Time for curricula talk....
I will be posting about our curricula and a few thoughts on that the next week or so. I'm still reading through Drew's book. I read the draft manuscript last summer, so this isn't totally new reading, but I still need to go slow and probably read the book a second time. There have been some changes made from draft to published copy. For now, I'll list the things that I've decided on and talk about those a bit.
Both boys will be using RightStart Math. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this program. I can't say ENOUGH good things about it. It works for both boys even though they have differing styles of learning. Sweet Pea 1 doesn't always need all the manipulatives, but they are there if he does. The way Dr. Cotter approaches topics just leaves me in AWE! Here is a child who was crying over multiplying a two or three digit number by a one digit number using a different program. We gradually ease into it by Dr. Cotter's methods and BAM! (to quote Emeril), he's got it! No tears anymore! We are a little behind in SP's book because I changed programs to RS January of 2005, but we'll have it finished up by the end of summer with a few weeks to spare before starting the next level.
Then there is my little Sweet Pea 2. He has a late birthday, so he basically did more Kindergarten things this year but started first grade work about March or so. We'll be continuing on from there with a rest over the summer. I really think he is on the brink of taking off all around...math, reading, handwriting. He is my auditory learner. Anything he hears, he can repeat. RightStart works well for him because he can use the manipulatives, remember auditorily, and learn visually.
Last year, Sweet Pea 1 and I started with Latin for Children. This was going to be our second year of Latin. Actually it wouldn't be a complete second year because we worked through Prima Latin when he was in 2nd grade but started it midyear and finished before the end of Spring. We like this program quite a bit. We ended up dropping it because of my burnout. (This really needs to be a separate post but I'll add it here. I think trying to school year round is just not for me. I was tired and having some physical problems as well. I really like the concept of schooling year round, but I just don't think it is something doable for us. Now, in all honest, I don't feel like we totally stop learning during the summer as we are always reading. Sweet Pea 1 reads all types of books on his own, but I think we need a rest from the scheduled school year.) We only completed five chapters of Latin. I plan on taking a week or two and reviewing those five chapters and heading forward. We used the DVDs that come with this program last year, but we will be dropping those this time. I told SP1 that I will get my own workbooks and work through this with him. He will be quizzing me. (He liked that idea!) We really like the activity book that goes with this program. It makes learning Latin fun.
And can you believe I have my plan for Latin completed through High School? It is a rough sketch, but there. Yea, me!!
Sweet Pea 2 won't be formally starting any Latin until we get his reading solidly established. He is getting there with reading, but it just hasn't clicked for him yet. I will have SP2 playing Latin Go Fish with us just for the exposure of the language. I also have a cute little book called Quot Animalia. It lists the names of common animals in Latin and Roman numerals.
This has been a toughie for me. This past year we used Classical Writing. We did the first seven writing projects in Book A. Classical Writing is based on the progynmasmata. I put it aside for various reasons and has Sweet Pea 1 doing Rod & Staff English, some free writing, and copywork. I feel that after we both have the summer to relax and get refreshed we'll be ready to go forward with Classical Writing.
Before I made that decision though, I was going to enroll SP1 into the Essentials program with Classical Conversations. The Essentials program would consist of grammar using Our Mother Tongue, Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), spelling (of which I can't remember the name of the program) and math drills/games. My main concerns are writing and grammar. I have never been a fan of IEW, but I also know there are other programs out there that I don't care for. I felt I was choosing the "least of the evils". I knew there would be accountability attached with doing Essentials and SP1 would have the opportunity to be under someone's teaching instead of mine all the time. By the time I had sent in the registration for Essentials, I just knew that that was not what we were supposed to do. I read and researched more and more about Classial Writing. I read about what was covered in each level. I read more on the progymnasmata. I also was trying to convince a friend that she might need to consider it too. I basically researched my way into it and I'm VERY excited about it. SP1 is practicing his typing (Popeye says I have to call it keyboarding...I'm dating myself!) this summer. I've also read enough to be convinced that Latin will cover English grammar much better than English grammar will cover English grammar. Classical Writing will have a little bit of grammar included during the Analysis section; it will be using applied grammar versus canned sentences in a separate program. When we get into the next level of CW (Homer), grammar will be covered more thoroughly but still be applied. I'll assess at that time if I will continue with that grammar or let Latin cover that for us.
Sweet Pea 2 will be doing some copywork and some oral narrations in preparation for his next higher level of study. I'll be using First Language Lessons with him beginning in January. I think that having a basic knowledge of the parts of speech is helpful when you begin Latin, so this will be a good start for him over the next two years.
We will be using Christian Studies First Year as our Bible/Christian Studies this year. We will also be using the Catechism from Bob Jones Press and the related Scripture as our devotional each morning. We will work on memorizing the catechism. I'm excited about how the Christian Studies books will give us a deep study of the stories in which we are already familiar.
I still have a few areas to cover but those will have to wait for tomorrow or the next day.