Monday, January 17, 2011

Half a Year Down... Winners and Losers So Far

We are somewhere near the 18th week of our school year -- already.  It has gone so fast, and I had much higher hopes of blogging about our year.  Well, the past is the past, so I'll review where we are, and work on doing better this winter.

~History/ Geography/ Literature~
We had a great fall.  Our Tapestry of Grace studies have lead us through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Age of Discovery and we're currently in the Reformation.  It has been a blast to visit the Armory Museum, have a medieval feast (no forks allowed), visit the fine arts museum again to study northern and southern Renaissance art (yeah, I didn't know there was a difference either), and we will be preparing for our next unit celebration.  The two families we study history with are such a blessing to my life! Now, TOG is not pick-up-and-go, but it has (generally) been worth the work to schedule and prepare reading assignments.  Tapestry of Grace = Winner

~Language Arts~
I've also come across a curriculum that I've axed for the rest of the year:  Growing With Grammar.  We've used GWG 4, 5 and now 6.  However, I've not seen the retention and generalization of skills outside of his workbook exercises.  The last straw was after we were looking at a sentence and -- just for fun -- I asked, "which is the adjective?"  He just couldn't answer the question.  As we await the arrival of our new grammar program -- Analytical Grammar (AG) -- we're doing paragraph editing.  We will complete the 10 week AG cycle for this year, do some retention/ review this summer and pick up cycles 2 and 3 in 7th and 8th grade. I've wanted to use this program for a few years, and we're finally going to give it a try. Growing with Grammar = Loser

Rod and Staff English is working well for Luke.  It is giving him basic language arts and the opportunity to read his own textbook. I appreciate the Biblical worldview and the short-and-sweet lessons.  We've made progress this year from me having to sit with Luke every. minute. of. the. day. to me being able to teach him the lesson, go over the exercises and then allow him to work through the exercises.  He seems to be retaining well! Rod and Staff = Winner

Spell to Write and Read has been going fabulously recently.  While I know there are parts that I'm forgetting to do with Luke and Ben, I know that they are getting better basics and making progress with spelling.  We've been taking monthly diagnostic tests as recommended -- except in January, so I'm really looking forward to seeing progress at the February test.  Spell to Write and Read = Winner

I've backed off on SWR for Levi -- although he still has to practice cursive and the basic phonograms.  He's been using a product that I'm reviewing at the end of February called I See Sam that is helping him learn to read!
Ben and I have re-found our math groove.  Math is the one subject that he and I butt heads about.  He has good understanding of math concepts, but has really struggled for the last few years with careless mistakes (3x4=7 sorts of things) and arithmetic errors.  We're working through 5B's textbook and Life of Fred  (LoF) pre-algebra.  Ben's favorite is LoF, so I integrate that several times a week. Life of Fred = Winner

Both Luke and Levi are using Math U See.  This is a great program for both of them, and I'm happy to have bitten the bullet and use it with both of them.  I like the video which we watch together. Then, we do a couple problems before I set them loose with the assignment pages.  Like LoF, this program is more about 'getting' it vs. an abundance of math problems.  However, since we work on one concept at a time, it is pretty easy to generate additional practice problems.  Math U See = Winner

My review of Math Facts Now indicated that I loved the product -- and it has been incorporated into our daily routine.  Both Ben and Luke have pre-made exercises that they must complete.  Ben has to use it 4 times a week, one day each on each of the four math operations.  Luke is working on all the addition and subtraction math facts for 1s through 10s. Math Facts Now = Winner

Luke's curriculum is working just fine.  We're using Sonlight 2 Science, which I appreciate for it's variety of topics (keeps both of us from getting bored).  I've decided that he can chose the topic within the program that we work on -- so we're reading from an old version of the Usborne Book of Knowledge.  I sure wish it was the updated Internet Linked version for sale on the website, but honestly, it doesn't seem to bother Luke whatsoever. Sonlight Science 2 = Winner on variety of topics; Loser on up-to-date resources

Ben spent the fall finishing up one of the TOPS science books on magnetism (from Sonlight Science 5).  We planned to only take a few months to complete this, but it took all fall until our Christmas break.  Sadly, science experiments fell to the side when cross country meets and practice were part of our routine.  Last week, at Ben's request, we've moved on to creationism/ evolution using the resources from Sonlight 6.  I decided not to purchase the instructor's guide, but to sit with him and work through the material.  This is part of my revamping of dialect material, which I want to post separately.  But so far (two weeks) I'm happy with our decision.  Sonlight 6 resources = Winner


Stacy Carlson said...

great info Alane! I sell Usborne & have the Internet Linked Book of Knowledge if you want to borrow it :)

Lynn @ TDHGP said...

I love this idea and really appreciate the fact that you quit what doesn't work.

I am beginning to give myself permission to do the same! :)

I'm following from the Crew. It's going to be a great year!