Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Busy Days

I have not been writing much because I have been too busy living. Today I just want to put a few thoughts on "paper" about this school year. I write this with two main intentions: 1) inform my parents and family what we are doing; and 2) help other moms who are like me... always comparing curriculum options.

I have already decided which areas need the most work. So, now I just need to figure out what that looks like in real life.

I think I started Rebecca on Veritas Press Phonics when she was 5. So, I am still new to homeschooling - only 5 years under my belt. (Or, if you add all the childrens' collective schooling - only about 10 years.) Anyway, I am always looking for what works best for our family. We are eclectic homeschoolers with a little bit of "unschooling" when I am too sick to teach the traditional way. These titles don't matter a whole lot. What is most important to Paul and myself is that our children are taught every subject from a Christ-centered worldview.

All that to say, we change "curriculums" often. And I am okay with that. Actually, I am better than okay! I LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling! So, I will tell you what I am currently planning to do, but it is subject to change at any given time. I am not confined to one text for an entire year.

Math - Continuing in A Beka for the oldest three... at least for now. I am planning to switch the oldest to Practical Arithmetics in the coming year. I like A Beka. It has been fun. But, it is flashy. And, I still do not feel like my kids are able to take the concepts into "real life" usage.

History - Continuing Rebecca in A Beka - which she loves. For the younger ones (and sometimes Rebecca too) I read a lesson a day from The Mystery of History.

Geography - Not sure about this one. I am thinking that we will listen to the Geography Songs CD and look at maps. And, we plan to travel more this year than ever before. But, I do not have a curriculum in mind. I will probably find some great free geography resources through Old Fashioned Education. (If you go there be sure to look at the left-hand sidebar at all of the subjects offered! It is a valuable resource!!!) Thanks to the comment from Dawn we will also be using Sheppard Software!

Science - Our official curriculum for science is Rod and Staff, which we all love! We supplement that with real-life outings, star gazing, books from the library about whatever strikes our fancy, etc.We also have a vegetable garden, and this provides hours of real teaching time!!!

Language Art/Phonics - I think I am finished using Veritas Press Phonics Museum. I am not sure that it ever taught any of my kids to read... really. What worked best for all of them was flashcards and drill with hands on work. So, that is what I will do from here on out... I think. Joshua will be starting kindergarten and the idea of beginning him with VP Phonics Museum is not pleasant to me. So, I will not do it. The other kids did best with using puzzle pieces and homemade games to learn to spell out words. I use the flashcards and sounds as suggested in The Writing Road to Reading. (Though I would not necessarily recommend that whole program to children.)
Rebecca has been using Pathway Readers for a few years now. We move slowly through the grades as they are hard for both of us. 
I am not sure where I want to go with this subject this year. I think I might just "lay low" in this area and stick to reading out loud!

Latin - I plan to start Rebecca on Latin. A friend sent me the curriculum for Latina Christiana 1. I plan to get the DVD that goes with this curriculum and learn right along with Rebecca!

I am sure that I left something out. The joy of homeschooling is that it does not need to be set in stone from day one. I have an end goal and I let that be my guide. Come to think of it... maybe it would do all of us good if I write about "my end goal." Maybe I will do that sometime.

Have a blessed school year! Grace and peace - to your lessons and studies - in Jesus Name!


Anonymous said...

sheppardsoftware.com has an excellent geography program. It is leveled and automatically graded. My kids know tons of geography (continents, oceans, states, tons of countries) and learned it painlessly and joyfully with this program. It's free and fun. We do it as a family or individually.


Bethany in mid-MO said...

Thanks, Dawn! I was hoping that you would remind me the location of the "curriculum" you use! Is the geography the only program off of sheppard software that you use?


MamaHen said...

Thanks Dawn! We are weak in this area and I will be checking this out.

Bethany-so glad you posted, was hoping everything was okay up your way. I hope to get everything finalized this weekend with our curriculum (Mark and the big boys will be gone and I hope to be able to sit down and really plan things through and out). Good thing since we start school Monday! I hope to post soon on what we are doing. I think my kids need Latin, as they all seem to be geared towards science, but I am scared! :)

Bethany in mid-MO said...

One of the reasons I favored the Prima Latina/Latina Christiana by Memoria Press was because of the DVDs that go with it. I saw online samples and I thought that I could easily pick it up to. I have never had Latin, though I did take Spanish. I know a lot of women who are scared to begin Latin!

Thank you as always for your concern about my family. overall, things are improving in a big way. But, we still have little set backs from time to time. I will try to catch up with you an email one of these days... I'll try.


Krista said...


Your plans sound good! Don't lay too low on the Language Arts and Phonics, though! Read alouds are fabulous and should be done everyday, but so should having the kids reading in their own levels for enjoyment and challenging them to move onward. They will use this reading more and more each year, especially as they get into the jr. high grades and high school! From what I hear from my homeschooling friends, their kids work more independently as the ages roll. :) I love you, keep raising your army for Christ!

p.s. Did you hear that I'm teaching Spanish at one of the Christian schools in my area? PreK-5 is exposure, 8th grade is enrichment and Spanish I and II for High School.

Bethany in mid-MO said...

I knew I left something off the list... All the kids have their noses stuck in books everyday! They all love reading (or "reading" for my pre-readers). I just meant that we are not doing a grammar curriculum. We will NEVER quit reading privately or aloud. Thanks for helping me to clarify this (in case my parents were thinking the same thing. LOL!)

And, no, I had not heard! That's fantastic! I am glad to hear it!