Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Curriculum Check Up
As we are half way through the year, I thought I'd share what we're using, what's working for us, and what isn't.
Our main curriculum, or spine, is Creation to the Greeks, from My Father's World. You can see their materials at www.mfwbooks.com. This covers Bible, History, Vocabulary, Science, Music, Art, and Literature.
For MATH, I have the kids in A Beka. They don't like it, but then, they didn't like Aleks Math, or Math U See (although that's MY favorite, not that it counts) or math paces (workbooks) from ACE/School of Tomorrow. They just plain don't like math. Additionally, they get further practice online. We've done Splash Math, IXL.com, XtraMath.com, etc.
I mentioned that we're supplementing our current science from MFW with Magic School Bus science kits. We're still limping through the book we dislike, but I'm not stressing myself out trying to gather supplies to attempt all the experiments.
Jack is the only student currently doing a formal spelling program. At the beginning of the year, I had him in A Reason For Spelling. Again, this is a program that I like. But I'm not the student. It wasn't working for him. So I had him take the placement test and put him back into paces. Hopefully, Word Building will help him make progress in this subject that is a struggle for him.
We aren't using a formal English program this year. I'm not thrilled about that. It just never happened. What we're doing instead is a lot of journal/creative writing prompts, that I then correct for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, and have them fix their errors. It will be interesting to see how they score on their standardized tests this spring without nouns and verbs being drilled into them all year. And I know, I could be hitting parts of speech with Mad Libs. I'm just not feeling it right now. Maybe as we get closer to testing.
The vocabulary course included in MFW is good, but we're probably not getting the most out of it that we could be.
Social Studies/History is the backbone of our program this year, and it's actually really interesting. We loved last year's Exploring Countries and Cultures! This year is the start of a 4 year chronological history of the world. It's neat to collate different events happening around the world at the same time. Because we're starting at the beginning, most of our year has centered around the fertile crescent, Egypt and the Mediterranean. I think we'll enjoy next year even more, as we get more bits from around the globe.
For "electives" Brianna has been learning piano. I've been brushing up a little, myself. As I come across printable sheet music for her, I hunt & peck my way through and play it, too. Last night, I was at the keyboard while the kids were playing downstairs, and Paul called up, "Is that you playing, dear?" ...just as I hit a wrong note, of course! I hollered down, "Nope!" and kept playing.
Three of the children are currently working on a foreign language program online. I'll be sharing more about that in a few weeks.
Brianna has also been working on learning to type with Keyboard Classroom.
I like that the bulk of our work is done together, and that we're finished with that work before lunch. I sometimes feel like we might not be doing enough, but I think that might be a hold over from the days when I could quantify our learning by checking off 12 workbooks in each subject for each child every school year.
I know it's not "spring" yet, but I've started thinking about next school year already. With different students to plan for, our year will look a bit different, of course, but it's nice to peek ahead and see what we'll be doing in MFW and get an idea what will go along with that. It looks like next year's science will be MUCH better than this year's. This is almost a little disappointing, because I had been wanting an excuse to try Reason For Science . Looks like that will have to wait.
The tentative plan at this point is for Samuel and Brianna to go to private school, Eli, Jack, and Hannah to be homeschooled, and Luke to be in special ed preschool. We still have plenty of time to make firm decisions and plans, though. I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we make choices for each child. We've always said that education is a year by year, child by child decision. Please pray that we make the best decisions for our family in this season.
Thanks for clicking for us!