The School Skinny

July 28, 2009 at 10:29 am 12 comments

Masses want to know just what it is I’ll be filling my young Thinglets minds with come time to start school.

Well, maybe masses is a gross overstatement but I decided it couldn’t hurt to share what it is that’s in my pea brain and let you in on my curriculum secrets.

The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing!  I am the first of my friends to tackle the homeschooling adventure so I am the pioneer!  For better or worse I will be plowing through and reporting back to them about what works and doesn’t.  OOoo boy, I’m a guinea pig.

My crazy plan for this coming school year follows.

Moving Beyond the Page: a theme based, comprehensive curriculum that I will use for both 1st and 2nd grades at the same time.  It is not a faith based curriculum but I like teaching in themes because throughout each unit I can incorporate any amount of additional teaching that I so desire.  Though, with the new baby that plan was a complete flop last year!   Themes like “community” and “animal habitats” give me a jumping off point and the workbooks have suggestions for older and younger children.   This curriculum covers most of the standards I need to meet for the state of Idaho for Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and it includes Math and Reading.  It does not however, teach a child to read and only introduces math concepts.

Abeka Phonics and Reading: I purchased the phonics flashcards and the Letters and Sounds workbook as well as half of the years readers.  This will be my first year with Abeka curriculum and I have mixed feelings.  The familiarity of having read those same readers as a kid might have contributed to my decision to give these books a try with my oldest.  He is having trouble gaining confidence in reading and has an intense need to know something through reading so the Explode the Code workbooks I used last year frustrated him and created more of a fight than I felt necessary. Afterall our mission statement is “Develop the drive to pursue truth…”!  The colorless, tedious phonics books I forced him to do last year did nothing for his drive so I choose something more up his alley.  He tells me that his favorite school “subject” is the “I Learn About God” readers from Rod andStaff that I found at the thrift store.  I am hoping the Abeka readers will help peak his interest and give him confidence as he works through a corresponding phonics workbook.  Now I’m rambling but I’m thinking out loud since I’ve had close friends who’ve been on both sides of the fence with this curriculum.  Some say it’s great, others felt that it is confusing and does not present phonics blends in a logical order.  I guess I will get to see first hand.  The other thing I know is that every kid is different, what works for one may be completely a flop with another.

Explode the Code: My helper teacher is one of the friends who does not prefer the way Abeka orders the phonics and therefore has encouraged me to continue with ETC so I will purchase an online subscription to give my son a little “break” from the traditional seatwork.

RightStart Math:   I like the way that RightStart and other curriculum like it teaches math as a concept not simply as memorized facts.  I did not learn this way initially so teaching it has been a bit of a challenge but I’m learning to group numbers for easy calculating and see concepts through play!  My son who is going into the 2nd grade is already multiplying double digits in his head (though he doesn’t know that’s what it is).  My Kindergartner understands the process of addition and subtraction just from playing the games with us at the end of last year.

A Reason for Handwriting: I’ve noticed that my oldest is not careful when composing his letters.  I purchased this handwriting course in order to give him a “reason” to improve his penmanship. I am really excited about this workbook since it presents a verse a week. At the end of the week he will copy the verse onto a page with a border to color and he will choose someone to bless by mailing them his finished work.

Handwriting Without Tears:  My Kindergartner is a hands on learning who is excited by shapes and loves to draw.  I chose this curriculum for its interactive approach to handwriting.  It is also good for the visual learner since it draws attention to the similarities between letters.  For instance the “magic C” is used in G, D etc.

I have some incidentals to add as well but I will review the books and enter them in another post! 

Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts, I would enjoy your support as well as constructive criticism since, as I said, I’m winging it! I am relying on the advice of others at this point since I have no personal experience to go off of yet!

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen B  |  July 28, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize the link was closed. So I reopened it, and just added your link. I’ve never heard of the RightStart Math. I’ll have to look into that.

    Reply
  • 2. Liz  |  July 28, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I love Handwriting without Tears. Our public school recently switched to it. My daughter used it in preschool last year. It really helps them when they begin to write.
    My experienced homeschool friends speak highly of Abeka phonics.

    Reply
    • 3. glutenfree4goofs  |  July 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm

      Oh good, I must be on the right track then! :)

      Reply
  • 4. Mrs. C  |  July 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Hi! I think you’ll do just fine. We started to homeschool my son, Elf, in the middle of first grade. I just did those Sam’s Club workbooks for a while until we were able to do addition and subtraction pretty well. We just read the easy readers from the library and Dick and Janes.

    It gave me plenty of time to really check out what’s around. I know *for me* the Bob Jones second grade Bible curriculum could be an entire study of literature as well as just learning verses. Once we were ready to at least wade into the King James a little bit, I found this to be invaluable. It has time lines with the “kit,” and some of the exercises help you learn how to find what you want in the Bible.

    But it IS expensive. You might check out CBD Homeschool and click on the “additional views” button after you find it, and see if it would fit *your* family.

    Hope all goes smoothly for you in homeschooling soon! :]

    Reply
    • 5. glutenfree4goofs  |  July 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you, I do know what you mean about “wading” into the King James. I grew up using many versions but the boys understand and read NIV or NASB (my husband likes the literal translation). Anyhow my son went to sunday school with my brothers kid and said “I liked it mom but they spoke some sort of Spanish!” They used only KJV! :) Funny, I guess I need to “culture” them. Ha ha!

      I like the Dick and Jane readers. I love the idea of good literature being incorporated into the curriculum.

      I could use the time lines myself! :)

      Reply
  • 6. WendyGK  |  July 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    My son just finished his last year of homeschooling. He was a preschool dropout and we homeschooled through 12th grade. I liked Handwriting Without Tears for him and Explode the Code was one of things that worked with him, too. I’d say the best money I spent was on art supplies, messy science experiments, and gas to get to the library. We were definitely unschoolers with late readers and late to math. That said, my oldest got a smokin’ SAT score and his little sister is top of her class in high school after deciding to try school a few years ago. They both had very different learning styles and temperments. I just tried to give them strong values and creative questioning minds and it seems to have worked.With the fun and antics going on at your house, you are off to a great start.

    Reply
    • 7. glutenfree4goofs  |  July 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

      Haha! I love your comments, thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply
  • 8. purplemoose  |  July 30, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Oooh, Handwriting “Without” Tears! My oldest doesn’t like it, but I don’t think he’d like any handwriting. ETC: Have seen and used a bit, but I don’t care for workbooks. We LOVE Five In A Row, sounds sorta similar to your Moving Beyond the Page. I need some time to plan our year out, without the kids interrupting. I need a sitter! Good luck with school this year!

    Reply
    • 9. glutenfree4goofs  |  July 31, 2009 at 9:56 am

      A sitter, THAT’s a plan! I’m not into workbooks either which is why I “bucked” a little at the idea but I’m giving the online version of ETC a chance since I’ve got the hands on pretty well covered!

      Reply
  • 10. tom james  |  July 31, 2009 at 8:28 am

    cool homeschooling!!!!, i love k 12 homeschool curriculum because i have my son more secure at home,and i can be present in his digital lesson plan .

    Reply
  • 11. christy  |  August 1, 2009 at 5:34 am

    I just started handwriting without tears this year, with my 3 middles. They seem to like it OK. But we have used ETC from the start. All of the kids like it. I didn’t know it was online and I will need to look at that.

    We use Sonlight. The kids love all the reading.

    Reply
    • 12. glutenfree4goofs  |  August 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm

      Cool! I really like Sonlight. Some of the curriculum I use is in the Sonlight cores and I would definitely purchase through them entirely if I didn’t do the charter.

      Reply

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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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