We finally dragged to the end of the school year on Friday. Math and language were holding us up, but we made it through a year of homeschooling.
Sunday I started planning for next year. Although I've been researching and thinking all year about what I like and what I don't like with this year's curriculum. I think the seven year old got a good first grade education, but I think if I did it all again I could do it better with even better books and materials.
For instance, although I think he got a good grounding in grammar from First Language Lessons, I was rather disgusted by the fact that the poems chosen for memorization were all revised and rewritten and they chose not use fine art for the picture studies. If children aren't learning the standard versions of poems then something is lost from cultural literacy. The kids are going to think they know and understand references, but they aren't. Next year I plan on using Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl. I think it will provide much of the same stuff that I liked from the other book, but with more authentic texts. I'm not sure what we'll do for spelling. I may just have him write more and practice words that he has trouble with.
Last year we used Saxon Math 1 and again, I think my son got a good first grade education, but it took a lot of prep work on my part, even though the lessons were scripted, and although my son now claims to have loved every second of math, some days it was a challenge to get him actually to want to do his lessons. I think for next year we may switch to Math-U-See.
I'm not sure what I want to do for science. That was the subject I had the hardest time with this past year. Nothing clicked well with either of us.
History was my son's favorite subject throughout the year. We used The Story of the World and I liked it for the most part. Although I liked the writing in Hillyer's Child's History of the World a lot better. I'm trying to decide whether to switch from the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer to a much older Story of the World series. It's still written in a narrative that will captivate the audience, but the writing is better. On the other hand, it doesn't have the handy maps and activity guide that the books designed to go with A Well-Trained Mind provide and I might miss those a lot.
For my four year old who will turn five in the fall and who learns in a very different way and doesn't do much of anything that she doesn't want to do, I think we'll be taking a different approach from that of her brother. I plan on using Five in a Row as the springboard for her Kindergarten studies with a heavy dose Waldorf-style meaningful activities (like cooking, cleaning and sewing) and the ritual of different activities based on the seasons.
We'll also start Latin this year, I hope, and maybe do a little passive German. I'm a bit embarrassed that I have not taught the kidlets any language at all.
So that's my preliminary plan. The kids will probably continue taking swimming lessons and the four year old wants to take ballet. It will be interesting to see how things go when we start up again. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying a little break -- if you can call it that. As I type, the seven year old is sitting across from me making me teach him how to add large numbers that involve carrying digits.
5 years ago