Posts filed under ‘Homeschool Scoop’
The boys and I absolutely love this missions minded textbook. It was recommended by a blogger friend and is a must have! Thanks Karen!
Each two page spread gives you a thorough look into a different people group of the world, mostly through the eyes of a child in that nation. It details struggles and successes in reaching that group for Christ and has a section on how you can pray. My boys practically fight over the prayer requests each day. They love to hear the stories about boys and girls in other countries and even my two year old is learning.
When Matt came home from work the other day, a good 5hrs after we read about how God healed Niki in Albania and learned to say hello in Albanian, Bubba hollered “Tungjatjeta (toon-jat-yeta) Dad!”
I really like the “Second Harvest Curriculum” online shop. They sell all sorts of used books from one location, taking out the additional shipping incurred when shopping at amazon and the frustration of having to work with multiple sellers. If you need books this year check them out I was thrilled with the service and the quality of the books. Even the B grade books were in great condition. I’m very pleased with my purchases!
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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A question arose on a blogI read about homeschooling and whether or not our husbands are involved. I’ve been pondering this for a while.
Not that I have to ponder “if or how” my husband is involved but our dynamic is unique and I was thinking about the why. My husband is a public school teacher so its actually quite strange that we have chosen to homeschool and that he is in fact involved in that. I love what Karen said in her post about her husband being her biggest defender and that, I would say, is Matt’s #1 roll.
Another way our situation is different than most is that my husband is a talker! He laughs that if most women have 3500 words a day and men 2000, he has 2000 per hour! 🙂 I process things by writing and pondering alone and then bring the parts that I can’t get through alone to a trusted friend (often my husband). He, on the other hand processes everything by talking. Talk it through, argue it through, and when something has to be done he doesn’t just set his mind to it and go he has to talk about the details. I thought I could talk! HA!
You can see how leaving him completely out of the picture would not give him ample opportunity to feel he was doing his best job as defender! He needs to talk through the details. I guess he would be something like our Principal. 🙂 Not in the “authority” sense but more my companion and support system. If I’m really stuck or struggling with balance etc. he is there to bounce ideas off of. Also my husband is the huge visionary for our family. I’m a dreamer! He can see the big picture and keep us “on track” so to speak where I can get overwhelmed with the day to day tasks not feeling like we are reaching goals quickly enough. Does that make sense?
One day before we started homeschooling he and I took a drive and as we went along we jostled ideas and thoughts back and forth. Eventually we came to a conclusion about our school concept that we wanted to strive toward and gave ourselves a “mission and vision” statement. This actually came partly out of conflict. He had been fielding some “flack” from people at work about why we homeschool and of course those skeptics thinking that somehow I had manipulated him into allowing me to “keep the kids home”! They must NOT really know my husband!
Now before I freak you out on this it is not intended to make me feel “greater than thou” or even for Matt and I to have something to hang over the others head, it’s more a marker. Like the spiritual markers God gives us as believers we wanted progress markers in education to align to a goal and have an answer for ourselves mostly, it just so happens that it helps us to answer others when we have the Mission and Vision in the back of our heads. Okay, ya we are weird and scholarly like that! Both of us first born, driven, passionate, talker, educator type people. Speaking of education that was a huge and ridiculous paragraph, forgive me!
Anyhow this is what we came up with…Our Mission: Develop the drive to persueTruth and apply knowledge. That is a capitol “T” because we feel if knowledge is properly applied and a person actively persues truth they will always find The Truth in Christ. We won’t have to fear that we didn’t give our children all the head knowledge they would ever need because they will know how to seek. If they loose their way they will have the tools to learn their way back. At least they can never claim ignorance right?
Our Vision: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. an acrostic. I’m shaking my head right now, we are so so “magoo”! Here goes;
R. Reach your potential
E. Exercise a joyful heart
S. Speak for what’s right
P. Promote your Created personality
E. Exercise knowledge
C. Care for others
T. Train to use your God given talents
So there you have it. As I think of this too I am reminded that another huge motivation for writing itall out is the fact that at this time we have our children in a state run charter program (don’t be a hater!). We prayerfully considered this decision and came up with the mission so that we can see the line in the sand! If the charter option at any point were to steer us away from that line we would we have a gauge! I am not interested in having the state teach my kids but I am (at this point) okay with aligning them to the standards especially since my husbands job is a factor! Standards aren’t what you might think. I’m not teaching that evolution is right or omitting God from my curriculum (ooh, boy this is a big discussion-I won’t go there)! Just to say I am thankful to God that this option allows us some financial flexibility, I can spend money on the faith based curriculum I REALLY want the kids to experience and accept the help for the standards like Math, P.E., even music lessons. Beyond that God has totally blessed us with a Christian consultant teacher. It’s definitely not for everyone.
The “mission” is my way of processing! 🙂 It is written in black and white and I can refer to it from time to time. This past year I was frustrated with a specific reading push in the standards set forth, so I brought it to Matt’s attention saying “I just don’t see how this aligns with our Mission!” He came through for me and we discussed how mastering reading is essential to being able to pursue truth! Not that I would skip the “reading” concept but I’m truly not passionate about teaching elementary. I can’t wait until the upper grades and K-3rd seems so mundane and unnecessarily repetative to me. We have found a balance and I am now more passionate because I see how it fits into the big picture!
Back to my husbands involvement. Matt is for sure my helper, defender and my substitute teacher! This coming year we are going to try once a week having him take the boys through the math concepts for the week. I have a hard time seeing math in a big picture way, I get stuck on the why and even though it is low level math I get stuck on what “concept” am I teaching! Not to mention we use Right Start Math (I guess it is somewhat like Singapore Math) and I was taught the good ol’ memorize your tables way! We will be trying this out but I intend to play all the games and do any seat work with the kids and Matt will overview the weeks “concepts” to fill in any gaps. He can look at my book and in 5min figure out what the theme is where I have to read every word. I’m weird like that!
One problem we both see with him being overly responsible for any of the day to day activities of school is that after being at work it would be more work (literally) for him and he would be less able to leave work at work and just be Dad! There is such a huge need for Dad/child relationships in our culture, we don’t want to overshadow that with more school, and an evening agenda and then off to bed. I’d like for Matt to be able to play with and disciple our kids, if that happens to be in a learning environment great. We are both of the “lifelong learning” camp and therefore our house is full of opportunities, we actually have to balance our need to “teach” with our kids’ need to “learn” by natural consequences and just being kids.
Aside from the new plan to do math, Matt does do a directed discipleship driven Bible study with the boys twice a week. That is their sacred time and they really look forward to it so I’m sure any dad involvement can be turned into an opportunity if that’s how a family wants to run their school! We just struggle with over-teaching our kids. Evenings need to be set aside for fun and open conversation (remember, we are talkers!) not work, and agendas.
So there you have it, our crazy messed up beautiful! I’d better post this thing before I get off on another tangent!