After about a year of doing the full schedule, we're getting the hang of this. Life disrupts sometimes, but we pull it back together and keep on going, and it's amazing what we've both learned. In addition to Hero's work, Dragon is starting to demand inclusion. He's not really ready for doing much academic work yet, but he's getting closer every day, and I have no doubt that as soon as he can, he'll want to play too. Good thing that school is fun!
This is what we're using, as of March 2013.
Posts on Classical Education.
Posts on planning school.
Posts on LDS lesson plans.
Happy Phonics is what Monkey sees, along with some extra games I make up. I also use The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading to make sure that I don't miss anything. I love the games in Happy Phonics, particularly for a young learner, but the instructions could use some work. On the other hand, the Ordinary Parents' Guide, on its own, is so dry and dull I can hardly stand to read it myself. But they make beautiful music together. Hero's reading is finally taking off, and he's having a blast with the Book It! program this year.
Dragon knows his letters and their sounds, and he's getting pretty good at aural blending. I don't think it'll be too long before he makes that first CVC blend, but I'm not pushing him. When we play our games, he often likes to play too, and that's fine. And if he's busy, that's fine too. After all, he's only 2. For a more complete review of the programs, look here.
Posts on Phonics.
I thought Math Expressions was wonderful, and it is, but it can't hold a candle to Miquan! We're actually using them both at this point. In Math Expressions Hero is finishing up Grade 1 volume 1. It's pretty easy, and lots of it we've already covered, so we use the chapter tests as pre-tests and skip everything that he already understands. The idea is to get to the stuff that is actually somewhat challenging. Keeping this boy's math where it needs to be to challenge him is tricky! With Miquan, we go primarily interest-lead. So we've done some work with fractions, we're currently doing some hands-on geometry with hexaflexagons and other shapes made from paper, and whatever else catches our attention. We usually do one program one week, and the next program the other week. Works out really well, and math remains one of his favorite things to do.
Dragon wants in here too, and is starting to understand the one-to-one correspondence, so his play with the rods is starting to become more purposeful. But mostly, he still just plays (and throws) the rods.
Posts on Math.
Nature Study has been tough to get done for a long time now. First, the summer was so brutally hot, and then I got pregnant and have struggled to avoid the whole pre-term labor thing, and now we have a newborn. But we do get out a little. Hero has made a couple sketches in a new nature sketch book, and he likes that. I like having my book out again too. Hero has also been going on hikes with his Daddy and is right about halfway to earning his 25 mile patch. It's amazing how the distance adds up! Hopefully in the spring of 2013 we'll be able to pick this back up.
Posts on Nature.
We're studying astronomy right now, with an emphasis on rockets. Hero loves anything to do with them. So we've looked at a number of general resources, and I'm in the market for a book about the Apollo missions or the Space Station, but haven't found one that suits yet. This isn't our most consistent topic, as far as doing it on a regular schedule, but we do get some in.
Posts about Science.
First Language Lessons 2 has too much writing for small fingers, so we put it on hold. I plan to come back to it in the fall of 2013, as I am hoping that by then his fine motor will be much more up to the task.
All About Spelling 1 is a hit. Now that his reading is taking off, we're starting to work with spelling a bit. So far, it's easy, and that's OK with me. I like how thorough this program is, and how it reinforces the phonics rules we've already learned. I also like how it's got hands-on and aural components worked right in there.
Posts on Narration.
Posts on Spelling.
We're using the Story of the World 2 as our main history text, supplemented by all kinds of picture books, read alouds, and websites. The SOTW activity guide has some great suggestions, more than we'll be able to use, and the Usborne Internet-linked History Encyclopedia has additional resources for some topics. We can also print coloring pages, flannel board characters and other items from the Childrens' Friend archives.
Posts on History.
I still do some scribing for Hero, but he's doing more of his own work all the time. At this point, he usually will write his own math answers, and we're regularly doing sheets from Learning Pages to practice writing letters. Right now we're hitting troublesome letters in the alphabet again. We do copywork about once a week, and it's going nicely. All About Spelling has a dication component, and he's doing great with that, and one of his favorite things to do now is to draw pictures of weapons, space craft, and armor. These are getting better and better all the time. I still don't see a need to purchase a writing program. We use free handwriting sheets from Learning Pages for the letters, and I create copywork on the Zaner-Bloser website.
I try to have a chapter book that I am reading out loud on a regular basis. I did not expect this to be one of the most difficult things to make happen in our homeschool, but it's turned out that way. I love doing the actual reading, but picking new books always difficult. If we get stuck and I can't find one that makes me happy, then I read poetry for a while instead. Titles Hero has enjoyed include:
Sir Gawain and the Green Night
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Little House in the Big Woods
The Good Master
Black Ships Before Troy
A Child's Garden of Verses
Posts about Read-Alouds.
OK. Art is something that I want to do, but getting it done is hard. Hero's Daddy and I used to do quite a bit of drawing, but the more kids we have, the less drawing we do. And we miss it. I want Hero to know the pleasure of a nice afternoon of drawing or other art. Since I feel that drawing and writing are closely related, I have somewhat combined the two, and it's helping to get things done. We have been using the book How to Draw 101 Funny People, and he's having a good time with it. His drawings have improved considerably. We've also introduced picture studies, and he likes these a lot. Our first artist is Dan Scott, a current-day fantasy artist.
Resources for Art Appreciation:
The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery
Auguste Renoir Gallery
Posts about Arts N Crafts.
We read daily as a family from the Book of Mormon. Hero and I are reading, at his request, the Doctrine and Covenants. This is an extremely slow process, because he asks me to "stop and go and stop and go." That is, I read a bit, then explain it in plain English. More and more, now, I ask him to have a guess at what it might mean before I explain things. We also do a scripture box for verse memorization with both boys. I am in the process of building the habit of reading scriptures daily with Dragon too: we're reading the Book of Mormon as well, and he's about halfwat through the volume. Baby Girl sleeps a lot still, but scripture is her first read-aloud, and we're starting to get a few verses here and there. My goal with all this is to instill a love of the scriptures early, and to help my kids be first-language fluent in what I fondly refer to as "scripture speak." It's just not the same as every day language!
Posts about Matters of Faith.
And that's what we're learning!
Posts labeled Preschool
Posts labeled Kindergarten
Posts labeled Grammar Stage
Posts labeled Classical Homeschooling