Friday, September 3, 2010

SisterT's Wrapping or Rather BANGING Her Head Around Curriculum

You know what? I've written about this BEFORE~having thought I'd made ALL my choices for our coming/OK, not coming~LOOMING year! But alas, it KEEPS on growing and expanding until I am turning into a head banger~ha! NOT the heavy metal type but the psycho head bopper with my forehead hitting the heel of my hand as I continue to figure this stuff out~soooooooooooooooooooooooo~
WHY IS IT SO HARD THIS YEAR?

Well, one good reason is that I am under the gun with HUGE time constraints~my kiddos are growing up and fast! With looking at ONLY a few short years left, we gotta hit it hard~but their priorities are for hitting it; however they are also busy little people with extra interests and obligations! So in planning and carrying out what we need to do I'm having to really pull out the stops and figure it out with as much research as I can before we get into full swing so that we don't waste our energy and time.  Energy wasting is as bad if not worse that time wasting!

We just are so busy that doing for doing is lost in the process. We NEED effective solid stuff~curriculum AND methods!

OK. 

So here's what I've come up with SO FAR~and I don't promise, Dear Reader to stay with this, so if we need to, we will revisit this ALL again!

Each of my kiddos is different. True of all kiddos and humans~none are alike, and since, we are gearing stuff a little bit differently for each child. I'll discuss the boy first.

Son:

Reading~This is a struggle area and our testing shows exactly what I knew intuitively (don't we moms know??) that he is reading on a sixth grade level and heading chronologically into the ninth grade.  To boost this, we are reading 15 min a day orally "high interest/low vocabulary level" books meaning that these books will produce proficiency and we can move up as we progress.  I researched this kinds of books online and for us, found them pricey and also not what I'd chose for him to read. Many were teen geared, but also had teen "issues" like suicide and other deviant behavior stuff included. This made these particular titles not overly attractive to me, so we looked into the public library to keep cost down and perhaps have wider choices. Well, the public library has limited collections of these books as well, but I was given a website with a searchable data base of books by reading level AND INTEREST~which is a huge factor for a struggling reader.  Who in the world wants to read something that is boring! I think most teenage boys will generally call academic reading boring! LOL~soo go ahead, and throw accolades teen boys of the world~I hear ya! You WANT interesting, understandable reads! ME TOO!! 

With this in mind, we are heading to the local branch to search the shelves as a title alone is not going to get it for him.  He will need to see each book, feel each book and make a connection before being WILLING to read it~because it's hard and takes loads of work making it unpleasant.  This is a huge part of what we will be doing this year in getting son ready for more advanced materials.  I will continue to read aloud to he and his sister in more difficult reading passages/materials but also continue doing oral discussion and questions to assure comprehension.  HE HATES my questioning, but unless I test or quiz orally, HOW WILL I KNOW?  Pray for us! NOW, I have some tools to work his level. This is a huge burden in preparing him for college. He is learning challenged, but we have come a long long long way! AND I AM sooooooooo proud of him!

Math~He was doing PreAlg from Teaching Textbooks and is about 7/8 done, but when I had him tested, whether or NOT it was a bad day, he didn't perform.  We are going back! I am going to be doing it with both he and his sister~I'll explain that more later! But also I plan to include two more resources: Math Tudor PreAlgebra dvd and Khan Academy's Official SAT Prep Book videos. We are really attacking math in a more concentrated way this year!! Gone are the days of my boy and girl taking the materials and working independently and then bringing their work to me for just grading.  I am going to be in the learning dialog with the materials so I can gauge understanding long before exercises are completed and utilizing these additional resources.  I'll also be doing reviews on the Math Tudor PreAlg and TI-84 Calculator.  LOOK for these SOON!

HISTORY~We continue in our world history rotation and have headed right into the early church of the first century Christians. With an overview study of the Book of Acts and St. Paul, I believe that the foundation of the church as Christ founded and it's early practices will shed light into the Middle Ages as well as on into modern times.  Rome was such an important empire in history and much of then and today was affected by it.  We must understand and be able to assimilate this knowledge all over the ages~even now!  Texts are varied, but I am definitely using TruthQuest, MOH2 and Veritas Press.  This is an area where I own MORE than I can possibly EVER need, but my interest and love has me salivating for more anytime I see a wonderful new resource! I am also utilizing YouTube, Netflix and Hulu for free movie/film documentaries and fictionals to give this time period the pagentry and beauty it deserves. We will go from 33AD (Resurrection of Christ to 1611 the King James Bible.  Included in this study will be history, Bible and literature along with essay writings.  The Bible will be studied as literature being read and listened to in dramatized readings by Faith Comes By Hearing (You've Got the Time) cd which can be listened to for FREE on their website!  Regarding our essay writing, I am going to allow free expression of writing this semester for my son and continue teaching writing conventions and grammar. This is another area of struggle. His language based learning dis doesn't allow for an easy flow of ideas onto paper or verbally.  We will be using graphic organizers and outlining and other methods. 

Language Arts~will be covered in the essays, but also a review of grammar using Language Arts text, along with ACT/SAT Prep Vocab words for vocab learning (WATCH for this review coming soon!) and I'm going to have him to a vocab notebook with a bank of unknown words that he learns and documents so that he makes this an active alive resource. He often doesn't understand written or spoken words and this will give him the opportunity to develop a strategy for remediation of this issue.  We are doing diction and oral reading and lecture/interactive learning. I am using LanSchool technology which networks our laptops, but don't get the idea SistaT is separated from her struggling kiddo, oh NO! He's right beside/in front of me touching me~knee to knee so I can SEE what he's reading and doing and help along the way IF I need to!  None of that off in a corner internet stuff at our home!  We use online only in common areas as a matter of integrity and forethought.  It's just how we do it!

Science~I have just settled on WHAT we are doing this year in this area, and actually went with something completely different from what I'd intended. First, I had planned to do biology, which is a wonderful study and I've back burnered it for next year in favor of using Apologia's General Science with both children. We haven't done a complete overview since about five or six years ago in using Considering God's Creation, so this is a good general overview of many disciplines along with great information.  I am so blessed to have the Apologia resources as well as Cynthia McKinney's Knowledgebox resources for this study.  We are going to do the experiments and work the entire program.  This is exciting!

Foreign Language will continue to be Tell Me More Spanish for my boy.   This is his second year using this program, and he likes it! 

Music~Trumpet and possibly church choir.  Not sure about the choir as he didn't really want to do it this year. We shall see!

Drama~My boy is in a drama homeschool co op club where he is involved in the set crew.  He did a monologue for tryouts and a nice job! I was sooo proud! He didn't want a part, but we keep hoping that at some time he might get one.  He's excited about working on the crew though. 

My daughter will be doing most of these same things except on her level of work which is 10th grades this year.   She struggles in math, so like her brother we are going through all of it to remediate her issues and go forward.  She will be right with he and I on this endeavor~and hey, it isn't going to HURT ME to do it either! LOL~sometimes I wonder who learns more~them or ME? LOL! 

Reading isn't an issue and I am going to let her read to her heart's content on midieval materials.  She will write essays and learn the varying kinds along with her brother. 

Her foreign language is Japanese and this girl is constantly studying it! She checks out from the public library all manner of books teaching it to review and practice! We need to hunt her a pen pal so she can learn~I just had an idea of how we might get her someone willing to talk to her.  OK~going to pursue that! She is going to review and redo the Tell Me More and one day I hope to afford the Rosetta Stone for her. At this time, I don't have the funds, but she is doing all she can. She is rethinking (thank God!) her goal of living in Japan, because of the cultural differences and her personal comfort levels.  WISE thinking, daughter! AND this mama really didn't want her daughter so far away~I'd miss her!!

Music is double bass, piano and choir.

Drama this year is expanded. She is a crew leader and has a part in the fall performance. You will hear more about this as we go along!! 

OK, NOW YOU KNOW why I haven't WANTED to get going this year~but alas, we are puttering along...sputtering and spurting and we are making our way into this new year~SEE YA on the trail!

What did you come up with for this year and did you start already? 

1 comment:

jlsgrant said...

Just read that your daughter loves Japanese...My daughter, 15, is doing Japanese this year too. She got interested when she got the game My Japanese Coach for Nintendo DS a couple of years ago! We started with Rosetta Stone and some other resources I found last year. This year we found a real Japanese tutor that is really Japanese. She's loving it.