The Classical Cat Corner

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. --Austin Phelps

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A long time coming....

Yeah, I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been "dry"; nothing much to say.

We did start our new homeschooling year and I declare the first week a SUCCESS!

We went back to the neo-classical approach this year and I'm finding it fitting us better than a more traditional classical approach (ala Latin-centered Curriculum). We still place a high emphasis on Latin and math, but we prefer a chronological history and teach English grammar within the scope of our writing.

Here's what Sweet Pea 1 is doing this year:

Tapestry of Grace Year 2

We are LOVING this curriculum this year and we're only one week in. It includes our Core history readings, literature tied to the time period, world geography, and church history (this year). Tapestry does include a writing component, but we're not using that because I prefer another writing curriculum. SP loves the map work, the reading is great and he can listen to some on audio or read the print copy. We have "threads" that we follow for the week and have a discussion about what he has learned at the end of the week. SP2 is not doing TOG with us this year for a variety of reasons but will probably be joining us next year or possibly mid year this year.

Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry I, God's Design for Chemistry Atoms and Molecules and Elementary Apologia's Botany

Real Science 4 Kids is only a 10 week course. I'm going to stretch it out by interspersing a few chapters from God's Design. Then in February we'll start the Botany course so we can finish it up in the Spring and move our "greenhouse" plants into the yard.

RightStart Geometry and Christian Light Education

We finished the RightStart Math sequence last year so I had to choose something to go to for SP1. He needed more practice with long division, fractions, percents, and decimals. I also wanted him to increase his speed in regular addition, subtraction, multiplication so I decided to try Christian Light. It is spiral in nature which normally I'm against, but I think he needs the review. We may go on to BJU Math 6 next year or stick with this. I'll decide and talk with SP about it as the year goes on. The RightStart Geometry is a fun program that will give SP a chance to use the fractions and some other concepts in his drawings. It is a neat program written to the student. He likes using the T-square and triangles necessary for the drawing.

Latin Prep I

We were seriously bored with Latina Christiana. We have worked through Prima Latina and Latina Christiana I (or almost through it). Latin Prep was getting REALLY good reviews from many on Well-Trained Mind. Latin is not one of SP1's favorite subjects, but this series should add some humor and fun to the difficult learning.

Spelling Workout

We have had enough of Spell to Write and Read. I need something more independent for SP1 this year and thought we'd give this a whirl. It works great for Zoomom's boys, so figured I'd give it a shot.

Classical Writing-Homer

We have done CW-Aesop A and B so it was time to move on the CW-Homer. This curriculum is one of the better ones out there for writing. I think I've expressed my dislike of Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), so I'll save you from that soap box. CW is based on the ancient way of writing called the progymnasmata. Our grammar assignments are included in this writing program. I like that when we study direct objects, we're doing it in the context of a story that has just been read and re-written in a student's own words. Homer gets into the next step of the progymnasmata using longer and more difficult narratives. It is excellent in that this program can be used across curriculum so I can choose something from our history studies to be written using what has been learned in Homer.

Typing (Keyboarding)

He's still just practicing typing (I like to call it TYPING vs keyboarding. :) ) I have a few different programs that SP1 has used, but so far he likes Word Wacker the best.

Other Geography

I decided to try this program, Maps, Charts and Graphs with both boys this year. So far it is a hit. It just hits on some basic skills they should have about maps and graphs and geography.


I went with the Well-Trained Mind recommendation of MindBenders. So far they are REALLY bending our minds. hee hee I bought all of Level A to work through this year. There are only 15 problems per book so doing 2 each week should get us through the year and ready for the next level.

Sweet Pea II is getting some new curriculum this year.

He is using the I See Sam books to practice his reading and increase his fluency. He has struggled with learning to read and we're looking into a few things for him.

We are also using ABeCedarian for his reading lessons. This is a good program for children who may be dyslexic.

Handwriting without Tears is the program of choice here for handwriting. I will be adding in some copywork this week also.

We also have several computer programs going on. One that is to help with some auditory issues is Sound Beginnings. The other programs are part of our at-home vision therapy. We go to Athens once every two months for SP2 to be checked by the developmental optometrist for his progress and assigned other exercises for homework.

I'm thinking of adding SP2 into our history studies with TOG in January when we start some American History. He says that SP1 gets to do "all the fun stuff" so there will be projects that SP2 can do and books I can read to him.

Math is still RightStart. It seems to work best for him since there are many manipulatives to use. I was really impressed with how much he remembered from over the summer with NO math work done since mid-May.

Oh, and I almost forgot....I bought MathShark for the boys to use to practice their math facts. They both LOVE it! It times them and they try to beat their previous scores.

We start an enrichment co-op in a few weeks which will round out their studies and add some fun. SP1 will have Drama, Science thru History and a REAL art class studying artists and doing projects similar to the artist. SP2 will have a craft class (some of that fun that mom won't do at home), health and a hands-on science class.

Homeschool PE, various other sports and Awana will be rounding out our year.

I think we're going to have a really great year!



At 7:41 AM, Blogger GailV said...

I'm giggling because you're calling yourself neo-classical and I'm calling myself Latin-centered, and we're doing so many of the exact same things.

At 8:34 AM, Blogger LH said...

Sounds great, looks great !
And your School Year is off to a fabulous start.
Keep up posted :-)

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Pensguys said...

Well, Gail, I'm calling it "neo-" because of the added English grammar, logic and geography and the deletion of the items that LCC would recommend us doing such as Christian studies, etc.

Thanks, LH.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Writing and Living said...

I switched to TOG and Latin Prep this year as well.

I had to stop CW though. I just couldn't face doing it for another year. I'm so glad it's working for you. We're doing TOG writing and Rod and Staff this year and everyone is much happier.

Glad you're having a great year!

At 1:20 AM, Blogger my5wolfcubs said...

Your year looks great! I dropped SWR too. My 2 natural spellers are using TOG's vocabulary words -- 7-10 weekly. We analyze them according to the phonograms/rules. They're liking it and it is a lot easier on me! :)
Lee (from the WTM board)

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Pensguys said...

That's a good idea, Lee....I just can't stomach the analysing of words SWR way right far SWO is going well. If we run into problems, I can always have him do those the SWR way.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

Kudos on your success!

You may want to visit the conversation about classical homeschooling at the Heart of Wisdom blog.


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