Friday, January 28, 2011

Curriculum Questions

   Holly asked what we were using for Geography and Spelling and I meant to post on that sooner and forgot all about it!  Sorry Holly!

   This year for Geography we are using Geography Songs.  Yup, that's the name :0)  You can find out about it here and I'm sure you can find it cheaper on Amazon or something.  It's a small book with parts of the world broken down into small chunks to memorize (what a horrible explanation!!).  For example you don't learn Asia, you learn the Middle East, East Asia, Western Asia etc.  It's all broken down and each area has a song that goes with it.  The songs are sometimes cute, sometimes annoying, but ALWAYS stay in your head.  My kids can rattle off all of the Middle East along with telling you it's 15 countries of southwest Asia and it's main religions are Muslim, Christian and Jew all from the song!  I made copies of the maps and whatever area we are learning I put inside a laminated manila folder with a clear overhead page on it.  They then trace the areas they are learning while listening to the song with wet erase markers.  I'm amazed at how well they do.  I try to call them one by one to our big world map and initially help them find the area they are mapping and then over time they show it to me.  When I think they have it down pretty good we pull out a big blank world map from Sonlight and they fill in what they know.  I really like the way we are doing this this year.  Sometimes out Sonlight Core takes us through an area too quickly for them to really get.  This year we are just following the plan but next year we'll slow down and really dig deeper.  I love the idea of kids being able to map the world.  I'm ashamed of how often I'll watch the news and have no clue where something is happening.  So, once again I am learning right along with them!

   For spelling, we are NOT you're best people to follow!  We have failed miserably with finding a spelling program we (I) liked.  Charlotte Mason is all about letting kids learn to spell naturally while reading lots and lots of great literature.  I can say this is/has happened with my kids but at a much slower pace than I'd like!  They still misspell some of the simplest words.  So that being said, this year we are following the spelling given by Sonlight in their Language Arts.  It basically presents a group of words around a phonetic spelling rule (you know the ol' i comes before e except after c type rule) each week.  You can go about teaching it anyway you see fit.  For us I let them try their best on Monday (I guess like a pre-test), then each day as we go we talk about the rule and practice the list.  Usually by Friday they have it mastered.  We go word by word and make corrections right away on each word as opposed to checking them all at the end.  This has worked well for us this year.  It's perfect for Caleb, a bit of a challenge for E (so some times I'll change his words), and great review for Carter.  We have never been good at giving each kid a list and then trying to practice with each one every night for the week.  It just never happened, right or wrong.  We tried some online spelling programs and they were great but we only have one computer and it is often being used for typing or Spanish so trying to find more time for three kids to spell wasn't working so well either.  I have also tried to start Sequential Spelling several times and I always have a hard time figuring out how to keep going with one doing well and slow down for one struggling.  Maybe next year we'll try that again but for now the Sonlight list is working well.

   This year we used Sonlight and really enjoyed it.  I don't think we will use it next year simply because we would need two cores to teach the age range we have and it's just too expensive for us to do that.  I am excited though as we've found some new things we'd like to try.  Next week I'll post a bit on some of our plans for this coming year.  Maybe some of you have used what we are looking for and can tell us the good and the bad!  If not you can watch us sink or swim!  Hey, live and learn- that's the plan!

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Our School Schedule
A Day Homeschooling
Fridays at Our House
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