As Seasons Change

According to dictionary.com, idealism can be defined as the cherishing or the pursuit of high principles, goals, and apparently, I need to add the word: curriculum to that definition!   Based on the below photo, taken shortly before the new school year, I was an optimist, or to say the very least, a dreamer.

For me, being a home schooler is similar to being a classroom teacher.  How?  Well, every summer, prior to the new school year, I would write down the units and projects that I wanted to cover in my English classes.  And without fail, October would come rolling in, and I would realize my students were either not reading, needing more time grasp a concept, or a change of plans was in order!

So, for me, it’s reflection time! 

Math:  I love Teaching Textbooks especially the life application word problems!  My oldest son is doing really well with this computer course;  the computer monitors what areas he needs more practice in.  The computer grade book and  automatic quizzes makes it more manageable for me.  My other son is doing the Beta level of Math-U-See which is too easy for him.  Solution?  At this point, he completes only a couple of practice pages and then, does the test.  Our goal is to finish this book by Christmas and move up to the next level.

Reading:  We started off using the Abeka readers and comprehension quizzes, grade 4, with my youngest son.  He was argumentative and very bored with these.  Solution? Though it is hard for us to give up any curriculum, especially once we’ve purchased it, I had to.  I gave him the control in choosing his own books; he excitement and reading performance has improved drastically.  The Imagination Station series was his favorite; these books provide great historical information, too.  Later, after completing this series, he decided he wanted to read The Sign of the Beaver by Speare (a 5.7 reading level) but was struggling with the small print and vocabulary.  I had remembered in one of my literacy trainings about kids who cannot read may need more white space between words like this:  Can     you     see     the     white   space    in     this     sentence?  I, then, remembered that my Kindle could change font sizes, so I purchased the book online.  Unbelievable!  That boy can read!  I just needed to let him pick the books and utilize the proper tools.  Guess what he’s getting for Christmas?  Many e-books!

Spelling/Vocabulary:  My seventh grader is doing Vocabulary from Classical Roots.  What really helps the words “gel” into his brain is creating a Power Point on the confusing words: he is expected to find the definition, pronunciation, part of speech, both the synonym and antonym, and finally, an example and non-example of that word.  My other boy is doing All About Spelling, first level.  Having him draw the words in the rice is not just improving the spelling, but his cursive is getting easier.  All spelling words must be written in cursive which is reinforces Cursive Success (Handwriting without Tears).  Improvements Needed?  I definitely need to keep the spelling program to 20 minutes.  So, many times, I get caught up in the “mommy goals” and forget about the realistic ones for a nine year old.

Social Studies:  Right after personal and family devotions, we are integrating our history with our current event magazine: God’s World News.  Originally, I was going to do both social studies and science after lunch, but we kept running out of time!  Solution?  Science will be done the last two quarters.  Completing social studies the first thing in the morning (from 8-9) is working for us: the boys like starting the day off with discussions about history, current events, and how they relate to the Bible and other books  we are reading.

Writing/Grammar:  My oldest has a blog that houses his writing assignments. I pull errors from his writing (i.e. commas, apostrophes) and then, assign additional work to help improve these weaknesses.  Some of my writing ideas come from TeachNet.   My other boy just daily writes in a journal.  Sometimes, I give him a writing prompt; however, if he has an idea, that always trumps mine!  I do not get hung up on the spelling with him (due to the dyslexia issues) but choose to focus on the positive.  For example, “I love how you used capitalization for your character names, son.”

Just like the seasons change, so do we.  What is currently working for this quarter does not necessarily mean that it will continue this way.  Reflection and flexibility, along with creativity, are critical in any educational sect, including homeschooling.  I pray that you are challenged to do your own reflection-don’t wait for an “ideal” summer day to do so!

 

 

 

 

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