Thursday, March 07, 2013

It's not February

One of my rules for myself is that I'm not allowed to make sweeping decisions about my homeschooling process or curriculum in February. I'm not the most rational, level-headed person in February.

Ok, I'm not the most rational, level-headed person ANY time of the year, but especially in February. I'm tired, depressed, cranky, and ready to throw in the towel in February.

But it's not February, and the Homeschool Convention is coming up in less than a month, so I'm looking at curriculum for next year.

The only thing I've really sort-of picked out is an art curriculum. See how decisive I am?

I saw this curriculum from Artistic Pursuits at the Homeschool Convention last year. I didn't go for it, because Sweetling was way over-booked with her curriculum choices and I thought Toa wasn't ready for a formal art curriculum.

Next year, I think Sweetling is going to be putting a lot of her focus on languages next year and she has asked me for some help finding some non-language options to round herself out. I showed her the sample pages of the second high school book of this curriculum and she really liked it. She's taking a pretty well rounded drawing class at co-op this year, so I feel comfortable skipping right into book two. 

I showed the curriculum and the sample pages to Toa of Boy, and he asked, "Why didn't you get this for me *this* year?" So, I think he's ready to go to a formal curriculum. He doesn't want to do the upper elementary curriculum for 4th and 5th grade. He wants to skip right into the junior high books. So, that's what we'll do.

I'm also considering starting first year Latin with Toa of Boy, and maybe with Sweetling too, if she doesn't take Latin 1 at co-op. Memoria Press is the publisher of choice for this. I just have to decide if I want to pony up for the complete package which includes and instructional DVD or if I want to try to bare bones it. Toa of Boy does NOT want to do Latin. He is NOT interested in learning any language other than English, not even his native Spanish. I'd love to be able to do a trial run on this. I'm pretty certain its a confidence issue for Toa of Boy and that once he sees that he can do it, he'll change his mind about it. Still, it doesn't sit well with my unschooling heart to purchase a big curriculum in a subject that my child is set against. The jury is still out on this subject.

Toa of Boy still struggles some with his speech. He doesn't want to try a second language, because he's still wrestling with his pronunciation of English. The Jedi says this is a very valid consideration. Sweetling came down the stairs, read over my shoulder, and, genius that she is suggested ASL as a second language for Toa.

I do want to get Famous Men of the Middle Ages for a family read aloud. We've read through Famous Men of Rome this year, and everyone has enjoyed it. 

I'm also toying with Memoria Press's Geography books. Just you know, flirting with them. Seeing if they'll buy me a drink.

 And Everyday Mathematics has worked really well for Toa this year, so I think we'll continue with that next year.

Lastly, we have the second half of the America the Beautiful curriculum for Toa. We're still working through the first half and it seems to be going well. So we'll continue it into next year.

Oh, and science. Toa and I are still reading through Apologia's Anatomy. We love the short hands-on "Try This" experiments that are interspersed through every chapter. We're not going to finish this book by May, so we might continue it into next year. Toa loves learning about the workings of the human body.

What I haven't decided on is language arts for Toa of Boy.

I have a few options that I'm considering, but none that I'm really sold on.

First, Toa of Boy really wants to do the same sort of vocabulary that Sweetling is doing. That's because Sweetling and I put her vocabulary list up on the fridge along with space for a column for each of the two of us. We can each score a point for using one of the words in a sentence throughout the week. Sweetling buries me. (She inters me in fact.) Toa wants in on some of that cream-the-Mommy action. So, it looks like I'll be starting him with Vocabulary from Classical Roots.

After that?

He still needs work on his spelling. Do I want a separate spelling book for him? Or do I just want to use his vocabulary words as his spelling list? I can't find a curriculum that's a good fit for him. Logic of English was *perfect* for him this year....but where do I go after that? The traditional spelling workbooks are so boring. If I, as a Mom and a teacher, look at them and go 'ewww', how can I in good faith buy them for my visual-kinesthetic son?

(edit to add: I found All about Spelling which looks promising. I'll put it on my list of things to check out at the homeschool convention.)

What about grammar? I looked at Rod and Staff, but they look dry and tedious. We're so not slogging through a grammar text. We LOVED Michael Clay Thompson's curriculum when we used it two years ago. I looked at it again last year, but the next level looked to similar in content and appearance to the level we had just completed. That's not good when you're a young active boy. When you're a young active boy, the school subjects better present NEW content. Otherwise the immediate, and justified complaint is, "I just DID this!! Do you mean I have to do this AGAIN?"

Writing and Composition? I'm considering Writing Strands. I've heard great things about IEW, but their website looks complicated and expensive. We don't need a set of DVDs. To quote Toa, that's just "blah blah blah".

And reading. Why does every reading curriculum suck the joy out of the experience of reading a good book? We're just going to read and enjoy some good books, thank you.

I'm trolling for good suggestions and feedback on spelling, grammar, and composition....and Bible study!  I'd appreciate some help.

Thank you!

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