Friday, October 17, 2008

What we're workng on - Part 1

Homeschooling is such an exciting journey! I love that we are able to pick and choose what we would like to study, and at what depth. What I have found is that PS covers many topics, but only VERY superficially, much to the detriment of the children's learning experience. My kids grasp and learn a topic much more readily when it is covered in some detail. Spending more time on the subject offers many more opportunities to make the lesson "come alive", further aiding in the retention of information presented in the lessons. I am very pleased with the progress we have made in our studies this year and will continue with this approach as long as it works.

So, without further delay, I present to you our current studies:

It is my firm belief that Reading, Writing, Speaking and Math are critical to successfully navigating through our daily routines in life. Be it at home, work, vacation, or the playground; we use these skills every day in every aspect in our lives. So in these early years these subjects will be our primary focus.

For math, we are using the curriculum from Math-U-See. We started with "Primer" in September, and much to my surprise both H and L worked through it easily in less than half the time I planned for. They both enjoyed it very much, and both have a solid understanding of the basic number and addition concepts presented. We started "Alpha" at the beginning of this month and are already up to lesson 8. I am amazed at how well L has been keeping up with H. I do realize that H will be moving along faster very soon. In fact, he has expressed the desire to move along at a faster pace, but I think it is more a desire to get a lead on L rather than a genuine interest in the subject. I want to be absolutely certain that he fully masters the material before moving on too quickly. This will be a good lesson for him to keep his competitive tendencies in check as well. Math has thus far been the easiest subject to deal with for all of us. We do about 4 days of math per week.

I am using Hooked on Phonics with L for reading (H has already completed HOP). She is moving along very nicely however I am holding her steady for a while so she can practice what she has learned so far. She has completed the 1st grade level, but I feel her fluency needs to improve before we continue to the next level. Considering that she is already a full year ahead of her age/grade level, I am hardly concerned over taking the extra time for her to really "get it". She is doing marvelously. I have H reading early reader chapter books to me. He is doing very well with his reading as well, although often needs to be reminded of his ability to read things on his own. He often asks what something says (signs, labels, etc.), forgetting that it is something he can read himself. With more practice, his reading will become increasingly automatic. Although I would like both kids to be reading daily, it has been difficult to fit into the schedule that often. As we get all our HS and schedule glitches worked out, I know we will reach a 20 minute per day goal within the next month or so. I look forward to it. :) Right now we are only averaging about 3 days of reading per week.

We are working on cursive penmanship currently, and have touched upon spelling. I have "Spell to Write and Read", however I'm not so sure I like the exact approach they take. I found another Spelling curriculum which looks very interesting (and much easier to use) called "All about Spelling" . I am on the verge of ordering it, but still need to figure out what level to begin with. If only money grew on trees... If anyone has used this curriculum, please let me know how you like it!

It's late now, so I will continue our current studies in my next post.

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