Tuesday, March 05, 2013

school chatter

**If you don't homeschool, you may find yourself incredibly bored and want to skip this post.

Or worse yet, you may crave denim skirts and the desire to spend obnoxious amounts of time quizzing your children on Renaissance sculptors and painters. I read the most interesting book about Leonardo da Vinci yesterday, though...!

Just look away. You've been warned. 

Because us homeschool mamas like to chat about and compare such things, I thought I'd write up a quick post about the choices I've made for next year.

I can't believe we're here already.

The impending birth of baby boy + the move forced my organization. I wanted our books in hand before the move. I really want to transition to year round schooling. I intended to this year, too, but the move here threw everything off.

I made a few adjustments, nothing too drastic.

I'm sticking with Sonlight for most of our stuff.
I went with Core D with Advanced Readers, which covers:

Bible
History
Geography
Language Arts

for both boys and Titus listens in for most of the read-aloud/review stuff. The advanced readers are for Simon, but Felix tends to devour the books after Simon has finished them. It's hard to keep up with Feef's appetite for books. I love it. Simon is getting there, he's just more like his Pops when it comes to being forced to read. Once he's over the idea of reading, he gets into it.

Felix will also have his own set of grade3 readers+Language Arts. The readers are a bit beneath him, but as they coincide with the Language Arts program, I figured I'd stick with it. Some of the writing is still a bit over his head. Not necessarily over his head so much as he just doesn't want to do it. Which is funny, because Simon loveloveloves to write.

Although this years science curriculum via Sonlight was pretty lame, the boys retained a ton. I didn't crack the box of consumables open even one time(hello, wasted $) and considered picking a science from another company. However, Sean teaches the kiddos a ton of anatomy and biology just for fun. I figured if I could find something anatomy, biology, nutrition related, I'd go for it. Lo and behold, that is exactly what Sonlight recommended for next year. So...

Health, Medicine, and Human Anatomy it is!

Math is always a bit tricky. I've tried Singapore and Teaching Textbooks. While I love the simplicity of Singapore, it never feels like enough. Not enough work to master each technique before moving to the next; not enough seat work to determine whether the kid really gets it or not. That said, Felix is very logical about math and the public education system screwed the pooch on that one for Simon. In the time we've been homeschooling, I haven't been able to break the bad habits that were put into his brain. It's a double whammy considering his school and/or Texas changed the way they taught math between first and second grade. That's another story for another day. Regardless, it screwed the boy up concerning basic math skills.

Singapore has been good for Felix, but I can't decide if it will continue to be good or if I should switch now. I want to just PICK ONE and stick with it. I thought Teaching Textbooks might be the one, but...it's just not. There are definite pros to the program, but it is lacking in some pretty major areas. I am thankful that it boosted Simon's confidence this year in math. He doesn't dread it anymore.

I have settled on Mammoth Math after hearing about it via a friend in SC. It's cheap enough that if it's complete crap, I can reassess. The reviews are good. The samples are good. The price is GREAT. Why not?

Another place I felt could use a boost in Sonlight is language arts. Simon's spelling words are often right on par with Felix's. I love their whole massive stacks of books thing they have going, but the LA part of it feels a bit light. I'm going to mix in some:

Growing with Grammar
Soaring with Spelling
Winning with Writing
Digging into Diagramming(for Simon)

to boost their Language Arts.

We're going to continue with Rosetta Stone German. I'm hopeful we'll end up with an assignment there someday and they can actually use what they've learned.

Mr. Titus has a stack of random books I've put together through Barnes and Noble and the Target dollar spot. He already knows his letters and numbers(somehow) and can write most of them(when he dang well feels like it, not when he's asked to), so it's more just a way to let him feel involved. It's pretty crazy what he learns just by eavesdropping. I thought his sole purpose was to throw us all off track, but he actually picks up quite a bit.

Anyways, I hope this is interesting to someone out there. If you're a homeschooling mama making choices, I hope you'll post some input, reviews, advice, or links. I like having a plan, but I love reading other people's opinions about these things, too. I tend to make choices based on personal advice over company descriptions, so input is much appreciated by me!

1 comment:

Corey said...

Well you know I love hearing about homeschooling stuff! I'm glad you got everything sorted out prior to baby coming and the move.
I'm sure you've mentioned this before...but how long will you be in OH?
I'm still trying to make decisions on next years curriculum. I know some things need to change, but I'm not sure how exactly. I have the exact same feelings on Singapore as you do! And I was SO convinced I was switching to Teaching Textbooks at least for Jake. But now I'm thinking it's going to be too easy? He's already passed the placement test for grade 6.
Oh anyway...I suppose i could write my own post on all of this LOL! I just realized I haven't blogged at all in 2013 o_O oops!
I hope maybe you're reading this in your hospital room, snuggling up next to baby J :D