Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mid-year Homeschool Update

At the beginning of this year, I laid out our plans. We changed almost everything. At least, that's what I thought. I was wrong. 

We have now scrapped most of that. We are on to better and different things and we are SO HAPPY. 

Here's a brief list of what we started with and where we are now. 

Grammar: First Language Lessons is on hold for the 7yo and scrapped entirely for the 11yo. Aries will pick up FLL2 next year (maybe. We may be outgrowing it), Sagittarius starts KISS Grammar  this week.

Imitation in Writing was a big fail. Too rigid, too critical, too demanding, no fun. Sagg chose to do Write This Book instead. He read the full Pseudonymous Bosch series and wanted to finish with this. It turned out to be an excellent experience for him. He enjoyed it, and no longer HATES writing. Two similar resources we will use are Writing Strands and NaNoWriMo Kids workbook. But not till next year. 

Sagg is loving Life Of Fred for math. He does still enjoy Khan Academy, but we have found CK12 Braingenie is a better resource for focused skills practice.
Aries enjoyed LOF Apples, but we set it aside to work on Funnix Math. He will return to Fred after he completes Funnix.

Funnix offers free downloads of their Phonics, reading and math programs in December. I downloaded it on a whim. Aries needed a little extra skills practice, and while Explode the Code was OK, he wasn't loving it.  He LOVES Funnix. LOVES like he has never enjoyed school before. 

We changed out our reading list from Ambleside Online to Mensa For Kids. Shorter, but more modern, more fun, still high quality.

History is still Story of the World. Always and forever. 

We are using Countdown to Logic and loving it. Fun, challenging, but easy enough for my 7yo to join in. 

English From the Roots Up is going well. It's a little fun bonus that Sagg does once a week. 

The biggest change this year is in our schedule. After talking with friends over the summer, I set aside our long-lived rotating schedule (history on Tuesday, Science on Wednesday, etc). We switched to a block schedule. History for a month. Science for a month. Art/music/poetry/creative writing for a month. I LOVE this change. We cover more material, dive deeper, and immerse ourselves in the subject fully until it's finished. 

This month, we are learning Japanese using Mango, free from the library. Aries asked to learn Japanese so that he can watch anime without translation. yesterday was our second lesson. This morning he greeted me with "Ii denki desu, ne?" I think it's working. 

In addition to continuing all of the above, I am adding some new elements. 

Charlotte Mason style composer, artist, and poet studies, and Nature Journals.

A Writer's Workshop  

Little 4 yo Gemini is teaching himself to write his letters. We started Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading yesterday. I hadn't planned to start this early, but he is asking and asking and asking and asking for it, so why not. 

The major shift this year has been away from scripted, prepared lessons toward more free-flowing, spirited, DIY type of lessons. In my earlier post, I asked, "Where is the love?"

It's here. We found it. 


1 comment:

  1. Block schedule? Hmmm. Sounds tempting. I actually just thought this the other day. But you do "the 3 R's" daily or nearly daily, right? We may just try this. It sounds like something they might be totally on board with! And the Write This Book; I put it on my Amazon Wish List. And I'm going to fully investigate Writing Strands too!
    -Alisa (not really McCance)