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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs ~ Agendas

This week’s theme is about sharing your 2008-09 homeschool agendas and plans. You’ve been preparing your plans for sometime and you’re ready to go. Or you’re still in the planning-stage and need some inspiration or tips on what to use. Because many use different curriculum and methods there is always something new to be gleaned from other homeschoolers. It’s always fun and interesting to see what other’s are using and the WWWWH as Robin Sampson suggests.

So this week I hope you will share what you’re doing this year for your homeschool agenda. Share the different curriculum you’re using. You can also include what age/grade you’re using it for, how long you’ve been using it, and why you like it. Please share a Bible verse that has encouraged you or inspired you during this planning-process, and how.

I just posted on this topic in a post called What to teach?! So go there real quick and then come back here. I'm going to add a little bit as I didn't really explain what I like about each curriculum.

First of all, for the past 3 years we've used the AmblesideOnline curriculum plan. We LOVE AO! I've made very few adaptations to the curriculum as suggested and been very happy with the book selections.

We are just finishing up Year 3 and will start Year 4 in October. My boys are 10.5 & 9.5 and so far it is a perfect fit as far as reading comprehension etc. I think they could have been put a year ahead of where they are, but I didn't want to run into difficulties later on. My littles just kind of listen in on the boys' readings (they play relatively quietly nearby while we read).

I love the rotation of history (although we actually may do some tweaking with this this year as we may try to add Heart of Wisdom in as well... I'm working on this merger :). The kids love the history/literature/nature study... okay they love everything about AO! Me too.

So for Language Arts, Math, Science and Geography we use the following:

Spell to Write and Read - We've been using this for the last 3 years and will always use it! A k-12 curriculum that really has all I want for language instruction! I have a post about this curriculum, CLICK HERE. I have links to several reviews, going to a seminar, and about the sweet author.

Now the thing I like about this curriculum is how it really teaches the basic building blocks of language. Starting with phonics (70 basic phonograms) and summing everything up with the 29 rules. "With these simple tools you can explain 99% of the 1000 most commonly used English words and their derivatives. Contrary to the popular belief that the English language is riddled with exceptions and rule breakers you can now have a way to explain our language to your children so that they can understand and succeed." My boys are at a 3rd grade level because our our crazy last year, but we're going to catch up. I'm just starting with my 5yog to teach her the phonograms and Cursive First for writing.

I was taught using an early version of this curriculum 20+ years ago, and I am confident of its success! My boys are not naturally strong in spelling (yet :) and so this curriculum reinforces in an area where I feel is weak for them. They are learning a LOT and are building a strong foundation for language for their whole lives.

Math u see - I LOVE the man in this DVD! Math-u-see has a video for each lesson. Each lesson has about 5-6 pages of work. We spread it over a week, or if it's something they have a handle on, we've done as many as 3 pages a day! My kids are not those kids who love to do schoolwork. They'd much rather be building with legos or playing Narnia outside with sticks as swords. They do NOT love math, but they tolerate it with Math-u-see. I love that I can put on the video and if they don't understand it they can watch the video again. After the third time, if they still don't understand, :) I work them through it using ideas from the teacher's manual. This saves us a lot of frustration on both sides. I love the way Steve Demme explains things; both my husband and I have wondered that no one ever told us about these cool tricks! ;)

My 10 & 9 year old boys are using Delta this year. My 5 year old girl is using Primer

Apologia "Exploring Creation with..." series
by Jeannie Fulbright

I really enjoy reading these with my kids. I really appreciate the perspective that it adds from a strong Creationist point of view. Jeannie is continually giving glory to God for the wonderful things he has made, and helping us to see how God takes care of us by making things the way He did. I also like the projects, notebooking and narration activities throughout. I feel like it is a great choice for CM families. I would also highly recommend if it is within your budget to buy the Creation Sensation kits to compliment each book also recommended by Jeannie in the book (basically just a kit that provides all the materials required for all the projects explained in the book, all handy there so you don't have to hunt them down).

We have scheduled one book per year. We like this rate.

A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp

Is a book absolutely beautifully written. If you have any doubt at all, go to Holy Experience and get a taste of Ann Voskamp's style of writing. I really appreciate the projects for application of what we're learning to life that she incorporates into each lesson. She also includes narration and notebooking throughout for a great CM style book! Her perspective is SO awesome, totally God-focused. I'm so glad we found this book!! We're halfway through this book and really looking forward to the Holy Land version as soon as we're finished.

Bible verses?! Wow. There are so many. Seriously. But I have this one hanging up in our schoolroom: maybe you'll notice a common theme :)
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
~ Isaiah 26:3


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
~ Matthew 11:28-30

These are particularly meaningful to me at planning time, but really all year long. I need an extra dosis of peace at the beginning when I'm particularly given to stress about how things are going to work out, getting my kids motivated (getting myself motivated for that matter), etc. Christ does not overburden us, we overburden ourselves, he provides rest. As we learn from Him, then we can teach our children.


6intow said...

I definitely agree, so many similarities between our families. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your family and gleaning from your homeschooling experience. I love finding like minded moms in the blog world to encourage and be encouraged by, and it doesn't matter if we are next door or in the next continent, we can still connect. I love that!

Anonymous said...

We're using the Botany book this year too! I love that series!
I like your Isaiah Verse. :D
Amy B

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a wonderful year! :)


Paula said...

I enjoy so much getting to know people who are "ahead of me on the path" of homeschooling. I feel like I have some much to learn. You mentioned several resources I have been interested in. We are starting AO--slowly because we're jumping in a bit early. It's so hard to wait with a first child...I'm sure I won't have that problem with the later one! I'm off to read your post on Spell to Write and Read. I've heard good things about it and need to look into it.

Anonymous said...

I really like the Exploring Creation series as well. We learn so much!!

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