Sunday, August 2, 2009

What are we doing???

I am very excited about this year. Anson is officially in a "home study program" and I'm thankful that God has made things clear to us and we'll start this year with some ease. I'd like to share a little bit of what we're using and why in the hopes that it will help someone else as much as other people have helped me.

Anson is beginning the first grade. Many of these selections are higher or lower than that, but that is one thing I love about this homeschooling gig! You can do what you want! So, here it is:

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, the Second Grade section
I love this because I feel as though it covers all the basics in a no-nonsense matter. I can add to it if I want to make it fluffy (which I usually don't). It's cost effective. I paid $19.95 for a hard bound copy which includes First and Second Grade. It is non consumable which means for all 3 kids it's able to be used. We did the First Grade section last year. It is scripted, which I like because I want to make sure I teach the kids all they need to know in this area.

We have been using Sequential Spelling and where I'm not crazy about it, it's getting the job done. I don't give Anson all 25 words a day, we'll probably work up to that, but I like how it builds on words that the child has learned. If he misspells a word, he rewrites it correctly and we move on to the next word. Again, pretty no-nonsense. We did use Spelling Workout at the beginning of last year, but I didn't love all.

Several years ago I read a review on Miquon Math and thought, "That's what I think is best for us." I never changed my mind. We started with Cuisenairre Rods and a super Idea Book last year, and it flowed right into Miquon Math. I lack confidence in the math department, so my husband was invited to help out here and he added Singapore Math. I think we'll be ahead right now, but we're still going to do the easy stuff to be sure that a smooth transition is made and when Miquon is finished (it only goes to the third grade, to my knowledge) we'll have a math program we are used to.

For art, history, science and music we'll be using the materials from our Co-op. This is our first year for a Co-op, but I heard of this one several years ago, and never wanted to look any further. It's academic and LOTS OF FUN!!! The resources are easy to use and everyone has been enjoying the memory CD. Ella's favorite part is chanting the Latin declensions! Seriously! Pretty simple, I think. It leaves plenty of time for making beds, cleaning bathrooms, dress-up, playgroups, parks and of course...LEGOS!!!

So, many people ask me, "What do you do with the girls while you are schooling Anson?" them, too! We don't call it "school" we call it "table time." Everyone bellies up to the table and everyone has something to do. Julia is currently learning how to read using the same book I used with Anson. While Julia is reading, Anson is working on his copywork. (I guess I forgot that. For handwriting he is copying hymns. Just a few lines a day.) Ella is playing with magnets or felt, or whatever I have put in the "table time" basket for her to choose from. When Julia is finished usually the girls may be excused and they play while we're at the table. Some days they'll sit at the table the entire time. If they get crazy, they come back to the table. Ella and I play games and read books. Table time, on average, takes about 1.5 hours.

We're always reading a book. We've been spending time on the prairie with Laura and Mary Ingalls and we LOVE them! I have also been introduced to Little Britches written by Ralph Moody. We'll start that series when we are finished with the Little House Series. I also try to include a biography for the kids to get fired up about missions. We've read David Livingstone and Mike is reading John C. Paton who was a missionary in the South Seas. I have to remember to read books on Ella's level too, that would be easier if I didn't carry a fine at the library!

I think that's it. We are pretty intense about a few things so that our days are not consumed. I know that in time our days will be much longer, and when those days come I know I'll be thankful that I didn't rush them!

This year we may work on a few lapbooks. I've been very interested in them for a while and may get one or two from In the Hands of a Child for the girls to work on throughout the year.

Last year I had the privilege of listening to Leigh Bortins speak and asked her what advice she would give to a new mom. Her response, "The words of C.S. Lewis, ' Teach less, more thoroughly.' " I think it's fantastic advice! I'll try to keep everyone posted!!!