Monday, July 5, 2010

Back to school!

Tomorrow morning we will be hitting the books! We are all excited to continue our adventure in homeschooling. This year we are changing things up a little, adding quite a few new things, and adding in another student!

Gracie will be joining us now! She has been begging me for a while to "do school." So this year she will be doing a series of books by Rod and Staff that focus on fine motor development, identifying shapes, colors, opposites, letters, numbers etc. We are also using a wonderful book by Marilyn Boyer called Crossroads of Character that focuses on character training through stories. I really love the Boyer's products. Their website is I heard Marilyn speak several times at the ICHE conference this year.I would highly recommend any of her downloads. Her words were a true blessing to me! Grace will also be joining us in our Biblestudy Guide For All Ages time.

Sawyer and Campbell will continue with Math-U-See, moving into the Alpha level. They really enjoy the videos, as well as working with the blocks! We'll also move on with our phonics/spelling program - Spell to Write and Read. I can't say enough good things about this program, so I won't even get started! The kids are both continuing to grow in their reading skills, as well as their spelling awareness. We are also using their Cursive First handwriting program, and it's been fun to watch the kids writing blossom!

The new things we added are:

First Language Lessons - this is a great introduction to grammar, proper language usage, poetry, etc. It's very gentle, and very simple - which I appreciate!
Exploring Creation with Astronomy - we are so excited to start doing science, and one of the things I think is so neat about Jeannie Fulbright's books is that each one focuses on what was created on each off the days of creation. So we will be starting with astronomy, then move on to botany, etc. The books are written in a Charlotte Mason style, so the lessons are short, and there's a lot of opportunity for discussion and narration.We will also be doing a lapbook to go with this book - which is always fun, and really helps the kids retain what they've learned!
Tapestry of Grace - this is a biggie! This is the curriculum we will be using for our history, fine arts, literature, geography, and church history studies. It's a four year cycle that the child goes through three times over the course of their education. It's like a giant humanities buffet - which can be overwhelming when first looking at it. You just have to tell yourself to save some activities for the next time you go through the cycle. It also helps to have a friend who has used it and will let you steal her lesson plans! We settled on this curriculum after lots of research and even more prayer. Ryan loved that they have a component for Dads that keeps him up to date on what we're learning. We also loved that throughout the entire story of history, the author points out how God's hand was working in that time period. That history is HIS story! The bonus is that it is also written by authors who are reformed, which means no awkward discussions about "yes, I know that's what the writer said, but we believe..." We are really excited to get started on this! We will begin in year 3of the four year cycle, (since we have friends that are on that year, and our kids are the same ages. We are going to be meeting about once a month for some fun group activities!) which covers the 1800's. We will be learning about the reign of Napoleon, the Presidency of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe, and  the forming of the Supreme Court. We'll also read about William Carey - Father of the modern missionary movement, as well as Adonirum Judson, Hudson Taylor, Lottie Moon, and Mary Slessor. We'll explore with Lewis and Clark,  pan for gold during the Goldrush in California, and watch as South America struggles for freedom from their European oppressors. We are in for an exciting year!

Unfortunately, our digital camera has died, so it may be a while before I can post pictures, but hopefully we can post some of our adventure this year!

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