Has it really only been 2 months since we started this school year? Yikes! It feels like a lot longer than that! Honestly, it’s going well. I think that more and more we’re starting to find a groove, and that’ so nice. I don’t even have any good pictures this time because we’ve been bombarded with a wedding in the family, Halloween, election day, and my son’s 6th birthday all rolled into 1 week’s time! It’s been crazy busy preparing for all that!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were going to switch to doing weeks of history followed by weeks of science, and that really has been nice. Now rather than 5 subjects (plus extras like gym/art) each day we only have to do 4. Evie gets math and English done right away and then enjoys a break while I do math and English with Jacob. Then we all meet for lunch and Bible time. From there, Jacob goes to watch TV and/or play some educational stuff on the computer while Evie and I do history and possibly art if there’s time.
I switched Evie from Horizons Math to Teaching Textbooks. I was able to snag a like-new complete set for only FIFTEEN dollars on Craigslist. She really likes it. I placed her about in the middle of the program, so we only have about 50 more lessons to do before I have to figure SOMETHING out. 😉 Horizons was depressing us both. It’s working pretty well for Jacob though – although there is still a lot that isn’t clicking and I’m starting to worry about pressing ahead. I’m really wanting Math on the Level even though I’m completely intimidated by it AND nervous about the cost. I’m hoping to make it through on Horizons with Jacob while Evie is working on Teaching Textbooks and then MAYBE I can find Math on the Level for only $15 on Craigslist? No? Yea, I don’t think so either. I can resell Teaching Textbooks for around $75 though, and that would help me deal with the cost of a used version of MoTL. Evie and I are also reading Life of Fred (Apples) together, and I’m having her watch videos of multiplication drills on YouTube just so that she gets them into her brain. Jacob and I have been reading the SmartMath books together too just for kicks. He didn’t understand LOF yet.
Our Language Arts (AKA English) classes are going well. I did pick up the Handwriting without Tears workbook for Jacob to use daily. So far so good there. I’m really pleased with the way he is progressing with Queen Language Lessons. It’s just gentle enough for him to not be overwhelming. Same with the Pathway “Before we Read” book. I have not yet managed to pull together my own LA program even though I’d LOVVVEEE to do this. Just imagine…I select a GOOD book – like Swiss Family Robinson or something exciting like that. I read the chapter before she does and select vocab words and spelling words from the text. I make note of a significant portion to use for copywork for the day. There’s even a book that purports to be able to teach grammar from any literature book JUST for this purpose. So you’ve got everything combined as it should. I don’t know if that would work, and I’m just too chicken to try it. Has anyone done it and had success? I’ve read through the info at Jimmie’s Collage (which I LOVE), but she also uses a spelling curriculum, etc. I’m unconventional, but I don’t know if I’m THAT unconventional. 😉
We’ve been working on history for a couple of weeks (having done science the weeks before that). We’ve made our way through the Puritans and are into the settlement of Maryland now. I am LOVING it. I never, ever learned history this way in school. Evie likes it too, but she has to reign me in from doing too much research on a topic. 😉 I think she secretly likes my enthusiasm though…errrr…at least I hope she does. I’m looking at getting a timeline going. (Charlotte Mason users call it a “book of centuries.”) We’ll probably use a giant sketchbook with a horizontal line on every page denoting centuries on each page. Then we color and paste a timeline figure onto the particular page it belongs. This extends to ALL subjects – Bible time, definitely history, scientific endeavors and achievements, artists lives, famous literature, etc. It ties it all together for you so that you can glance at a particular decade and see that while X was going on, Y was happening too! I’m drooling over Homeschool in the Woods and her History Through the Ages CD-ROM.
Bible time is great. Evie really enjoys listening to the Child’s Story Bible we have. Jacob…not so much. He just can’t hold his attention that long yet, so I’m going to start reading to him later in the day some easier stories for him to focus on. Bless his heart though, he tries! I was able to come by a complete copy of the Bible Study Guide for All Ages along with the beginner unit that goes with it (Jacob’s age), and I love it! It’ll add just enough to our Bible time to make it slightly more in-depth without overwhelming them. I just need to purchase the Intermediate student pages for Evie, and I’m waiting to hear back from someone online hopefully tomorrow about that.
I rented a copy of Drawing With Children from the library, and it looks amazing IF it really teaches the way it says that it teaches. It’s a lot of reading, reading, reading before you get to the nuts and bolts of learning, so that’s where I’m stuck right now. It uses the Monart method of teaching drawing. Evie LOVES to draw. She does get pretty easily frustrated when her drawings aren’t “perfect” in her eyes, and this book says it helps kids through that struggle and teaches them everything they need to know about how to draw. The pictures of before and after drawings by kids that are only 4 and 5 are AMAZING. I found this write-up on how make the lessons more teachable that I think will come in very handy.
I’ve also been selected to teach a class at the co-op we belong to based on the Little House on the Prairie books. I offered the idea up, and it was accepted! Yay! (I think!) It should be pretty easy to do a weekly lesson on the first book along with a craft from that day – or artwork, etc. I NEED to find time to put that all together. The class will start in January. Thankfully I do still have my Prairie Primer book to help me figure out exactly what we can do!
Speaking of co-op, Jacob just is not enjoying going any longer, and I hopefully have found a sitter for both him AND Anna (who also doesn’t like to sit in the nursery for 3 hours). Evie on the other hand LOVES it. I’m just praying we can hold in this pattern for the rest of the year. Perhaps next year Jacob will be more ready to try it out, and Anna might be ready for the preschool lessons by then.
Thanks for reading this far!