Of course when it’s ordering time, everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing. We’ve watched one another toil and mull over various options. We’ve contributed suggestions and recommendations. We’ve had our own queries.
And, since I’ve pretty much fallen off the blogging wagon, I’m calling this my ‘annual’ post. LOL I swear, I have intentions of getting back into this blogging thing. It’s just not back in me yet. Maybe I need to start re-posting things of old though, just to keep things flowing and making me come back here, perhaps prompting a meme of sorts.
Anyway, on to the picks.
Oh wow did I have a time this year!!
History, literature, geography (what bit we dabble in it), some church history and upcoming government are all encompassed in Tapestry of Grace. We are in Year 4 of the plan, come fall. I still often feel like this is a glorified book list for us. But, oh well. We have all year plans purchased now. I will work on building our private library of the core books used and continue trying to stretch us to make more use of the curriculum. Without feeling overwhelmed and like we have to do everything. It’s so easy to get sucked into that! With anything. Just in general. TOG kind of feeds though. So, that’s my warning to you. TOG is great. Yes, it’s huge. Yes, it’s intimidating. But you do NOT have to do everything. You do not HAVE to do everything. You are not EXPECTED to do everything. It overs above and beyond all that could conceivably be covered in those subjects in a year. It is giving you CHOICES! Like a buffet. Pick what you want from it. Really.
So, that’s that. All children participate at their individual levels in that. I have children with their toes in two levels. I have children firmly planted in just one. They do their own independent work. We join for some readings. They share in some projects.
Then we have Math-U-See for most of our math needs. I had one struggling with Algebra this year. Just could not progress. Partly attitude, partly material. Mostly attitude, I think, personally. But anyway… He will pick up with Key to Algebra. The others, as I said, will be in MUS in levels ranging from Primer to Geometry.
Science was my killer this year. I always struggle a bit with science. But this year was rough. I had older ones that needed something more than I could personally offer. Something more than reading a boring textbook. I was told about Derek Owens. Apparently he’s “da bomb”. I’ve heard many a rave over his classes, whether they be in real life, online, or the cd course. They were all raved about. He’s an awesome teacher, I’ve been told. Kids have been disappointed they ran out of classes to take with him. Sounds good, eh? So I took a look and found out about those DVD courses. I was previously under the impression these were all live or online classes. I didn’t realize there were DVDs available for purchase! Physical Science sounded like a good class for my older boys. And if for some reason this comes to fail us, I’m coming after Abbey! No, no, just kidding. Sort of. No, no, no. Really. :D
So that was my first science dilemma. I actually settled that one rather quickly, compared to my next woe.
I needed three more science programs. Two were in the same course of study, but different levels. A seven year old and an eleven year old each in Biology. And a nine year old needing Physics. I’ve long since fallen off the Well Trained Mind coordinating cycles of science and history. Yes, I still agree with it. But, we got wonky somewhere along the line and went from everyone combined for science/history, to separating for science which ended up in children studying different things on their own level. Next thing I knew, everyone had their own science study at their own level and I was just trying to keep them cycling through so they were still getting everything. I do not like science programs that do a little bit of everything each year. So that every year through the course of the school year, they will study a little biology, a little space, a little weather, a little chemistry, a little physics… That just doesn’t make sense to me. Not enough in depth. Too much jumping around. Just as we study history one ‘era’ at a time, I prefer we study science one ‘genre’ at a time. You can get the big and the small of it that way. So, that’s what we’ve done. And that is what I have fought to find, for each child, at their level, for whatever it was needed to study that particular year.
Then, with that whole cycling so they hit everything, I have to factor all of that in. She just studied chemistry so physics would be next in line…earth/space was last year…so… That sort of thing.
I realized my eleven year old needs me more than he’s been getting. I expect my kids to be pretty independent pretty early. For the most part they have done okay with this. But we have problem areas here and there. And things crop up and I realize, we need to change. So, this year is about some change. The eleven year old did not thrive in his last two years of independent science. So I MUST work closely with him this year. The nine year old has been okay, but I want to watch that she doesn’t slip as well. The seven year old…is seven…he needs assistance.
After tossing around MANY ideas. From sticking with God’s Design Series which obviously hasn’t been working splendidly for us, to swinging over to Sonlight for a change of pace. But I then realized, wait, THAT would be pushing him to be independent again, and that was not the best answer for us. So I waffled with Elemental Science which we’ve used and has worked ‘fine’. It just wasn’t wowing me. And I think I’m suffering from a bit of ‘the grass is greener’. But that just wasn’t striking me as the answer. Finally, I looked at Real Science Odyssey and felt this was what we needed to do. I could have something hands on and involve me with teaching the eleven year old. We could have fun with a microscope! I totally got it in my head this year we HAD to have a microscope. Truth me told, we could survive without it, but I REALLY wanted it, if at all possible. So, maybe that swayed my science choices. But anyway, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I would bring the seven year old in and go at his level. He could listen in and do a lapbook or narrations. He could play with the microscope, too.
That still left the nine year old and her physics.
Forget that. Bringing her in on Biology as well and she’ll pick up her Physics next year. It’s all good. And everyone is official OFF the cycle. LOL So, three kids, covering Biology, courtesy of Real Science Odyssey Biology 2.
Ok, so, now what? Writing that section was nearly as exhausting as picking it.
Language arts! We are going to try Essentials in Writing this year for the 9, 11, 13 and 16 year olds. This will cover their writing (surprised aren’t you? LOL) and some grammar for the younger two.
The seven year old will continue in First Language Lessons. The old one. Just one book containing first and second levels. Just…fyi. ;)
Spelling Workout will have the 9 and 11 year olds continuing their spelling skills.
I have some Explode the Code stuff for the 5 year old. Plaid Phonics for the 7 year old. New puzzles for the 2 and 5 yr olds specifically. I’m excited about the Human Body Puzzle so he can work on that while listening in on our Biology time.
Also various items from Critical Thinking. Mind Benders and Thinker Doodles I believe are two specifics.
Am I still missing something? We have fresh art supplies and drawing books coming. New erasers and a snazzy new pencil sharpener are also on the way.
Oh, the 9 and 11 will be picking up Elementary Greek while little dudes work with Hey Andrew! The elder two still have to finish up the last level of Elementary Greek….then I don’t know what we’re doing. Greek is falling to the wayside. Latin long ago did. Sooo…..I dunno.
I *think* that’s all now.
Are you as exhausted as I am?