Monday, July 25, 2016

Ch-ch-changes! Year 4, coming soon.

     This is usually the time of the year that one big box is delivered to our home and the kids get to preview what we'll be studying for the year, much like last year.  Not so this year.  We bought some things from our local homeschool convention, bringing it home with us.  Some of our curriculum was digital, downloaded onto the computer which I'm currently sitting at.  Others came in at different times because one was delivered to the wrong house while the other was apparently damaged and never made it off the truck.

     Thus, I have no lovely pictures to show you.  I can, however, tell you what we're using and the changes we're making to our school year.

     The biggest change is using Mystery Of History instead of My Father's World.  We loved MFW.  I can't give anything but a positive thumbs up for that curriculum.  The deciding factor for us switching to MOH this year is because I officially have a HIGH SCHOOLER *gasp*.  I needed something that I could teach both kids at their respective levels and while MFW's Creation to Greeks goes up to 8th grade (and my son would probably find it challenging even at that level) I figured this would be a good time to give Mystery of History a try.  My daughter is still young enough that I can switch plus MOH gives me options at both the middle school and high school level; giving me the opportunity to gauge how much work my son can handle and what kind of work he'll produce.

     The other changes we're making is adding an official Language Arts program (English Lessons Through Literature).  We had used Level 2 a couple of years ago, taking a break from it last year.  We're also using Writing Rhetoric for our writing program.  Basically, last year the kids had so much copywork that I knew we didn't need an official program to cover grammar and punctuation.  We were using IEW's Bible Heroes, which my daughter loved but my son struggled just a bit with it toward the end.  Hence, the change in our writing choice.

     Also, since Mystery of History obviously does not include Science I let my kids pick from Apologia's science books at the convention.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  I've heard great things about Apologia, but looking at the books at the convention didn't quite convince me.  Still, it's well-known amongst homeschoolers and gets rave reviews.  My kids will let me know whether or not they enjoy it.

     As for organization, I still have everything in their lovely pink folders labeled by the week.  I will not be putting their history work into sheet protectors in order to create their spiral bound books at the end of the year.  I will simply file their completed work in order in the correct folder and pull everything out once our school year concludes.

     We're also trying our hand at homeschooling year round.  I had discussed this with the kids last September and they were fine with it.  We break for a week roughly every 6 weeks, our way of honoring the Sabbath; taking a longer break during the holidays (a month!) and still taking a good chunk of the summer off, though not 3 months.  I think it turns out to be 6 weeks off in the summer, which gives me just enough time to put the previous school work and books away and prepare the new stuff.  This will still allow them to participate in a few summer activities as well.

     One of the great things about homeschooling is that I can change what we use and how we use it, anytime.  That doesn't mean that the second my child says they don't like something or if they struggle with it that I'll immediately find something else.  That's not how I roll.  I will teach them to persevere, to try a different way to find the solution/solve the problem/complete the task.  Whenever my kids say, "I can't" I tell them, "There is no 'I can't' but there is 'How can I do this differently?'".  They may sigh, but they continue on and as I observe them, I'll see their faces light up after a few minutes when the answer comes to them.

     We're just a few days away.  I'm almost ready.  Almost.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Farewell Year 3!

     I'm writing this just a week away from the beginning of Year 4!  How can that be, you ask?  Well,  my kids and I discussed the different schedules we could take on for the new school year and settled on one that we think will add more flexibility.  I think; but I'll write about that in another post.  This post is about how our third year went.

     First off, we LOVED, absolutely loved My Father's World.  It was well organized, well put together, easy to follow and all of us enjoyed the activities and readings planned (so many great books!)  It is a wonderful, truly God-centered curriculum.  Now, with that said.  We will be changing things up and I'll explain that in another post as well.

     What did my kids learn with My Father's World this year?  Well, they can name the majority of the countries on each continent (better than I can).  They've learned about the different ecosystems, terrain and animals on each continent.  They got to try A LOT of food from different countries and learn about the different cultures throughout God's creation.  They heard stories of missionaries serving our Lord and others with nothing but faith.  They learned to see things, to see God's creation, through His eyes.

     In addition to what they learned in My Father's World, they memorized prayers in Latin, they learned how to create an outline and write a paper based on that outline; they learned a number of spelling rules along with Latin word rules.  My daughter mastered her addition and subtraction facts while my son received an A- in his math curriculum.

     We read plenty of great books, too many to name and such wonderful ones that it's hard to pick a favorite.  Reading aloud to my kids is still one of my favorite things to do any day, homeschooling or not.

     This year, as suggested by another mom using My Father's World, I carefully saved their work and then spiral bound them to keep as mementos and references:

     Their Geography work is located in the Geography A-Z book while the sheets provided by My Father's World is in the one labeled Exploring Countries and Cultures.  The other one with Philippians 4:8  on it contains their scripture copywork, Hero Tales copywork and their writing work from IEW's Bible Heroes.  I created covers for each book and brought everything to our local office supply store for binding.  I think it only cost about $25.00 for all of it.  Well worth the price and since I had everything organized, it was easy to put it all together.

     All in all, it was an awesome year and I can't wait to start the new school year.  Only a few more days away!