Curriculum and schedule update
Since I started out our year with a post about how I hoped to do things, I’m sure some (especially more seasoned moms who know better) are asking “So, how’s that working out for ya?”
Actually, pretty well, all things considered! I hate to admit it, but this is the first year I’ve been able to say that. That’s due partly to my rookie status and also to a few curveballs in learning style that my oldest decided to throw me. So if you’re here looking for some real homeschooling advice…well, I actually may have some to offer, but only because my own mistakes are so fresh on my mind. Unlike more seasoned mothers and homeschoolers, I can not only tell you how we do it that works, but I can also remember with burning humiliation how we do it that doesn’t work, because that was, like, 2 hours ago.
First, the schedule. (Click to enlarge)
I’ve updated my daily schedule to line up with the way we’re doing things now that the baby is a little more predictable. Also, the schedule before? Strike out the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. slots, because Samuel was a crappy sleeper and I simply couldn’t get up at 5 a.m. for a few months. All better now, though, most nights. You’ll notice that the the baby has no spot on the schedule. That is because scheduling babies is a fool’s errand, and I want nothing to do with it. (Your mileage may vary.)
The big difference in this schedule is that I’ve implemented a priority system for cleaning. There is never enough time to get the house as clean as I’d like to, so I put the big things on Priority 1, and then, if I’m not too tired or out of time because the main thing took longer than usual, I skip the lesser priorities. Sometimes, instead of doing the lesser priorities, I hide in my bedroom and read. You’re likely to catch me on Facebook or Twitter around this time, also.
Now, the school stuff. I’ve changed course on a couple of things. The website I was using to teach my younger son to read gave me a good understanding of teaching phonics. Then I bought The Writing Road to Reading and reread Ruth Beechick’s little book, A Home Start in Reading. Between these three things, I think I’ve got it all figured out now, and, happily, don’t actually need to go by anyone else’s curriculum anymore. If you want to teach children to read, I really recommend just reading about phonics until you see phonograms floating around on the backs of your eyelids when you close your eyes. Once you know it, you can teach reading, writing, and spelling without wasting your money on expensive curricula. Jonah is reading easy words now, but he’s very nervous about getting things wrong and repeatedly tells me “I can’t reeeeead!” at the beginning of every lesson when he obviously can. Sigh. Perfectionist. Can’t imagine where he got that from.
I chucked Home Geography out the window. (So to speak. It’s an ebook, so not really. That would have been a satisfying book to throw, if I could have.) There is only a certain amount of outdated thinking one can paper over before you’re basically just rewriting the book as you go through it. I will never understand the obsession many (certainly not all!) homeschoolers seem to have with old-fashioned texts that are barely relevant to the world we live in now. It’s like getting your English lessons from Chaucer. Um, no. I enjoy a little quaint reading from time to time, but that was ridiculous.
I’m also not doing PE anymore. Gasp! I know! We have lots of active play, but I’ve determined that Physical Education—as well as Home Ec., Sex Ed. and so many other things in which public schools are supposedly superior–was designed to make up for a deficit caused by traditional education. It is as necessary to homeschooled kids as breathing lessons. When (if) they want to do organized sports, we’ll add that in. In the meantime, PE is whatever I say it is.
That’s what didn’t work. What did work was pretty much everything else.
I still love All About Spelling for its multi-sensory teaching and ease of use.
Story of the World is good, too, though I usually skip the text now in favor of the living books found in Timeline of the Classics (read that review here) and the SotW book list. The SotW Student Activity Book is one of my favorite history resources for younger students. (I don’t have any older ones yet.) I’ve discovered that many Christians drop the whole curriculum like a hot rock because of its very secular assumptions. We live in a world that is chock full of secular assumptions that have to be rethought, though, so it’s hardly a deal-breaker for me if I have to explain to my kids why I think something we just read is wrong. All in all, it’s a good fit for us.
Apologia Science is fantastic. ‘Nuff said about that.
We’re using Handwriting Without Tears for both cursive and print.
Writing 8′s seem to be really helping my boy with his reversals and poor handwriting.
Toddler school/Pre-K consists of read-alouds, lots of counting bears, fingerpaint, and “comcoms”, as the two year old likes to call craft pompoms.
So, that’s about it for us. What are you doing in your homeschool?
Linking up at The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool link-up!