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Friday, December 14, 2007

Swirling in my Head

We've had a looooong break from formal lessons and it's about to drive me bonkers. I want structure, Camille wants structure and Danny needs it even though he doesn't know it yet. I want to read about the knights, the feudal system and construct a castle together.

What has been keeping me from formal lessons? In one word: L-I-F-E. Another factor has been my flat-out refusal to do things the same way I was. Foolish? Maybe. I've learned a good lesson though, I need something to keep driving me forward other than guilt that I'm not, I need something to plan. It's who I am. I love grand plans, fabulous out-of-the-box ideas that yield fantastic results. What I've learned is that I need to give myself room to do that within a year.

So, one idea I've been contemplating is to split our year up into quarters. Using Tapestry of Grace will help with this since it is divided up into 4 units each year. Another helpful tactic is to use dh's college terms to help frame our studies so that when he's off, we're off and we can do something together. I haven't thought of this before until others shared with me how they break up their year and lo and behold- other moms use their dh's schedule. Slapping my forehead moment.

I'm also integrating even more than I've already done. Although I love Themes to Remember as a music appreciation program, I need to focus on what is most important which is reading, writing and math. Camille is currently in piano lessons so I feel I have already developed a love of music in her and Danny by osmosis. He was strumming a table today saying, "Mommy, Mommy look! Pee-no!" Themes to Remember is now going to be a resource within history to use, when a composer comes along in our timeline of history, we'll take time to read about him/her and learn about their music. I'm still wondering if I should drop it all together or find a way to work it in. This is why I haven't posted much because I have all these thoughts swirling around my brain and I need to work them out.

I want more focus on language arts, especially writing. We are starting to use the writing prompts in Spelling Workout C, as well as Teacher Created Resources' Writing Prompts and Models from These are on-level for Camille and I feel her confidence will grow once she figures out how to put her voice on paper. We will continue copywork with TOG although TOG does not provide it- I will continue with the copywork I created for her but I'm not feeling confident that she's actually getting much from it other than writing practice.

Another resource I want to use is Poetry Writing by Teacher Created Resources but I cannot figure out when to use it. We both enjoy poetry and Camille loves to rhyme words, we have already talked about the term stanza and how to find rhyming patterns. I think I might split up the rest of our time into two quarters, January - March and April - June and focus one quarter on writing prompts and models and the other on poetry.

Using quarters will also allow me to use 4 memory cds instead of just one for the year. I've already decided to create two cds for her: one with french, grammar and math songs, another with history, poetry and whatever else. I will figure out what will work best for her- either Monday & Tuesday for 1 cd or to alternate them each day so she doesn't become too bored. What I'm thinking is that the memory cds will increase during the year, the first quarter cd will contain all I want her to memorize just for the first quarter; the second quarter will build upon the first, etc. What I love is that once I make them, review is so easy! Having audio files will make us more mobile, even if it means borrowing my iPod (oh she would be thrilled to do something so BIG!) and it will help develop her auditory skills.

This is our choices for 3rd grade, only because it's been on my mind lately. I'm going stir-crazy! I want to do our lessons- how crazy does that sound??? When I shampooed our carpet in the learning room, I rearranged it so I'll take new pictures. Danny has his little reading nook and it's cute to see him sit and read (in his way).

Discovery: In the Beginning (Bible), Teaching the Classics, Writing Tales 1, Spelling Workout D, French

MATH- Horizons 3 Math

Tapestry of Grace Redesign Yr 3 (literature, geography, history, music & art appreciation)

SCIENCE- Living Learning Chemistry

Drawing with Children
Dandy Lion-Logic Safari 1
Private piano (2nd year)

Okay that's all I can think to write about right now. Tomorrow is Open House and then I have to focus on getting ready for lessons next week. I'll have new pictures up soon of Open House and our newly arranged learning room.


1 comment:

my5wolfcubs said...

I looked at the Writing Prompts you plan to use -- are the nursery rhymes the prompts? They read "Hey Diddle Diddle" and then have a free write time? I'd really like to use something inexpensive for additional daily writing (using TOG's WA).