Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
(photo is from our trip to Redding this fall)
January through April is when we get the bulk of our academic school year accomplished. After a long holiday break, January feels more like September than even September does. After a few months of using curriculum, we know better what is working well and what isn’t and we can make “course adjustments” to steer the rest of the year by. I long for the boys to grow deep roots. To acquire wisdom, and an enjoyment of learning that lasts beyond a test result. How to do this? With 7 years of constant trial and error it’s getting through my thick skull-nothing valuable will ever result from this homeschool journey without plenty of prayer, preparation and perseverance. (that last one is my least favorite.)
Here is where God has led, so far, this year:
Saxon Algebra 1/2 with the DIVE cd tutor (when we get to Algebra I am done teaching math…hooray for computer and dvd tutors!) This is quite a bit more intense than the Switched on Schoolhouse he was doing last year, and over an hour of study a day, but he is eating it up. This kid enjoys math, and enjoys a good challenge!
Wordsmith Apprentice-daily writing program
The Story of the USA-Book 1. we are just finishing up this workbook as a supplement to History
He no longer has any Handwriting assigned because he writes often, and well.
Math, he is finishing up Switched on Schoolhouse on the computer (he is more than halfway through it now, so he should be done early) We are also working on his memorization with drills, games and flash cards of the math facts.
Handwriting-we are on our 3rd handwriting program, just in THIS YEAR! I keep trying new things to help him, as he struggles so much in this area. So far he is really enjoying the latest book-“Can Do Printing” by the “Handwriting without Tears” author. She has made it for older students who simply need remedial help. It doesn’t have the preschool pictures or the cartoony nonsense that insults a clever boy of eleven years maturity, plus it has grammar review. 2 birds with one stone-us Homeschool Mamas love that. Oh and something else we love? $6.95 for a year long workbook! yes.
Language Arts-Sam is still plugging away at his Switched on Schoolhouse CD by Alpha Omega. These boys love any work they can do on the computer.
Math. Just like in their clothing apparel, little brother Caleb is waiting in line for big brother Sam to finish up. When Switched on Schoolhouse is complete for Sam, Caleb gets it (and can’t wait!) In the meantime we picked up a simple Scholastic workbook and he is doing 4 pages a day in it, and joining Sam for the drills of those dreaded math facts.
Lang Arts: a Daily Grams workbook from Easy Grammar plus daily writing. I found a little $3 journal at the Learning Palace called A Book About Me. You know writing is easier when the author gets to write about his favorite subject…
Handwriting. Caleb has very nice penmanship for his age and is justifiably proud of it. This year he asked to learn Cursive, which is one of the few subjects I leave up to the child’s discretion. My only requirement for handwriting is neat and legible-style is their choice. (Josiah chose to learn Cursive also, and has great handwriting. I think he inspired Caleb’s decision!)
And for all those who ask how do you teach THREE? Well, Math and Lang arts are all they need to do separately. The rest of school, consisting of History, Bible, Science and most electives
(and especially Home Economics,as those grueling chores are daily!) I teach these subjects to the boys, all together…
they write a daily list of 3-5 NEW things in their Gratitude Journal. They generally do this during Read-Aloud time in the afternoon, when we cover American History. We are STILL
going through Sonlights’ Core 3 book list. We are only now on the “Louisiana Purchase” because there was just so much good stuff to cover in the American Revolution! What all of us wouldn’t give to take a trip to the East Coast and see these places we have studies now…
They are also keeping an “American History” notebook where we add drawings, worksheets and book reports periodically throughout the year.
Bible Study Fellowship classes in The Life of Moses. They do the work each day and classes are each Monday night.
Science: Christian Kids Explore series-we are doing Earth Science this year. We study with friends and meet once a week.
PE They do the “Wii fit” a few times a week (but only if all other school work is done), we are trying to walk the dog, daily for one mile, after lunch, plus Sam and Josiah take Tennis each Wed afternoon. All that, plus, every non-rainy day I kick them all outdoors for an hour, minimum. I am a cruel taskmaster.
So that is school, in a nutshell. And speaking of it, it’s time to divert my attention from talking about school to actually doing it. This is what I meant by “perseverance” being my most needed teaching skill. You can BUY a tutor for Algebra, but only the Holy Spirit can get a selfish, tired Mom to focus on her children’s needs, instead of her own desires, day after day after day after day after day after day…