But fear not, we have been chugging along with our schooling. This year has been great for laying the foundation and finding out what works. I really want to add more adventures outside the house, and more hands-on projects. I'm gathering resources for both of those as I go, and I am excited about what this year will bring in those areas.
So as we wrap up 2nd and 6th grade, here are some thoughts.
- Story of the World. Love. Will keep doing that with Bug for Vol 3 and 4, along with the Activity Book, Recommended Reading, and Tests. I am planning on doing it with Lulu when she starts World History in 4th grade as well. (and will also add in Classical Conversations for her that year too, but that's a whole other post!)
- Growing with Grammar. So simple, so straightforward, and easy to assess progress.
- Khan Academy - LOOOOVE. So much. It has been great for Computer Programming, and to help reinforce some of the trickier Pre-Algebra concepts for Bug.
- Horizon Math - mostly love. See above, with needing additional clarification/support sometimes.
- Mystery Science - great for Lulu,we got a free subscription for a year - check it out! Videos and activities.
- Code.org - another great one for Lulu for her weekly coding sessions.
- Road Trip USA - been using this for years and it's amazing.
What kinda worked:
- Sonlight reading lists - great literature.
- Mandarin class - it was nice to find one and be part of a "class", but it wasn't a big class and Bug knew everything they were learning. And then vball practice was a conflict, so we are not doing it again this semester.
- Sonlight LA for Lulu - see below.
What did not work:
- Science - Oak Meadow was too easy; Sonlight had too much anti-evolution in there for Bug, and not very engaging for Lulu. It's very hard to find a comprehensive homeschool science curriculum, as most come from a creationist young earth anti-evolution standpoint. We have been piecing things together and learning cool stuff, but it's a LOT of work for me honestly, and I worry I'm not getting in what needs to be done. Right now Bug is watching Bill Nye videos. ha! As I mentioned above, Mystery Science has been great, and Lulu has gone through units on Plants and Weather so far on there. She enjoys it.
- Sonlight Language Arts - while I LOVED the readers, and the writing portion for Lulu was ok, the writing for Bug was too vague. She's learning about many different writing styles and mediums, and currently doing her first big research paper (of course, on Jane Goodall). That part is great. There is a rubric for each assignment, to help me assess, which is also good. But. I prefer the approach of Winning with Writing (created by Growing with Grammar company), where it is very straightforward and more easily assessed. Many say to "trust the process" (and reference Ruth Beechik) and it will work out well in the end, and she will be an amazing writer (which, she is already!)... but if you know me, you know that is HARD. :) I like to see the numbers and make sure I'm doing this whole thing correctly. It's been OK for Lulu, because she's younger and also LOVES writing, but I'm also going to switch her to a more concrete program.
- Sonlight History - Again, I LOVE the literature (mostly), and I adore Story of the World. But the layout is "Child reads assignment, parent asks discussion questions". And that's it. No tests or assessment of knowledge retained. So I'm going to just use SOTW and their resources, and consult the Sonlight reading list as well. I really like having fiction that goes along with the historical period being learned - that is amazing and enriching. But we can do that on our own, and for a heckuva lot less $$! I also may pull Literature Unit Studies for some of the books to do more reading comprehension/studies along the way.
- Rosetta Stone. Meh. I think I already got into this one on a previous post.
- Wordly Wise - maybe if we had been homeschooling and doing vocab from day 1, but no. This wasn't a good fit for us. Bug is going to complete her book, but I have only done a handful of the lessons with Lulu. We are also switching this to the same publishing company that does Growing with Grammar. (Can you tell we like their approach???)
Our curriculum plans for 2018-19:
- Story of the World (Bug) Vol. 3 and 4
- Road Trip USA (Lulu)- going through a second time and getting more in-depth with regional history and cuisine, more American History, more biographies of important people, President studies, and hopefully traveling for hands-on experiences! Also going to use the Little Prairie Primer in conjunction with the Little House books. Still working on this.
- Growing with Grammar, Winning with Writing, Soaring with Spelling and Vocab (JacKris Publications) - both girls
- Houghton Mifflin/Holt Science for Bug. and maybe Lu. See above re: struggles with science curriculum. This is just straightforward and what they use in public schools, so I think that's what I'm going to do for now, to make sure we are covering all our bases.
- and/or -- Unit Studies for Science for both as well - to add in some creative hands-on projects.
- Outschool - I haven't tried this website yet, but they have classes in various subjects and it seems pretty amazing: as of right now, Bug has picked out Japanese and a Warrior Cats creative writing class. Lulu will also select a language and elective.
- Horizons Math for both - Bug's Pre-Algebra will carry over into 7th grade, and then we will start Algebra during the year when she is ready. Jumping from public school "accelerated" 6th grade math that she took in 5th grade to a pretty rigorous 7th grade homeschool math was a leap. She's holding her own, but we have had to go back and go more in-depth on a few concepts that were difficult. I want to make sure she understands Pre-Algebra, as it lays the foundation for so much coming up. (And this is an example where testing as an assessment tool is SO helpful! I am able to see when she hasn't fully grasped a concept, and go back and re-teach or come at it from a different angle until she gets it.)
- Literature - for both, will be in conjunction with the time periods in history they are studying.
- Coding - will continue with code.org and Khan Computer Programming.
...and anything else I come across that looks interesting!
That was quite a post. My goal for this coming "school year" is to post weekly to keep track of what we are doing!!! I found a homeschool log to fill out each day that will also help me. The days all kind of bleed together and it helps SO MUCH to look back and see what we've done. I have also started a Fitness Challenge for the girls that will go into next year, and found the website that sells supplies for Milers Club, that Bug did in school and loved. I have also started working on creating Cactus Cash to dole out for awesome grades or behavior, like they do in school. I think this will help motivate the girls even more and help me with "classroom management"..... I'll do a post another day about all the things I've struggled with and learned this school year. That will be another whopper!
If you read this far, thanks for all the support and encouragement you all have given me. This hasn't always been easy, but I can already see the benefits for us and can see how this is going to be the best option in the long run for both Bug and Lulu. 💕