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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Decisions have been made

I have given both LA and Science a lot of prayer, thought and research and I'm satisfied with what we've decided to do.

For science, we'll be reading books and exploring more from there through experiments, more reading or nature study. This will be our most child-directed subject. We will continue to follow Barb's Green Hour assignments until I feel confident enough to do it on our own. We didn't go to the animal preserve yesterday, it was raining and we didn't have enough time.

For grammar/composition, I've decided to use Primary Language Lessons, Writing Tales 1 and Intermediate Language Lessons, in that order with nothing else.

Looking the curricula chart I made, I realized I had overkill in the LA department, I have writing programs alongside LA programs that include writing. I also have Writing Aids from Tapestry of Grace and I've since looked at it more closely. I feel confident enough to allow Primary Language Lessons, Writing Tales 1 and Intermediate Language Lessons be our only language arts products through 5th grade. Since I have Writing Aids, I can always beef it up if I need to.

Here's the new curricula overview

There are a few clarifications I need to make to the chart, a few curricula selections are dependent on another being finished. For example, phonics instruction will be finished before spelling begins. We will be starting Explode the Code 6 on Monday and Camille will finish book 8 before starting Simply Spelling 3.

If we stay on track with our schedule, she'll end Book 6 before 3rd grade and have about 23 weeks of 3rd grade devoted to Explode the Code, depending on how quickly she moves through the books. Of course, there may come a point where using them may not as worthwhile but we'll cross that bridge if we come to it. It's really not about making sure we do Simply Spelling in 3rd grade, we're building skill sets and there is no reason to move into a new area without finishing the previous.

I'll have more about Natural Science by Seasons as we get our books in and I have time to think more about it. I have a list of books I want to read during PreK-4th and I'm still gathering that list as well as thinking about our approach. There will be a structure to our lessons, this just requires more refinement of thought.

I'm feeling very good about these changes, I feel they have been made with our best interests in mind.



Sheryl said...

Thanks for helping me evalute my dd's first grade plans for next year. To answer your questons..she is reading on a middle of second grade level on her own. I would say most 2nd grade books she checks out she can handle 90/95 % of words...3rd grade books only about 75/80%. If she is reading on her own is there a need for further phonics? I applaude SSRW for her reading skills..we started the combo in PreK. As for the science she will attend a christian school that has homeschool classes. She will go on Tues. and have one hour each of art, music, history, and science. At home I hope to cover animals, plants etc. and tie these into our nature studies as much as possible. Thanks again for your help. It means alot coming from YOU!
Sheryl in GA

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I have a 7, 5 and 1 yr old. Right now the 5 and 1 yr. old are at home and the 7 yr old goes to a Christian school (1st grade). Next year I am homeschooling all. I am baffled at how to teach both well (2nd gr and K). I love most of your curriculum choices, but if you stuck with this schedule for both of your children then they would be learning completely different things, right? Or will you modify for your younger son? My youngest boy will be in Kindergarten and I would love to do completely different things for him than the second grader. I don't think he is ready for Tapestry of Grace, but my oldest will eat it up next year. But then if I wait for my younger son, they will be on different years and how will I teach two completely different years? Can you imagine? I want to teach TOG in depth, and well. We love art, reading, history, Bible...but I couldn't do it well and have them on different time eras. I know that would be too much. And one of the reasons I love classical history is because they learn history chronologically, so I hate to start my younger son in the middle. Science, math and lang arts are no sweat. I can easily teach Horizons or Saxon K and 2 all in one, I can water down the science for the younger one, etc. But the TOG has my stumped. Do you have any advice to give to a rookie?

Trivium Academy said...

Hi The Good, the bad & the ugly,

Actually, my children are perfect 4 year cycle children because they are exactly four years apart. Camille will be in 5th grade when Danny is in 1st so I can easily put them in the same year plan of Tapestry but at different levels- Danny will be lower grammar and Camille will be dialectic. I haven't thought about all the logistics but I'm sure we'll have a shared reading time and Camille will have independent reading to do on her own.

For a K and 2nd grader, if you want to keep them apart for your younger one's K year, you can. I'll be doing the same thing with my two in a way. Since we'll be using Galloping the Globe, Camille can join in and both will profit from hearing stories from other countries. I'll probably even have Camille read-aloud at times.

If doing something to combine them together doesn't interest you, then just schedule their times separate. Then in 1st and 3rd grade you can have them join together for history and TOG will lay it all out for you and since they are closer together in age, you'll be able to use lower grammar books for the both of them. I suggest looking at the upper grammar books for a few read alouds though.

Regarding what you said about your younger one joining in the middle, which is more important to you? Learning together in the same time period or starting your younger son at the beginning and maintaining two time periods? If you're concerned about your younger one's exposure, then I would select read alouds during K year to give him what you want.

You can easily read picture books from the Ancients time period up to American History, you may not "study" them but really it's the stories that the kids learn from. Then your 1st grade can join your 3rd grader in American History and have fun together.

Don't worry about teaching TOG in depth until later, or satisfy yourself by learning in-depth and then you can informally share interesting facts you've learned with your children. I think homeschooling makes us forget at times that we're teaching our children, children that still need a childhood.

Does that help?
Jessica :)

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Thanks so much for your time and words. It does help. I am not sure exactly what we will do, but you have given me food for thought and prayer and I appreciate it! I agree whole-heartedly that they need a childhood. That is why I don't want our formal school time to be all-consuming. I want them to get an excellent education. But I also want them to have free time outside, time to read for fun, time to play with friends, time as a family just talking and being silly. So the time factor is very important for me. If we spend the majority of our day doing formal learning I'm afraid they will lose their beautiful love for learning/curiosity. I will have to pray and choose wisely! Looks like you have done the same thing. Thanks for sharing, again!