Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finding Our Way

When we started this idea of homeschool earlier in the year I had all these grand plans. Boy, how things change....

In the beginning...

  • I did not want a boxed curriculum, I thought it would make me feel to, well, boxed in. I wanted to be able to be free to change at a whim and not feel like I wasted money on something I wouldn't use all the time.
  • I thought I was eclectic. I like everything!
  • I thought I could throw a plan together and follow it the whole year.
  • I thought I would love unit studies and they would be so easy.
Then we started.

  • Boxed curriculum has it's advantages. It does it for you! Saxon Math turned into an emotional drama nearly everyday. We pitched that 2 weeks ago and opted for Horizon Math which we now do everyday with NO fighting or tears. Yeah! I still have the teachers manual for Saxon in case I need the script for teaching a certain concept. I am very afraid of math.
  • I am eclectic in the way that I do love everything, especially at Rainbow Resource, it all calls my name and is so pretty. Books, books, books. But then I realized I have no philosophy or method. No goals for Caeden, we were pretty much winging it. We use a charter school (don't slap me) and it helps with the $$$ part of homeschooling and then I also have the accountability. With that of course come standards that need to be met but I still want Caeden to learn things that he wouldn't be given the time for at public school. He really likes art and write now he wants to be a News Reporter so everything is about that. I started looking at philosophies and methods...
  • Unit studies are fun but sometimes can be a lot of work to put together.
Classical Education
Charlotte Mason
Unit Studies

So after perusing the book, The Well Trained Mind, twice, I think we best fit in there, somewhere. I love that Caeden would learn history chronologically and in a cycle and that good books are a huge part of it. I love that the arts are a huge focus, compared to public school. I am learning still so it isn't all as clear as day yet. But I like it.

What we started with at the beginning of the year has mostly changed. I had this hair-brained idea that I would just pull all that he needed from tons of different resources. This gets exhausting and overwhelming. Thank God there are homeschool blogs, moms that have gone before us and they have so willingly shared what is working.

This is where we are now.

Math: Horizon K. They are advanced and the stuff in the Kindergarten book is all first grade material. He would have been lost had I started him in the first grade book. We use the manipulatives that we got from Saxon to help in his math exploration.

Reading: We use the library and get books that are go along with whatever we are learning about. We have just started using narration where he tells me what he remembers about what we are reading. This was a weak spot at the beginning of the year but he is getting better. He reads at a 3rd grade level so his reading his really good. We do lots of read-alouds too and I am trying to find time to fit in more reading during the day.

Phonics: We are using Explode the Code and he loves these workbooks, they even make him laugh and he zips through them.

Spelling: Linking Words to Meaning is good but we won't use it next year. I wish we had gone with Spelling Workout so we will use that in 2nd grade. He can spell pretty well. I am always impressed with what he can do.

Grammar: First Language Lessons. We just got this last week and I really like it. They are simple little lessons and scripted (which I like). We will use this in 2nd grade as well.

History/ Social Studies: Unit Studies/Ancient Egypt/Map Skills. We started the year out with some Unit Studies and after Christmas we will get into Ancient Egypt even more than we did for our Unit Study. This is the first history rotation for Classical Education. Well, actually it's ancient civilizations but we are breaking it up even further (more on that later. :)). The most exciting thing is we are going to go to an Egyptian Museum in San Jose next year! They have a mummy and other Egyptian treasures. Caeden will love it!

Science: Various. We just got a sketch book for nature study, Caeden really likes it and I think this will be a fun part of our learning. He loves science! We are focusing on animals, human body and plants. We will most likely carry some of this over in 2nd grade along with some other experiments.

Art & Music: I want to do more art with Caeden. I am getting a book about teaching art to children so it's not just art projects but learning about the art of art. Does that make sense? We will study different artists in 2nd grade. We are going to start learning about the different instruments in the orchestra and I would love to find a production at the end of the year so he can see them all in action.

All this to say, things change. This is our first year and we are still finding our way.

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