Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As raindrops on the tender herb, And as showers on the grass.
Deut. 32:2

Monday, August 31, 2015

What We're Using-Curricula

I know this is always such a big topic. I don't usually care to post about it, because I take it so for granted. It is interesting though...so here goes.

First, let me mention, for the past few years we have home-educated through a public charter school that prides itself on being parent choice. That means the parents choose the curriculum, from a very long list of approved, non-sectarian, vendors, their children use daily. Every student is allotted a certain amount of 'funds' to be used for curricula, supplies, and extra curricular classes related to their studies. We don't physically see or handle any funds, the school processes our requests and then delivers what we have requested. This has worked very well for us and I hope to continue as long as the option is available.

For the 1st grader, I am still primarily using Oak Meadow. When his first grade syllabus arrived, I was reminded why I don't really like it for the primer grades until 3rd grade. It's way too simple, especially in language arts. The focus on nature, crafts, and social studies I can handle though. I know how to supplement enough to language arts, as I have always been resourceful. I already have a good collection of readers and read-alouds including classic and award winning children's books. I have found many free printable unit studies and lap books to go along with most of the read alouds too (which I absolutely LOVE using). I am using Saxon 1st grade math. He started it last year and it also seemed like he was beyond what it was offering. I am going to still use it this year to fill in any gaps we may have missed. What he already knows, we can breeze through. I've made quite a few hands on games to go along with his reading and math skills, which I'll share in a later post. Kurtis is supposed to start guitar lessons this year, which he couldn't wait for last year but now he says he doesn't want to...so I am on the fence about that.

For Bird, 8th grade is also Oak Meadow, except for Math (do you see a trend here? haha.). I am supplementing with some latin roots and prefixes work books. It's not a full language course but if she commits to actually learning the material, I know it will be extremely beneficial, not only in basic language arts work, but when it comes time to learn foreign language too. Her literature will also be supplemented with free printables, unit studies and activities I've found online. Last year she did Pre-Algebra using Teaching Textbooks. This year, she will repeat Pre-Algebra using Saxon. This method of having Pre-Algebra two years in a row, was helpful for Sam and I expect it to be just as helpful for Bird as well.

The Literature selections this year are great. I'm not sure if they are all her style, but we can supplement if not. She's already read the Giver (and all the subsequent books in the quartet), so she gets at least one novel she really likes. I also have two separate grammar books to giver her a stronger skill set in that area. She loves to write and therefore most of her grammar learning has been acquired naturally. I think a few work books will only help to solidify the concepts. One is a work book our ES (educational specialist) ordered for her and another was a free downloadable found online (I'll also share my list of free resources in a later post as well). Liberty will also continue with guitar lessons.

Samuel, my 10th grader has a full courseload (it probably deserves an entire post of it's own!). He is continuing Algebra I with Saxon--taking a full year to complete the second semester of the book. This enables him to move at a slower pace, for full understanding of the material. It's what he needs and I am grateful we have the freedom to do what works for us and him. His other core courses, Modern World History, Literature, and Biology are using basic texts and following syllabi created by what the charter school calls 'Subject Matter Experts'. It's a very affordable option for us--we only have to purchase the texts but our 'Educational Specialist' ended up having them, which allowed us to receive them for free.

He has two electives, PE and art. He took both last year. We participate in a free community work out on Monday and Wednesday mornings at the park to fulfill physical education requirements but Sam will also be taking dance classes again this year. He's enjoying art and all the kids have taken classes for years now, this year will be no different except for Kurtis. It was a challenge last year for him to stay focused, though admittedly I had him in a class that was too long for him but he was with his siblings so I stuck with it. Right now I just can't find a time slot to fit it in for him between my work schedule, other classes and having time for regular school work, meals and showers. Such is life.

It's a lot. We make it work. I'm hoping to instill some new habits and procedures that will eliminate the stress triggers and produce an even more peaceful home school year for all of us.

Happy Educating!

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