I haven't wrote since we finished off last school year in May even though we started back up in July. We spent the last few weeks trying out a few new resources just to see what I thought about them. I will post what I wrote about them on our facebook page below.
the last week we have tried out two free programs just to see what we
thought of them. We used the discoveryk12 online program and the Easy
Peasy all in one homeschool. I thought I would post my thoughts on both a
kind of pros and cons in my opinion. Ok first let me say not only did
we use both programs we also used all parts of the programs and added on
other material that we normally use. My
kids were able to finish the daily work in both plus the add on is 4-5
hrs. So even though I felt the basics are being covered I just kind of
felt like neither program was enough for me and mine. If we continue to
use either of them I def. will be adding to them for a bit more hands on
learning. I will say both programs allowed the kids to pretty much work
independently while I did a whole lot of standing around wondering what
to do with myself,lol. Ok so Discovery k12 pros are it keeps records of
attendance, work, reading, grades, p.e ect which I really liked and for
those who need to keep good records it may be a life saver for you. I
liked that non core subjects like P.E., music, art were covered. My cons
were that a good bit of the history and science was pretty much just
watch this video and take notes which for elementary age is just not
going to cut it. It was a bit boring and dry. Another con was that at
this time you do not have the ability to change levels in different
subjects. Many homeschool children are at different levels in different
subjects. I would have also liked to see more engaged questions being
given to the subjects of history and science. The spelling is pretty
much write, look up, and remember the words. There is no teaching of the
rules. Now let me tell you my thoughts on Easy Peasy. First off it is a
Christian based curriculum and there will be many links that will be
geared toward that world view. However most of the Christian topics can
be easily skipped over without losing the mass of the entire curriculum.
I love the math but it is using khan academy so if you didn't want to
use Easy peasy but wanted to use the math you could just use Khan from
their website. I felt a little more could be covered daily in the area
of grammar, voc, and spelling as I found it to fall a bit short there
for my taste. However you could easily fill that with a few free
educational sites or even a grammar workbook. The literature I loved it
was def. a pro in my book because it is mainly Classical literature and
has direct links to the books. For history and science we were using
year 3 which actually covers geography and earth science and astronomy. I
found it to be plenty and plan to continue to use it for a spine for
this years geography and science. At this point I plan to discontinue
using them except for the Easy Peasy geography which I will use for now but mainly just as an outline.
Neither of these programs just felt like us. So I am yet again just winging it in many areas but that is ok as I lean toward a very relaxed form of education anyway. So you might be wondering what are we using then. First let me say all that we use as far as curriculum is used very loosely and really used as more of a guide for me to pull from. That being said I will post this years line up for both my 5th grader and my kinder.
Math- we will be sticking with A+Tutorsoft for our 4th yr now and pulling from other resources like khan academy and our large amount of Montessori manipulative.
Grammar- We will still be using Growing with Grammar it is short , easy to use, and has worked great the last few yrs.
Spelling- we are using a mixture of All About Spelling( to recover some rules) and Spelling Power( the orange book not the public school curriculum)
Lit- will be covering a few classics( we have already started reading Treasure Island) and allowing her to pick her own books.
Geography- Using Easy Peasy Geography as a guide but adding in country studies that may fit with topics in other subject areas. We also plan to do a huge Christmas aaaaround the world study in Nov/Dec
Science- we are loosely going to cover Earth science and Astronomy not using any one curriculum but pulling from Science Odyssey and Waldorf material along with many books, movies,websites, and projects
History- Mainly we plan to cover Prehistorical Life along with a bit of evolution and the Middle Ages again not using any actual curriculum but pulling from a few that I have collected and adding in books, movies,websites, projects( we have alread made swords and shields this yr- see picture below)
Maverick- Grade K
Math- Hands on games and Montessori Manipultives
Phonics/reading- This is one of the main areas I plan to focus with him one on one with this yr and so we are using many different things- we do daily sight words( he is up to 240 as of today), Explode the code, Sound City Reading( which is a free program you can find online and goes up to I believe the 2nd grade), and Click and Read Phonics which is an animated program
Spelling- All About Spelling level 1- I am really not concerned if he gets through level one this yr or if we continue to use it again but so far he has not missed a beat and is doing well with only 15-20 mins a day using it
Geography, Science, and History all will be covered by him working with his older sister but only doing his level of work. We also plan to start next week a month long study of Dinosaurs and Archeology/ Paleontology just because he has shown such a huge interest in these areas. We will use books, movies, websites, and yes a real archeological dig in the back yard.
Maverick also is doing a morning wall which covers months , days of the week, seasons, weather/temp, holidays, maps, shapes. It is an easy , fun way to cover all these topics without it feeling to much to him.
Some of the new things we are doing this yr are taking a monthly class at the local nature center, joined a homeschool group for weekly park days, Doing monthly class at the history center, taking an art class for 8 weeks, taking swimming class in the spring, Joined a group of unschoolers for weekly unschooling day, joining the monthly class at the zoo,plus we will attend at least 3 other field trips a month through out the state depending on events happening at different times of the yr. My goal is 3 days a week doing what most would see as book/ school work, one day a week for classes, and one day a week for just socializing and natural real world learning. I really am attempting to grow as much as my children in this year. Moving ever closer to letting go of that school mind that they have to know something at a certain age. Hopefully I will also grow in the area of seeing learning as part of life and not something that has to come from being pushed on them so demanding and rigorously. The first six weeks of this school year have been a great success and I feel it can only get better as I learn to see what they need and want to learn and learn to think more outside the box on how to give that to them. I wish all of you a great school year and I look forward to seeing what you are changing up this year and how you and your children will grow.