Tuesday, July 16, 2013

6 months!  What??  Where did time go? 

Being honest...We had a lot going on around here with Co-op, school, soccer and being the co-op chairperson - well that just took it up a notch.  Blogging was just the last thing on my mind.

I have lots of pictures to share...but another time for that.

Curriculum...Can you believe that summer is half over?  What?  We just started!  LOL  No, literally we did.  When June rolled around and kids were getting out of school and the neighbor kid was on our doorstep every day...well we kept trudging along.  During the month of June I attended 8 teacher workshops - oh my goodness, what was I thinking!?!?!?!  But I racked up a ton of hours so that's a great thing.  But in the mix of it all, we fit in several days of learning. 

But I am going to be honest.  We trudged through the first week of July - doing nothing but reading and it hit me.  Give them a break.  Give yourself a break.  Rest, Relax, Read and Prepare for next year. 

So I did. 

I told the boys - we are on summer break...nothing but reading going on.

They were ecstatic!  (Of course!)

So I took a look at the school room (which we haven't used in a few months and noticed that once again it was piled high with co-op stuff, stuff to re-home, curriculum, curriculum, curriculum and so much more.  Sigh...how do I do that?

Well I figured out how I do that...we don't have an A/C in that particular room and it gets hot, so we tend to avoid it and school in other rooms. 

Well I decided to remedy that for good.  I drove in to Wal-Mart - priced the smaller A/C units and then headed to Lowes and priced matched one - it's currently in the trunk of my car because it's been raining and in the 70's for two days.  LOL  Well if I had know all I needed to do to get cooler temps was buy an a/c unit.  Hmmm...I will have to keep that in mind for August.  ;)

For those of you who are thinking - What, they don't have central?  Actually we do, but we don't often use it because the set up of our house and ducts it is not very efficient and quite costly.  We find good old fashioned window units work well and best for our little casa.

Rabbit trails...

Anyway, so now I have a unit - woo-hoo!  Hubby is going to get it put in for us...soon!  I have been working for the past few days with the window open - sigh. 

So far I have de-cluttered quite a bit, sorted a lot and piled.  Next I have to remove the piles.  (My least favorite part.)

Last night I sorted through curriculum choices to see what we had already and what direction we wanted to go for this next year.

I have always been a very eclectic teacher...in my home, in my outside home teaching...I just love it all and I don't like "boxes". 

I tried a few years back to "box" it...simply because at the time that is what I needed.  I didn't stick with it though - I found it to confining and boring and I needed more.  Oh yeah and the kids did too.  LOL  I feel like I forgot about them there.  But honestly, if I don't like it, am I really going to spend time teaching it?  No...the answer is No...with a big N too...I find myself dreading it and that rubs off.

Rabbit trails...

Anyway I have tons of curriculum.  I am a bargain hunter and I love to look for ideas, books and bargains to supplement what the boys are learning or interested in, etc.  So needless to say I have TONS!

But I was able to pare it down for this next year and I am pretty satisfied with what I see.  Now to just get it all organized into the lesson plans.  (My favorite part!)

Here is what the boys will be using:


Math:  Teaching Textbooks -He did really well with this and I love that it's on the computer and so independent; and Xtramath - again he did really well with this last year and it's so fast and simple.

Grammar:  Growing with Grammar - I also have a couple of workbook sources - on is called skill builders grammar and the other is called Texas Write Source.  Both reinforce basic grammar skills.  We will also continue using Daily Grams.

Reading:  Pathway readers - LOVE THEM!  I picked up a reading comprehension workbook at the Target dollar spot that I plan to use as well and a Reading skills book that works on main idea, context clues and drawing conclusions.  We will continue our at home reading challenge as well.  He earns stickers for every 15 minutes of reading or each chapter book finished.  Then he gets to trade them in for goodies from the treasure box.  It has worked very, very well this summer.  Hey don't judge - I wish my kids were avid readers (as I am), but they are not on their own.  Bribery works!

Writing:  We are going to try out Just Write and I am going to continue with the Poetry Party book (Thank you Kellie Watson).  We used this some last semester and it was really simple and easy to follow. 

Spelling: Building Spelling Skills

Phonics: Explode the Code; I also have a word study book that I picked up - it's a little advanced for him right now, but I have him do a page from time to time and he does well with it and it builds vocabulary skills as well as reinforces phonics rules; I also found a book called Vocabulary Power that I will probably use later in the year.

Penmanship: Cursive - I have one of those wipe off books that he uses a lot, but I also purchased the HWT cursive set for more detailed learning and practice.


Math:  I have struggled with finding the right math program for Red.  With Bug I used Saxon and it worked well...with Red it was a disaster of gigantic proportions.  So I struggled most of last year trying to find something that fit.  I came across a program called Free Math Program.  I like what I see so far and we are going to try it out.  I can't see spending money on more programs that don't work, so this is the route we have chosen.  I am hoping to boost him up so he can start Teaching Textbooks before long.  I think he will do well with a computer based curriculum.  I also have a couple of addition and subtraction workbooks we will be working through for extra practice.

Grammar:  I found First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind last year and I have to say I love it and Red does really well with it.  I also have a book called How to Write a Sentence and we are going to use that as well.

Reading:  Pathway of course!  I also have a Reading Comprehension book (Target Dollar Spot) and a couple of reading workbooks that we are going to use as supplements.

Writing:  I have a journal prompts book from Lakeshore Learning Store and some Story Starters from Dollar Tree.

Spelling:  Building Spelling Skills

Phonics:  Explode the code; I also have one of those 100 words your child should know in 2nd grade books - we'll use that for more practice as well as a couple of phonics review books I picked up to hone those phonics skills.

Penmanship: Handwriting without Tears

Well that's the gist of it.  The basics anyway...I still have to work out Bible, Science and History.  I know what I want to use, but I need to get it all put together.  

It feels good to have it sorted out and down on paper.  Freeing so to speak.  I have to make some copies and print some stuff, but over all, its coming together nicely.

I had better get off here now and get to work...so much to do before our summer comes to a close.

Until next time...we-