Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Something Like a Plan

I am still trying to come to grips with a schedule.  I am still struggling to use the printer. Part of my problem is the absurdly stupid fact that the printer is out of ink and I need to change the cartridge. It is enough of a deterrent that I keep thinking I'll change it later. Stupid.

Anyway, after my panic of last week, I have all of a sudden been granted the ability to think about homeschooling in a concrete way. When I had hours and hours at work to do whatever I liked, I couldn't make my brain plan what I only had the vaguest concepts about doing. Homeschooling mothers would invite me to look at their materials and I would smile and nod and glance through it without the slightest idea of what I was looking for. Even when I was finally home from work, the whole homeschool planning thing was elusive. But now, as I begin to discover what our days will be like with me at home with them, I am suddenly able to make decisions about curriculum.

So what are we doing?

In math, both girls were working in Khan Academy until Olivia, inconveniently, finished the second grade program. However, she is definitely not ready to move on to third grade math. The basic addition and subtraction facts are not cemented in her mind yet. She understands the concepts and gets the right answers, but doesn't respond immediately and needs more drill.

Grace is working through the 5th grade level of Khan and enjoying it. She will spend hours working on math if I let her. I sometimes let her.

I think Khan is a solid program, but my basic complaint is that it grants mastery status without enough drill. If you luck out and get four or five questions right in a row on a topic, they say you have mastered it. Well, you might have or you might not have. It makes me nervous, anyway.

I looked at the Saxon Math and I honestly had to say, even if I think this might be a superior math program, I do not have the wherewithal right now to sit and whittle down eleventy billion problems a lesson into a workable number of problems for us. So maybe Saxon in the future, but not this year.

A friend has a collection of Life of Fred that she has graciously allowed me to borrow. I want both girls to work through at their own pace. Grace is less than thrilled with this idea so I am not sure how hard I am going to push it. She is deeply offended by the notion of starting at the beginning because that is what the program requires. She is also unnerved by only having a handful of questions to answer in any given lesson. I just want her to have an alternative version of math since I don't think Khan drills enough. But she so loves the Khan. So we shall see. I am going to work with Olivia through Life of Fred and then I ordered a Seton 2nd grade math workbook to give her extra practice where I don't have to sit with her. Just drill.

In reading, I am sitting with Olivia while she reads through the primary Pathway readers. I have been told that in 7th or 8th grade, they turn into anti-Catholic screeds, but the early grades are sweet stories about a family where it is normative for children to do chores and obey their parents and play with their siblings. So I like it.

With Grace, reading is a something of a discipline problem. If it's a book, she will read it to the exclusion of all life including sleep and meals. I don't have a solid program for her except to hand her an assortment of books and say, "Here, read this." And she will.

For Grammar, I decided to get Grace the Fix-It workbook from IEW. It is a program where you examine a story line-by-line so you get grammar in the real world and not just artificial sentences.

Olivia is going to use printouts from It is just a snippet of grammar a day to keep her in the habit. (This requires a printer.)

We have the first book of  the Memoria Press Cursive program that both girls have been hitting licks at for two years. We will now buckle down and actually work the program. I expect to have to get Book 2 in the spring. (Also need the printer because we only have one book.) In conjunction with the handwriting, I got them each an appropriate copybook. The second level book for Olivia and the Latin Cursive for Grace.

In social studies, I bought these map workbooks in Grades 2, 4, and 5 for them to practice geography and map reading.

So there we are.

My thought is that they will do math, reading, and grammar everyday and alternate handwriting and maps Monday through Thursday. I will also add some time for readalouds every day and I want them to write a little something about what we read once a week. They are also going to Grandma's on most Fridays to learn sewing and cooking.

The girls and I have talked and they have indicated that they would like a checklist to work from everyday. I need to create a template and then I will be able to actually plan weeks at a time instead of this catch-as-catch-can that has been our model these past few weeks.

Here we go.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

A thought about a checklist: I started using spiral notebooks, a la this blogger's use:

I see she just did a periscope-video-thing explaining more about the spirals:

Anyway, the spirals have saved me a million times this school year, what with the two-year-old boy and 7-month-old baby demanding my attention. My oldest (twins, 9) are totally self-sufficient in terms of reading well enough to do all directions/worksheets/etc. by themselves. My next one (7) is about 85% reliable. My Kindergartener can ask her sisters for help with directions, but she needs me (obviously) for most things. I then sit down with everyone at naptime (many days, both youngest will nap simultaneously--or, if not, I'll use the 2-year-old's naptime and have a happy 7-month-old on the floor beside me) and read lessons out of science, history, and religion. (Our rule is that the olders need to listen to the youngers' read-aloud lessons (often only 2-ish pages in the textbook), but once your level has been read, you can tune out the olders' lesson... but you can't go away, because another subject will be read in a minute, and we're starting with the easy level again!)

Anyway, I'm glad you're getting your footing a bit!