Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A new school year

Oh my, can it really be year #3 of homeschooling for us?
I have to admit that I think I'm more excited this year than I have previously.
Although it hasn't been the easiest year as far as making a plan and deciding what to use.
Some how last year I was put on a lot of different mailing lists for many different curriculum's. Some I had heard of or even used in my own 11 years of being home-schooled. You're typical Christian companies like ABeka and Bob Jones University. Others were not so known to me like, Memoria Press, Veritas Press, and Timberdoodle. We also some how started receiving a home-schooling magazine as well full of very good and encouraging articles( I highly recommend getting one yourself if you are planning or even thinking about home education.) I spent quite a bit of time studying the various catalogs all last year, but since I had already decided on using A.C.E. and then bought and started using the 1st grad books I thought it would probably not do well to jump ship. Thankfully, Olivia's foray into this thing we call "school" was successful and we now know how to read and write and add and subtract. But, we did discover some weaknesses along with known strengths along the way.
As a disclaimer, I used A.C.E. grades 2nd thru 12th with a few supplements from Abeka thrown in along the way from 5th grade on. That is what I know and it is good. It gave a me pretty good foundation. I'm sure there were areas that could have been more developed, but at the time these same resources were not available and there are and will always be areas of myself to improve upon.
That being said, I felt like something different could be used to work better with Olivia's strengths, improve her weaknesses, and engage her interest and excitement again.
So, last week I decided it was time to quite procrastinating (something I am very very good at) and make a plan for this new school year. After deciding that I found with a very paralyzing and overwhelming sense of fear and indecision. I can't quite explain why, other than it seemed terribly terribly important to "get it right" this year. I felt like I was running out of time to teach her everything I want her to know, all the things I wished I had learned. There was too much and I would never be adequate to teach her. I was going to fail and ruin her education for life and it would be all my fault. No one to blame but me since I am the one who get's to make these decisions. How did such an all important job get placed in my hands? I struggled with knowing what grade to place her in as we are already a year ahead.
Oh my, the hours I spent agonizing. Wasted hours, time I will never get back. God is so good to meet us right where we are and take care of our needs. One night I was up late, doing a little blog walking because I couldn't sleep because I was so stressed about this and I happened to read Miss Misha's lovely inspiring thoughts on her upcoming school year. And I felt the shift inside of me. The reminder that learning is not always found in text books and in the defined hours of 8-3 of the school day. Learning and become a well rounded beautiful person is in the every day.
Homeschooling is not just about academia (though it plays a part) it is, for me, about shaping and molding little hearts to love and follow Jesus. To learn to live with compassion and joy. To learn how to change the oil in the car and how to bake bread. How to have integrity and be a hard worker and trustworthy. How to share God's message with the world and be a light no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Hello!!!! Talk about a wake-up call. I shut down the computer and went to bed, thankful and eager to begin fresh in the morning. I woke up rested and feeling like a weight had been lifted from me. I made lists and then lists under those lists and then another list under the list of lists.
(I'm lost without my lists!) And as I poured over the catalogs and prayed and spend several long long conversions on the phone with my mom ( I tend to think better out loud) I made some decisions. And I was so happy with them and excited. I went out on a limb a bit, taking some from one magazine and some from another and some of what I and my mom already have and dabbling in 1st and 2nd grade at the same time. I could do a whole other post on my wavering between doing 1st grade again (in a different curriculum) and starting cold turkey in 2nd grade with something new. After much thinking it over and making some choices based on what is best for Olivia and where she's at, I'm doing mostly 2nd, with some 1st and I'm ok with it.
After all, does grade level really matter in the big scope of it all? I think not.
I showed my master list to Mike and it felt so good to hear him say, "Wow! You did a great job and everything looks really good." (High high praise from my husband!)
I've allowed the melting pot to simmer a little, rolling my selections around a little more, ruminating on them. I've made a few slight changes, added more and took nothing out.
Several people have asked recently and in the past what we used or were going to use this year
so I thought I would share. I know our family would enjoy knowing as well.
Below is my list. We are using a bit of Veritas Press and a bit of Timberdoodle with a small bit of some Bible stuff that my mom used with me that is older, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it with Olivia. We'll see. I'm still thinking about that one and will maybe wait a couple of years and use an alternative this year. I'm listing my alternative as well.
All Veritas Press materials will be labeled with (VP) and all Timberdoodle will be labeled (Td) and most everything will be a click through link if you are interested in looking at the details of a specific course.

-Saxon 2 (VP)

Language Arts/Literature:
-First Favorites Comprehension Guide vol1 (VP)
reading list:
Curious George
Caps for Sale
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
Blueberries For Sal
The Little Engine That Could
A Chair For My Mother
Harry The Dirty Dog
Billy and Blaze
Bread And Jam For Frances
Frog And Toad Are Friends
Frog And Toad All Year Long
The Little House

-The Random House Book of Fairy Tales (VP)
-Little House Comprehension Guide (VP)
-Pathway Readers (Td)

-Shurly Grammar 1 (VP)
-A Reason for Writing 2 (Td)

-Sequential Spelling (Td)

-Apologia's Young Explorer: Astronomy (Td)
-Stepping Into Science Kit (Td)
-D. L. Moody Science DVD series (Vision Forum) (This is a Christmas gift to the girls from my parents so we will be using them after the 1st of the year.)

-The Story of the World vol1 "Ancient Times" (Td)
Reading List:
Living In Bible Times (VP)
Journey Through Bible Lands (VP)
Exodus (VP)
Celebrating Biblical Feasts (VP)

-Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teaching
-The Family Bible Library (The Southwestern Company, copy write 1971)
-Old Testament and Ancient Egypt (VP) (this is my alternative)

Foreign Language:
-Prima Latina (VP)
-ASL (Td)

-Drawing with Children (VP)

-Legends and Leagues (VP)
- A Child's Geography (Td) (this is if we wish to do another geography course after we finish Legends and Leagues which only last 1 semester)
-State Capitals Songs and Map (VP)

-Typing Instructor (Td)

Please please please don't flip out! I know the list looks long, but some things are short courses, like the Legends and Leagues, and others we will only have lessons once or twice a week. I haven worked out the exact schedule, not having the books in my hands yet, but we won't be doing all of these subjects every single day. Most of them are reading, a few are listening to a CD, and all of them a should be done in 15-30 minutes, no more. Except if it involves art and drawing and maps and paint. Then it can last all day.

If you have any questions or you find a link messed up, let me know! And feedback is welcome. I would love to know what your family is using this year!

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