New school books are so much fun! It's hard to believe I'll have Mattie and Jacob to school this year. Mattie is very excited about being an official kindergartner, though Jacob wishes he could retire all together. How much changes in a few years! I am choosing several things to do just like I did them with Jacob and several things to do differently. It's so nice to have experience! We'll start our new year in the second week of August when my three summer two-day-a-week charges go back to public school.
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Mattie - Kindergarten
Mattie will be doing Five in a Row with me this year! We'll just start back at the beginning. She's certainly sat in on a lot of the reading with us, but I'm excited to get to do our favorites all over again with her. I'll do it a bit differently than I did with Jacob, as Mattie is much more of a hands on learner. I also want to do the FIAR notebook that I never did with Jacob. (He was too young to do it at first and then it seemed awkward to start it in the middle.)
Mattie will also be continuing her reading progress with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Bob Books and other early readers, and Explode the Code workbooks. (With 100 EZ Lessons, I don't do it as formally as they suggest. I think it's a bit too scripted, but I had training on it when I was teaching so I can do it without having to read every word. I used it with Jacob and I like the way it moves the kids through the skills, especially if they're ready to soak it up and move quickly.) She's doing well already and begs to practice "every day like when we do our chores, Mama."
For Math she'll be doing Critical Thinking Company's Mathematical Reasoning. She already spends a lot of time playing math games on the iPod, so much of this won't be new material, but I really like the thinking this program includes as opposed to just concrete problem solving.
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Jacob - Fifth Grade
Jacob and I are moving in a new direction this year. He seems to have outgrown Five in a Row (earlier than I expected) and is needing a curriculum that has longer, more connected studies. (They do offer this for the older ages, but I know I won't plan well for two kids that way, I can't keep them together anymore, and he wants to do something different.) I'm finding a bit of a groove for Jacob... finally! I'm learning he likes to know what to expect, he likes to have a list to check off, he likes to have tangible, measurable assignments, and as much as I hate to say it, he likes workbooks. And if you notice those things, very little of those fit in with literature based weekly unit studies. Soooo, we're switching it up for him.
For History we're doing American History from Truthquest. I'm not sure how quickly we'll move through these guides, but I think I'm planning on doing three guides over two years. These guides are set up so I read the commentary on a time period or person, then I choose whichever of the suggested titles we'd like to read. There is no schedule and I can do it however it fits us best. I'll probably choose several of the picture book titles and a more challenging book for Jacob to read on his own. I have to say, I am very excited to do this! I have a major fear of commitment to a curriculum that gives me a schedule b/c I can't handle not doing it the way they suggest. I also don't know what I don't know, so I'd never pick all the right stuff if I just checked out random books from the library. Plus I don't want to pay for something I know I won't use! With the Truthquest guides, they suggest that I do it however I'd like to, highlight the most important info in the conservative, Christian worldview commentary and I choose the books and printable activities I want to do. Perfect. :)
For Math we're continuing on with Teaching Textbooks 6 and adding some supplementary things from Critical Thinking Company. I wasn't very happy with his progress with TT, but I've started requiring him to read the lecture for himself before he listens to the computer lecture and his memory of the concepts has greatly improved. Basically I've learned I just have a boy who does not learn well through auditory channels! I also feel like TT does not include enough critical thinking and spoon feeds the student a bit too much, so the supplementary things should help with that. (The reason I'm sticking with it is because the lecture is written out word for word and I've learned Jacob has to have that to read. The other curricula that require me to orally explain the concepts just won't work.)
For science we're doing Apologia's Astronomy! I'm really excited about this one and Jacob got to pick it out himself! I've heard great things about their products, and we're going to be doing the activities with two families we love. The journal looks perfect for Jacob too... some - but not too many - lapbook components balanced with a good amount of review questions, crosswords and copywork too. (Mattie will tag along with the Junior Journal too.)
For writing he'll be doing Writing Tales.We've not done much formal language arts thus far, but he enjoys writing and I feel like it's time to focus on it. It's actually written by a lady who goes to church with my sister!
Small tangent here... I've been trying to figure out what Jacob loves... what makes his heart beat, but I can't pick a subject. He likes science stuff but isn't crazy about it. He kind of likes history, but doesn't seek anything out to learn something new. He's good at math but not motivated to do anything on his own. He loves Legos, but I've already done that unit study! So I've felt stuck as I've wanted to allow some delight directed learning but can't find that which brings him delight! Kind of a problem. I've been asking the Lord for wisdom and He showed me what's been staring me in the face for about nine years: words. Jacob loves words! He loves to read them, think about them, know where they come from, what they mean and how they're spelled. He loves to use them in writing and (constant) speech. So I finally think I have figured out what he will love this year!
For enrichment for him he's going to do Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Unlocking Analogies, and Balance Math and More. He won't do each of these every day, rather he'll work through one book, then do a unit of the other and then the other. Each of these is based on thinking about words or processes and that is what he (and his mother) enjoys. I've looked for the right vocabulary program for a while and this one is finally what I want. It teaches English word families based on their Latin and Greek roots, so it's all applicable (where Prima Latina wasn't). They are all also workbooks, so Jacob will like them for their predictability and measurability. I've had these for a week and am having to restrain myself from starting them with him... and doing them myself. :) What can I say? He is his mother's child!
Finally, we'll all be casually going through La Clase Divertida and learning Spanish together. :)
I'm really excited about this year and what I have for the kids. It's going to be a change to be sure Mattie gets some school attention too, but I don't typically spend that long each day in the early grades, so I'm sure we can get it done. I'll let you know how it goes!