Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013/14 Plans

I just finished ordering stuff for the kids this year. So. Much. Fun.  I love ordering school books.  I also love hitting back to school sections, can't wait to go pick through Target soon!!

So, this is what I have for this year:

Gracie- 4th grade

Language Arts- Galore Park Junior English level 3.  This is a curriculum from the UK. Level 3 is for ages 9+ which is right where she's at. I like this curriculum because it feels very classical to me and I really like the classical mentality especially for reading and writing. I think this will be a challenge for her because it's a lot different than the typical fill in the blank stuff she's done up to this point but I also think that she will learn leaps and bounds because of how this book is laid out.

Math- Math U See Gamma and Delta. Yep, you read that right. I intend to get her through 2 levels this year. Basically because Math U See 4th grade level is Delta but I feel the math we did last year was pretty weak so we are going to start with Gamma as a review. I love Math U See. Gracie didn't like it in 1st grade so I tried a couple other things the last 2 years but I have decided we are going back to Math U See. I love that they have a continuum of levels right through Calculus which will be important should we home school all the way through and if we don't Math U See will give her more than enough foundation for any other curriculum she may encounter. Gamma emphasizes multiplication and Delta emphasizes division.

Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success

Ian- 2nd grade

Language Arts- I'm piecing together work for him this year from a lot of different workbooks and other things I've picked up along the way. Our focus will be improving his reading skills and getting him confident to start writing.

Math- Math U See Beta which is the 2nd grade level for them.  If he flies through it we will start Gamma as well. He loves Math U See and he's great at math so this was an easy choice.

Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power.  I got him the little chalk slate for this year too. Helping him gain confidence is the goal. He is not a fan of writing and I'm hoping this will make it fun.

Both Kids-

History- American History and we'll cover Colorado History as well since that's what the 4th grade classes do in public school. A trip to 4 mile historic park and a trip to the state capitol will happen.  Still planning on a trip to DC, probably in the fall of 2014.

Science- Whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it.

So there you have it! What are you planning for this year?

Monday, June 24, 2013

2012/13 Year End Summary

Oh this poor neglected old blog.  I didn't even do a year end summary last year!

Well, we are still home schooling. Still eclectic. Still relaxed.

This year got off to a very rough start as I had surgery and then was ill with a respiratory infection from the surgery and being laid up. There was even a point in September where I pretty much felt I was losing my mind and started checking around to local schools so I could enroll the kids. I didn't want to really, but I felt like I might have to because I didn't think my mental status was doing any of us any favors. Luckily I pulled out of the illness and recovered from surgery and we completed our school year last Friday. We took a lot less breaks this year than we have in previous years because we didn't really get started until somewhere in the middle of October. The flexibility of homeschooling wins again!

So, the nitty gritty. Gracie completed 3rd grade with very little struggle.  She's an incredible reader who devours books and although she doesn't always enjoy writing she's quite good at it. She's right on target with math although I feel that the book we used this year wasn't quite challenging enough so I am planning to change that for 4th grade to make sure she is getting the foundation she needs. She's bright and curious and knows more than I do about a lot of things. The Titanic for example. Just ask her about it. She'll freak you out with her knowledge of dates and times and passenger statistics.

Ian completed 1st grade with a  little less gusto than I would have liked but I've known since he was a tiny toddler that pushing him at anything only makes it a million times more difficult.  It's a challenge to me because 1- I can be fairly type A when it comes to getting work accomplished and 2- He's crazy smart but he is a perfectionist who constantly belittles and double thinks himself. The motto "Just do it" does not speak to my son, lol. He likes to do things slowly and methodically with lots of hands on and distractions. He's a math whiz and manipulatives are necessary for his learning style. He actually finished 2 different first grade  math curriculums this year.  A lack of manipulatives for language arts made a lot of writing difficult for him this year so we will be focusing more on that next year as he matures.  He has mastered basic reading through the Bob books and is doing more and more of that every day.

All in all this was a good year. I didn't go overboard on buying stuff at all. We used a lot of what we had on hand and a couple full curriculum workbooks I got on clearance at Barnes and Noble.  We've begun studying American History with a trip to DC planned for next year. Science remains what it always has been, very unschooly with nature studies as the kids are interested. We also make very good use of Netflix and Amazon Prime for documentaries which generally pertain to either history or science.

So that's it, the 2012/2013 year in a nut shell.