Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homeschooling Bits

We have finished the Botany text for the year, except for the "Final" (which we are doing orally tomorrow, since it is 50 questions long, and the questions require more than one word answers, and the Pirate would be apoplectic at the idea).  So, I need to order next year's text, which will be Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (I'd call it an ornithology book, but it includes bats and butterflies in addition to birds, so that won't quite fly.  ha.)  Anyway, we're just going to take a week off science while we wait for the new books to get here, and then we'll start next school year 5 months early.  I see no reason not to do so, and I'll never feel like we're behind in Science if I do it.  I'll also have a chance to proof the book, because I had a few issues with this year's text.  Field bees are not male, and I'm not a Young Earther, and so on.  I dislike sloppy thinking, grammar, and editing.  In case you are wondering, the quality of the experiments and activities made up for my issues, so we are sticking with the series.

The Princess finished her math text for the year last week (The LONG year of LONG division), and I ordered Life of Fred (Fractions) to play with until the credit card re-sets and we can order Teaching Textbooks 5 for her.  No, we are nowhere near our credit limit - we just pay it off every month, and when we reach the point where I am unhappy about paying it, we stop buying anything 'til the next month.  Yes, it is weird, but we have no credit card debt that way, so it works and you can laugh all you want, I won't care.  Anyway, Life of Fred is only $20/textbook.  Teaching Textbooks is going to run me over $100.  I like Life of Fred.  It's FUNNY.  And the author packs an incredible amount of information into each little chapter.   And it isn't drill and kill - the examples and questions are all "real life" so you know why you are learning what you are learning.  I ordered the very first book in the elementary series for the Pirate (Apples), and she did half the book in one day, and has begged for multiple chapters every other day we've done it.  This from the child who usually whinges and whines for an hour over a worksheet she actually completes in ten minutes once she finally shuts up and starts it.  She has 7 more chapters of Multiplication, which is about ten more weeks of work, so she won't be done until June.  That isn't stopping us from doing Life of Fred at the same time, though, because Fred is Fun.

We have nine more weeks of Tapestry of Grace - the Etruscans, then the Romans. I'm sure it will take til mid-June, though.  We're not starting Year Two until August, when the girls get back from Camp.

I've decided to finish up a few things we've let slide, like the geography workbooks.  The Princess likes them, and the Pirate is generally happy about anything we can do orally.  I won't stop with the maps that relate to Tapestry of Grace topics, but the workbooks provide more map-reading experience than simply coloring the extent of Alexander the Great's Empire by copying a completed example.  The Princess also started her Spelling program again.  I still find it REALLY HARD TO TEACH SPELLING, since I find spelling the easiest subject of all, and have never had to think about it.  Words just look right, or wrong.  Try teaching that.  When she finishes this workbook (June), we'll try Sequential Spelling with both the girls, because I don't think what we're doing now is working in terms of long-term retention, or application of previously learned material to new problems.  Of course, English doesn't help, with screwball issues like weight/wait and eight/ate, which we discovered today.

I'm done with phonics.  It is now time to convince everyone to read aloud to me (instead of me always reading to them).

We are still doing poetry, which I love hearing them recite.  Especially stuff like The Whole Duty Of Children.  We'll keep that up, but possibly not all from the book we've been using, because I got a new list from IEW, and it looked like more fun.  Suggestions are always welcome in the poetry department.

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