Last year, it appears that I only managed two write two blog posts about our schooling. I thought I was busy then with the pregnancy and three Spark Plugs in tow, but this coming year is likely to be even more intense with four rambunctious kiddos, Diabetes, and everything else unknown that will come our way.
I did learn a lot last year from our wild ride, and as a result we will be holding on to what worked and letting go of what didn't.
For starters, we finished our second year of The Weaver Curriculum. Some of my irritations with it were resolved in Volume 2, and some did not. The second year was more cohesive, had a stronger focus on history, and over all made more sense than the first year. However, the grammatical errors were just as atrocious; we were missing several pages (a problem I had been warned about when purchasing used curriculum and which was mostly remedied by calling the distributor); and there was still a sense of lopsidedness in that one month was nearly solely history-focused while others were notably lacking (I much prefer an even distribution of subjects across the board).
That said, I really like The Weaver's Wisdom Words, which is their version of Language Arts. Since WW goes all the way through 6th grade, we will be using it again this year.
For our Bible, Geography, Science, History, and Art, we will use Exploring Countries and Cultures from My Father's World (this was a gift to our family). Several friends went through this program last year, and they've been extremely helpful in advising me about what parts of this curriculum worked for them, which parts they recommend skimming over, and what areas they found deficient. From them, I've gleaned that the strength of ECC lies in their geography, whereas the science is on the thin side. Oddly enough, this arrangement is perfect for us. Because of California's health requirements and Tyler's recent diagnosis, I've decided to study body systems (the endocrine system in depth) and diabetic nutrition, which will satisfy our need for health education and will enhance any limits that ECC may have in science. I can't wait!
I loved my home-made lesson planners, but they weren't perfect, and revamping them would have taken time and resources that I didn't have. I instead opted to purchase duplicates of the Amazon planners that we used two years ago. These worked fairly well, and I really like the big, wide boxes for scribbling in assignments.
Modern Curriculum Press mathematics will be our choice for the third year in a row. It is low cost, does a thorough job of explaining new concepts, and gives tons of review, just what our family needs right now. Some day, I might look into either Math-U-See or Right Start, but this year I just needed to go with what was familiar.
Sequential Spelling was an even greater disaster than was spelling from Modern Curriculum Press the previous year. I've decided that I really can't do any worse, so I'll be taking one spelling rule a week, selecting words from our readers that correspond to each week's rule, and we'll do pretests, vocabulary cards, oral tests, word searches, and final tests each week from the lists that I compile. I also have Spelling Power, which starts at third grade, in the event that this new attempt fails as dismally as the last two have.
Our beloved Bob Jones green readers will again be our reading curriculum. I really like how they are a bit advanced for each grade. Both of our boys are avid readers and need the challenge in this area, so these are a great fit for us. We will also compile a weekly stack of books from our shelves for their perusal during nap time; my plan is to pull out selections based on our current geographical and scientific studies for them to enjoy. We have been extremely blessed to have two entire bookshelves dedicated to children's books, and we have books on nearly every subject matter we could ever desire. We can also supplement from our local library as well.
I don't know whether or not we'll get to much else this year. Music, typing, and some sort of physical education are all floating around in my brain, but because of our new circumstances, I know that often less is more. The last thing I need to do is to stress out either myself or the spark plugs by giving out impossibly-busy schedules. If we can easily work in these things, wonderful; if not, there is always next year. I'm not going to stress about them.
One last change we'll be making is with our schedule. Always before, I've started the school year in mid-August to get a head start. I like finishing before Kyle's birthday in May, and I like taking a long Christmas break. In order to get everything, we need the early start. However, as plans disintegrated this summer, it looks like we won't start until September. We'll either take shorter breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas, or we just won't finish as early as I'd like. I think I'm okay with that.
So, it looks like lots of changes are coming our way this year, though I'm grateful for the sense of stability with our reading, language arts, and math. I also plan to put a reminder sheet on the refrigerator so that when Tyler starts acting up, I'll realize more quickly that he may be having a blood sugar issue and not necessarily just an attitude issue. We're all going to need an extra measure of grace as we enter the school scene again, but hopefully now that we have a diagnosis, we can be better at managing the ups and downs.
Here's to a new year, a new adventure, and a new way of life!