Thursday, August 23, 2007

Return to Homeschooling

Well, I lived in denial a long time (thanks to you all who gave me permission), but I finally pulled my head out of the sand last week. I spent one marathon afternoon on the computer ordering the grammar, spelling and handwriting workbooks we need, and searching Amazon and for books for the first half-year, at least, of Sonlight. Miraculously, almost everything arrived within a week!

For enquiring minds, here's what we're doing this year.

Math. We're going to try Teaching Textbooks' Algebra 1 for Bantam16 and Blondechick14--my tenth and ninth graders. I've heard and read lots of good things. Bantam12, my 6th grader, will continue with Saxon 6/5, and Bantam8, my 3rd grader, is picking up with Book Two of Horizons 2. I'm also planning regular Flashmaster drills. (It's too soon to say if this nifty little machine is worth the money, but it really is neat and versatile.)

History and Literature. Bantam16 had World History last year as a freshman in public school, so I'm having him do Sonlight's Core 100 American History this year. It's a very convenient choice because Blondechick14 did it last year for 8th grade, so I had the books and the Instructor's Guide already.

(Sonlight organizes their book lists by approximate grade levels which are easy to adapt. I did so by letting Blondechick skip a few of the harder books, like Call of the Wild and Red Badge of Courage, but I'll expect Bantam16 to read those this year.

We're going to use Sonlight's Alt. 6 One-Year World History Read-Alouds for my 9th, 6th and 3rd graders. I figure if we end up moving during this school year, Blondechick can do the read-aloud with her brothers, freeing me up to pack. She's insulted to be reading the same readers as her 6th grade brother (I'm putting together my own reading list for the 3rd grader, using a helpful resource called All Through the Ages), but I think they're going to be just right for her and possibly a bit difficult for him. My personal opinion is that Sonlight's reading lists tend to be advanced.

Language Arts. We're going to use the writing assignments from Sonlight's Alt. 6 Language Arts Instructor's Guide. Their recent revisions and new worksheets look good, although we'll skip the dictation exercises and spread out the writing assignment(s) over more days. I'm pleased that many of the writing assignments will review or build on what I taught last year in writing class. I'll modify them for Bantam8, and Bantam16 will do the writing assignments that come with the Core 100 Literature guide.

The 6th and 3rd graders will use Spelling Workout, a page a day, and we WILL do a page a day of Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting this year. Somehow we kept dropping that ball last year, and the year before, so my 6th grader hardly ever uses cursive. Honestly, keyboarding is probably more important, but we WILL work on handwriting this year! My highschoolers are both good spellers, so we're only going to work on spelling in the context of their writing assignments. All four will be doing Easy Grammar, at their level, a page a day. Bantam16 is going to finish up a Wordly Wise 3000 vocabulary book from last year, and Blondechick14 is continuing with Vocabulary from Classical Roots.

Science. Bantam16 is doing Apologia Biology; Blondechick14 is doing Apologia Physical Science. Both will do the home labs, but we didn't buy the microscope and dissection kits for the optional Biology labs. (We'll see what opportunities come along for him to get the lab component after we move. I figure he can always do it next year with Blondechick, or maybe my dad, who used to teach high school Bio and owns a really good microscope, might help us out next summer?) Bantams 12 & 8 are going to use a Bob Jones Science 5 text that someone passed on to me, along with the teacher guide and two sets of the workbook pages--perfect! I like the BJU text and notebook activities, and they enjoy working together.

Spanish. Both the high schoolers are doing Rosetta Stone Spanish 1, a CD-ROM based program that has received all kinds of awards, and it really is cool. I took French myself, but I'd love to learn some basic Spanish using this program.

And our first day? It was yesterday, and it went so smoothly, it was almost frightening. How far we have to fall...!


Jenny in Ca said...

Hen, reallity hit me on Tues- I started ordering everything but my TOG stuff, which I already ordered and recieved. I don't know what I was thinking- we are supposed to start this coming monday!! Tues. I orderd all our Math, grammar, spelling stuff, phonics stuff. I hope it comes in soon!! Last night I spent time making up a schedule, which is comedy because I do not do schedules, and I am not very tech, and my thinking is disorganized and 'creative'..mmm, probably make a funny blog post...maybe I'll post photos of the process..

I see lots of good learning potential in your post! Have a great year!

Anonymous said...

Bless you as you start school again! Last year we started school without an offer on the house, and somehow getting back into our school routine helped me to cope with the uncertainty (and feeling of being up in the air) of the move. Hang in there.

Chin chin said...

I'm also home schooling my children. We live here in Riyadh, KSA, so we just decided to order our kids curriculum just from CLASS. That way we won't have to struggle too much with the shipping. So far, it has worked for us. I'm blogging also, maybe you could visit it some time ( God bless you in your home schooling.