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home-school curriculum notes

As we soldier on in our homeschooling we have learned a bit about what we do and do not like. Here is our report, and some questions for you.

We love love love MathUSee. It's manipulative based and it teaches the concepts before the symbols. That is, the kids manipulate blocks in the 100s family, the 10s family, and the 1s family prior to trying to learn to read or write the symbols thereto. They get the concept of decimal place long before anything like a workbook shows up. AND, it gives my busy kids lots to pick up, move around, stack etc.

History and Geography
Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World is excellent for both history and geography. We listen to our lessons and follow along on our globe. Right now we are on Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Late Roman Empire and I am on the library wait list for the next 3 volumes. My question is: if you have used this with the workbook, would you recommend that I purchase workbooks? We are going without them right now.

Otherwise, for Geography we are using maps and errands. I give each kid a local map and show them where we are and narrate our progress as they follow along on their maps. Maps make sense to them now.

In addition, our dining room table is covered with see-through vinyl that I bought at the fabric store. Underneath it is a city map, our county map, our national map, and a map of the world. As different cities, states, and countries come up in family life or home-school, we can go find them on the map.

Language Arts
We still make use of the Rosetta Stone: Level 1 for Chickadee and Level 2 for Dandy and we set it to Reading, not Listening practice.

I've raved before about the Brand New Readers series, so I'll spare you the details. I'll just say that I give that line of books and the Leappad Videos full credit for Chickadee reading at grade level already.

I am thinking about buying Sequential Spelling. As I understand it, it builds words, from in to begin to beginning. I think Dandy would enjoy the decoding aspect of this. Here is a little blurb I found on it:
Sequential Spelling uses word families to teach spelling. Beginning with a simple word such as "at," the student gains confidence by adding letters on to spell words such as "pat," "spat," "batter," and "battle." The study of a word family, or "rime," continues for eight lessons before a new word family is introduced. A few weeks later the first word family is reviewed, and eight more lessons introduce new forms of the words with suffixes such as "ed" and "ing" added.

Any comments?

Writing etc.
And I am also considering Language Lessons for the Very Young as my esteemed cousin highly recommends it. Here is a link to a sample page. It has a very Charlotte Mason feel to it.

Today I bought First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise (Susan Wise Bauer's mother), but I think I will return it. The very second lesson includes a poem (Caterpillar) by Christina G. Rosetti (this is good) but the book has dropped the two middle lines from the poem (this is bad). Has anyone else noticed this? Or used this book? I like the integrated approach but I don't like that they messed with the poem.

We have on have on hand, but have not yet dove into, the Prima Latina set. I think we'll tackle this after my teaching quarter (10 credits/80% of full-time) has ended.

Dandy has a K'nex science class at our home-school class which he just loves. I'm considering getting him a K'nex set for him for Christmas. Any advice?

What are your favorite curricula? What would you recommend that I take a look at? and what should I avoid?


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DebD said...

I've been homeschooling for 17 years and am a big fan of using what works for your family. Everything you've listed looks good. Some of it I haven't tried as I'm don't follow the classical style of homeschooling, so I don't have an opinion one way or another.

If its working, don't mess with it.

And, I think K'nex for Christmas is awesome! Do you get Mindware catalogs? That is my favorite for hunting down Christmas gifts for kids.

ko said...

We are just starting Homeschooling with our daughter and I do alot of Montessori activities. It sounds like you do also, ie the math is about the same, studying world history etc. Thank you for some tips. I have a great suggestion, we have wooden maps of US, Europe etc that she loves! You can go to the montessori outlet and find them for about 24 dollars each! It is a very hands on way to teach the states or countries. Take care. Kristin