Friday, August 28, 2009

Decision Made...Again!

As I said in a earlier post, I have been studying and praying about where the Lord would have us go in regard to school. I am pleased with many of our curricula choices, but some of them just have not given us the results that are totally satisfying to me. One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility to make changes and choices. But, that can be a two-sided coin and it can also be one of the most frustrating. On the one hand, there are a plethora of curricula choices for every kind of learning style imaginable. Along with that can come the feeling that this or that curriculum is better and the grass can look greener on the other side and can cause a lot of second guessing and frustration on the part of the homeschooling Mom. That is why it is so important to pray about these decisions and to make sure both Mom and Dad are on board with the curriculum choices. Many times Dad can bring a fresh perspective that Mom doesn't have because she is so close to the issue. I know that has been the case in our family. My dh, being the head of our home, has the final say when it comes to curriculum choices. He trusts me to bring to him the best researched materials I can find, and then he prays about those choices to make sure he senses that this is the direction the Lord is leading our family. Even long distance, I have given him options and ideas that I have been mulling over and he has given me the final decision on the matter. Therefore, I think we have come up with an assortment of curricula that fits our needs. I am very much of an ecletic homeschooler. I have never done a set curriculum. So, for those of you that might be the least bit is what our family is doing currently.

Bible: Rod and Staff. We will also continue reading through the Old and New Testaments. We are working on scripture memorization and beginning to learn the questions to the shorter catechism.

History: This has been the biggest change for me this year. I have decided to write out my own history curriculum for our family pulling from some of the top resources that I enjoy. I find that when I do this, I am more excited about teaching history and I am so much more knowledgeable in the subject because I have studied it more thoroughly. The downside to this is the incredible time it takes to do this. So, I will keep going as long as I possibly can. If I find out that this is not something I can accomplish (especially this year with dh deployed) then I will relinquish my lofty dream! Right now I am gathering data from the following resources: Gary DeMar's works, BJU's 11th grade text, Truthquest, Veritas Press and book lists from Sonlight.

English: I have tried many English programs...from Daily Grams to Shurley Grammar. I find that I am totally comfortable with Rod and Staff. They do a great job with being thorough. Their material is uplifting and many of their sentences even review concepts such as history and science. Lastly, the cost is so incredibly inexpensive compared to other programs that compare to them academically.

Phonics/Reading: (for Joanna and Josiah) Rod and Staff

Math: I have used Math-U-See from the beginning. Joy is getting ready to start Algebra I and I am praying about possibly switching her to Teaching Textbooks. The curriculum is costly, but what it will save me in time to be able to free me up with the smaller children may well be worth it.

Spelling: Rod and Staff

Explode the Code: (Joanna and Josiah)

Wordly Wise: Joy

Science: Joy will be going through Apologia's General Science. Josiah and Joanna will be doing the Rod and Staff science to get the basics and then will switch over to Apologia's elementary books. They will also be nature journaling.

Art: We will study an artist a week. Briefly touching on his/her life and most famous works. I will show them the work of art, give them the name and remind them of the artist. When they can tell me the name of the work and artist, we will move on to another work by that same artist and continue that pattern until we have mastered several of their works. I have not yet decided how we are going to work our actual drawing and such. I am looking into Artistic Pursuits for this, but have not made up my mind on that one yet.

Music/Composer Study: We will do the same basic thing with a composer. Telling a little about their lives and then listening to some of their most popular pieces. I am teaching Joy piano currently and hope to start Josiah very soon.

Geography: Rod and Staff and also we will be studying this while we do history. I also would like to incorporate the Holling's books to study it that way as well.

Shakespeare: I will be doing Julius Caesar with Joy this year. We will also be doing vocabulary along with this and will review the historical time period surrounding Caesar.

Handwriting: Italic

Classics will either be done through individual reading or read alouds. I am planning to incorporate some songs in here as well. I want them to learn many of the Psalms to music and some songs that correspond with the time period they are studying now.

Writing will be done some through English compositions, but mostly through narrating back what we have learned in history. Hopefully this will serve two solidify their learning and to cut down on my grading.

I am also planning on getting a regular dose of poetry in there too.

So, for now, this is our plan for this school year...which is probably WAY more than you ever cared to know. But, thanks for humoring me!

Have a blessed day in Jesus!

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