Kristen

Sep 102016
 

We have finished 3 weeks of homeschool for this new school year: my 14th year of homeschooling and I’m still a homeschool curriculum junkie. Have I really been homeschooling that long? Many of my homeschool curriculum choices this year are back to my old favorites.

My oldest son has started college and is living 3 hours away from home. He is doing great! And I am doing better than I expected. It’s definitely been an adjustment though. I took the leaf out of the table this week and can’t get used to how small it looks now.

Below are what I’ve chosen as our homeschool curriculum this year. Please note that I do use affiliate links to help pay for maintaing this blog.

11th grade

My oldest daughter, Anna, is in the 11th grade. This year we have loaded her up with classes outside the home. She is in 2 different co-ops: 1 meets twice per week and the other once per week. We found last year that outside deadlines and accountability to someone other than me are a great thing for her. So we loaded her up!

She’s taking:

Pre-calculus taught by an instructor, but using Teaching Textbooks.

US Government and Economics with the Notgrass materials

World Literature

Art

Health and Nutrition

Physics (Apologia Physics with labs done together in co-op)

So far, it’s going well for her. She has her driver’s license (or I would be going batty!)

Homeschool Curriculum Mess

8th grade

My son William is in 8th grade this year. He has been my struggling learner, but I am really encouraged with his progress this year. He remembered his math concepts over the summer which thrilled me!

He’s using:

Christian Light Math 7 – He has been using this program for several years. We finally found a math program with the right amount of review for him!

All About Spelling – He’s finishing up the last level of AAS this year! It has been a fantastic program for him.

Memorize Galatians – I really love the material from Brookdale House. He is doing great working through the book of Galatians. He will be memorizing the entire book using this program!


Story of the World 2
– ? – Yes, he’s a little old for this, but he does better with audiobooks, so I want to get him a good base for history before high school. He will listen through the series.

Around the World Geography – He is taking this class at a weekly co-op. There has been some homework and projects to do at home and present to the rest of the class.

General Science – I’m still not sure what I’m doing with this. He is taking a general science lab at a weekly co-op (his first experience and I’m happy to report it’s going well.) I pulled out the Apologia General Science book and I just can’t see him making it through the reading. He likes science though, so we may continue the way we have been and allow him to study science topics as he is interested.

5th grade

Lizzie is my 5th grader. She is a bright student and sometimes hard to keep occupied.

She’s learning from:

Singapore Math 5A and 5B – this has been my favorite elementary math program since I started it with my now college student. I love the emphasis on word problems and mathematical understanding.

Latin – She’s finishing up First Form Latin and will start Second Form Latin probably after Christmas.

Classical Composition Fable – I bought this for her last year, but we didn’t make time to do it. I pulled it out again this year and it’s going well. She loves to write and embellish the fables with her own details.

All About Spelling 5 – I love how simple this program is to use. Just pick up the book and go.

Considering God’s Creation and Apologia Elementary Science books – We’re using Considering God’s Creation loosely as a springboard into more in-depth study using the Apologia elementary books. I like the lapbooky aspects of Considering God’s Creation, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand alone science program.

Tapestry of Grace Year 2 – I am trying out Tapestry of Grace again. We used it for several years when my oldest 2 were upper elementary to middle school. I had to put it aside because the discussion aspect of the program just wasn’t working for us as a family. The reason I loved the program so much was to have the whole family on the same “page” in history. It was just not a good fit for my oldest. But I felt a nudging toward it again, so I decided to see if we can use it with my 2 younger children. So far we’ve completed the first 2 weeks and it’s going ok. I am feeling a little flustered trying to keep up with everything.

Kindergarten

Miquon Math Homeschool Curriculum

My baby, Andrew, has started Kindergarten! We are keeping things really light for him and using some old favorites.

Alpha Phonics – This is just simple, no non-sense reading instruction


Handwriting without Tears
– Seriously. No tears. He loves it!

Miquon Math – He’s starting with the orange book. He loves to use the Cuisenaire rods.

Verbal Math – This is something new that I’m trying. I like the way it teaches math without writing the problems down.

So far, everything is running relatively smoothly though I do constantly feel pulled in a thousand directions. I should be an expert by now, but I still make mistakes and struggle to get everything done!

 

 

 

Aug 032016
 

Compass Classroom recently released a new modern history class entitled Modernity, and they gave me the opportunity to preview the course. Covering a wide range of topics from modern history including the Enlightenment, Napoleon, the Industrial Revolution, and the World Wars, the high school level class consists of 27 weekly lessons. Each lesson includes 5 video segments with instructor Dave Raymond that are approximately 20 minutes long.

Along with the video, there are accompanying reading assignments available in Kindle, pdf, and epub formats. In addition to the lecture and reading, the student works on a portfolio and several projects over the course of the school year. The modern history projects include a Reformation Imitation Project, a Speech on Tradition, a Research Paper, and the Hour Project.

The Hour Project is an open-ended final project of the student’s choosing. It should be something that takes a substantial number of hours to complete (they recommend 30-40) and can showcase the talents and interests of the student. Some examples in the teacher guide include copying a famous paintings, making a reproduction of a piece of Victorian furniture, or creating an illustrated children’s book.

 

4 things to love about Modernity

  1. Easy to teach – The course is well-laid out and teacher friendly. It’s divided into daily lessons so it’s very open and go with little to no planning required.
  2. Interesting presentation –  Dave Raymond is excited about history and it shows in his presentation. He’s interesting to listen to. While much of the video is lecture, there is a nice blend of related images mixed with the video of the speaker.
  3. Christian Worldview – There is plenty of opportunity to study history from the politically correct, secular worldview. This class not only teaches history from a Christian perspective, but also provides the Christian perspective of why history is important to study.
  4. Variety – While the format is predictable with 5 daily videos and corresponding readings, the projects and portfolio pages add the opportunity for students to be creative and truly own the content.

If you’re looking for an American History course you can read my review.

Discloser: I received a free download of 8 lessons of Modernity in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post includes affiliate links.

Apr 202016
 

As a homeschool mom of 5 who works part-time from home, I have a lot to manage. Between working, keeping up with my teenagers’ schedules, teaching my younger children, and managing my home, free time is rare. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my lack of close friends. I’ve tried to analyze the reason. I realize I don’t often write personal posts here (OK, so I don’t often write at all), so bear with me as I share.

Why don’t I have close mom friends?

Part of my situation can be explained by moving. I had a couple of very close friends as a young wife and mother. I made those friends at a time when it’s easy to make friends. My husband and I were newly married, and we had no children. Our friends also had no children at the beginning of our friendships. We were free to do lots of things with our friends and spend many late nights, talking, laughing, and playing games. We continued to do so after we had babies. What are portacribs for, right?

Then we moved to a different state. We joined a church 30 minutes from our home. It was hard to invite people over. With young children it seemed harder to build friendships. Being new, everybody already had friends. But I tried, and in that season I made some pretty good friends. I went to women’s Bible study at church and developed some friends there. I was no one’s best friend, but I did have a few ladies that I could talk to. During this time I also had a neighbor that I used to chat with a lot.

Then we moved again, closer to the church. Ironically at the same time that we moved closer, we left that church and joined a much smaller church. I had begun homeschooling a couple of years earlier and it had gotten to the point where attending a weekly daytime women’s Bible study was difficult because we basically lost an entire day of school. Around that time I went through a very difficult time after being rejected by a friend whom I had been meeting with for prayer and fellowship. Desperate to feel like I belonged, I asked to join a group of ladies (from the former church) who had been meeting for a regular evening Bible study. They let me join, and for a while I felt like one of the group. However, after the birth of my 4th child, I needed to host the group in my home because my husband was working a second job in the evenings and I had no childcare. The leader rejected my request, so that was the end of my involvement in that group.

That was over 9 years ago. The sting of that rejection is still there. That group of women still meet and go on weekend getaways. I’ve fought against the sadness that rises up when their pictures show up in my Facebook feed. I’ve wondered for years, what is so wrong with me?

Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone

Better Together Cover Mom Friends

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone. Since I had already been pondering the topic, I thought it might be a good read.

Jill Savage and her adult daughter, Anne McClane. do a great job analyzing the different levels of friendship and the various types of friends. The book has helpful tips for meeting new people and getting to know people. There is a mothering personality inventory and a variety of creative ideas for ways that friends can share each others’ burdens in the busy seasons of life. These include swapping baby sitting or having freezer cooking get togethers. One that I had never  thought of was working with a group of friends taking turns meeting at a different house to do a project with the friend that needs help.

Better Together is a useful resource, especially for those in women’s ministry leadership. It helped me to think through the hurts of my past and admit that one of the reasons that I haven’t made close friends is a fear of rejection and bitterness over past hurts. I also realized that another reason is that I am a bit selfish. I don’t often offer to help others and I’ve failed to invite people over because I’m too busy with my own family.

Important Reminders

Even though I can identify reasons in my own behavior to explain why I may have been in this season of lacking close friends, I  also remind myself that God is sovereign. He knows that I’ve been going through this, and He could have sent a close friend in spite of my friendship flaws. Instead, I have learned more about contentment. In my loneliness, God has been faithful to draw me closer to Himself.

I’m reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot,

“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”

So while I agree that friends are good for moms, I can’t fully agree with the subtitle of this book. No, we’re not meant to mom alone, we’re meant to mom alongside a dad. Having close friends is a bonus.

Mar 212016
 

This is the last week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair for 2016 and the topic this week is the arts. I have probably mentioned that art is not one of the things that we do exceptionally well in our homeschool. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important, it’s just one of those things that gets pushed aside.

I’ve been using this time to look back over the last 13 years of homeschooling and talk about what we did right and what we’d do differently this time. David actually did a lot of art on his own, he was always drawing when he was younger and we supplied him with many books on art and plenty of supplies. Most of his talent for drawing is now used in his work on computer graphics.

Music for David was another story. When he was 5 he asked for a piano for Christmas. That wasn’t a feasible gift at the time, so we bought him a small keyboard. Not too long after that we were able to move my parent’s piano to our house. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pay for lessons for David at that time so I tried to teach him piano.

It is difficult to teach piano to your own perfectionist child. Or at least it was for me since I was already teaching him everything else. So his formal training in piano was very short-lived. We offered to get him piano lessons a few years later, but he wasn’t interested.

That is something that I regret. I wish there had been some way to get him lessons when he asked for them or that I had insisted that he try at least a few later when we offered them. The other children have all had music lessons. Anna plays the violin and in addition to lessons this year, she has joined a youth orchestra. She helps teach Lizzie violin.

William takes piano lessons. Playing piano, especially at recitals, has been very helpful in building his confidence. His teacher has just begun teaching Lizzie piano as well.

So with all the practicing going on here, it’s not uncommon to hear the Sounds of Music in our house!

Sounds of Music Virtual Curriculum Fair

This is the final week of this year’s Virtual Curriculum Fair. Visit these other great blogs to see how they teach art and add beauty to their homeschools.

 

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesSeeking Beauty Through the Arts
Yvie @ Gypsy RoadArt Museum Staycation & Elements of Art Unit
Sarah@ Delivering GraceFirst Things First
Laura @ Day by Day in Our WorldAdd An Element of Beauty with Fine Arts in the Homeschool
Lisa@ Golden Grasses What Are We Fighting For?
Annette @ A Net In Time Art, art, and more art
Kristen @ Sunrise to SunsetThe Sounds of Music
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee BreakMusic and Other Beautiful Things

 

Mar 142016
 

I’m continuing my look back over the 13 years of homeschooling my oldest son, David. This week the Virtual Curriculum Fair focuses on Exploring Our World. I think that my statement of Starting Gently, Finishing Strong, may be less applicable to this topic.

We did indeed start gently. We used Story of the World in the elementary years and I thought it laid a good foundation for later history studies. We used the Apologia Elementary science series and also enjoyed learning about plants and animals with that series.

I do plan to use those books again, but I think I was a bit too concerned with remembering the facts. Not that I spent a lot of time drilling my older children on history and science facts, I didn’t. But it was something that I always felt that I should be doing more of. We’ve always managed to complete the “skill” subjects while the “content” subjects took a backseat. I worried when it came to my attention that my children didn’t know their history dates.

So when high school came, I decided it was time to really get serious about these subjects and make sure that we did them well. So we muscled our way through Notgrass World History and the Apologia Science courses. There wasn’t really much enjoyment there.

Honestly, that was not what I had envisioned for high school. I wanted us to have discussions about history. I wanted my students to read real books and original source documents. I pictured complex science fair projects with original research. OK, I know I dream big.

So high school didn’t look how I’d originally envisioned. It ended up being a whole lot more like traditional school than I thought it would. But I have realized that there are 2 things that we provided throughout the years. These things were good for encouraging curiosity about the world. Those are providing

  1. Easy access to resources and information about topics of interest.

  2. Time to explore those interests.

David is currently taking Psychology at the community college. He has recently told me how much time he spent reading a book about the brain when he was around 8-10 years old. He was fascinated by the brain and how it works. He studied it so much at that time, that now, all these years later, he remembers studying many of the things he’s learning about in his class now!

David had time to read about the brain when he was younger. He had time to learn about making videos. Even in high school, he has spent countless hours researching topics for videos and making and editing those videos. He had time to spend doing things that he’s passionate about.

And the kid who never showed any interest in social science has spent hours researching the presidential candidates. It turns out he needed a reason to be interested. Aren’t we all like that? Why did I expect my kids to be interested in everything?

Encouraging Curiosity Virtual Curriculum FairYou can read other posts about Exploring the World at the 2016 Virtual Curriculum Fair.

Yvie @ Gypsy Road – Bringing It to Life! History, Geography, & Science 

Jen Altman @ Chestnut Grove Academy – Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016: Exploring Our World, How We Do Social Studies and Life/Earth Science 

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World – Learning About the World Around Us 

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses  – Social Studies a Science of Relations

Lisa @ GoldenGrasses – Exploring & Discovering Around the World 

Annette @ A Net In Time – Science and Culture Around the World and at Home

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break –  Exploring History and Geography 

Laura @ Four Little Penguins  – Going Around the World at Our Kitchen Table

Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory – Our Tackling of the Social Studies and Science
If you have a post to share about how you explore the world in your homeschool, you can add it to the link below.


Mar 072016
 

Finishing Strong Starting Gently

Last week I talked about my somewhat unusual position of graduating my first homeschool student this spring, and starting my (presumably) last student in Kindergarten this coming fall. David, my senior, is a math natural. But teaching him math was not without struggles. In fact, there were many battles fought over math.These included getting him to write anything down and memorizing math facts. He did however consistently demonstrate understanding of mathematical concepts. He was able to study Calculus on his own in our homeschool last year using Life of Fred, but we decided to have him study Calculus again this year at the community college.

Thinking Mathematically

This post is still true for How I Chose Math Curriculum.

Preschool and Kindergarten Math – Keep it Simple

With Andrew, I’m taking a similar approach to math as we are for reading. We are doing nothing formal, instead talking about numbers. He counts. He’s beginning to add. He’s even figured out how to add numbers when the sum is over 10 with his fingers. At this point, I plan on using the same Singapore and Miquon combo math that I used with the other children in elementary school.

About Preschool Printables

You know all those absolutely adorable preschool printables? It seems like every blogger has jumped on the free printable bandwagon. If you’re like me, you might be enticed by every cute and fun looking printable that crosses your inbox. Yes, you can use them if you want to. But no, you do not need them! I give you permission to ignore them. Really. I know it’s tough, but many of those take more time to prepare than they provide in value. Before you print, think about whether or not you can practice that skill orally or on a white board.

What if my child doesn’t get math?

OK, I admit it. Everyone is not equally gifted in math. My ultimate goal is still mathematical understanding, but with my middle son, I’ve had to take a different approach.

I explain about it here in The Post Where I Admit I was Wrong.

What I Hope to Do Differently

I have the same general plan for homeschool math for Andrew as I had for David. I plan to use programs that stress exploration and understanding. I do hope that I can encourage Andrew to memorize his facts better than David did, but I also hope to do so without all the tears. (Mainly shed by me!) Math is important, and I will make sure it gets done, but I think seeing the end will help me to be patient along the way.

Here’s last year’s post for the Virtual Curriculum Fair: If I Knew Then, What I Know Now.

To read more about how to homeschool math, check out these other posts in the Virtual Curriculum Fair.

Homeschool Math Virtual Curriculum FairChareen @ Every Bed of RosesThoughts on Math and Science
Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset  – From Counting to Calculus
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World  – How We Approach Math in This Homeschool Year
Annette @ A Net In TimeStruggling with Math, Loving Science
Annette @ A Net In Time  – Lego Pulleys and Levers
Yvie @ Gypsy Road Hands – On Math with Special Needs Learners
Chelli @ The Planted Trees  – Chemistry Using Living Books
Lisa @ GoldenGrasses  – An Appalling Lack of Curiosity
Edie @ Carter Chaos  – Our Favorite Ways to Study Numbers
Tracey @ A Learning Journey  – Robot Area and Perimeter Art Project
Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life  – Math and Standardized Tests
Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy  – Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science
Sarah @ DeliveringGrace  – Learning Multiplication Tables
Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom  – Multisensory Multiplication
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break  – Science and Stuff
Kemi Quinn @ Homemaking Organized  – Math in Our Homeschool for a Later Elementary Organized Reader
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory  – Math and Logic – Our Steady Path
Laura @ Four Little Penguins  – Math and Science Love

Missed the deadline? Share your link here!

Feb 282016
 

A Unique Perspective

I think I’m in a somewhat unusual situation this year. I am graduating my oldest student this spring. This will mark the end of the homeschool journey that started with him over 13 years ago. But as we’ve gone through all the college application process and getting ready for the next stage of his life, I have a 5 year old waiting to begin the homeschool journey. (Officially anyway.  Children are learning since birth.) So as I’m finishing the race with one student, I’m also preparing to start all over again with my youngest. I get the opportunity to look back over what I have done with David over the last 13 years and think about what I would like to do differently this time.

This is the first week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair and the focus is Language Arts. So I am going to start this series with thinking about language arts.

Finishing Strong

In David’s 9th grade year, we tried to do some literature study at home. And while he did read the books, overall it was a flop. Literature classes became a priority when we began to search for outside classes. Amazingly, that was just what he needed. Does he love literature? No. But the discussion environment, the concrete deadlines, and a different teacher made a huge difference. This year he completed an English composition class at our local community college and earned an A.

He was able to do well because we had built a strong foundation in English in the elementary and middle school years. We used a variety of curriculum including Rod & Staff and Analytical Grammar. I really liked IEW for writing instruction.

Starting Gently

David was ready to read at age 4 and I was a brand new homeschool mom itching to get started. So we began reading instruction. Andrew is also ready to read. But we haven’t started anything formal. We’re sticking with reading aloud and just talking about letter sounds and rhyming words. We look at words and work on sounding them out. I know now that an early start in reading is not going to result in long-lasting higher reading achievement.

I do plan on beginning kindergarten this fall and will use some of the same books I used for David, like Alpha Phonics and Handwriting without Tears, but I plan on being a lot more relaxed and flexible than I was 13 years ago. Now that I’ve made it through this marathon once, I know that it’s ok if our pace is different. There are times and seasons when much progress is made, and others where growth is not as evident. I don’t want to rush through these early years, but savor them.

This year the Virtual Curriculum Fair is hosted by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World, Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses, and Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset.

Visit these blogs to read about Language Arts in their homeschools.

Virtual Curriculum Fair 2016 Finishing Strong

Language Arts: Words Make the World Go Round by  Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

The Language Arts in Our Homeschool and Everything Relating to it   by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Teaching Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

How to Learn ASL & Spanish in 20 Minutes a Day by Rochelle @ RochelleBarlow

Classical Word Study by Lisa @ GoldenGrasses

Language Arts Means and Methods by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Sprechen Sie….  by Jennifer King @ A Peace of Mind

The Art of Eloquence  by Jennifer King @ A Peace of Mind

Love Languages by Jennifer King @ A Peace of Mind

3 Reasons You Don’t Have To Be Afraid To Grade That Essay – And It’s Free @ LJSkool

High School Language Arts by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Words, Words, and More Words by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Finishing Strong – Starting Gently by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Feb 202016
 

As a new homeschool mom, I wasn’t always confident that I was doing things “right”. Looking back on those early years, I think I pushed too hard sometimes. And then at other times I didn’t push enough. (I tend to swing between extremes.) I wondered if David was reading enough. Was his handwriting too messy? Were we spending enough time doing school? Were we spending too much time? What about math drill?

Enter Anna, child number 2, and I began to feel a little more confident. She was a dream child to homeschool. In kindergarten she would get her own workbooks out and do them herself without me even asking her to. So I pretty much let her. With a difficult to teach older brother and a 3 year old younger brother, it was about all I could do anyway.

Since I didn’t often sit with her watching her work, it took awhile for me to notice that she was holding her pencil incorrectly . It wasn’t horrible, but I was determined to correct it. Since she was left-handed, it was difficult for me to demonstrate a proper grip, so I went to the local education store and purchased a pencil grip that I found there.

I tried to get her to use the pencil grip, but she didn’t like it. I tried to show her how to use it, but I had a very hard time figuring it out myself. We did figure it out, but it felt awkward.  Plus it was hard and uncomfortable. That was pretty much the end of working on her pencil grasp. She’s almost 16 now, her grasp is functional, but her hand gets tired with too much writing.

Recently I received a collection of products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to review. There are 3 different grip shapes and a child can transition from one grip to the next, allowing his hand to get used to the slightly different position. The grips are soft and more intuitive to hold then the different one we tried 10 years ago.

pencil grip

The 3-Step Grip Training Kit begins with the Crossover Grip (pictured in green on the left). This grip stops fingers from crossing over. Its shape is described as a “Superhero cape” to help encourage children to use the grip.

The next step is the Pinch Grip (in the center). This grip goes a step further and serves as a intermediate point between the crossover grip and the final step which uses the Original Grip.

The Original Grip is suitable for training all children to use the tripod grasp for writing. Using the grip can help prevent the development of bad habits.

All 3 grips can be used by either right handed or left handed children. They can be used to help correct a child with an incorrect grip, or train a young child who is beginning to write to avoid developing a bad habit.

I will be using these with Andrew, my 5 year old, as he begins formal writing lessons this fall. I am also encouraging Anna to see if they help keep her hand from tiring as quickly. I don’t think the Superhero Cape will help encourage her much though.

The Pencil Grip, Inc. sells their products on their website and on Amazon.com. If you’re concerned about the way your child is holding a pencil, I recommend trying them out.

Disclosure: I received a free set of pencil grips in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. I am not an Occupational Therapist and do not have training in proper pencil grasps.

 

Nov 292015
 

Kwik Stix Logo Christmas

I’m sure I’m not alone. I want my children to be creative and have opportunities to be artistic. But finding time to do art projects with my younger ones is tough. And letting them have free access to paint? No way.

So most of their art consists of coloring with crayons or colored pencils. I’m not saying that I feel guilty about that, but well, maybe a little.

Kwik Stix 12 packThat’s why I jumped at the chance to review the new Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint. It’s tempera paint without the mess. No liquid to spill. No paint brushes to clean. Sign me up!

Kwik Stix are about the size of a glue stick. They’re easy to use and dry in 90 seconds. The colors are bright and the coverage is good. While it’s not the same as painting, it does have a different feel than coloring with crayons. I think they will be especially handy for making posters for school projects.

Kwik Stix would also make great stocking stuffers. They are available directly from The Pencil Grip, Inc. and from Amazon.com. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

My two youngest children, Lizzie and Andrew (9 and almost 5) were very excited to try out Kwik Stix. And yes, they are wearing pajamas.

IMG_20151125_094018327

Here are their completed creations.

Kwik Stix artwork 1

Sunset

Green hillside

Green hillside

Sunny day

Sunny day

 

 

***Disclosure: I received a free package of Kwik Stix in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Jul 162015
 

7th Grade Curriculum

Here are our 7th grade curriculum choices. William will be in the 7th grade this year, though he works behind that grade level, so these might be more accurately titled 6th grade curriculum choices. I already have him one grade level behind his age, so I don’t want to move him back further. That is one of the huge benefits to homeschooling! William has several learning issues so I have tried a lot of different curricula and approaches with him. We’ve found some things that work well. We’re still looking in some areas.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I will receive a small commission. 

Math

Christian Light Math 6 – This is one of the things that we have found that works. I have written about William and math before in The Post Where I Admit I was Wrong.

Language Arts

English – Grammar & Composition

Rod & Staff 6 – I am a long time user of Rod & Staff. You can read my review on The Curriculum Choice. I don’t know if this is going to work for William or not. We’ve tried starting it several times before, but struggled. Last year he went through a short unit on parts of speech and he’s been asking questions about what part of speech words are, so he may finally be ready for a more formal study of grammar. We’ll see.

Spelling

All About Spelling 7 – I really cannot rave enough about All About Spelling for William. I can’t say for sure because I was trying a lot of things at once, but it was while we were going through All About Spelling Level 1 that William finally started to understand blending sounds to make words. All About Spelling taught him how to read! I love how simple it is to use. It’s just pick up and go.

Reading & Literature

Kindle books with immersion reading – When you’re reading on a Kindle, it seems less like reading and more like a game. With the immersion reading, William is better able to focus.

Reader’s Theater – This is a new class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that I am going to use with William this year. It has very simple scripts to read aloud for 2 or more readers. He really needs to work on reading aloud and expression, so this is a super simple way for us to work together on it.

Reading Detective – I purchased this resource a couple of years ago to work on reading comprehension, but he just did not get it. I am going to pull it out again to see if he’s more ready for it now.

Handwriting

Copywork

Bible

God’s Great Covenant: Old Testament 2 – Honestly, this didn’t work that well with William last year. But I’m going to try another year with it to give him more practice with basic reading comprehension. The stories are things he should be familiar with, but we discovered last year that his Bible knowledge has large gaps.

Hymn study – He’ll be studying the same hymns as Lizzie, using them for copywork, and learning to play them on the piano.

Catechism – Memorizing was very difficult for William early on, but he has really made huge strides lately. We’re going to start him working on the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

 

History

Story of the World Volumne 2 – Listen to the audio book and read along

Middle Ages History is a another new course on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. It’s Truthquest History by Michelle Miller, so I’m going to look for additional reading selections for William from this course, especially ones that are available for Kindle.

Geography

Drawing Around the World: USA – William really did well with Drawing Around the World: Europe from Brookdale House last year. I’m sure he’ll enjoy drawing the states just as much, if not more!

Science

Geology – William is very interested in National Parks and one of the geology courses at SchoolhouseTeachers.com is about the different geologic features found in National Parks. He has watched a couple of the video lessons, but I plan on having him work through this complete course for his science class this year.

Electives

William received a camera for his birthday in March. He really loves to take lots of pictures. I’d like to give him a little more training on how to frame a picture and what makes for interesting shots. Right now, he’s a little bit random. This course may be too advanced for him, I need to take a closer look and see if I can condense some of the principles for him.