Our first week of homeschooling this year is now under our belt. What did I learn?
1) I hate the spelling program that I bought and it is history. Yes, I bought Rod and Staff spelling. No, it wasn't a good fit. Yes, I knew it wouldn't be a good fit when I bought it, but for some reason I bought it anyway. Thomas tested at grade level with spelling, but he's not a good speller. We liked Sequential Spelling, but Thomas likes rules. Give him a rule and he'll remember it. Ugh. Live and learn. Back to the drawing board. I think we'll switch back to Sequential and read a spelling rules book I bought at Rainbow. I'll need to spend a bit of time tweaking this weekend.
2) Rod and Staff English is a hit. It was last year, too. I only wish that Growing With Grammar had their 5th grade program out, which we liked even better, but it's not, so Rod and Staff will have to do. We do the entire book orally. This year I am having Thomas do worksheets corresponding to the lesson. We had the worksheet book last year but I was hit and miss assigning them. I really think this is a very solid English program. (Which is probably why I tried their spelling -- I was hopeful.)
3) Math is math. Thomas hates math, although he is good math concepts. I have an entire blog entry swimming around in my head about math that I need to write. Someday soon.
4) History, world and US, is a hit. Easy for me, because both are CDs. We're loving Hakim's book on CD and we snuggle up in my bed while it plays. It's quick, it's easy, and Thomas remembers. World History we're doing SOTW. I debated doing I or II and ended up starting II. I have the activity book, but honestly, coloring sheets are not Thomas's style. I doubt we'll do much in the way of activities listed in their book, but we do have the book out when we listen to the CD because we look at the maps as the CD is playing. I'll add in map work and supplemental books to both as time goes on.
We expanded a little on the Romans in Chapter One of SOTW. I got a bunch of videos from the library and we watched those. One was on Pompeii. I was there when I was 17. What they didn't show in the video we watched was their fascination with sex. We were allowed into one room, while in Pompeii, that had all kinds of sculptures with the male human anatomy greatly exaggerated. The teacher we were with wouldn't let us into any of the other rooms -- I'm still upset over that! I'll never forget the one room, though. I don't know how one particular statute stood up -- "it" was the size of an arm. Gee, that's all I seem to remember from Pompeii. Shame on me. ;-) No, I didn't share that with Thomas. But it raced through my mind the entire time we watched the video.
Last night we watched Gladiator. Russell Crowe is so easy on the eyes, even as he's whacking someone's head off. I prepared Thomas ahead of time that it was going to be gory, violent and gross. We all loved the movie and I don't think the gore did any damage to Thomas. I can't believe that movie came out in 2000, won best Oscar, and we had not seen it yet! I'm glad I noticed it at our library.
Science needs some more work. My husband is in charge of Switched on Schoolhouse Science. He hasn't spent enough time figuring out the program and getting things assigned. It is kind of complicated for a first-time user. So that needs some work. However, I am doing science with Thomas as well. I grabbed How Science Works and we've been reading every night. I did not buy stuff for experiments and Thomas is quite upset with that. So I need to do that this weekend and hope the stuff will get here quickly.
The absolute best thing I did this year, though, was schedule really light days on Fridays. We do math and world history, plus Thomas has to read. That's it. What a luxury that is. I almost felt guilty Friday morning, but quickly got over it. This light Friday business might just keep me sane throughout the year.
We're doing lots of other stuff too, but those are the highlights. Thomas has a favorite. I bought him a logic book. He loves it, begs to do it, and will be done way too soon. I wasn't going to buy another this year, but I have changed my mind. I have to remember to encourage what he loves. He watches me do Sudoku after Sudoku, so why should he be able to do logic page after page if he wants!