Saturday, December 31, 2005

School Plans

So, Dy. You like to discuss curricula? Me too. I actually have been trying to figure out how the new year is going to go, as I have changed so much- both curricula and goals. What we will be doing in January is so very different from what we were doing in August, and now bears absolutely no resemblance to what I planned last spring! We are now much more Latin centered than we have ever been.
I am lucky in the fact that I am basically teaching both kids at the same level- two completely different learning styles, but it does help to be able to do much of their stuff together.

Boy is still taking classes at the local middle school from 9 to 11. It really eats our morning up, but it should be interesting to see how it works out now that I am not working out of the home. Maybe it won't be as big of a deal to be working in the late afternoons. If he were in school all day, and then took drama and band after school, he'd be working till 6, right? And then still have to do homework. We can make this work.

I am going to plan in PE breaks this year, too. I have not been doing a good job of making sure they (especially the Boy) get enough physical exercise every day. (30 minutes? 2 breaks?)

Math: MathUSee is going so well, I see no need to change (thank goodness!). We are actually going to try to push through Epsilon fairly quickly, and will probably end up doing both Epsilon and Zeta at the same time. Such are the joys of having one child who is behind in math and struggles with it, but wants desperately to catch up, and one who loves it and wants to move faster. They are neck and neck now in what math concepts they know. They are also working in the Key To workbooks. They have all of them (Geometry, Algebra, Decimals, Percents, and Fractions), and just keep going on to the next book when finished. I let them choose which subtopic to work on. (up to 1 hour daily for all maths)

Latin: We are still in Primer A in Latin for Children. We need to move a bit faster in this, I want them to get to B soon. I still want to order a workbook for me for Primer A. I am having a hard time getting my studying in. We are using the workbook, activity book, and the reader, and the kids do listen to the CD as well. (45 minutes to 1 hour daily)

English/Writing: This is a big area of change for me. We were going to do Classical Writing Homer, but we are getting such a late start with the Progymnasmata, that I was worried about the depth with which each level is covered, and that they weren't all out yet. So I bought the Narrative level of Classical Composition. This doesn't look as thorough, and there isn't any grammar taught, so I hope it goes well. I now need to figure out how to implement this. (45 minutes a day?)

My main reason for this change is that I hear if you need to hurry an older student through the progym exercises, that this can be done in two years with CC. I hope we can move quickly through the narrative and get to Chreia/Maxim as that is the level where they start learning essay writing, and we need to get going on that.

We have really bounced around quite a bit for Grammar- everything from Rod and Staff to Harvey's then back to R & S. I just recently found Hake Grammar, and want to order grade 8 for the Boy. The Girl is okay with R & S for now, but if Hake works for Boy, I may order grade 6 for her. It looks like the Hake Grammar is as thorough as R & S, and they would like a secular program. It also comes with a writing component I want to look at. So far, no one I know uses that part of it. (about 30 min. a day)

In addition to all this, I want to get back to poetry memorization, and dictation. I used to be very good about incorporationg these two activities into our school, but they have slipped. I have been memorizing poetry on my morning walks now for a month, so I have a few under my belt, and will start the kids on simple poems they already know, at least while they are doing the tough work of memorizing the Constitution! (10 min a day)

History: I seem to have a bit of a reputaion with the women in my WTM support group (which meets once a month on the first Tuesday- I am excited to go next week!) about our history journey. We have been in our first rotation for close to 6 yrs now, and frankly, we just need to get through it so we can begin again in earnest, at a level and with curricula more suited for two kidlets in the logic stage, one at the beginning, and one headed for Rhetoric. So, that being said, here is the plan (and I am thankful to have decided on one!).

They have either just finished or almost finished (GIrl has 2 more chapters) reading SOTW vol. 3 to themselves (I have 10 more chapters, however), and will work their way through my bookshelves. I have about 30 books or so that fit into this time period for them to read- mostly from the WTM booklist. They will take a couple of months to read these, and do a couple of projects from the activity guide. They will memorize the Preamble to the Constitution, the Declaration, etc, and the Boy will be reading George Washington's World, and taking notes, using the study questions from Beautiful Feet.

Then they will breeze through vol 4, and do the same with it- read some books, answer some questions, etc. I am hoping to be done with this rotation by June at the latest, if we get done earlier, it will be even better.
I also have Critical Thinking in U.S. History bk 1, which I want to implement as well. (??)

Then we will use History Odyssy by Pandia Press for the Ancients. They have levels for grammar, logic, and Rhetoric stage, and it looks fun, well put together, and best of all, it is written to the student- little teacher involvement. I like it!

For literature, both historical and otherwise, I gather book titles from the WTM lists, both the boards and the book. I add in titles from various catalogs and websites, including but not limited to Sonlight, VP, Ambleside, Tanglewood, and Greenleaf Press. I purchase as many as I can at used bookstores and at Homeschool Potpourri, as well as using the library, so there is always much more material here that it is quite impossible to read it all. We just finished reading The Dangerous Journey as our breakfast readaloud, I am not sure what book is next. (history and assigned history reading/outlining, etc. 1.5 to 2 hours a day?? Alternate with science?)

Nature Study resumes in January, at least I know some science will be happening. This is one aspect of our school that I just love. It is a small group, consisting of 3 mamas and 5 kids. I love teaching it, but the kids are really passing me up in the drawing department! In Jan, we will be getting a bird ID study kid from the Burke Museum. This should be tons of fun. Lord knows the kids enjoyed the owl kit we had. We also joined the Burke, and are looking forward to several trips there this year. We also have the zoo membership for one more month, too. (N.S. is 2 hours every other Tuesday)

I also have Real Science 4 Kids Physics to run through with them. This shouldn't take too long- I just need to go out and get all the ingredients for the experiments (There should have been a kid I could just order, that has the dowels, batteries, wires, etc. in it. I would have gladly paid for someone else to put it all together. Now I have to go to Radio Shack. Ugg.). Once we do this, I think we will go back and revisit Chemistry. We didn't finish Friendly Chemistry last year(surprise, surprise), and I also have RS4K Chemistry, too. (1 hour a week? more like 3 hours?)

Boy is also doing some extra stuff on top of all this- he is working on a SAT prep course, and using some other materials to learn essay writing, etc. This will be his main focus through Jan and Feb, and some of his regular work may go by the wayside.(Another hour)

What's left? Oh, art and music appreciation. Man, it is so hard to implement these! The kids put in a lot of time practicing their instruments, but we haven't studied as many musicians/artists as I would like, and both Meet the Great Composers and Artistic Pursuits just sit around unused for weeks at a time.

But you can see, I have already used up at least 6 hours of their days, and those being stay at home days. How to juggle school and life, now that will be the tricky part! They still don't work completely independantly, and especially don't do it weel at Grandma's. We have to work on that- attitude, both theirs and mine.

In addition to changing, adding all this for the kids, there is all the studying I need to do for myself. So that I can feel comfortable teaching at the rhetoric level. I will be using Teaching the Classics, and want to attend the seminar in March. I should go sign up for that! For now, I have been reading through Reading Strands, and geting ideas from that. I am also slowly and painfully making my way through Composition in the Classical Tradition. This book just makes me want to sleep, so I have to be careful what time of the day I try to study it!

I also want to get going on the Dowling Method for our Latin study, okay, MY latin study. I think this will help me trememndously. If I can just get comfortable with all this stuff, and more importantly, get myself into some good study habits, to be modeling the behaviours I wish to see!

Well, I know I am forgetting something, but I was working on this at 3 am this morning, so will leave it like this for now. Now to figure out an actual schedule!


Dy said...

Wow. I'm beat just reading through all that. Why does it sound like so much when we write it out???

Hey, on the Dowling Method - I looked at it, and would like to do it... but where do I get my tables and words to write a gazillion times? And how do I prevent flashbacks of the Baptist school I went to that used this method for punishment??? LOL.


Needleroozer said...

LOL. Patty is using the Henle Books for this. I haven't started this myself, and I am not sure, as the only latin books I have are my dictionary and LfC.
I know what you mean about writing it all down- it seems like a very lot, and I hope we can at least accomplish SOME of it!

Patty in WA said...

Wheelock is actually better than Henle for the charts.

Dy, if you wish, I will actually *copy* them into email and send the declensions to you in email when we get home. I will count it as one repetition, however!!!!

Then as you need them, I will send you what you need.

Needleroozer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Needleroozer said...

Could you send that to me as well?
And do you make BoyBob do this too, on top of the work in LfC? If not yet, when will you?

Dy said...

Oooo, I can sense the beginning of a fresh new semester -- for both the boys and for myself! Ahh, that sounds so wonderful.

Patty, I'd love it if you'd send me the tables. Thank you so much!

Still need to buy LfC. James is going to be SO psyched when he sees it. Question (yes, another one) - do you think I should keep John in PL, or switch him over to LfC, as well? He's very happy w/ PL so far, and isn't asking the questions James is that led me to LfC for him, kwim? Hmmm.

Feels good to talk curriculum again. *whew*

Needleroozer said...

I am not an expert, but from what I have gathered on the curriculum board, LfC works well after finishing PL/ I also have heard that you want to wait till 3rd grade, 2nd at the earliest to start LfC, because it is so thorough in the grammar area, etc.
It might be worth it to ask over there, and to ask Patty as well.
We started pretty late in the game, so LfC has worked like a charm here.

frogpond1 said...

I just ordered LFC and sold my Christiana...Yes I've switched sides. Did you know you are allowed to make on copy of your LFC workbooks for an additional child (or yourself)?

Needleroozer said...

Hey Frogpond! Nice to see you! What made youdecide to switch after all? I thought you were happy with LC and that it was working well for y'all.
I don't have a copier, but by the time I have paid for copying, wouldn't I just about have bought a workbook?

Delaina said...

Hi, LB,

I love all of the information you have on your blog. I'm saving some of the links to look into further. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!

I look forward to checkin' in more often.


Needleroozer said...

Welcome Delaina! I don't promise to be that inspired all the time, lol. Glad you found something of use.