Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to School!

Well, we started back to school yesterday. We are not quite "year-round schoolers," but I find it's easier on us to start early and be able to take off time throughout the year when we need it. Plus I find that with a shorter summer break (6 weeks instead of 10 or more), the kids don't forget as much. This will be our 9th year homeschooling. (Wow! Hard to believe!)

I like to start back with just a few subjects and ease into things--so far we are doing:


Some years I've started with only one or two subjects, and slowly added on more to "ramp up" over the course of a month. This year I wanted to start with these 5, and in a few weeks we'll add on more LA and Science. I have to say though that I'm enjoying our current pace, and am not so sure I really WANT to change things!

One new idea I had while preparing for this year--when I pre-read my kids' readers (mostly Sonlight and a few others), I am using an index card for a bookmark and taking notes. Some books have tough vocabulary, so I'm going to put the definitions right on the card for the kids to use as a bookmark. Other books have lots of characters that can be hard to remember--so for those books I'm listing characters and their relationships to each other. I'm hoping this will help them get more out of their reading, and then eventually I can transition them to some of these habits.

For spelling, I started back reviewing some mastered cards from AAS on the first day. The kids retained almost everything! I was so excited for them. The notes they wrote me this summer were near perfect spelling, so I knew they were doing well--nice to see confirmation though! My son started Level 5 today. I'm hoping he can get through 5 and half of 6 this year, so that we can finish up spelling in his 9th grade year. We'll see how it goes! My daughter is just a few lessons into Level 4.

History had a rough spot this morning--my 11 yo daughter was in a talkative mood and my 13 yo son was...well...13: the age when it's interminably hard to have a little sister who knows anything...But when I said her points were legitimate and that I wanted to hear them--and that further I wanted ALL of us to participate in a lively discussion--he changed his tune and we had a great discussion! So encouraging. I'm really looking forward to history this year (we're using The Mystery of History) and the opportunity for them to do some independent projects. And it's fun to be back in Genesis for our Bible reading.

Math--my son is good at math but usually balks at it--however today he willingly did *3* lessons! We switched to Math-U-See for Pre-Algebra (Horizons doesn't go up that high), and he really likes Steve Demme. I wonder how long the honeymoon will last? LOL! I did tell him that it's good to whiz through the easy stuff now so he can spend more time on the harder concepts later on. My daughter is continuing with Horizons. Last year we didn't quite finish her book, so this year I'm having her take the tests at the beginning of the new level--to get past all of the review and leave more time at the end of the year for the new stuff (so we can finish!). I told her when she gets less than an A on a test, that's where we'll start in the book. She thinks that idea is the best thing since apple pie!

All in all, a good start back. I hope this trend continues! Anyone else start back yet or making plans?