Do you ever have a moment? A moment that changes stuff? You know...like, homeschool stuff? Well. There I was, minding my own business when, without warning, it hit me!
So, we are loosely a month into our new school year, although we are just doing a little here and a little there because we have so much going on... Basically we were doing some math, some language arts, and history over the last month.
So, it all started with fractions. We had a fractions problem. I tried to explain it, but Kayley didn't get it. I tried to explain it again...you know, slower, like maybe that would help. It didn't. So, I get out the teachers guide to see how they want me to explain it to her and the teachers guide is like, basically, Greek. Once I read through the teachers materials, weeding out the classroom bits that didn't apply, I discovered, to my absolute HORROR, that they pretty much didn't explain it at all. So... we wait and luckily Daddy explains it in a different way that clicks, and we move on.
(1 week later)
Word problems. "Uuuhhh! I do NOT understand this word problem! I can't...CAN'T do it! I can't!!" Where did this come from? In 2nd grade, using Singapore my daughter would fly through complex word problems... Multi-step word problems! Granted BJU doesn't do very many word problems but I wouldn't have anticipated this crippling fear of word problems.... I help her through it. It was not hard and we move on.
(2 weeks later)
Me: "Just add it in your head...you shouldn't need fingers"
Kayley: "Uh..." (trying very hard not to use her fingers)
Me: "Remember, 9 just wants to be a 10..."
Kayley: "Oh yeah...." (it clicks)
(3 weeks later)
We switch back to Singapore math. I like BJU. I do! The running themes and story lines are great. The teachers guides? Not so great... The tear out worksheets are awesome but the fact that there are so few word problems... Not great. Singapore really pushes word problems and mental math... We need that.
So... that is not all we have changed....
Now... I'm feeling a little burned out. Not a LOT burned out, just a little. I have been what I guess would be considered a "Classical" homeschooler for a couple of years now. Ever since we went to Classical Conversations the year before last. I have to admit. I'm a little tired of the strain of implementing a "rigorous" homeschool. I want my kids to be smart, of course, but I also want them to love learning. We are losing some of the love while we try to learn, at the age of 7, sentence diagramming, Latin, grammar, etc. Now, I've read Susan Wise Bauer's The Well Trained Mind front to back and front again. I took notes. I created schedules and plans... and I like them! I admire them.
But, I'm tired. And we are going to take a year "off." The first year that we did Sonlight I love, love, loved the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling... So, with that in mind I sat down and researched and rewrote our year! We will be using something I have never tried before!
This is a year long animal science study that combines PreK to 4th graders. Yes, I know, WinterPromise has a bad reputation of poor customer service and slow shipping. I know a couple of years ago I read some very poor reviews of Winter Promise as well, but we are going to take a leap of faith and hope they are wonderful. So far, they have treated me just fine. I haven't started using this program yet but my kids are really really excited.
We needed to relax a bit on the Language Arts too and we will be trying out their Language Arts for 3rd Grade program called Tracking Down Good Grammar with Scout the Dog.
We are sticking with our original Latin plan and I will be adding in the remainder of First Language Lessons volume 2. The memory work found in there just cannot be beat! Our spelling plans include finishing up Level 3 of All About Spelling but WinterPromise LA schedules Spellwell B so we will be switching over to that for ease of use. I may throw in some of Writing With Ease but I haven't decided yet... ;)
Ok, so not to leave Maggie out! She is still using her K5 Beginnings from BJU. It was already something that we owned so I didn't invest much. It is a solid program but-- we want relaxed and easy this year so I'm leaning toward the very simple text The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. This is a Peace Hill Press product that takes a systematic and scripted approach to teaching reading. It looks simple and we know we already love so many of the Peace Hill Products!
I'm loosely looking at a few Language Arts options for Maggie. I did purchase the Syllables to Sentences Language Arts program from Winter Promise but once it arrived I realized that Maggie already knew about 1/2 of what was in there! (not to mention it didn't prove to be a good value - a separate review would be needed to explain that). Anyway, I sent it back for a refund. I may get the next level or I may consider Sonlight's Language Arts for K.
So, anyway, I guess if you stuck with me this far you are a curriculum junkie like me... I look forward to sharing my thoughts on many of these products! Thanks for stopping by!