Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Can't Use It All!

This is a great time to be a homeschooler; we have so many curricula options.  While I'm thankful for this, I sometimes go into curricula overload.  It's kind of like a sugar-high.  I just can't stop researching and questioning.

Last month, a new math program debuted called Beast Academy.  It is published by one of my favorite math companies, Art of Problem Solving.  I've been eyeing their PreAlgebra and Algebra courses just waiting for D-Man to be ready for them.  Beast Academy is their elementary program.  After looking at the scope and sequence and studying the samples, I decided that D-Man is beyond the material.  Would he like it?  Would he learn something from it?  I think so.  However, I just can't justify the expense for another review program.  Now, if they'd published level 4 instead of level 3 first, I'd be on board.  I may revisit it when Sweet-C gets around to that level, but not now.

This month, I've been researching writing.  We are currently using Writing With Ease (WWE) by Susan Wise Bauer.

 I really like the program.  D-Man did level 1 and is now working on level 2.  I've just started seeing the fruit of the method.  In fact, I'm impressed by the progress D-Man is making.  Recently, Mrs. Bauer has published Writing with Skill 1 (WWS) as a follow-on to WWE 1-4 and already has publishing dates for subsequent levels.  I knew it was coming but it throws a loop in my plans.  I had been planning to use another program called Writing Tales (WT).  I like the look of WT.  I want to use WT.

I should interject here that I have a fear of teaching writing. I realize that it is an important skill to succeed in college and life; I don't want to let my boys down.  Therefore, I want (need?) a program to hold my hand and walk me through the whole process.  At this point, I'm trusting in Mrs. Bauer's method.  Do I think it will work?  I think so.  I trust her.  My only hangup is that I'd planned on following the Writing Tales method which is slightly different.  Unfortunately, the author of Writing Tales hasn't been able to finish the rest of the program.  She only has 2 levels out and I would need all 4 that were planned.  I've been secretly hoping that she would come out with the other levels before we need them (there's still time!!) but that doesn't look likely.

So where does that leave me?  I need to listen to the sage advice, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  That leaves me abandoning my original plan and sticking with WWE.  I should be fine with that.  I am fine with that but I'm still sad that I won't be using WT.  I'm working through that but in the meantime, I'm still searching.  Searching for what you ask?  I'm searching for the perfect writing curriculum.  For some reason, I think I'm missing something and the perfect answer will jump out at me.  That's what we curriculum junkies do.One thing I've learned over the past 3 years is that there are a lot of good programs out there, a few great programs, and no perfect programs.  A perfect program isn't possible or even necessary.  SO...I am going to stop looking!

Now to contemplate supplementing with Winning with Writing next year...

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Guess My Problems Could Be Worse...

D-Man is a crazy reader. He reads anything and everything I leave laying around the house. This is what I've been aiming for since I started homeschooling so it makes me very happy.

I have found two drawbacks to this. First, I can't preread enough books. Since D-Man's only 8, I can't just hand him any book or let him blindly pick books off of the library shelf. I am fairly picky with what I allow him to read. We have some good book lists that I trust and knowledgeable friends ready with ideas (thank you, Donna Hendrick!). There are still times when I'd like to look up book about _______ and hand it to him. Thankfully, I should be much more prepared when Sweet-C gets to this stage.

Second, he keeps reading our schoolbooks. Since we use Sonlight, I am always in the middle of reading several books out loud. We tend to follow the schedule but often get ahead in literature because I can't resist that call for "just one more chapter.". Nowadays, the boys aren't satisfied with just one more chapter. The cry is usually for 2 or 3 more. As much as l like reading aloud to them, I do have other things to get done during the day. When I put my foot down, D-Man asks if he can read it himself. Sometimes he reads silently in bed. Othertimes, he reads aloud to Sweet-C. The result of this is that I know how all of our books start but not how they end (I want to know) and that we're running out of schoolbooks. I just received some extra Sonlight books for Core C and biology on Saturday. He finished one of the Core C books last night and I found 4 of the science books in his bed last night.

I know this isn't really a problem. Despite my perfect curriculum plans being altered each day, I'd rather search for more books than tell him no. It is so much fun seeing him connect with authors I loved at his age and be frustrated because "there's nothing to read." It is a good thing that we live across the street from a library, huh?

I'm off to check out Veritas Press, My Father's World, WinterPromise, and 1000 Good Books for anything I'd like to add to our queue.

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