Math – Level 4 Teaching Textbooks:
Anna really likes this math! She asked to start it before the school year began and has been enjoying it so far – no tears. So far, the subject matter has been mostly things she knows… even though she had only previously completed most of Horizons Grade 2 Math. So Horizons must be advanced and TT is easy for “level 4” math. The format is wonderful for Anna. It gives a simple lecture on the new material, then has the questions. Anna gets to hear the questions read, read the questions, do the work on paper and then type her answer. There are very small cute rewards that happen, but it is not a “game” and that actually helps Anna relax, because she does not like to feel stressed by competitions or speed-answers. This curriculum may be expensive, but it is a lifesaver for us. Anna now likes math and I plan to use this for all the kids.
Spelling – Level 1 Sequential Spelling:
I am loving this spelling! Instead of memorizing spelling words and hoping the kids learn enough of them, Anna is learning words by recognizing patterns in them. On day 1, she spelled “beginning” as “beging” and on day 5, without ever having spelled or studied that word in between, she spelled it correctly. The format – I give a word, give it in a sentence and she tries to spell it. I write the word on my own paper next, using a different color for any letter patterns (like “in” is part of all the words the first couple days). She then corrects her word. Then we go to the next word. It goes quickly and it’s been perfect for my 3rd grade excellent reader, struggling speller. There are 7 levels. We’ll just do one this year.
Grammar – Level 3 Growing with Grammar:
We have only done two lessons so far, but it has been a good start. I read the student manual out loud to Anna… both to be sure she doesn’t skim and miss things and also so that I also learn/relearn the material. Then she does a short and straightforward worksheet where she practices what she just learned. I think we will like this. We did phonics with Horizons last year and struggled to learn the material. I have no doubt this will far exceed previous experiences and be much more clear.
Penmanship/Writing – Copywork, Guided Journal, Beekeeping Journal:
So far so good. She is not learning new penmanship or cursive, which I hope we get to sometime, but I do let her know I will have her rewrite things if they are messy. So far I have not needed to. I also let her know I will not be checking spelling, so that she can work on the part that’s the hardest… putting thoughts down on paper. The guided journal prompts will be fun as she gets into the swing of things and lets her creativity loose. The beekeeping journal is meant to primarily be science, but learning to write non-fictional entries is also helpful.
History/Geography/Social Studies – Story of the World Ancient History CDs and workbook:
These are great! My only frustration is that each chapter is too short and the kids don’t have time to finish their workbook coloring while they listen and that they would like even more storytime for each period. I am considering letting them listen to as much as they want instead of limiting the chapter(s) they listen to on history days… and just get them listening to the story. The benefit to listening to particular chapters, is then I know which review questions to ask to see if they learned the information. Dates are not included much… just in passing or as parent footnotes. Not a problem for me.
Health – 3rd Grade Horizons Student Books:
Both the first grade and third grade books are a disappointment to me. YES, they cover a lot of really wonderful information and they are just the information I wanted them to learn…. a wide range of self image, diet, exercise, strangers, anatomy and so forth. However, the format is not what I wanted at all. It gives a very involved parent role…. with a teaching guide that I would have time for only if I were teaching a class on health… not every subject for each kid. So the kids are just getting what they can out of it themselves. I’d love recommendations for more student-led health.
Science/Word Processing/Typing – Beekeeping Journal and Davis Field Guide:
This is working out very nicely. I made a long list of simple questions about honeybees (Like, “What does a worker bee look like?”) that the girls answer in handwriting as best they can. They also draw and label a picture. Maggie just does the picture, because she is just learning to read. The Davis Field Guide is typed. They have a set format that I made up (name of plant/animal, scientific name, things about it, etc.) and Anna is learning how to maneuver through Microsoft Word and also how to write reports.
Extracurricular – Field Trips, Gymnastics – fun times! (Visited a friend in Portland for one field trip and walked around town, Went to an art thing for the other)
That’s it for now!