Sunday, February 19, 2006

What we use in school

Our Curriculum

Math -- Starting Lial's Basic College Math on Monday -- formerly Singapore

Math Facts -- We do math facts separately from math. We work on them daily. I usually make 100-problem worksheets from a free download found at

English -- Rod and Staff

Spelling -- Sequential Spelling

Vocabulary -- lots of workbooks from Spectrum to some from Prentice Hall I got off ebay. Also use Vocabulary Cartoons

Writing -- Have done some exercises in Writing Strands III, have done some Evan Moor books -- Writing Paragraphs, Write a Super Sentence. Have Logos Writing Trails in American History. I have decided to put formal writing off until 5th grade. DS does write in a journal, though. He also writes stories on his own. I have Evan Moor's Write a Story book and we'll probably finish that before the year is out.

Reading -- We read a wide variety of books. Some classics, some that go along with what we are studying, and some I think my son will love. I just bought him some Pokemon books -- Twaddle -- and he devoured them in an hour. We do reading comprehension occasionally with McCalls Crabbs.

Science -- We have RS4K but the chemistry was overwhelming to *me* We have been doing a unit study on the human body from Konos and a study that Doc provided on her blog. We'll finish up with that soon and we are going to start biology in RS4K.

American History -- Hakim's History of Us as a spine, but we do tons of reading. We're currently studying the Salem Witch Trials and reading Tituba of Salem, but will read others. We go very slow with American History because we read so many books with it.

World History -- SOTW CD's. We do car history -- working on volume 3 in the car. In the house we listen to SOTW I. We have the activity books but don't use them.

Typing -- Baron's Easy Typing. DS has done computer typing programs, but he's learning more with the Baron's. (Speed, accuracy)

Geography -- We have no formal program, we just study geography with our history. DS has requested a formal geography program, though, as he loves it. I am open to ideas.

Music -- I am doing a poor job of teaching DS to play the piano. Am thinking of formal lessons. We also listen to a wide variety of music in this house and we talk about different styles depending on what's playing.

Art -- Artistic Pursuits -- DS doesn't like this, I switched to How To Teach Art to Children -- DS thinks this is too juvenile. I think it was Mull-Berry who recommended Abeka, which I think I will switch to -- or else have DH go to Barnes and Noble and pick out some books.

Foreign Language -- We play with the flashcards I purchased with English From the Roots Up. (We have the book EFtRU but never use it.) We run in spurts with this as time permits. We also play Rummy Roots. DS wants to start Spanish and I am looking for something that will fit his learning style. I want a textbook/workbook program with pronunciation tapes. Ideas?

We also read an idiom every day. I read some poetry to DS but he is just like his mother, he hates poetry.

We play games such as Simon, perfection, concentration type games. We play these games for fun, but also to improve DS's short-term memory and speed. DS also has to do a Suduok once a week. We were doing them daily but we just don't have time.

We will be starting logic next year. I haven't chosen anything yet, but will probably go with something from Dandylion Press.

Next year we are going to change our focus from history to science. I'm putting together a bunch of unit studies for DS, looking for spines.

My husband and I have also been discussing text books. It is his suggestion that we look for entry-level college texts that can be modified for DS's abilities. My son is a very unique learner. We've done all the formal testing (privately) because he wasn't working to his potential in public school. He was officially labeled twice exceptional. His weak areas are processing speed, visual processing and short-term memory. The majority of the subtests of the IQ test he hit the ceiling on. While testing results did not confirm this, I believe DS has dysgraphia. He has a very difficult time with handwriting. We recently bought an AlphaSmart because it is portable and cheaper than a notebook computer and he's working on his typing speed. This is another reason we haven't started formal writing yet. He will do all his writing on this when he is typing well.

We have a membership to Family Pass for DVDs. We watch a lot of videos from Standard Deviants to biographies. We also watch discovery channel, science channel, etc. My son (dh and I, too) finally became addicted to Myth Busters after watching a marathon recently. We also watch How's It Made, animal shows, etc.

Things we don't do that I would like to incorporate: Memory work, narrations, copy work -- an area of weakness for DS, note taking, how to study, outlining, etc. There's so many things I want to do and not enough time.


BridgetJ said...

You have put a lot of thought into this and it shows. Sigh. I need to spend more time planning and less time wandering around the boards.

We haven't used a formal geography program in the past, only blackline maps for memorization. Thinking about Runkle for next year. I really want to add this, but don't want to drop anything to fit it in. We may use it as a two-year program and just move slowly.

We did Mindbenders for logic last year, and are continuing with the B level books this year. We also read a chapter in the Fallacy Detective each week. He really likes it and always begs me to keep reading. I've heard on Dandylion, but never used it.

We used Power-Glide Spanish in the 4th grade and didn't care much for it. Not a lot of bang for your buck. I have looked at many Spanish programs and just couldn't find a decent one. DS is enrolled in a once a week Spanish class now with 4 other homeschoolers and really likes it.

My efforts at teaching ds piano have also failed. He started formal lessons last year and we all the better off for it. This is a must do around here.

We also study Latin and have completed Latina Christiana I and II and Latin Primer I and II. We will start Latin Primer III in the coming weeks.

Never done copywork or dictation here. We've got to sleep sometime. We do have a memory folder with songs and poems. Right now he is working on some of George Washington's Rules of Civility.

That's great that your ds is an exceptional learner. Is he exceptionally motivated, as well??? That's the department in which we are lacking the most.

Thanks for posting this. I'm so glad I found you!!!

Peace, BridgetJ

mull-berry said...

Hi ... as far as dysgraphia ... my son is also a hesitant writer. It seems that there is some malfunction between this brain and fingers. He also overthinks what he wants to write and there is no way his little (at the time) first grade fingers could keep up with his thoughts. So, I'm going to try a different angle ... penmanship. Take away all the creative thought and let him work on the mechanics of handwriting. For him, I ordered Zaner-Bloser 5th and 6th grade ... will choose once they get here.