming. Spelling is being done with Spelling Workout. I don't know if it's just the level A book or something that I'm missing, but I don't feel like the exercises are actually teaching spelling. Rather I feel like this is busy work that isn't accomplishing anything other then wasting time. I have McGuffey's Eclectic Speller and may just start using that to go through and make up my own practice sessions. I'm unsure. Reading began with Hooked on Phonics and is now firmly in the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. McGuffey's has come and gone in intervals throughout the semester and I see that trend continuing.

Language: I really, really wanted to be that homeschool family- the ones who use Latin from the beginning and succeed wildly. It wasn't happening. Prima Latina didn't fit us. And so we never got around to it. Instead we are switching to a modern foreign language- specifically French. I still don't know exactly what we are using, but hopefully in a few weeks that'll be resolved.

Science: I had this great plan for science. I was going to do it as laid out in the Well Trained Mind- and pull it all together myself from different encyclopedias and resources. Once again- it just didn't happen. We recently ordered and have begun Rod and Staff's grade 2 science program. It's open and go and all contained. So science is actually happening. We will not be using Rod and Staff long term for science, but at this level I don't see anything objectionable in it.

1 comment:

  1. I still can't decide whether to start with Latin this spring or modern language like Spanish (should be easier, as I got a college degree in Spanish at least). I have Song School Latin and La Clase Divertida all ready to go for when the decision is made. Two weeks and we start with one or the other.



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