It’s that time again, y’all! Packages have been arriving daily and school supply shopping is underway (woo-hoo!). Our 2014-2015 homeschool year begins next week! I am so looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of our school days – we never did seem to find a good routine for the summer this year – and although he won’t admit it, I know The Boy is looking forward to it, too.
This year is kind of different in that The Boy will be working within multiple grade levels. While he is technically supposed to be in 8th Grade, because of the way he was allowed to fall through the cracks in public school, he was left lacking in certain areas. Thus, we’ve had to step back and start over with entire units and subjects – so we’re more in the 7th and even 6th Grade areas these days. Additionally, because of the drama he experienced at public school, he’s very sensitive about anything to do with learning so I try to take a relaxed approach to things.
Our first week is going to be comprised of half-days, and we’re going to be working on some basic math review as well as study skills and time management with the Victus Study Skills System. This is definitely an area that The Boy needs help with. We are also going to talk about stress-management and work on some relaxation exercises and other self-soothing exercises he can employ throughout the day when he feels himself becoming overexcited.
For Math, we are working with Life of Fred. The Boy enjoyed this curriculum last year, and we will continue with it again this year. Math, in particular, is very stressful for him and Life of Fred is a fun and relaxed way for him to learn the skills he needs. He also has some visual/spatial issues which we are going to address by working with Pentagrid Puzzles, at the same time improving upon his logic skills.
We tried to work with Easy Grammar Plus last year, but it just wasn’t a good fit at the time. This year, we’re going to try something new: Giggles in the Middle: Caught ‘Ya! Grammar with a Giggle for Middle School. I’ve heard great things about the program and while it’s initially designed for the classroom, the author provides instructions for conforming it to a homeschool setting. As with Life of Fred, the living book approach is perfect for the kind of gentle learning The Boy needs right now.
Spelling Power was a huge success for us last year and we are continuing with it this year. The tag line that “this is not a test” really clicked for The Boy and his confidence in spelling (as well as his skill) quickly escalated.
There’s no way to get around writing, which is a very, very weak area for The Boy. We began with Writeshop I last year, but things didn’t go so well there. I’d like to try it again next year, but this year we’re going to work with Beyond the Book Report, Season One. I like that it will add a bit of literature study in there, as an added bonus.
History and Geography is covered with America the Beautiful by Notgrass. It is so not a challenging curriculum, but I’m OK with that for now, because The Boy is a huge history buff and reads a ton of non-fiction historical books throughout the year, in addition to watching numerous documentaries of the same ilk.
Science will be via Elemental Science: Earth Science and Astronomy for the Logic Stage. I was drawn to the fact that this curriculum was also created by a homeschooling mother (as was Spelling Power), and to the emphasis on notebooking, which we have a strong interest in. There are many hands-on experiments, as well, which The Boy is looking forward to.
Reading/Literature Analysis will be covered on many fronts. America the Beautiful by Notgrass has a literature aspect to it, with a group of ten fiction books to be read as accompanying subject matter to the text. Beyond the Book Report, obviously, is geared toward reading and writing. After a lot of thought and research, I have compiled a list of books for The Boy to read throughout the year; this will be accompanied by some of his own selections, as well.
The Boy will be using Typing Instructor Platinum 21 for Keyboarding. He tried TypeKids last year, but despite all the rave reviews I’d read, it was not a good fit for him. I don’t believe it was the program that was the problem; I honestly believe that The Boy was simply having some issues of his own.
I’m not sure how I’m going to work our elective subjects in yet, but we will be working with Home Economics, Art (mostly chalk pastels), Music (mostly SQUILT), Spanish (Rosetta Stone Homeschool), and Crash Course Psychology videos. Anything else of interest that comes up this year, we’ll try to find time to work in – somehow, someway…
Whew! Looking back at all of that, it seems like we’re going to need 10-hour days just to get through it all! And yet I feel like I’m forgetting something essential on my list here… Let me know if so! I know I’m new to this homeschooling gig and all, but I really think that the heart of the matter is just doing what is right for your particular child(ren), no matter what this or that Mom down the street might be doing. If your child is healthy, happy, and learning – well, does anything else really matter?
I hope you’ll take some time in the comments below to share your curriculum choices with me!
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