We’ve been working right on through since August saw our new school year start. I’ve been following my laid-out plan much closer than I have any other year, which tells me what we have going is working for us. There is progress and that’s always a good thing. There will be a lot of things continued that we’ve started. And there will be a few changes. Curriculum is on my mind since tax return is here and the kids are finishing up/ready for some new things. Here’s our beginning of the year curriculum post for a comparison.
Here’s where we stand mid-year.
Geography, World History – We’re still using Mystery of History and loving it. Here’s how we’re using the history curriculum with notebooks. We’ve also added in a study of the 50 states of the United States of America. I realized the two older boys didn’t their cities from their states from their countries, so we picked out one of our National Geographic books on the U.S. that we have, grabbed a notebook, and started learning the states, their capitals, and their regions.
Bible – As you know we’ve started reading through the Bible and discussing it. I still want to do a study on character at some point, but we’re going to finish reading through first.
American History – The boys are still reading through their A Beka history books. The 7 year old is very, very close to finishing his 1st grade book and he’ll move right into the second grade book. We’re still using these as read on their owns and then they sum up what they’ve read and I go over the comprehension questions with them orally.
Science – We’re still going (rather slowly) through the Astronomy book. But we’re enjoying it. I’m not having my 7 year old do lapbooks on the side right now. I doesn’t like them and he’s doing well the notebooking of Astronomy. My 9 year old is voluntarily doing animal lapbooks. He picks them out, I print them (instructions included) and hand it over to him. He comes back in a few days with a completed lapbook and presents it to me. His latest was on the Giant Panda. I’m pretty amazed by this process, by the way.
Read-Alouds – We’ve mostly set aside read-alouds while I’m reading through the Bible. It’s taking all the time and effort we have. I’m reading small preschool read-louds first while the 3 and 5 year olds are still awake and then I move into the Bible reading.
Art and Music – we’re not doing much of anything. This is one that is not working for us currently. I need to find some art appreciation with some hands on material for us. Left up to me to wing it right now is not happening. Suggestions?
Handwriting – I changed up a couple of things from what I had planned. The 9 year old is finishing up the Handwriting Without Tears cursive workbook. I’m not sure what I’ll have him do next, but it will be a continuation with cursive practice. The 7 year old wanted to learn cursive and I said, “Sure!” So I started him in the same Handwriting Without Tears cursive book at the beginning and he’s doing great. My kindergarten girl has been working through the italics book I had originally laid out for the 7 year old and is doing fine. She also wants to start cursive soon, so I’ll go ahead and move her into it as well. I’ve looked at both arguments for and against starting cursive early and I’ll take it child by child according to ability and desire. So far, we’re doing great learning manuscript first and then cursive right on the heels of that.
Spelling – I still am not using a specific spelling curriculum and I have no problems with that. I answer their questions, correct their misspellings, and teach them the rules. It’s working. I’m not changing it yet.
Language Arts – The 7 and 9 year olds are finishing up those workbooks we started on. And I’ve been considering whether we’ll move to the other worksheets I have or if I’ll start Rod & Staff Preparing to Build set. After reading Kathi’s review of it I was in love. Then I checked out their samples on their site. After talking to my oldest about the Bible based feel of it he was very excited. My 7 year old does well with bland worksheets: he doesn’t mind them and he seems to retain some of the info well. But my oldest hates them: sees them as pointless, monotonous and can’t seem to retain what he doesn’t see as important. All of this is making this curriculum look all the better for us. The series doesn’t start until 2nd grade and though that’s below grade level for us and will actually be a review of what we’re working on right now, I like that it’s a series that will build upon itself and that it explains the “whys” of each concept, not just rote memorization. I’m leaning heavily toward getting this.
Math – Math-U-See is working marvelously for us! We love it! I’m using Alpha with the 7 and 9 year olds. When we get to a new lesson I put in the dvd, watch it with them, and assign the first worksheet to each of them. Because it’s really easy for them at this point I’m splitting on workbook. Anything they need extra practice on I go to the official website, type in the lessons I want included, and then print off the worksheets. We’re halfway through Alpha at this point. I’ll be ordering Beta soon and the Primer workbook for my girl. I’m sold on them.
I love that our year is going as smoothly as it is. The smoothest yet. I love having found a flexible groove. How’re you doing? What’re you using? What’s working? What’s not? I love talking curriculum!