Wednesday, February 20, 2013

curriculum changes




Sometimes I feel like we are changing curriculum like we change our clothes!  No, just kidding, we really don't change that much.  But, it is the time of year where I have to do a little re-evaluating of what's working and what's not working.

Lets start with history.  So, I added this Portraits of American Girlhood a few months back for a change in April's history.  It's a lovely book of unit studies centered around the American girl books, but it does not cover much history except the time period that the girl lives in.  It's great, we have learned a lot, but we aren't getting very far.  There is a lot of historical stuff to go along with the books, but those take a lot of time for not a lot of history learned.  I have been feeling like this isn't working.  I was having to make April read books she already has read, and she wasn't really getting a lot out of it.  So, long story short, we will still use this book, but just for "extra" history fun.  Not as her main history.  I decided this a few nights ago.  Well, I was pondering what to do for April's history.  Do we go back to Story of the World?  I want to, but wasn't sure how April would feel about that.  Not that she has all the say, but I want to consider her feelings.  So, at breakfast this morning I told her my plan with the American Girl history.  She agreed, and then on her own she said "I'd like to go back to Story of the World."  Woohoo!  That made me so happy!  I didn't even have to bring it up (which I was planning on doing).  So, we are back to Story of the World.  I hope we can get through the chapters quicker than we were before!

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On to Math.  A few things here.  One, Aaron was bored.  He blatantly asked me one morning if he could have something more challenging.  As I watched him, I agreed.  He needed something different.  He has been using Singapore math, and Life of Fred Apples (which we will still use, but that's just a supplement for us).  I have to admit I have not liked the Singapore math books and didn't want to buy another the next level up.  We needed a different curriculum completely.  Saxon?  Too tedious for this age.  He doesn't need tedious.  Somehow I came across Horizons math in my searching.  Oh, I think it was from Sonlight that I discovered it.  I was looking at what math Sonlight recommended since I was looking at buying their Curriculum next year.  So, I had each child do the Horizon math placement tests.  I started Aaron at level 2.  He was able to do almost all of it, and with no problems.  This kid is really a wiz at math!  I was stunned at what he knew and could figure out.  So, I picked up Horizons math level 2 for him, and Level K for Aric.  They both are doing great with these books.  Aric is moving along pretty quickly in it.

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Second, I also had April do the placement test for level 6 because she's about frustrated with her Singapore too.  She didn't really pass with flying colors.  I didn't want to get the level 6 for her just yet.  So, what to do?  For some reason her old Saxon 5/4 math book popped into my head the other night as I was feeling frustrated about what to do.  I got it out and looked at it.  She had only made it about 1/4 through the book, and where she left off was about where she needed more work in.  There were still lots of great math lessons in the book!  I stuck it in her workbox for the next day.  She did great with her lesson, and no frustrations. So, we'll go back to that for a while, and see how it works.

As for Geography.  Aaron is now studying each of the United States one by one.  We are using Road trip USA, Which way USA, and library books to learn about each one.

A little FIAR addition.  I have really been digging into Five in a row lately.  I'm trying to incorporate it into our weeks as much as I can.  I love learning from children's picture books, and it has helped my boys immensely at getting more excited about reading.  I was very excited to add this to our Five in a Row collection.  I now also have 3 Volumes of Five in a row manuals.  I love having them on hand.  So excited for this cookbook!
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 That's all I have for now.  I'm excited for these changes, and hope to change some other things up over the next few months. 

Desiree

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