Saturday, June 1, 2013
What in the World Are We Studying Now?
We don't follow a grand, preplanned scope and sequence here in our homeschool. As I explained last August, child-led interests caused us to abandon the chronological approach to history, for instance.
And now that my daughter is also off on her own explorations that sometimes converge, sometimes run parallel, and sometimes conflict with those of her older brother, we end up with some very interesting combinations going at once around here. I'll admit that it can overwhelm me a bit at times, to juggle all these subject areas, two very different learners, and all the resources to organize and schedules to keep straight.
Currently we are:
1. Feeding a new found interest in classical music in both kids. In addition to their piano and violin lessons, they are enjoying learning more about the life of some famous composers and listening to classical music on Pandora.
2. Exploring the Colonial history of North America. After my daughter watched the Disney movie Pocahontas from the library and I was reminded how inaccurate that movie is, I started by checking out some good children's biographies of Pocahontas. Interest in Jamestown led us to the PBS reality show Colonial House, which was a huge hit with the kids. Now we are reading a stack of library books about Colonial times and contemplating some craft projects to go with it.
3. The boy has just finished reading a whole chapter book by himself - a new achievement for him! The book is Alanna, the first in a series of four books I had just read out loud to both kids, so he decided to go back to the beginning of the story and read it again. The sight of him curled up reading a book is a welcome one for me!
4. He is also finishing his study of WWII. We're wrapping it up with a few old classic John Wayne movies, and then we'll be done. Since we broke with our old chronological approach to jump straight to WWI, we had to decide what to do next: keep going through the 20th century history or go back to something earlier? He chose the latter option, and we're going back to Medieval history where we had left off before.
5. Getting our second go-around with Ancient Greece. My daughter was interested enough to sit in and listen when her older brother studied Ancient Greece years ago, and we did Greek Myths all together last year. So now she is ready to study Ancient Greece in her own right, but he's interested enough to listen in (this is a great advantage of multi-grade settings, that children get multiple exposures and plenty of chances to review and even be tutors to younger children). Because we did the myths so much already, we're reading children's versions of the Homeric epics now.
6. Earth Science for Hypatia using Real Science Odyssey, and Physics for Carbon using Exploration Education. We've got crystals growing right now, and we've been messing about with a rock collection, identifying rocks. Carbon has built an electrical circuit and is messing about a lot with his snap circuits (I can't praise snap circuits enough).
7. Still practicing Spanish with Rosetta Stone and Hooked on Spanish.
8. Choosing not to move on from the Alpha level of Math U See right away for the girl, but doing some Kumon addition and subtraction workbooks first. Meanwhile, the boy is cruising again and moving quickly through the Gamma level. Sometimes math comprehension comes quickly, sometimes it doesn't, and we try to follow the flow and stay with a level until it's truly been mastered.
9. Doing Language Lessons with both kids, and then we've been doing Explode the Code (on paper, not the online version) with both as well, but I think it's no longer useful for my son. He's finished Level 3, and now I'm wanting to do a different program with him - something like a word roots program. If you have one to recommend, please tell me!
10. With the boy we are using Writing Strands. I have mixed feelings about the program, and would like to explore some other writing programs. Once again, recommendations are most welcome!
11. With the girl we are still focused on getting her reading. We have a lot of beginning readers, and just read one a day. They are of extremely variable quality, but have the virtue of being short even if they are awful. I try to pay attention to her zone of proximal development and avoid frustrating her too much but still challenging her as we read together.
12. And of course there is: nature study as it occurs naturally (pun intended), "Outdoor Hour", gardening, baking, animal husbandry, chores, Minecraft, imaginative play, movie-making, "Project Time" and "Making Time", yoga, and field trips.
What we're not doing: we've fallen off with our art program. Mostly we ran out of supplies, and I haven't had the money to spend to go the art supply store.