Wednesday, July 09, 2008

School Stuff

I always love to hear what other homeschoolers are doing and what books and tools they're excited about, so here's a rundown on what I have planned for our 2008-2009 school year.

For Keely, who's in the 5th grade now(!), we'll be doing the following:
  • Saxon Math 6/5
  • Spelling Workout E (Modern Curriculum Press)
  • We'll be finishing up Rod and Staff's Grammar 3
  • Story Starters, by Karen Andreola (creative writing)
  • Understanding God's World Science 4 (ABeka)
  • The Story of the World, The Middle Ages
Daily independent work includes typing, journaling, reading a chapter of the Bible, and independent reading, sometimes assigned by me. Keely does her math and grammar by herself, and I help her if she has questions. We also go over missed problems together. Science and History will be done with Noah, and sometimes with Lily also. I love The Story of the World for history. It is so interesting and the kids love the creative, hands-on projects and activities for each chapter. We haven't actually begun the Middle Ages book yet, though; we are focusing on American history through the summer. We're enjoying Kids Make History immensely.

Noah, who's a 3rd grader this year:
  • Saxon Math 3
  • Spelling Workout C
  • science and history (above)
Noah also is required to read his Bible daily and narrate back to Kevin or me what he's read, work on cursive, journal daily (though it's hard to get him to write more than a sentence or two!), and have independent reading time for an hour in the afternoons, also usually assigned by me. I probably will get K and N back into Latin in the fall; I need to give that some thought.

Lily, who's a first grader (sniff):
  • finish Phonics Pathways primer
  • read, read, read!
  • participate in history and science as much as possible
  • finish the fun Rod and Staff workbook from last year
Rowan, age 4
At this age all of my kids have been begging to 'do school' like the bigger kid(s). Rowan was soo excited when I brought home a big Preschool workbook from the Homeschool Conference in April. I don't think workbooks are all that necessary, except for handwriting, but she is having fun carefully completing the pages and putting them in her Hello Kitty folder. We'll work on beginning letter sounds and recognition more this year, too. I also try to read aloud to her daily.

Joseph, age 2
Joseph will spend his days getting into mischief, playing with the older kids, building with blocks, coloring, climbing on furniture, etc. He does still have 30 minutes of 'alone time' each morning, which is helpful to us both, I think.

Annesley is not yet mobile, so she's easy. :)

A few things I didn't mention are our co-op classes (weekly), Keely's piano lessons starting in the fall, and our read-alouds. Right now I'm reading Charlotte's Web to all the kids (Keely and Noah have heard it several years ago), and Caddie Woodlawn to the older three. Also, on Monday we tried something new that I thought went really well. I turned on a classical music cd and had the kids quietly drew using our 'how-to' drawing books. They loved it! And I loved it because there was no talking! They informed me that Franz Liszt's music is gloomy and they don't like it, but it was fun to listen and draw in the living room. Oh--and the kids all help with chores, which I consider 'school', too. All the laundry they're helping put away has to be instilling some positive character qualities, don't you think? We also try to start our school day with singing, prayer, and Bible memorization.

If this sounds like a lot, you have to realize that we don't do everything every day. I see the value in a schedule and have drawn one up, but this year I refuse to be a slave to it. A goal in our schooling is to prepare the kids academically for life, but it isn't the only goal, nor is it the highest one. Kevin and I want to disciple our kids in the midst of the daily-ness of life and enjoy the amazing world around us with a heart of thankfulness toward our Creator. We want to encourage them to use their gifts and knowledge to glorify the Lord and further His kingdom. And we want to build the kind of relationships with them that are solid and loving and close. These are our aim, and we struggle and fail and become discouraged and have successes like everyone else. I love the mercies of God, and the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave us!

And, one last thing: I think it's easy to look at someone's public life or the pictures of their family on a blog or webpage and really construct an unrealistic idea of a perfect family where everything practically glows with peace and loveliness. I have struggled with comparing myself to others that I look up to. I don't want to present that false image and cause anyone to be discouraged. We have bickering and fighting at our house. I get frustrated with the kids and sometimes yell at them. Yesterday, for example, during our Bible memorization time I got really snappy with the kids and frustrated with them because they weren't paying attention. Nice, huh? "Love is patient, love is kind---would you SIT STILL and STOP bothering your brother!!" So, take heart, mothers everywhere: Perservere, and don't compare!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the run down on your curriculum. I, too, love to see what other Mom's are finding helpful and are using.

Your "plan" sound a lot like our, we are using some of the same books! I love Rod & Staff don't you?

Praying that your new school year is a fun time for ALL!

Julie Gertner

Candice said...

Thanks, Julie! :)

cristina said...

Boy, is that time of year already? We are still finishing up math. Ours looks similar to yours, too, the only changes I made for this next year is switching to Tapestry of Grace. I *liked* SOW, but I found the new curriculum a little more interesting. Also, it's Classical Education and that made it even better. I am looking forward to trying it. Also, we went the Spelling Power route. I am excited to start our new year.
Have fun!!