Thursday, August 06, 2009

Time for School

It's that time of year again when everyone is getting back to school. We've actually been doing school for a couple of weeks already and it's going really well. It just makes more sense for us (especially this year!) to start a little earlier when it's too hot to do much of anything anyway and then take off some extra time in the fall. This year our fall break will double as my maternity leave and the kids will get to spend time with daddy and visiting grandparents.

Levi is a 2nd grader this year and Brenna is doing 1st grade (she's just five but she just really loves school!). Jack is doing a small amount of preschool stuff and sitting in with us for most of the reading. Christian is learning too - how to make more messes, faster. In that particular area, I clearly have a genius on my hands:)

I started planning what to study way back in the spring. Once I had books in hand, I spend a day at my church having my own little planning retreat, drafting schedules and making copies. Time very well spent! We use The Well Trained Mind as a basic guide, but one of my very favorite things about homeschooling is personalizing the curriculum to fit us just right.

For history, Levi and Brenna are both using Story of the World, vol 2 - The Middle Ages. Brenna listened to most of the reading we did last year on the ancients so I don't think she's missing anything by skipping ahead in time just a bit. I'm also going to teach a class in our co-op on the Middle Ages so we should be able to fit in lots of fun projects.

I'm really enjoying teaching Saxon Math this year - much better than last year! Turns out they don't have to complete every single problem on every single page - Levi will probably finish Math2 by Christmas and Brenna is zipping through Math 1. And this year, they like it!

Language Arts is no longer called Grammar in this house. Levi did not care for grammar at all, but he likes Language Arts just fine:) We switched to First Language Lessons this year from English for the Thoughtful Child. I really enjoyed Thoughtful Child, but Levi was just bored to tears with it. And First Language Lessons works well because Brenna and Levi can both work out of the same book - it covers 1st and 2nd grades.

Levi is also using Spelling Workout again this year. I skipped the B workbook though and went straight to C. He's just really an exceptional speller (which he did not get from me!). I'm probably going to start Brenna on workbook A later on in the year, but for now she's working on phonics and learning to read. We're using the Starfall program and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She loves Starfall but TYCTR can get kind of dull. It's very good though so we just take little bites:)

For science, we're studying the earth and space this year. I like to use the Usborne First Encyclopedias as a spine, but we do a lot of reading and projects to supplement that. We're planning a lot of stargazing this year with the telescope my parents bought us last year. I'd like to spend a lot more time on nature notebooks this year. I'm just really not a nature girl at all, so I'm hoping to get together with some other homeschoolers for this - I need a little accountability!

For Bible study, we're using Veritas Press The Gospels. It has a good bit of art appreciation built in to the study and lots of optional activities. This is the main part of our "Circle Time" - the only part for right now. "Circle Time" is still in development - it doesn't even have an actual name yet. "Circle Time" is "too babyish" for some of my little students so we're working on something that sounds a little more mature:)

We'll be going to homeschool co-op classes again this year, but those don't start until September so I'll probably post a little more about them later. Brenna is still crazy about the Kumon workbooks so I keep a few of those on hand, too. And Levi is begging for a robotics kit from Lego...until then he keeps busy building everything out of legos. Maybe he'll be an engineer.

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